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Why PC games need E3 now more than ever before

Friday, 6 June 2014 11:52 GMT By Dave Cook

E3 has long stood as a launch-pad for the biggest console titles gaming has to offer, but right now the PC market needs the show more than ever.

e3 2012

”By signing with Sony, indie teams can have the professionals handle all of those headaches and promote their project at shows like E3 2014, right under the noses of the world’s industry critics. This leaves them free to do what they do best: make interesting, innovative and thought-provoking experiences.”

We’ve already written about why E3 2014 is a vital event for the console market. Both Sony and Microsoft need to show that those multi-million dollar projects, with their hundreds of staff and high production values, really can survive the industry’s choppy waters.

Spending millions on a game that fails is simply not an option any more. Things need to improve or there will be an increase in studio closures, lay-offs and franchise annualisation. Nobody really wants these things to happen, let’s be honest with ourselves.

It’s a common belief that these matters don’t concern the PC market, what with over 65 million Steam users keeping the market afloat, and the influx of indie darlings making interesting projects on a shoestring budget. Why should bedroom coders give a toss whether their passion project appears on that sweaty Los Angeles show floor? What possible reason could they have for wanting a piece of that action?

Nidhogg

Nidhogg will be at Sony’s E3 2014 booth…

They should care, because the volatility of the PC market is increasing thanks to its own unfettered success. Just recently, respected indie developer Jeff Vogel penned a blog that addressed fears over visibility and profitability within the indie market. The biggest takeaway was that there are now too many of these games flooding the PC market, making it harder for new games to succeed.

The same thing happened on iTunes following the smartphone gold rush, and now the makers of indie mobile games find themselves increasingly smothered by the sheer glut of titles launching on iOS each week. How do you rise above the clones or the big names like Rovio and Gameloft? You can either score a viral hit – which is unpredictable – or side with a big publishers – which is unthinkable to some.

”More formats equal more players and increased sales. But to deliver that game’s message and raise awareness to staunch console players, you need to shove it in front of their faces. Why not do so at the biggest gaming event of the year?”

Except now we are seeing a shift in attitude thanks largely to Sony’s PC indie drive. One glance at the company’s E3 2014 show floor roster reveals a heft of independent, formally PC-only projects at its booth, rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Order: 1886, Driveclub and Killzone: Shadow Fall.

This is significant, because it shows that many indies are willing to sign a deal with a firm like Sony to increase their own audience and raise the visibility of their project. Is that selling out? No, absolutely not, it’s just what needs to be done to get your game noticed these days. Being a cult indie title with a small, but dedicated fan-base can still be admired, but that approach has less chance of putting food on the table.

Home

…as will the indie horror Home.

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have opened their doors to indies because of several reasons. First, they recognise that their multi-million blockbusters take more money and time to make than they did in previous generations. This means there are less of them per year, with larger gaps in between. Why not fill those gaps with a slate of affordable, interesting indie games from teams eager to cut a deal and make some money back? It makes absolute sense.

”E3 2014 is not the enemy of PC, but it is now, more than ever, a relevant launch-pad for independent projects and large-scale titles to shine on the world stage.”

The alternatives are Kickstarter and Greenlight, two formats that have been abused by a torrent of creative-types trying to ride the gold rush and make their concepts a reality. Should developers be condemned for this? Of course they shouldn’t, but there’s simply too much content hitting both services to make anything other than the most prolific names stand out. Those indies who are good at marketing and shouting about their product will win, the rest will be lost in the tide.

Game developers are not PR people. They are not marketing executives or social media gurus. They are individuals pursuing the simple dream of making games and having people play them. Many of them do not have the skills needed to multi-task all of the legal facets of the industry, the media campaigns, getting their game reviewed and all of those other essential pieces. But you know who does? Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

The Witcher 3 - new screens 012814 (3)

It’s not just PC indies that need E3. Big games like The Witcher 3 do too.

