Unholy Alliance

Coming my via Rock, Paper, Shotgun and coming their way via Mercury News is the ominous heralding of an epic alliance between hardware giants and cash whores Microsoft, Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD (plus more).  Their sworn duty?   To safeguard justice and prosperity in all of PC Gaming Land.

How dangerously barren is the PC market?  Well according to the above Rock, Paper, Shotgun it’s down by 6% year over year.  But from the Mercurary News article comes this little gem:

The numbers don’t include ad revenue associated with online gaming Web sites, which offer “casual” games such as Poker or Scrabble to a wider set of game players.

They also don’t include revenue from monthly subscriptions to virtual worlds known as “massively multiplayer online” games, or MMOs.

And this:

…the NPD numbers don’t include digital distribution, or sales of games downloaded to computers directly from Web sites such as Valve’s Steam.

Other writers have written more eloquently than myself on the dangerous situation in the gaming retail market.  Gamespot’s bloated revenues, thanks to sales of used games, and the lack of consumer protection for video game buyers are only the largest facets of using traditional methods of statistical tracking in a market that is on the bleeding edge of technology.

None of this is to say that PC Gaming is dead.  Creativity and enthusiasm for the platform is abundant and I can only hope that this Axis of Power in the PC gaming world uses its monetary and physical clout to encourage new and exciting ways to improve the market and level the playing field.  In truth, what I see happening is that same clout being used to enforce draconian and limiting factors that cut out the little man while Microsoft and its brethren feast off the tasty morsels of our hopes and dreams.

Now if you excuse me I’ll be ignoring this bull and enjoying a little Steam.

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