Epic Games Vs Steam - A Battle Worth Watching

Discussion in 'PC Games' started by boneburner, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

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    I'm a latecomer, but I'm not sure what that data is proving. Realistically, both PC and console are dwarfed by mobile games, and more importantly, the trend is towards smartphones being the gaming device of choice over time:

    https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/

    Untitled.jpg

    Also, it's important to distinguish what the "PC gaming" data refers to. It is predominantly growth in Asian markets, which means MMOs and pay to play multiplayer, as well as Steam data showing DOTA and PUBG being their top two big games in the North American market. If you're implying that the classic PC games, the type many of us older gamers grew up with, have a bright future, I'd suggest that's not true. Gaming appears to be transforming more and more into a social, and more casual, phenomenon. Not that there's anything wrong with that necessarily but it seems a bit misleading to suggest there's some sort of boom in PC gaming.

    /EDIT: Just saw elvis' post as I finished posting.

    I agree, choice is good. But I'll be honest, when I saw Crysis in 2007, I never imagined that in 2019, we would be where we are with PC gaming (i.e., not much farther in terms of gaming complexity, graphics, AI, effects). Which is starkly different to the 12 years prior. i.e., compare a game from 1995 to Crysis and the difference is huge. In short, I think mainstream PC gaming has totally stagnated.


    Reminds me of a quote I saw years ago by Titan Quest developer Michael Fitch:

     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  2. walker_2003

    walker_2003 Member

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    You all have mobiles don't you?

    I think the future of PC gaming is bleak..
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I don't. I think it's perfectly fine.

    Hell, it's 2019 and I can still buy brand new games for Sega Megadrive. PC gaming isn't going anywhere. Passion for video games on anything with a CPU will always remain, and just because something isn't a dominant platform by some arbitrary measurement doesn't mean it's either a failure nor that it's going to vanish.

    Even if those stats are bullshit, they're talking about BILLIONS of dollars. If that's "a failure", I'd love to fail.

    As above, I don't. I think big companies are selling games on formula because it's big business. Ignoring those, there are amazing innovations in games each and every year. If all people do is look at mainstream FPS, then that's a very limited sample to base an opinion on.

    There's heaps of stuff out there worthy of our time. But we are going to have to do more than play games from the dozen largest studios on the world to experience it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  4. mesaoz

    mesaoz Member

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    People with all of the above devices also tend to have a smartphone... a lot of PC gamers also own at least 1 console... those metrics don't tell a very compelling story.
     
  5. power

    power Member

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    he cannot be completely wrong, the trend is toward the models we have now meaning that what we are shifting to these service games that require a large initial investment and in the long term result in a higher return on that initial investment. He also freely admits that he's not an expert, but it's very much fft.

    Epic are siting on a game with a massive ROI.
     
  6. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

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    I think we're talking at cross purposes here.

    I for one am not implying that PC gaming is dead in terms of profit. Call of Duty proves that over and over again. I fully expect to see a Call of Duty 34: Infinite12 Black Ops 27 Advanced Zombie Warfare VIII edition coming out on PC before I die (the pre-order is already open).

    In terms of stagnation, I mean games that are genuinely next generation. That's what makes PC gaming unique to me, and a step above backgammon, chess or card games. It has the potential to take you way beyond your reality, way beyond simply sitting down and watching a movie or TV show, or reading a book, or whatever. But that potential is being wasted on essentially the same pig with more and more layers of lipstick.
     
  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    That "trend" is talking about fewer than 1% of games by number. Certainly far more by number of players (another weasel statistic I'd care not hear), but it's like talking about top 40 music when millions of competent, quality songs are made every year and ignored by the mainstream for a mere fraction.

    I heard the other day that there are roughly 3 million bands in the US producing new songs, and yet you'll frequently hear the same artists twice in the top 10 (let alone top 40). And while not all 3 million are the next $major_pop_star, and likewise there are thousands of rubbish games released each year, the percentage that the average person plays compared to what's worthy of play is noticeably minuscule for both industries.

    If gamers want more from their industry, they need to start spreading their money around a little more. Pouring their collective cash into formula-driven large studios will guarantee more of the same formula.
     
  8. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

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    In terms of music, I think you'll find it's a proven fact that it doesn't get much better than Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus. The pantheon of musical giants goes: Beethoven, Brahms, Bieber. QED

    Seriously though, I'm genuinely curious as to what you'd consider a really good PC game these days? Specifically, one that plays better on PC than any other platform? It'd probably help to inform the debate a bit more because you have a much broader knowledge of what's out there than me, and I suspect, many others here.
     
