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A PC game, also known as a computer game or personal computer game, is a type of video game played on a personal computer rather than a video game console or arcade machine. Its defining characteristics include: more diverse and user-determined gaming hardware and software; and generally greater capacity in input, processing, video and audio output. The uncoordinated nature of the PC game market, and now its lack of physical media, make precisely assessing its size difficult.
A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.
A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.
A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.
Home computer games became popular following the video game crash of 1983, leading to the era of the "bedroom coder". In the 1990s, PC games lost mass-market traction to console games, before enjoying a resurgence in the mid-2000s through digital distribution.
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", and which became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user. These computers were a distinct market segment that typically cost much less than business, scientific or engineering-oriented computers of the time such as the IBM PC, and were generally less powerful in terms of memory and expandability. However, a home computer often had better graphics and sound than contemporary business computers. Their most common uses were playing video games, but they were also regularly used for word processing, doing homework, and programming.
The video game crash of 1983 was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985, primarily in America. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, and waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983, then fell to around $100 million by 1985. The crash was a serious event which abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America.
The term "mass market" refers to a market for goods produced on a large scale for a significant number of end consumers. The mass market differs from the niche market in that the former focuses on consumers with a wide variety of backgrounds with no identifiable preferences and expectations in a large market segment. Traditionally, businesses reach out to the mass market with advertising messages through a variety of media including radio, TV, newspapers and the Web.
Newzoo reports that the PC gaming sector is the third-largest category (and estimated in decline) across all platforms as of 2016 [update] , with the console sector second-largest, and mobile/smartphone gaming sector biggest. 2.2 billion video gamers generate US$101.1 billion in revenue, excluding hardware costs. "Digital game revenues will account for $94.4 billion or 87% of the global market. Mobile is the most lucrative segment, with smartphone and tablet gaming growing 19% year on year to $46.1 billion, claiming 42% of the market. In 2020, mobile gaming will represent just more than half of the total games market. [...] China expected to generate $27.5 billion, or one-quarter of all revenues in 2017."
Smartphones are a class of mobile phones and of multi-purpose mobile computing devices. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wider software, internet, and multimedia functionality, alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging. Smartphones typically include various sensors that can be leveraged by their software, such as a magnetometer, proximity sensors, barometer, gyroscope and accelerometer, and support wireless communications protocols such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and satellite navigation.
A mobile operating system is an operating system for phones, tablets, smartwatches, or other mobile devices. While computers such as typical laptops are 'mobile', the operating systems usually used on them are not considered mobile ones, as they were originally designed for desktop computers that historically did not have or need specific mobile features. This distinction is becoming blurred in some newer operating systems that are hybrids made for both uses.
A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device, typically with a mobile operating system and touchscreen display processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single thin, flat package. Tablets, being computers, do what other personal computers do, but lack some input/output (I/O) abilities that others have. Modern tablets largely resemble modern smartphones, the only differences being that tablets are relatively larger than smartphones, with screens 7 inches (18 cm) or larger, measured diagonally, and may not support access to a cellular network.
PC gaming is considered synonymous (by Newzoo and others) with IBM Personal Computer compatible systems; while mobile computers – smartphones and tablets, such as those running Android or iOS – are also personal computers in the general sense. The APAC region was estimated to generate $46.6 billion in 2016, or 47% of total global video game revenues (note, not only "PC" games). China alone accounts for half of APAC's revenues (at $24.4 billion), cementing its place as the largest video game market in the world, ahead of the US's anticipated market size of $23.5 billion. China is expected to have 53% of its video game revenues come from mobile gaming in 2017 (46% in 2016).
The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida.
Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wrist watches, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.
iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is the second most popular mobile operating system globally after Android.
Bertie the Brain was one of the first game playing machines developed. It was built in 1950 by Josef Kates. It measured more than four meters tall, and was displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition that year.
Bertie the Brain was an early computer game, and one of the first games developed in the early history of video games. It was built in Toronto by Josef Kates for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition. The four meter tall computer allowed exhibition attendees to play a game of tic-tac-toe against an artificial intelligence. The player entered a move on a lit keypad in the form of a three-by-three grid, and the game played out on a grid of lights overhead. The machine had an adjustable difficulty level. After two weeks on display by Rogers Majestic, the machine was disassembled at the end of the exhibition and largely forgotten as a curiosity.
Dr. Josef Kates, born Josef Katz, was a Canadian engineer whose achievements include designing the first digital game-playing machine, and the world's first automated traffic signalling system.
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), also known as The Exhibition or The Ex, is an annual event that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during the 18 days leading up to and including Canadian Labour Day, the first Monday in September. With approximately 1.5 million visitors each year, the CNE is Canada's largest annual fair and the sixth largest in North America. The first Canadian National Exhibition took place in 1879, largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. Agriculturists, engineers, and scientists exhibited their discoveries and inventions at the CNE to showcase the work and talent of the nation. As Canada has grown as a nation, the CNE has also changed over time, reflecting the growth in diversity and innovation, though agriculture and technology remain a large part of the CNE today. To many people in the Greater Toronto Area and the surrounding communities, the CNE is an annual family tradition.
