For the survival of a genre
But before anyone says indies are the only games that are big on PCs, the core franchises aren't going anywhere. Most of the major console titles, from Call of Duty Advanced Warfare to Metal Gear Ground Zeros and now even Grand Theft Auto V, have all come to the PC without a hitch. If anything, ports are more plentiful than they've ever been and often of much better quality than the old days of Games for Windows, when controller support was a rarity.
More importantly, PC gaming has become a haven for niche genres long considered extinct. Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous are both space exploration games whose existence wouldn't have been possible without computers as a gaming platform.
Similarly, the survival horror genre has seen a revival through PC game development. 2015 is due for nearly a dozen chilling experiences like SOMA and Until Dawn. Meanwhile, there's finally a new and very real Silent Hill game co-directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro in the works.
With this latest generation, consoles and PCs have become nearly identical in terms of hardware. Gone are the days of Xbox 360's Xenon architecture or PlayStation 3's core processor. Now the new consoles share an AMD chipset very similar to computer hardware; in fact we've reviewed the Lenovo G505, which came powered with the very same APU chip as the Xbox One and PS4.
Ultimately what hardware comes running in consoles won't really matter to most people. However, for video game programmers it's a huge relief because they can develop one version of a game and then optimize it for similar systems rather than four or more distinct architectures.
That said, Xbox One and PS4 are practically stand-ins for a mid- to low-range gaming computer. As such PC game developers will have to ride on the backs of extreme gaming PC when they try to truly push the edge of how far graphics can go with titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
In the long twilight years of the Xbox 360 and PS3, the PC was always the system to look to for the best graphics. So far this trend is continuing even with these new, more powerful consoles.
It's fair to say digital releases are a revolution that started on the PC. So it's no surprise to see Sony and Microsoft tailor their digital marketspaces after Steam and other virtual services from Day One releases to preloading software.
The proliferation of digital games is only getting stronger. Of the gaming industry community the GDC surveyed, 29% agreed that their digital sales and microtransactions outpaced the revenue they got from retail stores.
Thanks to more digital sales, the video games medium as a whole is healthier. According to the same report, over 40% of developers saw profits rise while staff expanded with greater numbers compared to 2013.
The PC has undoubtedly played a large role in helping to make the game industry healthier and stronger, evidence when over half of the titles in development are destined for computers. Though all game development is going through a renaissance, which is a great thing for all gamers and all systems, I can safely point to PCs as the platform that sparked the movement
- How will Windows 10 chance the PC gaming world?
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Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.