The future of PC gaming is something that comes up a lot among the enthusiasts, the media, and even developers. Is it dying, is it going to experience a resurgence, what’s going to happen to the PC? While there are some companies that seem to earn a living just fine by making high-quality PC titles (Valve and Blizzard come to mind), there are other companies that have moved over into console development to supplement their income.
Splash Damage head honcho Paul Wedgewood has a few words to say about PC exclusive development and how it’s no longer financially viable. He maintains that the budget is not there for triple-A quality PC titles which makes it hard to get high-end bonuses like a full orchestra and a rich voice cast. Considering that his studio originally started as a mod house which made “hardcore” multi-player maps for Quake and Wolfenstein, perhaps Mr. Wedgewood is in a better position to judge the future of PC-only development than most people.
While I don’t see triple-A PC titles going anywhere anytime soon, we do seem to be seeing less and less PC exclusives. The last game that I played on PC that was built for that platform specifically from start to finish was Dawn of War II. The next game with a PC focused development I’m going to play is Left 4 Dead 2, but in between these two games were a succession of console ports. Even if the ports were fairly well done (like Borderlands) or severely lacking (like Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising), the fact remains that they were built for consoles first and PCs second.
Given the success of Valve and Blizzard in the PC market, I think that high-quality titles can still be made for the PC; it’s just a matter of having a successful track record, something that encourages publishers to put their money behind you. What do you guys think? I’d like to see the PC continue as a successful gaming platform, and I know there are a few staunch PC supporters that frequent this site. With games like Modern Warfare 2 and even the new Aliens Vs Predator game choosing to use a matchmaking system instead of dedicated servers, is the PC in danger of losing its identity?