I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, PC gamers fell in love with console games. Not all of them, sure, but a big enough chunk that the majority of the conversation is now centred around these big, blockbuster AAA franchises geared towards the pick-up and play sensibilities of many console gamers.
Just take a little glance down the most popular games on GD (found in the centre of GD’s homepage). The top 10 is just absolute dominated by typical console titles. They’ve got a lustrous sheen after being polished within an inch of their lives, slick play experiences that empower production values over the inventive ideas, tactical thinking and risk-taking we come to associate with PC gaming. They’re the likes of FIFA 18, Destiny 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Need For Speed: Payback, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Call of Duty: WWII that dominate our top 10. They’re alleviated somewhat by PUBG sat on the top spot but the message is very clear - PC gamers are very interested in these consolized experiences.
Down near the bottom half of the most popular games we begin to see glimmers of traditional PC gaming with Divinity: Original Sin II and Total War: Warhammer 2, yet their popularity pales into insignificance next to PES 2018.
It’s an experience most keenly felt when I think of the PC gaming magazines of yesteryear such as PC Zone and PC Gamer. Back then, wholly PC-centric titles like Baldur’s Gate, Thief, Half-Life, Diablo, Deus Ex, Homeworld and Vampire: The Masquerade reigned supreme.
There’s been a shift, and I think there’s possibly a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, more games are coming to PC. We’re being treated to a greater number of console-like titles than ever before. Unless it’s a paid exclusive, chances are it’s also coming to PC these days.
Secondly, the extended length of the 7th generation of consoles (PS3 and X360) meant an unprecedented number of console gamers began moving to PC, a flood which has continued to this day. These are console gamers who were fed up of getting an inferior experience, moving to PC to get the same games they know and love, but this time looking and running as best they can. I think we’re in an age where more PC gamers are former console players than ever before.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom for the beloved genres that have made their home on PC. It’s still the best, and often only place to play MOBAs, strategy games, CRPGs, management titles and point and click adventures. They are, along with the glut of fantastic indie titles, still PC gaming’s bread and butter, as typified by Divinity: Original Sin 2. A very pure PC gaming experience; great word of mouth and excellent reviews led to a concurrent player base of 75,000 on Steam at launch. Not bad at all considering the never-ending focus on billion-dollar production values.
So do you think the popularity of traditional PC games is on the wane? Is a preoccupation with AAA just a result of the seismic shift from console to PC gaming? Let us know!