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Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

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  • Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

    I got this from the ign pc boards. Which got it form the Chicago Tribune.

    PC gaming industry strives for comeback
    Consoles have been on top for years, but fans of computer games may have something to cheer about again thanks to the efforts of big players like Microsoft, GameStop and Dell

    By Victor Godinez
    Dallas Morning News
    Published October 29, 2005

    DALLAS -- The last few years have not been all fun and games for computer game fans, but that might be changing.

    As attention has shifted to sophisticated video-game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2, PC gamers have watched their preferred platform wither.

    Retailers have been squeezing shelf space for PC games to accommodate more console and hand-held titles, and many PC game creators have migrated to the console market.

    PC game sales in the United States peaked at $2 billion in 1999 and then fell every year after that, landing at $1.1 billion last year.

    Console game sales, on the other hand, were already twice the size of PC game sales in 1999 and have increased every year since, reaching $6.2 billion in 2004.

    But several major companies--including Microsoft Corp. and heavyweights such as GameStop Corp. and Dell Inc.--are trying to revitalize PC gaming.

    "The shelf space has been shrinking," said Chris Donahue, director for the Windows gaming and graphics team at Microsoft. "We underinvested in making sure that hasn't happened, and that's one of the things we're going to fix."

    The big boys are getting help from scores of smaller game developers and sellers who want to bypass retail shelves altogether and turn online game sales and downloads into a thriving industry.

    Microsoft--which makes the Xbox game console and its coming successor, the Xbox 360--is one of the companies responsible for the ascendancy of console gaming.

    In 2001, the Xbox console was launched with a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz.

    Last year, Microsoft pushed video-game hype into a new realm with the release of its Xbox game "Halo 2." Sales of "Halo 2" hit $125 million on the first day of availability, the largest first-day gross of any entertainment product in history, to that point.

    Now, the Xbox 360 is set to hit Nov. 22, and Microsoft has proclaimed its goal to attract 1 billion gamers.

    Whether or not that lofty pinnacle is reached, it's clear that Microsoft, as well as competitors Sony and Nintendo, have turned console gaming into a mainstream entertainment medium on par with movies and music.

    Lost in the shuffle has been the PC, the original king of interactive entertainment.

    Dan DeMatteo, chief operating officer and vice chairman at GameStop, a Grapevine, Texas-based video-game retailer, recalls two decades ago when consoles were mere upstarts.

    "I remember when, back when I was at Software Etc., the day came when console games became 25 percent of my business, and I said, `Oh, my goodness, this is terrible,'" he said.

    Now, GameStop--which recently spent $1.4 billion to acquire its biggest competitor, Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp.--reserves about 85 percent of its store shelves for console games, DeMatteo said.

    "I would hate to see it go away," he said of the PC games segment. "I wouldn't be the one to cause it to go away. If the consumer is there and publishers are making good games for the PC, I will be there."

    The Dallas area is home to some of the hottest PC gamemakers in the world.

    Ensemble Studios, a Microsoft-owned studio based in Dallas, is finishing up "Age of Empires III," an eagerly awaited update to its empire simulation series.

    Even bigger is Id Software, in the suburb of Mesquite, creator of the "Doom" and "Quake" franchises.

    At a game expo in August, Id Chief Executive Todd Hollenshead said the slide in PC game sales is pushing developers to consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Sony's coming PlayStation 3.

    "`Doom 3' did very well on the PC platform, but those macro trends at some point come to bear and start having issues for the market overall," he said.

    Another challenge for the PC games industry is that many gamers never see titles that lack the name recognition of "Doom." GameStop is looking to change that.

    GameStop has more than 4,000 retail locations--mostly in the U.S., with a growing presence in Europe--making it by far the largest games-only retailer in the country.

    Many of its stores have demo kiosks for consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS so gamers can try before they buy.

    Testing a PC game has been impossible. Not anymore. In a trial collaboration announced a few weeks ago, GameStop and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell have rolled out computer game kiosks in 25 GameStop stores.

    Customers can test a handful of the best PC games the same way they test-drive the latest PS2 release.

    The kiosks will be powered by Dell's revamped and supercharged XPS computers, coupled with 42-inch Dell high-definition plasma monitors.

    Todd Bartee, director of sales for Dell's consumer team, said that while it's too early to quantify the results of the GameStop collaboration, anecdotal observation of a GameStop store in Austin, Texas, has him excited.

    "It's the hit of the store," he said. "It's in the premier location, and all the kids are lined up playing on it."

    While Dell and GameStop focus on the hardware, Microsoft is campaigning to bring enthusiasm back to Windows as a gaming platform, culminating in the release sometime next year of Windows Vista.

    When that operating system launches, Microsoft will treat it as if it were launching a new video game console, Donahue said.

    Vista is being designed as the most game-friendly Windows operating system ever, and it will include prominent game folders on the main Start menu so users don't have to hunt through a list of all their applications to find their installed games.

    In addition, Microsoft is campaigning for game developers to start releasing their games on DVDs instead of just CDs, to eliminate the bulky multiple-CD sleeves needed for the most sophisticated titles.

    Donahue said Microsoft is also encouraging companies to enable their games to start playing as soon as they're inserted into the computer, rather than forcing users to install the game on the PC's hard drive.

