The forgotten child

PC gaming has for some time been considered the lame duck of the gaming world in some circles. Next to the slickly marketed, zero-maintenance console cousins, the PC sometimes seem like an afterthought to games publishers.
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The triple-A titles are there, but with a few notable exceptions, they're mainly ports of console versions. But the market is definitely there. There is no more obvious reason for the existence of the high-end components market than gaming. No one is upgrading his system with flashy cases and ultra-powerful graphics cards for the next version of Internet Explorer.

In the past, the chief problem seems to have been representation. Like the wider PC industry, there are sometimes dozens of companies responsible for the many components that make up a gaming rig, and when it comes to fully made-up PCs the rivalry between vendors is even stronger. This situation is not conducive to anything approaching a unified voice on PC gaming, whereas it's quite easy for Sony to talk about and promote the PS3. The creation of the PC Gaming Alliance did much to alleviate that – and figures it released last month reveals the staggering extent of how many games PCs there are out there.

The other issue facing PC gaming is that it’s not exactly clear just how many games are being sold, thanks to the now huge number of digitally distributed games. And sales figures are key to the games publishing industry – the commercial performance of a title can make or break a development studio.

But there are measures being taken to bring something of a more accurate reading of the true state of sales from games trade association ELSPA, which is working towards releasing regular and accurate sales figures of digital sales. This alone should bring greater clarity into what is a very disparate sector, and with any luck provide a more stable foundation for development investment.

As is abundantly clear in this sector, there is no shortage of money to be made out of high-end hardware, and any furthering of the PC games sector can only be a good thing for anyone producing, distributing, or selling it.



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