Why Are The Stalwarts Of PC Gaming Going Console?

Why are PC gaming stalwarts developing for, or building, consoles?


If you were a PC gamer at PAX East, there were two really big reasons to be nervous: NVidia was nowhere near the PC gaming area, instead plugging its Shield handheld to anybody who’d listen, and Blizzard’s big reveal for PC gamers was a CCG; the booth was anchored by their Diablo III PS3 port.

Taken individually, it’s not such a big deal. Look at the forest, though, and it’s pretty clear that the foundations of PC gaming are abandoning the PC, and pronto. But why?

The Evidence

Many will take to the comments to protest, but it’s pretty simple: When one of the biggest graphics cards makers on the planet and the company responsible for the majority of digital distribution for PCs are both building consoles, it’s pretty clear they think there are some fundamental changes at work.

This isn’t just mindlessly following a fad, either. Granted, Valve’s vision for the Steambox is very, very different from the current major players, but it’s still a console, and Valve has been working on it or something like it for years. Meanwhile, NVidia is putting out a portable Android gaming device. If you’d said those words to any gaming journalist or developer a year ago, they’d laugh at you. But it was really all NVidia wanted to talk about at PAX East.

Yes, it can stream PC games, but anybody who insists that’s the primary function is kidding themselves. This thing is built to play Android games. The PC game streaming is just a bonus.

Similarly, Blizzard porting Diablo III is a warning shot across the bow. Blizzard hasn’t developed a console game since the Super Nintendo.

So What Happened?

Large companies only ever change because of one thing: The strong, factually demonstrable belief that they can make more money by doing so.