By signing with Sony, indie teams can have the professionals handle all of those headaches and promote their project at shows like E3 2014, right under the noses of the industry’s critics. This leaves them free to do what they do best: make interesting, innovative and thought-provoking experiences, but the only way people will ever seek them out in high numbers is if said experiences are visible. That’s where expos and bigger companies can help. Of course some publishes will purely exploit indies, and I agree, those kind of outfits need to die. Quickly.

It’s not just PC indies that need E3 however, as games at the other end of the budget spectrum – such as The Witcher 3 – cost so much to make that it makes sense for CD Projekt RED to launch its RPG on PS4 and Xbox One as well. More formats equals more players, and of course, increased sales. But to deliver that game’s message and raise awareness to staunch console players, you need to shove it in front of their face. Why not do so at the biggest gaming event of the year?

E3 2014 is not the enemy of PC, but it is now, more than ever, a relevant launch-pad for independent projects and large-scale titles to shine on the world stage.

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30 Comments

  1. Gheritt White

    PC gamers at E3? One more reason to avoid going to that particular hell on earth, then.

    Best place to enjoy E3? At home.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Luciferous

    @Gheritt White Providing Twitch can actually handle the number of viewers.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. spoffle

    Let’s just establish what “indie” actually means, as for some reason people seem to think it means something it doesn’t. Indie does NOT mean small low budget games, it is not a synonym for that at all.

    Sure, a lot of “indie” games ARE small and low budget, but that’s a product of the circumstances, not the defining aspect of what it means to be “indie”. Oddworld are “indie”, they aren’t making small low budget games. CD Pojekt are indie (the guys making the Witcher 3), so how can you say something like “It’s not just PC indies that need E3. Big games like The Witcher 3 do too.”? The Witcher 3 is both “indie” and “AAA” and it’s about time that a fairly prevalent UK games journalist site begins to understand this.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @spoffle We do understand it. I was using the term indie in the way many people use it – to classify small tier independents. Yes, CD Projekt are independent, but let’s be honest, the term ‘indie’ is commonly used with small teams, is it not?

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Cheeseman

    Just because the word “indie” is commonly used for small independent developers, it doesnt mean that the term “indie” is not usable with AAA level games like Witcher 3, Project CARS, Elite Dangerous and so on. These games did not rely on a publisher for funding while they are mostly financed by their own funds, private investors or backers.

    To me, games like Nidhogg, Hotline Miami to Project CARS and Witcher 3 are very much indie games.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. AmiralPatate

    @Cheeseman
    Would you consider a self-published Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo game indie?

    #6 11 months ago
  7. ChristopherJack

    Is it just me or has VG24/7 adopted more sensationalist titles & articles lately? Honestly I preferred when opinion pieces were just previews & un-scored reviews. Still a good site, I just don’t enjoy this IGN-like direction that I’ve been noticing since the latest site revision. I came to this site because it was blunt & honest gaming news. I’m not having a dig at any journalist in particular, just my opinion.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Gheritt White

    @ChristopherJack Personally speaking, I’ve been asking Pat to run more op-ed content since 2009.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Mike W

    @Gheritt White

    Preach

    #9 11 months ago
  10. ChristopherJack

    @Gheritt White Not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just not a fan of opinion pieces- the lack of which is honestly what brought me here. To me they often just point out common-sense or senseless controversy, some are great & I still believe VG24/7 is a quality site & although their opinion pieces are more tolerable than most others, I’ll just never be a fan of it.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. spoffle

    @Dave Cook Just to preface my comments, I may have been overly grumpy there, as I am severely sleep deprived, but I can’t help be as critical as I have been due to this being one of my favourite, most browsed websites. However my sentiments still stand in that really the term should be universally applied. It is commonly used with small teams, no disputes there, but that’s because small teams typically can’t be anything *but* independent.

    But being independent of a publisher in and of itself is what defines whether a developer is independent, not the size of their budget, their game, or team of people. So in that regard, there isn’t any difference between CD Projekt, and other developers who don’t have publishers when we’re talking about them being independent.