    That would allow PC games to match some of the plug-and-play capabilities that have made consoles so popular.

    "If you think about a 5-year-old that wants to play `Reader Rabbit' and they have to sit though an install process, it shouldn't be like that," Donahue said.

    While billion-dollar firms such as GameStop, Microsoft and Dell may be leading the charge for PC games, there are other soldiers on the battlefield.

    On Oct. 17, for example, Turner Broadcasting launched GameTap, a service that lets PC users download and play a variety of mostly older titles for a monthly subscription fee.

    And small independent PC game developers that would never get their products on store shelves may soon find a home at Manifesto Games. The site will start selling downloadable PC games next year.

    Perhaps the biggest proponent of downloadable PC games is Valve Corp., which sold its blockbuster "Half-Life 2" both in stores and through its Steam download service.

    With the new focus on PC games in retail stores and the ability to buy and download games online, industry professionals insist there is a future for the PC games industry that doesn't include a eulogy.

    "With the new consoles coming out--and I said this five years ago when the PS2 and Xbox came out--people all rush to ring the bell for the death knell of PC gaming, and it never seems to happen, and I don't think we're looking at that now, either," Hollenshead said.

    I don't really like the plug and play aspect they are going for. I don't mind installing my games it means faster load times after all.
    RX-78-2 Gundam EFSF Protoype Close Combat Mobile Suit Armor: Luna Titanium Armament: 2x Beam Sabers, 2x 60mm Head vulcan guns 380mm Hyper bazooka, Beam Rifle, Beam Javelin, Hyper Hammer, Gundam Hammer, shield
    TG Natural Selection admin. Need anything PM me.
    7th Infantry FTW!!!!!
    "Snob? Nah...I consider myself more of a PC Evangelist...converting the heathens to The Way." Prophaniti
    "Windows is like Pokemon you gotta catch'em all." kenshinsama1

    [tg-c1]

  • #2
    Re: Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

    Originally posted by RGM-79N_GM_CUstom
    I got this from the ign pc boards. Which got it form the Chicago Tribune.


    By Victor Godinez
    Dallas Morning News
    Published October 29, 2005
    Dunno how you got "Chicago Tribune" out of "Dallas Morning News"...
    Become a supporting member!
    Buy a Tactical Duck!
    Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
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    • #3
      Re: Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

      PC game sales in the United States peaked at $2 billion in 1999 and then fell every year after that, landing at $1.1 billion last year.

      Console game sales, on the other hand, were already twice the size of PC game sales in 1999 and have increased every year since, reaching $6.2 billion in 2004.
      Uhhhhh, the PC is one gaming platform. Why are they comparing one platform's statistics to 3?

      Also, every ebgames I've visited has had as many (if not more) PC games as Xbox games. The PS2 dominates all systems in terms of available shelf space.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

        ^^That is a very good point Pfhor. I have no idea why they do that. I find it suprising that the ebgames by you have as many Xbox games as PC games. The ones by me have very few PC games. The CompUSA and the Best Buy I work at and the other Best Buy near me have just as many if not more PC games then any single game system they have. Also that 1.1 billion doesn't include MMORPGs.

        Cing I am not sure what to make of that. Its on the Chicago Tribune's website. I even had to sign up for it.
        RX-78-2 Gundam EFSF Protoype Close Combat Mobile Suit Armor: Luna Titanium Armament: 2x Beam Sabers, 2x 60mm Head vulcan guns 380mm Hyper bazooka, Beam Rifle, Beam Javelin, Hyper Hammer, Gundam Hammer, shield
        TG Natural Selection admin. Need anything PM me.
        7th Infantry FTW!!!!!
        "Snob? Nah...I consider myself more of a PC Evangelist...converting the heathens to The Way." Prophaniti
        "Windows is like Pokemon you gotta catch'em all." kenshinsama1

        [tg-c1]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Chicago Tribune does an article on how MS, Dell, and Gamestop plan

          I used to work at EB, my brother at Gamestop. It really depends on what store you're at whether it's a mall location or not. Mall locations tend to have more PC games simply because the home offices for both companies send products that don't sell well anywhere else to the mall locations. I have no idea why this is considering most mall locations are vastly smaller than their counterparts. Because of this you get shelves and shelves of old and outdated PC games at mall stores. In other locations you end up with the exact opposite, console games are pushed heavily there along with toys. The PC games in any location are ALWAYS at the back of the store. The new releases/monthly promotions are at the front while PS2 is usually right behind that. PC games look like they have less shelf space in most locations because they only tend to occupy space equal to that of the Gamecube and Xbox. PS2 sections tend to be 2 to 3 times as big as the other 3. This is a big part of the reason why someone might see all of these PC titles and think that they sell just as well as the console titles. However, what you see on the shelves for PC games tends to be the store's entire stock. Console games tend to be gutted and only one case for each title is typically on the shelves, Duplicate titles are kept near the register or in the back. PC boxes can't really be gutted and so if a store has 3 copies of HL2 they're all going to be on the wall, any more than that and they tend to go in the back. But you get the idea, PC titles have larger boxes and duplicate titles are left on the floor and so only appear to take equal or more space than the console/handheld titles.

          Long winded I know, but I had to get that all out at once <.<

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