StarCraft producer Tim Morton has said it is an ‘exciting time’ for those involved in creating and playing PC games, calling the competition from mobile and console gaming ‘good’. Whilst showing off the new StarCraft II – one of the best-loved strategy games ever – Morton said that not only is PC gaming marked out by big product development involving the likes of StarCraft and Heroes of the Storm, but it is also benefiting from a hugely ‘rich indy scene’ that is thriving right now. He said that the ideas cross-over which is going on between the mobile, PC and consoles is making it an ‘exciting time’ for those people working in the industry, not to mention those of us who like nothing better than spending a few hours – or days – gaming away.
Need evidence of the cross-overs and the breaking down of traditional barriers between the likes of consoles and PCs? This year’s Gamescom saw Microsoft showing off the new Minecraft version for Windows 10. It might have been created for PC play, but now gamers regularly enjoy Minecraft on everything from consoles to phones and tablets. Matt Booty, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, agrees that the distinction between console and PC gamers is increasingly becoming less clear. She said that there are many Minecraft plays who enjoy both PC and pocket play. There is no longer to define yourself as either a PC gamer or a console gamer; it is quite acceptable to be proud to be both. Today you can play different kinds of games on multiple platforms or simply play exactly the same game on different devices depending on your location or mood.
Yet, there is no doubt that there were still plenty of people in the Gamescom halls who turned out for one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world with no inclination to give up their keyboard and mouse in favour of any other kind of device. StarCraft II is not likely to prompt them to make the move, either. This is just the type of game that stirs up excitement amongst the PC gamers. It’s fast and it’s furious with real-time action and excellent strategy play; you can see why many would not want to leave it behind.
Standing in the hall watching the professional gamers in action on the dedicated World of Warcraft set-up, you could hear talk of one of the other major reasons many choose to stick with their PCs. For some, PCs simply deliver better graphics than their mobile and console counterparts – making them an addictive form of entertainment that can be hard to leave behind. The likes of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a first-person shooter with strategy at its heart, make it easy to see how the PC gamers’ imaginations are captured. There is no better platform for fans of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) or massively multiplayer online (MMO) games than the good old PC. David Kim, of StarCraft2 makers Blizzard, however, believes that there are unique pros and cons for both PC and console games. Instead of seeing these differences, though, he thinks that makers should just make sure they create the best possible PC games rather than focussing on any aspects of competition. This, he says, will mean yet more great games for players, which has to be the ultimate aim.