PC FPS market feeling the atomic heat

For me, tracking games sales is just as fun as actually playing games — I can impress friends with “I told you so, this game kicks balls!” or, my favorite “I told you so, this game bites balls”! For those of you who share my passion, here’s some shocking news.

Crysis, the absolutely stellar first-person shooter on the PC, didn’t break 100K units in the first two weeks of sales. Even more shocking, Unreal Tournament 3 on PC sold less than 35K units in its first two weeks. Some folks have already chimed in on why they think this is the case, but here’s my take, which (BTW), is the only take that matters.

As long as you can accept that I used voodoo and an Ouija board in my scientific analysis …

Clearly, gaming quality and marketing hype weren’t the culprits here, but rather competition. But the competition I’m talking here isn’t other FPS games on the PC, or even PC games in general. It’s the console market that is starting to gain ground in the FPS category.

What makes this so titillating (a word I’ve been dying to use all week, so thanks for the moment) to think about is that PC gaming champions have always touted how they are able to compete with the console market. People cite the edge in technology, a more mature and older gaming audience, and more responsive controls with the keyboard and mouse.

But you see, Little Tommy (the console FPS), once the 90-pound weakling who always got his lunch money taken by the big bully (the PC FPS), has suddenly grown 10 inches over the summer. He took a couple of ‘roid pills, and is now delivering an atomic wedgie on said bully of yesteryear. FPS games on the console are suddenly just as amazing, if not more amazing, than the ones you see on the PC now. Not to mention a number of exclusives you can’t find on PC yet. With the average age of next-gen console gamers reaching towards the average age of PC gamers (which is over 30-years old), you’ve got PC gamers migrating to these hot consoles for some of their gaming habits.

But PC fanboys shouldn’t just feel like they got slighted. It’s only natural in the evolution of things. At least for now, the console market still can’t touch real-time strategy games and MMORPGs, which are the other two biggest genres that the PC clearly dominates. RTS gaming just feels to cumbersome with a joystick, and MMORPGs have too many commands that it would be difficult to whittle those down to just a joystick.

Feel safe. For now.
Dr. Boa may sound like someone who starred in some porn with Dirk Diggler, but his true passion is interactive entertainment. He’s notched +15 years in the gaming industry from QA to launching several big hits, so he’s got a healthy perspective on what goes on from the flipside. It’s amazing he’s not a jaded cynic yet. He’s finally glad to see more drug filled parties with playboy bunnies and B level celebs like all other entertainment fields. Yes, gaming has finally made it.

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