When the PC industry's big guns high-fived as they broke from a warm, gushy group hug, they high-fived with a pledge: that they'd do what they could to help give traditional PC gaming a kick in the pants. We've seen what Nvidia are doing, so what about AMD? They're...well, they're going to start putting little badges on their PCs. If a computer's got a badge that says "AMD Game", it'll play more than just Freespace. If it says "AMD Game Ultra", it'll even manage something like Crysis. You can see an example of the badges to your left. I don't know. It's not that its necessarily a bad idea, just...we were kinda hoping for a little more than just (likely ineffectual) badges, you know?
@MaxS: You're missing the point, I think. I'm a PC gamer too... I'm talking about image on the mainstream level... not what other PC gamers view the platform and understand it as.
A) Easy or not to put a component in, the "image" and the reality of getting the whole system back to normal is often anything but. Configuration for the vast majority of people is not something they want to deal with or would even know how to start. Saying "it's easy already" misses what the vast majority of the population feels and experiences. "Easy" for someone who has done it before and does it as a hobby, sure... but I'm talking about making it simple and obvious for the other 95% of the population. That you or I can do it is not the point.
It's nowhere near where it could and should be for mainstream acceptance. If it were, people wouldn't constantly bring it up as a sticking point. Seriously... most people just don't get it... nor do they want to have to.
B) Obviously. I'm not talking about "requirements to get it going"... I'm talking about expectations and them being met. Something like WoW or Sims is made with a mass population in mind... but the image that a lot of other PC gaming has is very cutting edge, because it's "designing" with cutting edge tech in mind.
There is always a big partnership between cutting edge tech and cutting edge software going on that drives a large part of the industry, but it has a big downside of making everyone feel constantly outdated. One of the unspoken rules of buying new hardware is that it's best just not to even LOOK at what else is coming out for a while because it's going to make you feel bad about your purchases when the parts you bought are now 50% off or there's something else 3x better in 6 months.
That games can still run on your older hardware isn't a problem... in fact, I love the scalability and wish people would embrace it more than they do... but almost everything is shown off as "look what the future could be" instead of "we're focusing on older machines". The truly successful titles that grab the most people ARE the games not just with mass-market appeal, but with mass-market hardware focus. That Sims would appeal to a broader base than the next FPS is pretty obvious, but WoW?
There are games that do extremely well by selling "the game" rather than it's screenshots or system specs. If the industry wants to get past "upgrade-itis", it should consider not sweating the motion blur and lens flare quite so much. Or...
C) It should stop caring what the mainstream thinks or feels and just be what it is.
I'm not saying that it should compete with console... I'm saying the INDUSTRY is acting like it should. So many people talk about PC gaming in the same breath as console gaming anymore like there is only one way to be and you're either light side or dark side of the force.
Besides, there is a LOT of focus on PC gaming as an enterprise unto itself. That you can do more with it is a given, but it is easily possible to consider gaming on your rig to be the primary focus. Are we all going to play the self-justification game and say that we're buying the next Nvidia card for Office? There is no need to even get into it on that. Let's just skip the pretense of all the other things and talk about the gaming end exclusively... you've still got a number of considerations on PC construction that are very game focused. Does MS Word give a shit about your video or sound card? Yet that is where the majority of our costs and confusion are coming from.
Then you've got developers jumping ship on PC to go console as well, because that's "where the money is".
Where does MicroSoft want us to go today? They want the Xbox controller on the PC, but no KB&M on the 360. That was the big "bridge the gap" move for the last 2 years.
And yet the industry is trying to make itself more friendly to the average consumer with stickers? Please.
Face it... the PC gaming industry is in an identity crisis, one I don't honestly think it should be in because it's "imagining" it is in the same space as consoles or trying to be. If it seriously WANTS to be... it needs to address the concerns of the "other" consumers and make it easy for them, and focus on reducing the upgrade path with software (whether "required" or simply "desired")...
... or stop sweating it.