June 1st, 2010
Despite being the most widely-played video game system in the world — by a long shot — the PC often lacks the spotlight enjoyed by popular consoles. Why is that? "A couple of reasons," says game consultant Adrian Crook.
The first is that PC companies often publicize their products independently from one another, whereas console games benefit from combined advertising efforts. "There is a lot of money and time spent on both the trade and consumer side to justify the huge expense of a console," Crook explains, "meaning first-parties like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo spend hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing to promote their platforms as high powered gaming machines. Meanwhile, there is no singular first-party entity doing the same for PC."
The nascent PC Gaming Alliance has hopes to change that. But since the launch of the cooperative two years ago, marketing campaigns have, for the most part, remained fragmented, including the lack of a dedicated PC press conference at E3, gaming's biggest trade show.
But the absence of concentrated hype isn't the only reason for the PCs overlooked popularity. Crook says the computer's multipurpose use shoulders some of the blame. "On the consumer side, when you're buying a $400 machine for your living room that has only one purpose (gaming), you need to rationalize the purchase by feeding the hype machine," he says.
"So you'll happily line up to buy the latest Gears of War or Call of Duty because playing it on your 5.1 surround sound and 58" plasma home theatre will: a) be fun; and b) subconsciously help you rationalize the decision of spending so much money on gaming alone. Consoles are the only devices focused on gaming alone (by definition), so it's natural everything else, including PCs, get less spotlight in the gaming world."
What about you, handsome readers: Any other reasons the PC might be overlooked as a viable gaming system? Internet popularity? Work-related reasons? What?
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