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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gaming: How expensive vs How rewarding

One of the most expensive components is without doubt the video card. Only the "extreme" processors are more expensive. At the moment, investing in a top noch video card can bring a 850$ gap in your pockets, whilst a processor costs about 1170$. Out of one shot,we already have 2000$ gone , to which we add the cost of a motherboard, memory and other components (HDD/SSD, optical unit, case + power source, peripherals). Total costs can reach 3500$. What do we gain compared to a quarter priced configuration? Posibility to run games on high res and maximum details, but on a limited period of time.

Evolution with the speed of light.

Who can keep up with chip developers? Only the ones with a lot of money. Year by year, new generations of processors and video cards come out, everytime with big promises (incredible performance, outstanding graphics etc.), but in the end,it`s all about software. Game developers don`t keep up with the PC components evolution anymore,well maybe just with sequels, even more, i dare to say they lost interest in the PC platform,it not being profitable anymore. Games are not optimized good enough and consumers complain that even though they invested in their PC configuration, they don`t get the expected results.

"Fools rush in."

We already know how many producers focus on sequels, which,as time goes by,remain just with the title. NFS alternates in between mediocre - decent (being indulgent), FIFA who only update club and player database. Call of Duty is still appreciated, but has already ran thru all the wars in the last century. "Lucky" us, wars will never dissapear. Another well known series - Grand Theft Auto. The last release, GTA IV, was harshly criticised for bad optimization, due to which the game ran heavy even on ultra-performant configurations. Also, Crysis proven to be "a big resource eater",only Warhead managing to fix it a little. Fallout 3 is a great game, but was released on the rush (season asociated with the game title was to be respected for the release - "Fall") and had numerous bugs from the beginning.

I have mentioned only a few well known titles which deserve to be "carried" to the finish (except FIFA, it`s enough to play the demo). On the other side, numerous obscure games suffering on gameplay on which you practicly waste money,being bored of them after a few hours. DirectX 10, 11 graphics is not a guarantee for the value of a title. I will anytime, take on a classic (Heroes III, even V, NFS Porsche or, why not, ol` Starcraft), instead of a "new" sketched on the lap,during a bus trip to work.

Amongst the last standing,who show commitment and passion for quality is Blizzard. Unfortunately, they delayed Starcraft 2 too much. Concerning Diablo 3, we will see that baby,in 2011 at best i think. Is it better this way? I dont know. Certainly, Blizzard has immense success with World of Warcraft. In fact, about the only titles who still cash big are MMORPGs. They have a lot of monthly subscribers who pay to develop their "loved" heroes. Otherwise, as you well know it, gaming piracy "owns the seas".

The influence of piracy.

The problem with PC gaming piracy (and of software in general) don`t determine the quality of applications offered to us by developers.My opinion is that things have to move further,higher because,after all,we live in a consumer society.Big companies know that and the only "optimum" thing is the fast rate of product update.

As a parenthesis, this is what happens in the auto industry also (you see the new Y automobile, which is in fact the old X but with a bit modified design and a few optionals).

Back to gaming, i can`t look by and not see the alternative offered by consoles. In the context in which PC piracy almost reached it`s peak (and we don`t have motives to distort the situation), consoles are considered less performant products and dedicated to gaming, which initially costs a lot less, but in time buying game after game dries you out. If hypothetically piracy didn`t exist, i`m well convinced that every each and one of us would have chosen a console for gaming, not a PC. In reality,the situation is exactly the opposite and calculations are made likewise.

PC - indispensable, console is an option.

If you are the type of gamer which focuses on a few titles yearly (maximum 5 let`s say, and those are not RTS`), then a console is the thing for you. If,instead,you are trying out all the releases and what sounds interesting, invest in a PC but don`t pick out the last generation stuff only if you afford them but bare in mind you will have to constantly upgrade if you want to be "top dog".

Consume, Consume, Consume.

Although no company will officially admit, there is a deal inbetween hardware and softare developers,to stimulate the market. Software is developed in such manner that needs resources so you can constantly upgrade your PC. Hardware manufacturers brag with products and technologies that grant you that awesome multimedia experience, gaming, business etc. The final product is delivered to us with a bundle of promises, but like any other thing done with haste,sooner or later,it`s weaknesses will be revealed.

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