The debate circling PC and Console gaming has been raging for quite some time; usually arguments over the quality of games, their controllers and the communities that drive them. Most recently we’ve seen this subject kicked up again within the context of Infinity Ward’s announcement that dedicated servers will not be playing a role in Modern Warfare 2, rather a more console-like self-hosted approach.
Typical responses from the PC community were that of outrage, a combined effort to petition the powers-that-be to change their minds and a subsequent drop in PC pre-orders as that request got crushed. If you’re a PC gamer looking on the Internet you’d be joining a horde of voices saying â€œwell, they shot themselves in the footâ€ or â€œthere go half their salesâ€; you’d also be wrong.
Within an ecological sense ‘niche‘ is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other, within the context of industry ‘niches‘ are similarly defined and PC/hardcore players are a small part of of the gaming ecology. How small? The financial statements issued by Activision aren’t granular enough to break it down accurately but looking at Net Revenues by Platform will give you an idea (think: single digit percentage). Your estimation doesn’t stop there because you have to account for multiple titles and then slash that number heavily to pull out a figure for competitive, PC gamers. Newsflash: Competitive, PC-based COD gamers represent a tiny, tiny amount of total revenue. The sales speak for themselves, forum activity for PC gamers is not a realistic indication of the size of the community.
As much as we all love, support and promote PC-based competitive gaming the truth can not be ignored: from vastly reduced shelf-space in retail outlets, rampant piracy, financial statements and the fact that even Call of Duty 4 isn’t any good for competition out-of-the-box without volunteers modifying it significantly â€“ we represent a very small niche, acceptance of that fact and action as a result of it can only be a good thing: what if all those that signed the petition signed up for competition instead? What about gathering together a new mod-team that constructs the next competitive reality based on COD4? If we, as a community, focus our combined efforts on building something great and cease playing the victim we might enjoy many more years of WASD-based competition.
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