    It messes things up when words transcend their original meaning and take on abstract meanings that are particularly confusing. When talking about indies, we should be talking about the reasons they get to work the way they do, not the size of the terms or other irrelevant traits.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. Joe Musashi

    I get both spoffle and Dave’s perspectives.

    My view is that there’s enough msunderstand and misinterpretation going around already. When something has a clear, distinct definition it’s always best to use it.

    There’s often a difference between fact and perception. Unless you’re selling something, its always preferable to err on the side of the former rather than the latter.

    On the other hand, watching a certain PC elitist jerk themselves silly over The Witcher 3 one moment and then take a salaciously dump all over “shitty indie games” the next is a gratifying declaration of ignorance for those of us that know the difference. ;)

    JM

    #12 11 months ago
  13. Dragon

    All these “more than ever” op-pieces dont resonate with me, because its not true. We just had 2 console launches.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. GrimRita

    Everything is controlled by media, making it all but impossible for the indie to rise above the rest of the mainstay crap. Media just doesn’t give a fair crack to smaller titles any more because they demand cash for advertising which comes from the games budget.

    This is why we are seeing such silly development costs with marketing spend probably accounting for 45% if not more. So it doesn’t matter how good your game might be, E3 is not essential for the PC market when indies can score #1 hits on Steam without publishers jumping in and licking the medias arses to score an 8 or 9.

    Banished is a classic example of such success.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. Gheritt White

    @GrimRita That is such bullshit, If it wasn’t for the media, nobody would have heard of No Man’s Sky… and that’s just one example.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. BrokenSpline

    PC is and will always will be the unwanted step child of the gaming industry.

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Ge0force

    @BrokenSpline Unwanted by the big “monetzing” corporations like EA and Microsoft maybe. Not unwanted by gamers.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. Gheritt White

    @BrokenSpline And PC gamers will always be its malformed thalidomide deranged babies,

    #18 11 months ago
  19. GrimRita

    @Gheritt White Who was saved by Geoff Keighley if I remember correctly. The games press is just too anal and money focused to do what they used to do – give honest reviews and promote new and creative games.

    Thank god for self promotional tools like the power of social media.

    #19 11 months ago
  20. BrokenSpline

    @Ge0force

    PC doesn’t have a face of a company to showcase the PC . Consoles have Sony, MS and Nintendo who reserve their spots and pay for being there. Its just how it will always will be. PC gamers just have to hope that the games that are being shown will be for PC , there are a few studios that are PC centric but for the most part the consoles are at front at center because of the companies behind them.

    Valve would be the only company I see doing this but it doesn’t look like they want that or care to.

    #20 11 months ago
  21. Dave Cook

    @Gheritt White +1

    #21 11 months ago
  22. Dave Cook

    @GrimRita It sounds like you’re reading the wrongs sites then.

    #22 11 months ago
  23. runbmp

    I’ve kind of outgrown E3 personally, I used to be so into when I was kid but over time when I switched to PC I kind of lost interest in E3 altogether.

    I still get tidbits about the event in my RSS feeds but other than that I don’t go looking for the info anymore.

    #23 11 months ago
  24. harr0w

    Always said there should be a PC presentation along side the others. But then isn’t it the norm for the other to show there games running on PCs anyway.

    #24 11 months ago
  25. Tormenter

    With The PC market now outstripping console and consoles being seen to be DYING ON THEIR ARSE, I would have though E3 needs PC gamers more than PC gamers need E3, after we’ve done very well thank you very much, with VERY little mainstream E3 exposure….

    So PC gamers unite, Ignore E3, let it shrivel up and die.

    #25 11 months ago
  26. Kreion

    @Tormenter

    Lol what? Consoles dying…aha yeah no. Like it or not they are still selling well and (based on the last info I heard) PC is not ‘outstipping’ it in terms of game sales. You also understand that even if PC gaming did outgrow everything – it’d just replace consoles at E3 and nothing there would change. If that didn’t happen then a new convention would be created to be the E3 of PC – there will always be expo’s like E3 in terms of who the companies are trying to appeal to. If you think otherwise you’re just naiive.

