PC games went through a golden age in the late 90s and early 2000s. The absolute benchmark PC strategy game, Civilization 2: Test of Time remains a global favorite. The Age of Empires series from the original up to The Conquerors expansion was generally considered a true classic, particularly in the pre-3D games. The original Command and Conquer series was effectively the template for games which are reinventing PC games like the Starcraft series. Its about time the gaming industry considered cleaning house.
Typically, the market has shifted focus and production into the action and arcade types of video games. These are more technically advanced games in terms of hardware and software, but theyre more or less First Person Shooters as games. Hardly strategy, if fun, and you couldnt call the complex games requiring a lot of learning or patience. A PC strategy game can go on for weeks, a video game about as long as a TV commercial.
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PC Game Market Issues
Ironically, of all places for gaming, the vacuous social sites have been picking up on games like crazy. Even the farming game on Facebook picked up about half the planet in a few months. The MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are monsters, unprecedented global gaming icons.
Theyre all types of PC game, not video games. That raises two questions:
1. Will the big video game manufacturers get into MMORPG and the high value strategy games?
Ironically, itd be easy. These games are actually easier for software and hardware purposes than the tech-heavy video games. There are no particular technical obstacles to routing PC games to video and running MMORPGs and online games.
2. Can the gaming industry see the PC games market?
Opinions vary, because the industry did PC games no favors with a rash of overproduced games which really didnt appeal to PC gamers. Age of Empires 3 had huge hype, and didnt deliver much. The fabulous Panzer General 2 was replaced by Panzer General 3D, a truly forgettable game. The Civilization franchise produced the awful Call to Power followed by a strangely regressive series in Civ. 3 and Civ. 4, both lacking the imagination and depth of Civ. Test of Time.
The industrys bad calls on PC games have undermined a thriving market, and if the technical product is relatively good, the actual games are pretty sparse on ideas. The emphasis on 3D and realism has taken up more space than actual game play. A few of the mega-hyped strategic games in recent years have had the spontaneity of Monopoly by correspondence. Some games are more package than product, and its not helping sales.
The gaming market has been misread badly. PC games are personal. Winning is an achievement, and it can take a long time and a lot of patience. Warcraft is as visual as any video game, but it takes a lot of commitment. Player rankings are important to the players.
Gimmicks arent games. The moral of the story is leave the gaming design to the gamers. PC games can do anything.
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