Online – PC Gaming’s Future

In a previous post, I talked about the console versus PC debate and how they both have a role in today’s home. Today I wanted to talk more about what the future holds for the PC as a gaming platform and where Dell will be spending most of its resources and focus.

Online gaming has been around for decades and started as far back as 1978 with the Multi-User Domains, or MUDs. However, it didn’t really take off until the mid 90s with the likes of Doom, Ultima Online, and Everquest. The types of games, consisting of first person shooters and online role playing, continue to dominate the landscape today.

The PC has traditionally been the platform of choice for playing online primarily due to the fact that the PC has been “connected” for the longest time. Conversely, the consoles have just started to dabble in the online space. The Playstation 2 had connectivity but it really never took off due to challenges with the configuration and with limited applications. All of the new consoles have taken online play a step further and intend to promote it heavily. However, when looking at the usage methods of online game play, all indications point to the PC dominating this space well into the future, with some research showing that the PCs share of online gaming still over 70% even beyond 2010 (source: DFC Market Intelligence).

Why will the PC continue to hold onto the online gaming space? This is due to flexibility, power, and even the genres involved such as casual gaming.

The power and flexibility of the PC to allow for downloads of new game content, patching of existing games, a multitude of gaming input and output devices, as well as the newest processors, graphics cards, and displays, will help to create the best online experience possible. The ever-changing world of online game environments matches up well with the ever-changing nature of the PC.

Casual gaming is also key to online PC gaming. Casual gaming consists of short game play periods and is dominated by key genres such as parlor games, card games, etc. This style of game play is considered diversionary and is often seen as a great way to take a break from tedious work, hence its role on the PC, where the other work is usually done. We certainly don’t expect to see Mom running to the family room to power up Junior’s console to play a quick game of online bridge.

Online gaming will continue to be developed not just around multi-user game play but also to encompass direct download of games as well as online advertising. These three components will make up the majority of the revenue streams for developers in the online gaming space. We’ll continue to focus our efforts on building high-end PCs for people who want to play PC games, and workstations and servers for developers to design the games and serve the content online.

About the Author: Brian Zucker