    #26 11 months ago
  27. TheWulf

    @1

    Well, I’m sorry that us smelly, unwashed PC gamers upset your superior sensibilities so much. I apologise, but we can’t help who we are, and we can’t all be so perfect.

    Sigh. Another day, another console owner being a misanthropic jerk.

    @12

    I’d be the first to admit that Erth is like that, but I’ve seen just as many elitists and graphics fetishists on the console side of things. You need look no further than #1 for that, who seems to be quite troubled. And you’ve hardly been innocent of that, yourself. In fact, I think I’m one of the few that’s able to hold a moral high ground as, for a time, my efforts were invested in my making peace.

    However, people like you and #1 just became too much for me to handle. Unpleasant to the core. So I gave up. One can only handle so many people with sociopathic tendencies, and that’s it.

    But yeah, for a time, this low-down, dirty, ‘orrible PC owner was trying to make nice. I failed thoroughly, but only because of what Panthro has noticed about gamers in general. There’s a reason that most gamers are so fond of homophobic, ableist, and racist slurs, after all. There’s a general, misanthropic hatred for different people. I’ve tracked that down to the ES** personality type, after lots of research, as amongst that personality type, there’s a lot of pushing of unification of tribe, and anyone not perceived as tribe is evil.

    You’ll often see an ES** hating on a Muslim or a gay person, just because they’re that. And they’re usually white, straight, and cis-gendered. They’ve never experienced discrimination, so they’re happy to dole it out.

    I don’t know why your kind want to be that way, but there’s nothing I can do to stop you, as you’re always going to hate anyone that’s different. It’s going to be an almost murderous hatred, too. I know that if you had a button to push to kill or brainwash all PC gamers, you’d push it.

    I wouldn’t.

    I may not like you, but I’d never want to see you come to harm, nor would I want to see your opinions repressed in favour of some basic, collective opinion. That’s what makes us different.

    @16

    Unwanted? By whom? In 2012-2013, analysts were claiming that the PC gaming industry would be one of the most prominent by 2015. Now, in 2014, analysts are telling us that PC gaming is all ready more profitable than all of the console platforms combined. This is why a lot of publishers are trying so hard to court the platform, now.

    Even Epic, a once steadfast console supporter, seems to have lost interest in the console market. Now they’re making labour-of-love projects for the PC, and they seem much happier to be doing so. They’re taking advantage of the open nature of the PC platform to collaborate with many developers and mod makers from around the world.

    So, again, unwanted by whom? The only people I’ve seen who have a hatred of the PC are the elitist, herd-like ES** personality type, who fetishise the console in really unhealthy ways. Myself, I have multiple platforms that I game on, I’m more open-minded in general. I don’t hate the consoles or the PCs, though sometimes I have a strong distaste for the sorts of people that game on them.

    On the PC, we have nerds (often IS**, sometimes even ES**, but that’s more rare) who can be snotty and overbearing, like Erth. On the consoles, we have ES** elitists, who’re herd-like in their support for consoles and their desire to destroy everything different that doesn’t exist within the limited scope of their tribe.

    Is it okay to like the platform but not the people?

    I do have a rapport with the IN** gamers you can find in the weirdest places on the PC, though. The sort of people who loved playing Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, back in the day. The sort of people who like to roleplay in small groups in Star Trek Online, now. The kind of people who value peculiarity and eccentricity. They’re genuinely pleasant people to be around.

    Though none of them have the desire to run a news blog, that’s more of an Si/Se thing. So… yeah, Rock, Paper, Shotgun tends to be run by the kind of people that Erth is. For the longest time, I had a strong distaste for their hatred of console gamers, which is why I left that site behind. I was actually banned from there once for speaking out in the defence of PC gamers, because Alec Meer was saying some genuinely nasty things, and I didn’t think it was on. But that’s just me.

