Video games don’t sell — wait yes they do

Posted: 03.10.11

No they don’t…ah…

I’ve been having this debate with myself, my colleagues, and almost anyone who will listen to me for more than 30 seconds, about the game publishers unjustified bias against PC games and love affair of console games.

I don’t play console games. Everyone else here does, I’m the lone holdout. Well maybe Ted too, although I think I’ve seen him sneak a console game from time to time.

Console games are limiting — I like FPSs and therefore want and need fine precision aiming and fast firing. That’s just not possible with a console controller — one of the reasons hand grenades and big splashy weapons like fire balls or sledge hammers are so popular.

Consoles are limited in resolution to the TV. Maybe 1080p in some homes, most probably not. I need better resolution, lots of pixels.

Consoles can’t do stereovision-S3D I like S3D. Consoles can do one screen — I use three to six — lots of pixels.

The current consoles PS3 and Xbox3 (don’t waste your breath or text talking to me about Wii) are equivalent to a 2004 PC - a seven year old PC. Would you play a game on a seven year old PC?

When I lay out these complaints in my little spontaneous diatribes, those who play games (and are multi-platform players and multi genre players) point out that I am an elitist, spoiled with the best and latest equipment. I have q simple answer to that criticism, a shrug and a “So?”

That’s like saying someone who drives a 2011 Aston Martin with wraparound sound a GPS that makes dinner reservations for you, instead of a six year old BMW 2004 3 series with simple stereo FM radio and no GPS, is an elitists car driver — So?

When the shug and “So?” fails, they then attack me on my narrow choice of genre. Have I never heard of or enjoyed the pleasures of the Prince of Persia, or Lara Croft? I simply smile and say Jill Valentine and Samus Aran, or Alyx Vance.

Elitist that I am, I came to this condition due to CG and simulations. A game, a good game, for me is one that has huge open worlds, dozens of characters, intelligent AI and lots of them, gazillions and gazillions of triangles, hundreds of light sources, real reflections (not baked on decal crap) real shadows, particles, and real physics —a serious, immersive mind grabbing experience with story - not just bash and run bash and run. Someone at Nvidia said about ten years ago (I think it was Tony Tomasi) “Don’t watch the movie — be in it.” That’s what a good PC-based FPS does for you. Even that stupid “Left Behind” blaster puts you in the movie.

You can’t get those kind of games on a console. They don’t have the memory, they don’t have the FLOPS, they don’t have the speed, they don’t have screen resolution, and they don’t have the pointing accuracy.

So why are they so damn popular?

Not only that, and this is one of if not my major-major peeves, why do the game developers write to old DirectX 10 and THEN port to the PC? Why don’t they write to DirectX 11 and then dumb it down for the lame consoles? It’s my opinion the game developers don’t want to invest in the tools and learning curve to move to DirectX 11.

I’m told the game developers and publishers don’t like the PC because of the piracy. Oh, let me see — you can copy a PC game CD/DVD, but not a game console CD/DVD? However, I have to concede PC copying is greater than console, a somewhat historical tradition. And, consoles do have some hardware DRM features PCs don’t (due to complaints by the PC users.)

And yet the game developers and publishers continue to build and sell PC games. Why?

I looked at the financial results for the big three: Activision, EA, and Ubisoft. Only EA reports on how many titles for each platform, the others do report on sales by platform.

Activision Revenue Percent
MMORPG $289 39%
Console $298 40%
Hand-held $23 3%
PC and other $73 10%
Total platform net revenues $683 92%
Distribution $62 8%
Other*   0%
Total platform net revenues $745 100%


Ubisoft Revenue Q2 2010/11
Nintendo DS 26 € 10%
PC 5 € 2%
PlayStation2 3 € 1%
PSP 16 € 6%
Wii 76 € 29%
XBOX 360 52 € 20%
Autres 3 € 1%
TOTAL 261 € 100%


EA Revenue Percent   Titles in FY 2010 Percent Revenue to titles
Mobile $212 6%   48 30% 19%
Xbox 360 $868 24%   22 14% 171%
PLAYSTATION 3 $771 21%   21 13% 159%
Wii $570 16%   19 12% 130%
PC $687 19%   16 10% 186%
Nintendo DS $135 4%   16 10% 36%
PSP $125 3%   10 6% 54%
PlayStation 2 $133 4%   6 4% 96%
LicensingandOther $153 4%   0 0% 0%
Total $3,654 100%   158 100% 100%