  9. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    We are also on a technology cusp, and I cover this in the Nvidia RTX 20XX card thread.

    The techniques modern games/software/hardware use to draw pictures have reached a quality plateau, where doubling the power behind them every 18 months (as per Moore's law) doesn't yield twice the subjective "wow factor", because their very basic rasterisation techniques can only deliver so much.

    The downside is that the next visual standard (complete ray tracing and global illumination) is still a while off yet. And again, repeating myself from that other thread, we're talking techniques we mastered in film animation back in the 90s that current gen video cards still can't do yet, and by my estimate are still two generations (or around 3-5 years) away from being reality. What's on offer today is just the early stages of getting there. (Please, don't believe Nvidia when they say they have hardware that does ray tracing today - it simply isn't true, and it isn't ready for prime time yet).

    In terms of non-graphics "next gen", I think there are some notable examples. The sheer interactivity and AI available in some larger games is already impressive. Certainly not in FPS, but take a look at something like "Red Dead Redemption 2" and it's hard not to be wowed by just how much shit is going on around you. No, it's not 4K 60FPS like so many people here want, but ignore the graphics and look at the complex ecosystem going on, and it's astounding at just how many things are happening.

    But you don't need that in Crysis/COD/Battlefield/PUBG/Fortnite/whateverthefuck. There's no point having bunnies and skunks and 500 other species scuttling around and thirty thousand NPCs all with active states that carry on while you're on the other side of an enormous map. What you're suffering there, in addition to the technology cusp I detail above, is a limited genre. When you're playing "shoot folks in the face simulator 3000", there's only so much innovation you can come up with for shooting people in the face. And indeed, the more "realistic" things get, the more they all become the same (because "reality" is far more limiting than "fantasy").

    So I say again - there are massive innovations in story-driven games all the time. If you're only focusing on ultra-realistic competitive FPS, then you're missing out for a number of reasons.
     
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  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Precisely the point I'm making. Bieber sells more copies of a single album than the Beatles did in their entire careers across all albums. If you're taking statistics purely on revenue, then you end up at a very disappointing conclusion. Money is certainly a statistic of note (no pun intended, either music note or money note), but never has it ever purely dictated quality, despite what so many will tell you.

    Subjective tastes are subjective, and I don't think my opinion matters at all. I'd personally rate "Undertale" a better PC game than any FPS on the market right now, but I dare say that opinion wouldn't sit well with almost anyone in this thread. But see my comments about Bieber above, and my thoughts on mainstream commercial development versus games as a creative output.

    With that said, it's also OK to be tired of games. I got there. 2001 through 2010 I played almost nothing. A whole decade I gave up on video games because I was sick to death of all of it during that time - console, PC, web, mobile, portable, everything. After some time away, and a chance to re-evaluate my perspectives, I regained my passion for the art form. With that came a realisation that playing nothing but bleeding edge, Triple-A titles was a big part of my dissatisfaction, and that the solution to being content was to seek more variety rather than more conformity to "next gen" as the sole requirement I had.

    I've had similar discussions with several OCAUers both publicly and in PM. My recommendation to them is the same - take a break, and come back with a clear head. There's plenty on offer in this amazing art form still. We just have to be willing to seek it out and critically analyse it for what it is, rather than our own preconceived notions.

    If in doubt, hit one of the few non-shit subreddits, https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers , and read for yourself just how much in love with games some people still are.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  11. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

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    Fair enough. I certainly would be interested in a game that uses genuinely advanced AI, and I'd consider that to be a revolutionary change in and of itself.

    The only reason I seem perpetually fixated with Crysis is because I have an incredibly vivid recollection of just how mind-blowing the game was when it arrived. Not just the graphics, but environmental interactivity such as shooting down trees, shooting those fallen trees to bits and picking up the bits, destructible terrain, footprints in the sand, collision mechanics with bushes and branches, wind, fire, enemy AI, believable animals, etc. etc. It was the first time I'd seen a game world elevated to a place that I actually felt was "alive". As a game it was passable; as a tech demo it held so much promise of what could happen if developers utilized PC hardware to its fullest potential. Basically, I figured if Crysis is what gaming looks like in 2007, hello Holodeck in 2027!

    I have a slightly different take on games than you I think. To me, it's all about immersion. That's what gives me the biggest kick, and that's where I believe the PC has (had?) the biggest advantage over other forms of entertainment. I enjoy games that are mentally stimulating, or have unique/novelty aspects. But I want a game where you can enter a believably real world, and essentially do things that are impossible in the real world, and for which movies and books don't really provide a comparable experience. Go to Mars, travel back in time, fly, etc.