    I used to defend the consoles as I believed that they were equally as valid as the PC. But then I encountered the ES** audience that plays games on consoles, and… well, I found that they were every bit as genuinely unpleasant as the RPS crew.

    Hooray!

    People need to hate each other, I guess. Misanthropy rules.

    So, yeah. There are PC nerds, like Erth, who hate consoles. There are elitist jerks (seen in this thread) who hate PCs. And those elitist jerks seem to be the only people who hate PCs.

    I’d like somewhere where I could get away from both groups, honestly.

    But yeah, you — as an ES** type — may hate PCs, but that’s because of who you are. You violently support the herd at the expense of everyone else. But as I’ve said, of all the things I’d like to not be, the Borg is one of them. And I’ve made a pretty strong case for how ES** personality types act like the Borg. Looking into the matter, I’ve found out that I’m not the only one who’s written up a thesis on that topic.

    If you could learn to stop being so herd-like and violent, you may find that — gasp! — you have a lot in common with PC gamers, considering that we all play games, it’s just that some of us have different preferences. Individuality. Imagine that, eh?

    Really, don’t hate us just because we have individual tastes that don’t subscribe to brands. And we won’t be so offish with you in return. Like I said, at the beginning, I was doing my best to offer an olive branch, but there was just too much animosity.

    I came to the conclusion that you can’t reason with the Borg. That still seems to be true, but if you could accept that individuals exist and don’t need to be assimilated or destroyed, then we’d probably get along.

    I don’t hate you, I’m just tired of people like you being misanthropic.

    @17

    The problem is is that #16 is unable to separate the person from PC. To the mind of an ES**, we all exist under the tribe of PC, despite the fact that PC is just a moniker, rather than a brand, and that every single computer out there is different from every other computer. There’s no uniformity, but they’re acting as though we’re an opposing tribe.

    More, we’re an opposing tribe of individuals who have differing opinions about our platform within the tribe, which is even more terrifying. We’re a tribe who aren’t uniform. That’s an abomination, to be destroyed.

    From what I’ve seen thus far, you can’t reason with that mindset. I’m sure there’s going to be more in this thread to prove that, and to prove that, as I said, were they to have a button that would kill/brainwash all PC gamers, they’d push it without hesitation.

    They hate PC owners for the same reason that Bush hates the Middle-East. They’re Them, not Us, they’re so different and alien. That’s grounds to declare war on them and wipe them out!

    Don’t ever be that and I’ll always respect you. I’m sick of people like that. You’ve no idea. I think the Internet itself is helping to assert this mindset, too — creating bigger, stronger collective herds who’re all out to remove any individuals or opposing herds. It’s quite depressing, really, but you just can’t talk with them.

    I remember up until a few months ago, I was talking about how great consoles are, and why I like them. I was talking about how I dislike platform exclusivity, and I’m always happy when console owners get the kind of stuff they’ve been denied (like Warframe). I was happy about that. But I’ve received so much unrelenting abuse, just because I’m an individual, that I’ve given up.

    But all that unrelenting abuse had me wonder why they’re like that. It’s the herd mentality. I was an enemy even before we ever met. An outsider. Outsiders must be brainwashed or destroyed.

    And I still don’t hate them, but I don’t particularly want to be brainwashed or destroyed, either!

    @18

    [...] deformed thalidomide deranged babies [...]]

    Did… did you really just? You’re using actual people who’re suffering because of a medication forced on them as babies as an insult for a group of people who simply play games on a different machine than you do? You’ve just crossed the line into a deep level of seriously unsettling depravity that I don’t know if I can cope with…

    You twisted, screwed up little twerp! You degenerate little grab bag of genetic waste material! I don’t even know where to begin! How could you even do that? How?? Just what the hell is wrong with your brain?!

    Those people have feelings, you sick sack of rot! Really, attacking PC owners with ableist slurs? What’s next? Would you like to be homophobic, too? Do you? Racist as well? Just because they don’t fit your little tribe of normality? I said above that that your kind were ableist, racist, and homophobic, but I didn’t expect to have this proved so succinctly for me!! I’m… you’ve actually got me, you managed to push my buttons by being the most genuinely sick-minded creature I’ve met in a while.

