San Francisco (CA) – Gaming consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 3 have taken up too much of the spotlight and PC companies are taking notice. At this year’s Game Developers Conference, arch rivals like Intel and AMD are putting aside their differences to wage war against consoles. The aptly-named PC Gaming Alliance or PCGA already has an impressive list of members like Acer/Gateway, Activision, Dell/Alienware, Epic, Microsoft and Nvidia.
Randy Stude is Intel’s director of the Gaming Program Office and represents the company is the founding member. The PCGA is an open organization and membership is available to anyone who has the money to pay dues. Advocating PC games is the group’s primary function and Stude said the public needs to know that computer games aren’t going away and provide a gaming experience that equals or surpasses console games. “We’re trying to get rid of the fallacy that PC gaming is dying,” said Stude.
To prove his point, Stude cited market research figures that showed US PC gaming revenues growing 12% to $2.7 billion last year. He added that PC game revenue make up 30% of the entire game market.
Educating consumers on system specifications will be one of the primary challenges for the PCGA. Stude said consumers are often confused about minimum system requirements for graphically challenging games. Fellow PCGA board members agreed that consumers can be easily led astray because they automatically think an expensive computer will play the top games. “It’s easy to get an $1,800 boat anchor (of a computer),” one member said.
But you just can’t educate consumers to get the message out and Stude says his group will also work with developers to streamline their minimum system requirements. To us it almost sounded like the will develop a rating system (similar to ESRB) that will score games according to performance requirements.
Stude agreed with reporters that cooperation between members could be somewhat difficult, but he describes board meetings so far as amazingly “harmonious”. Looking at the membership roles, you’ve got a strange alliance between two discrete graphics card makers Nvidia and AMD/ATI with integrated graphics champion Intel.
You also have a possibility that Apple would join, although the group hasn’t actually extended an invitation to the famous computer maker just yet. “The organization is open and is willing to accept applications from anyone who pays the dues,” Stude told the reporter who asked the question.
So it will be interesting if this group can actually put together some new standards or marketing campaigns without seriously offending some members, but one thing is for sure – no new logos to slap on game boxes. “I don’t think we need a logo … those are expensive to make,” Stude said.