Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ugh Part 2

I've been thinking about the "Ugh" post from this morning. So few "award winning" PC games from E3 are shipping this year, yet I wrote just a couple of weeks ago that the PC gaming market is very healthy based on number of releases. Seemingly, that's a contradiction, but it's actually a comment on the different nature of the PC and console markets.

Niche games rarely get nominated for anything at E3. They're not high budget, they're not flashy, and by definition, they rarely have impressive pedigrees. Some of them turn out to be great games, but they're not going to draw much attention in an environment where they're competing against games with 20X (or 50X) the budget.

The advantage, though, is that in a lower-cost development environment, they don't have to compete against those mega-budget games, because they don't have to sell nearly as many copies to be profitable. So the PC market can serve many, many niches, whereas the 360 and PS3, almost by definition, have to be mainstream.

That's also another potential advantage of the Wii: lower development costs probably lead to more niche titles and more markets served.

So the PC games market is very healthy, and there aren't going to be a huge number of giant budget games out for the PC, and that's just fine. We'll still have a great time playing games--we just aren't all going to be playing the same game. Games like Oblivion are going to be the rare exception going into the future, not the rule.

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