The Future of PC Gaming? A Personal Viewpoint
By Matt Ployhar
Recently, I was featured in a prominent publication in an article about PC gaming. What I’m reminded of is how easy it is to be taken out of context -- for right or wrong.
The article was well-written and I stand by most of what I’m quoted as saying. A few things, however, were lost in translation. It’s easy to forget that the people listening to me may not also share my viewpoints, convictions, experiences or vantage point, and therefore, it’s all too easy to be misinterpreted.
To briefly summarize my position, I’d say that consumers should be able to:
- Game on their terms -- anywhere they want, when they want.
- Buy the game once and have it play on any platform of their choosing. (Not the ridiculous mix-and-match scheme we see today.)
My rationale is as follows:
- Laptops are incredible, self-contained gaming systems, and are getting better all the time. Let’s start with these as the baseline.
- We live in an increasingly mobile world. My presumption is that people will eventually warm up to the fact that you don’t have to be chained to your living room to play games. Consoles will likely go mobile, or converge, but then there’s the proprietary equation to contend with. (That’s bad for consumers.)
- Laptops are becoming very affordable. I’ve been evaluating a few for gaming recently. I liked the M11x so much that I just bought one for myself! At $749, it was very close to the initial prices of an Xbox 360 or PS3 -- and a much better value proposition.
- Laptops are plug-and-play. Windows Vista or Win7 can go into any modern HDTV via an HDMI cable. At work and at my home office, I use my laptop to plug into a 23-inch display. In my living room, I have an 82-inch screen and projector that I can plug my laptop into. It’s awesome! Wireless technologies, such as WiDi and WiGig, make the scenarios even more interesting by allowing us to cut more cords.
- Going beyond the living room. I recently filmed a documentary that shows me playing a game like BioShock using a wireless game pad in my living room and other locations in and out of the house. Being able to play that game not only in the living room but anywhere I want with little to no compromise rocks!
- Buy the game once. We need to move to a model in which you buy the game once and can play it anywhere. I don’t want to buy the same game three times or more for different platforms. Compute continuum notion (a.k.a. three screens/any screen, etc.), game engines (such as Unity ) and tech like tessellation are slowly moving us in the right direction. Other advances are taking place in the cloud, on the Web (for example, HTML5.0), and for game streaming (e.g., Gaikai and OnLive).
- Desktop equation. I really don’t know what happens here, but I do believe they need to evolve. We see PC all-in-ones and iMacs today. It’s probably not too big of a stretch to see more TVs going in this direction. Internet-connected TVs also make me wonder if they’re not becoming PC-independent. More akin to a thin client?
Matt Ployhar focuses on graphics, multimedia and gaming in Intel’s visual computing software division [disclosure: Intel is the sponsor of the I’m Game blog]. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft for more than 12 years. His passions are graphics and gaming. And when he can get away from his computer, he also enjoys the great outdoors and reading.