Peter Suciu 2013-07-01

    微软(Microsoft)和索尼(Sony)在6月初的电子娱乐展(Electronic Entertainment Expo)上详尽介绍他们的电子游戏机的同时,PC机游戏也开始显露出复苏的迹象。尽管主流电脑市场正在垂死挣扎,但硬核PC游戏看起来却活得很好。


    与此同时,在内容流中枢的角色上逐渐失宠的PC机仍然是可靠的游戏平台。此外,电子游戏机在价格上非常稳定——索尼的PS4到今年秋天售价仍为399美元,微软的Xbox One价格则是499美元——而PC机价格却一跌再跌。由于即将上市的游戏主机在技术上与PC机相似,传统电脑今后可能会更具价值。电子游戏机行业顾问,鲍德温咨询公司(Baldwin Consulting)的马克•鲍德温说:“20多年来,一直有人问我PC游戏会不会走向消亡,但它们现在仍然存在着。所以,我看不到任何消亡的迹象。PC机仍然拥有巨大的用户基础,也仍然是探索性产品低价进入市场的坚实平台。”

    今年的E3大展表明,各种类型的游戏仍然有很大市场空间。世嘉(Sega)曾经专营游戏主机硬件,如今却是跨平台的游戏发行商。它展示了即将发布的《罗马2:全面战争》(Total War: Rome II)。这是一款仅能在PC机上运行的游戏,玩家将扮演即将演变为帝国的罗马共和国后期的一名将军。如果玩家行动无误,甚至可以完全避免凯撒大帝被刺杀的事件。

    世嘉还奉上了以二战为背景的《英雄连2》(Company of Heroes II),将这个策略游戏带上了俄国战场前线。此外,尽管曾是PC机统治领域的射击游戏和竞速游戏如今走向了跨平台化,策略游戏很大程度上仍然是PC独有。恩德勒集团(Enderle Group)的首席分析师罗布•恩德勒说:“对于许多类型的游戏而言,PC机表现远远优于游戏主机。它失去活力的原因在于,没有人真正把它作为一个平台来推销它的优势所在。非常遗憾,从许多方面看,考虑到升级性和指令输入的广度,PC机对许多类游戏而言都是更好的平台。它们只是没有得到足够多的营销推广。”

    动作射击类游戏大行其道,而微软和索尼也希望借助这个类型的独家游戏推广自己的游戏系统。但这类游戏的重磅作品,比如美国艺电公司(Electronic Arts)的《战地风云》( Battlefield)系列和美国动视公司(Activision)的《使命召唤》(Call of Duty)系列,在电子游戏机和PC机上同样可用。独立电视游戏分析师比利•皮德根说:“PC机并没有切断与市场的联系。即便游戏在电子游戏机上得到了发展,PC机仍是大型射击游戏授予运营权的重要阵地。”

    PC也从一些小型游戏开发商那里得到了独家运营权。今年秋天,波西米亚互动公司(Bohemia Interactive)将发布《武装突袭3》(Arma III),这是这家公司开放世界式军事策略射击游戏的最新力作。这家捷克开发商并不是唯一一家坚持PC游戏的厂商。皮德根说:“东欧的游戏开发商仍然以PC平台为依靠。在一些特定的市场,如拉美和亚洲大部分地区,因为担心将游戏移植到游戏机的成本过高,PC游戏即将占据统治地位。在这些地区,游戏机可能难以深入发展,而PC仍是主要平台。”

    While Microsoft and Sony elaborated on their new video game consoles earlier this month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo there was another system that showed signs of renewed life: the PC. Despite the moribund market for mainstream computers, hardcore PC gaming seems to be alive and well.

    In past years the PC had been a dominant part of the show, but in recent years it has taken a backseat to consoles. While PC gaming saw a resurgence as the current generation of consoles grew long in the tooth, it was no surprise that the PC wasn't on center stage this year. Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) are competing not only for the sizable game market, but also for prime position in the war for the living room.

    Meanwhile the PC, with its diminishing role as a streaming hub for content, still remains very much a credible game machine. Moreover, while the video game consoles have remained somewhat steady in prices -- Sony's PlayStation 4 will cost $399 when it arrives this fall, while Microsoft's Xbox One will cost $499 -- PCs continue to fall in price. Because the upcoming consoles are technically similar to PCs, it could be that traditional computers offer more value going forward. "I have been asked about the demise of PC games for over 20 years, yet they are still there. So no, I see no demise," says video game industry consultant Mark Baldwin of Baldwin Consulting. "The PC is still has a massive user base, and it is still a solid platform to allow cheap entry for exploratory products."

    This year's E3 proved that there is still very much of a market for some genres. Sega, a company that was once in the hardware console business and now is a cross-platform game publisher, demonstrated its upcoming Total War: Rome II, a PC-only offering that puts players in the role of a general during the era of the late Roman Republic as it transforms it into an empire. If players make the right moves they can even avoid the whole Julius Caesar assassination thing.

    In addition Sega offered up the World War II-themed Company of Heroes II, which is taking the series' tactical gameplay to the Russian Front. Moreover, while shooters and racing games -- once almost solely the domain of the PC -- have gone cross-platform, the strategy genre remains very much a PC exclusive. "For certain kinds of games the PC is far superior to a console but languishes because no one really markets its advantages as a platform," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group. "It seems a shame because in many ways PCs are a better, in terms of upgradability and range of input, platform for many types of games. These just don't get the marketing needed to make their case."

    Even in the popular action shooter category, where Microsoft and Sony are looking for exclusive titles to help launch their systems, the biggest titles -- such as Electronic Arts' (EA) Battlefield series and Activision's (ATVI) Call of Duty -- are on PC as well as the consoles. "The PC isn't cut out of this market at all," says independent video game analyst Billy Pidgeon. "The PC remains important for these big shooter franchises even as the games grow on the consoles."

    The PC is also getting its own share of exclusives from some smaller developers, and this fall Bohemia Interactive will introduce Arma III, the latest title in its open world tactical military shooter. The Czech-based developer is not alone in sticking with the PC. "In Eastern Europe the game developers continue to lean on the PC," Pidgeon says. "In certain markets such as Latin America and much of Asia, the PC is going to dominate because of worries of costs of bringing a game to consoles. These are areas where the consoles aren't likely to penetrate and the PC will remain the dominant platform."