    As I said, to my mind, what I think we're actually getting is the same sort of basic game mechanics and restrictions, just with prettier graphics and slight variations. I haven't played RDR2, but I've watched quite a few hours of gameplay videos, and as an outsider, it looks quite fun, but I can still feel the invisible hand of the author, as well as the game engine limitations. Can I tunnel my way out of a building? Can I decide to run for mayor? Can I decide to dress up as someone else whenever I want? How about taking anyone as my companion and marrying them? Can I throw bullets at someone? Can I throw sand in their face as a distraction?

    I honestly hope that we cross over to the new generation soon as you say.
     
  12. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I understand what you're saying, but there are clear obstacles in the way of "do anything you want". The biggest being cost to develop and test, and that has nothing to do with engines or platforms.

    Gamers (all of them, PC, console, whatever) already spit blood every time a game is released with day-1 bugs. Try for a moment to imagine what "infinite possibility" means to a video game engine, and what has to be tested and verified before it could be unleashed on the public. The limitation there would never be the platform. It would be the sheer number of people needed to create it. Consider that RDR2 took some 5,000 people around 7 years to make, and your comment is that you can "still feel the invisible hand of the author". If you want infinity, be prepared to wait for infinity.

    Games are limited by more than just definition - they are so by necessity. Limits are what make stories, puzzles and play interesting. If the possibilities were truly endless, the "fun" of the puzzle wouldn't be there. Indeed, what you describe above, to me, sounds quite boring. If I want a life simulator of infinite variability, I'd rather just go and live life (and yet, I play games to escape life). At the risk of getting philosophical, games combine several art forms together, one of which includes puzzles, into a medium like no other. And the core to any puzzle, or game, are rules. Rules of play, rules of reality, rules of limits.

    I'm reading Johan Huizinga's "Homo Ludens" currently (literally translated - "Man the player", although "Ludens" has no exact translation, and can mean games, playing, practice, sport, sparring, education, learning and a whole lot of other things, which is the core of why games are so important to humans). He covers very early on his definition of play, and the most fundamental of all are defining the rules and bounds of the universe in which we play (and from there, dissects the difference between "a cheater" and "a spoilsport" based on how each uniquely breaks the rules in ways that ruin the game). Interestingly the book was written long before video games existed, yet manages to accurately define so much about video games.

    With all of that said, your "life simulator" concept above is still a valid thing to want. But I warn you that what you'd end up with probably wouldn't satisfy you in the way you think it would, and wouldn't feel very "game like". It would likely be exceptionally broken and not-fun once you exploit the system beyond what the true satisfaction of gaming offers.

    Ultimately, even in the most advanced playground of all - reality, we still all follow rules and do predictable things despite having limitless freedom. Desiring reality is as confining as any other requirement, but just takes longer to develop due to reasons not related to CPUs and GPUs.

    I'd posit that the first game of that magnitude you're likely to see would be developed only when AI itself can make art and games, as it would need to do the work of thousands (potentially millions) of people in a fraction of the time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  13. power

    power Member

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    those advanced playgrounds exist in places like second life, you interact with real people - the ultimate NPC's. I think PI wants the ultimate "reality" where he is the center of the universe though :)
     
  14. Drizz06

    Drizz06 Member

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    I only have 1 more question!
    Elvis do you do any work :lol:
     
  15. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Somewhat. You're still bound by rules. You can't dig a hole to the centre of the Earth in Second Life and such.

    Other than that, they're also exceptionally boring, which I mentioned above. Limits force creativity and skill. Without limits, everything would be too easy, and no fun.

    Currently about 5 people's jobs. This gives my brain a "palate cleanser".
     
  16. power

    power Member

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    OCAU is a great thing to do between calls, emails all that other boring shit.
     
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  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    "Panicked shit" where I come from. Commercial creatives are an interesting bunch.
     
  18. power

    power Member

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    at least they get to do somewhat interesting stuff most of my users are unable to process things - yes we are slowly automating all the things do. I don't even know if they realise. years and years of bad data is my biggest roadblock.
     
  19. Drizz06

    Drizz06 Member

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    I don’t have the time to read your long well written posts let alone try and write one myself lol
     
  20. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Honestly, the shit I spew while I'm waiting for my freedom isn't worth reading. Everyone is better off playing games and experiencing actual art. And no sarcasm, I mean that 100%.
     

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