GDC08: First message from group that boasts support from Epic, Activision and Microsoft touts strong PC games category
The previously rumoured PC Gaming Alliance officially revealed its intentions during a press conference at the Game Developers Conference today, promising to provide a united front for a platform it said is mistakenly being often described as dying.
Headed by Intel's Randy Stude as president and founding board member, the PC Gaming Alliance is an Amercan non-profit organisation whose mission is "to drive worldwide growth of PC gaming". Membership incldues key computer hardware and software companies from around the world.
Activision, Epic and Microsoft are founding members representing PC game developers, joining hardware companies AMD, Nvidia and Intel. PC OEM firms Dell, Acer, Alienware and Gateway round out the number of founding members.
The group has three primary focuses: industry leadership, platform leadership and consumer experience.
"We believe we can have a united front and have some impact," said Stude on the plan to redress the perception "in some markets that PC gaming is dying" despite the fact they are all competitors and will remain as such.
The organisation won't be touting an expensive brand or logo to slap on game boxes and present to consumers in marketing (although Stude added that in time the group will flesh out its plans for relaying its strategy to games players), instead at first looking to maintain an industry-facing presence that champions the PC as a games platform.
Said Stude: "One of our main major objectives is to provide one voice on PC gaming market. There's no one source that says 'hey this is where the PC market is going'. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are always calling their market share - we're going to call our market through this group."
He offered up stats on the US and worldwide PC games market, saying the former (not including casual games) in 2007 generated $2.76bn revenue, a year-on-year rise of 12 per cent, accounted for 30 per cent of gaming revenues in the territory, and was set to make $9.6bn - a rise of 16 per cent - in 2008.
For the global games market the figures were $8.3bn in 2007, up 14 per cent, with 2008 revenues set to be $9.6bn, up for 16 per cent.
There are 263 million onlne PC gamers worldwide, added Stude, saying it was proof that the PC gaming market's death has been greatly exaggerated.
The PCGA will also look to help developers and publishers acknowledge and look to contain the "large challenges" impacting PC gameplay and business such as piracy, phishing and cheating.
The next step for the PCGA, said Stude, was for the founder members to relay their enthusiasm for the platform to developers and publishers, ensure them that there is a market for games, and explain what system specs to aim for.
"We want to make sure that we are sharing with a developer base what consumers are putting into their PCs and notebooks," said Stude, saying that a united group can help focus the attentions of their contemporaries.
"What we intend to do is look at what's out there and tell developers what consumers have and understand what audiences exist," added Microsoft's Games for Windows boss and board member Kevin Unagast. Working together, he said, means "we can get better results faster."
The organisation isn't currently planning to offer technology to developers - although president Stude didn't rule it out - saying it was the intention instead to inform and guide the industry.
Unagast added: "The role of the PCGA is providing guidance to developers when they are making a game, explain how they can achieve consistency."
Commented Richy Corphus, AMD's developer relations boss and treasurer of the Alliance: "If we make the experience better it makes it easier for PC developers to support gaming."