    The last time I got this upset was when someone equally screwed up had a go at war vets. And that’s the kind of person you are… you repulse me, you’re utterly repugnant and vile. I think I may need to throw up.

    I mean, you’ve just stepped beyond base sociopathic misanthropy into psychopath territory. You’re a total headcase, aren’t you? You’re absolutely out of your fucking tree!

    I recommend getting yourself admitted for some therapy.

    You desperately need it. You ableist jerk.

    Well, console owners… this is the kind of person you have as a part of your tribe. Do you believe that your collectivity is such a good thing, now? Do you share all of his views? Or is it perhaps that this whole thing is seriously nutty?

    This is why I have so many problems dealing with ES** people, both RL and online. They seem to have no conscience, no guilt, and no humanity.

    Of all the things to say…

    Wow.

    I really do think I need to go and throw up, now.

    For everyone to understand why I’m so upset by this, have a read of this and you’ll begin to understand. It’s a medication that was given to babies that lead to deformity, and those who survived have to deal with that, now, in their day to day lives.

    To make fun of that is… just fucked up beyond reproach.

    You need help, White.

    This is your intelligentsia, console owners. This is your best. Feel proud. And you may actually feel proud. Me, I have an upset stomach.

    @21

    Dave… please don’t agree with him. You’re agreeing with someone who said that. Just… don’t. Okay? Please? I want to be able to respect you. I don’t want to equate you with someone who thinks that the genuine suffering of sick people is funny and something to be used as an insult.

    Okay?

    @26

    Actually, he’s right. Though you’d likely ignore facts collated by analysts in favour of the tribe’s diatribe, wouldn’t you? I wonder if you also stand with #18, eh?

    #27 11 months ago
  28. Digital Bamboo

    @TheWulf You literally just produced more words than the group of students I had today in essay writing class. I’m not even kidding.

    #28 11 months ago
  29. Nerorevox

    @TheWulf you are… the coolest… most awesome… bad ass mother****** I have ever seen on the internet (what concerns gaming). You just took the whole situation about this dumb hate between platforms AND the ones who use them and shattered it. I seriously felt like my brain cells are actually growing while reading your post.

    This whole thing that consoles are superior to PC, or the opposite, and what not, has become so fucking annoying and sad, that as a PC gamer I have almost lost all hope for the gaming community. Almost every corner I turn there are console fan boys that keep bashing the PC community, or even the opposite, JUST cause we choose different preferences. Then the whole thing starts about “oh consoles have more exclusives” or how “they are much better to play games on”, while the PC community, in their defense, can only say that their platform can run everything the console runs, but better and so on. But that wont make more games come in will it? Exclusives exist cause different companies exist, and there are always people who like to brag about it.

    But does it fucking matter? Aren’t we all gamers who enjoy playing games?

    Yes we won’t get The Last of Us on the PC, nor Infamous or Pokémon. But at the same time you won’t get something like Star Craft, World of Warcraft or, if you will, DOTA games. PC gets the short end of the stick most of the times anyways. Bad ports, delayed games etc. Doesn’t mean that we have to be dicks about it.

    Anyway, I don’t really have a point here. It’s just a sad world to live in when it comes to preferences… If you don’t join one side your an outcast either way from both or you make enemies of one or the other.

    I don’t usually read comments, and I even rarer post some, I am not so literate to break these stupid hate wars. But you, TheWolf, I consider to be the Hero of this thread, who understands that it doesn’t matter how we choose to play the games, but the fact that we play them and create the gaming community that shouldn’t be hostile just cause in difference of preferences.

    Sorry, I sometimes can’t stop babbling or make sense sometimes . But your post really made my day.

    CHEERS MATE.

    #29 11 months ago
  30. archaven

    I’m signing in just to say it seems that level of console elitists are out of hand. Even the author of this gaming site.

    #30 11 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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