Go back to 2010, and PC gaming was at its zenith. Before all GPUs went to bitcoin mining, there were some real gamers out there who had seriously impressive machines on which to do battle with their enemies online. But ever since those brief glory days, it’s been downhill. And now the humble smartphone – hardly a bespoke gaming device – has pretty much taken its place.
Those who remember the PC gaming era are shocked and horrified by these changes. Just a few years ago, desktops were the ultimate gaming devices. They offered massive graphical capabilities, extreme screen resolutions, and a mouse and keyboard – particularly helpful for shooters. But now the gaming world is fragmenting. It was once teenage boys in their bedrooms, but now it’s everyone on every device. You wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it happened.
The main driving force behind this is economics. While the PC provides an unrivalled platform for graphical fidelity, getting a top-of-the-range machine just for gaming is out of the price range for many. Enthusiasts regularly pay several thousand dollars for a decent rig; a princely sum that few can justify.
What’s more, people want to be able to game on the go. They don’t want to have to go home, fire up their desktop and put on their headphones for a hardcore session. It has to be immediately accessible.
These facts are leading to the rise of the smartphone as the world’s favourite gaming platform. Not even consoles can compete.
Today’s smartphones nearly have it all: amazing games, decent graphics, ease of use, and portability. You can download virtually any kind of game in an instant from the App Store (provided you have a reasonable internet connection) and off you go! It’s really simple.
What’s more, serious developers, such as Playphone Games, are lending their talent to the process, accelerating the entire industry. Titles don’t have the same visual fidelity as the PC. But they have all of the other elements gamers want, such as addictive gameplay loops and rewarding characters. We’ve come a long way since Tetris!
Is the PC really dead? Well, not really. The gaming market continues to expand and it is a tide that lifts all boats. It’s just that the smartphone is eclipsing it for the time being. More people want casual games on their phones and serious titles on their PCs and laptops. And that’s been the way of things for a long time now.
You can trace predictions of the demise of the PC all the way back to 2010. Midlife Gamer, for instance, said that PC gaming would flourish like a Christmas tree and then die back rapidly by the middle of the decade. And in 2011, ZDNET outright recommended against a PC and told its audience to move to console because you can’t sell digital downloads. Of course, the console market changed too – but commentators didn’t see that at the time.
In summary, PC gaming did die a kind of death last decade. And smartphones took their place. However, PCs are now back in full swing with more and more people building them, and with new innovations coming in the PC component space. This is an exciting time to be a gamer, whether you’re a console, PC , or mobile gamer!