Although personal computers only became popular with the development of the microprocessor and microcomputer, computer gaming on mainframes and minicomputers had previously already existed. OXO, an adaptation of tic-tac-toe for the EDSAC, debuted in 1952. Another pioneer computer game was developed in 1961, when MIT students Martin Graetz and Alan Kotok, with MIT student Steve Russell, developed Spacewar! on a PDP-1 mainframe computer used for statistical calculations.
A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.
A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal input/output (I/O) circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board(PCB). Microcomputers became popular in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of increasingly powerful microprocessors. The predecessors to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger and more expensive. Many microcomputers are also personal computers.
Mainframe computers or mainframes are computers used primarily by large organizations for critical applications; bulk data processing, such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning; and transaction processing. They are larger and have more processing power than some other classes of computers: minicomputers, servers, workstations, and personal computers.
The first generation of computer games were often text-based adventures or interactive fiction, in which the player communicated with the computer by entering commands through a keyboard. An early text-adventure, Adventure , was developed for the PDP-11 minicomputer by Will Crowther in 1976, and expanded by Don Woods in 1977.By the 1980s, personal computers had become powerful enough to run games like Adventure, but by this time, graphics were beginning to become an important factor in games. Later games combined textual commands with basic graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games such as Pool of Radiance , or The Bard's Tale , for example.
By the late 1970s to early 1980s, games were developed and distributed through hobbyist groups and gaming magazines, such as Creative Computing and later Computer Gaming World . These publications provided game code that could be typed into a computer and played, encouraging readers to submit their own software to competitions.Players could modify the BASIC source code of even commercial games. Microchess was one of the first games for microcomputers which was sold to the public. First sold in 1977, Microchess eventually sold over 50,000 copies on cassette tape.
As with second-generation video game consoles at the time, early home computer game companies capitalized on successful arcade games at the time with ports or clones of popular arcade games.By 1982, the top-selling games for the Atari 400 were ports of Frogger and Centipede , while the top-selling game for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A was the Space Invaders clone TI Invaders . That same year, Pac-Man was ported to the Atari 800, while Donkey Kong was licensed for the Coleco Adam. In late 1981, Atari attempted to take legal action against unauthorized clones, particularly Pac-Man clones, despite some of these predating Atari's exclusive rights to the home versions of Namco's game.
As the video game market became flooded with poor-quality cartridge games created by numerous companies attempting to enter the market, and overproduction of high-profile releases such as the Atari 2600 adaptations of Pac-Man and E.T. grossly underperformed, the popularity of personal computers for education rose dramatically. In 1983, consumer interest in console video games dwindled to historical lows, as interest in games on personal computers rose.The effects of the crash were largely limited to the console market, as established companies such as Atari posted record losses over subsequent years. Conversely, the home computer market boomed, as sales of low-cost color computers such as the Commodore 64 rose to record highs and developers such as Electronic Arts benefited from increasing interest in the platform.
To enhance the immersive experience with their unrealistic graphics and electronic sound, early PC games included extras such as the peril-sensitive sunglasses that shipped with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the science fiction novella included with Elite . These extras gradually became less common, but many games were still sold in the traditional oversized boxes that used to hold the extra "feelies". Today, such extras are usually found only in Special Edition versions of games, such as Battlechests from Blizzard.
The North American console market experienced a resurgence in the United States with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In Europe, computer gaming continued to boom for many years after.Computers such as the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro were successful in the European market, where the NES was not as successful despite its monopoly in Japan and North America. The only 8-bit console to have any success in Europe would be the Sega Master System. Meanwhile, in Japan, both consoles and computers became major industries, with the console market dominated by Nintendo and the computer market dominated by NEC's PC-88 (1981) and PC-98 (1982). A key difference between Western and Japanese computers at the time was the display resolution, with Japanese systems using a higher resolution of 640x400 to accommodate Japanese text which in turn affected video game design and allowed more detailed graphics. Japanese computers were also using Yamaha's FM synth sound boards from the early 1980s.
During the 16-bit era, the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST became popular in Europe, while the PC-98, Sharp X68000 and FM Towns became popular in Japan. The Amiga, X68000 and FM Towns were capable of producing near arcade-quality hardware sprite graphics and sound quality when they first released in the mid-to-late 1980s.
Among launch titles for the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981 was Microsoft Adventure , which IBM described as bringing "players into a fantasy world of caves and treasures".BYTE that year stated that the computer's speed and sophistication made it "an excellent gaming device", and IBM and others sold games like Microsoft Flight Simulator . The PC's CGA graphics and speaker sound were poor, however, and most customers bought the powerful but expensive computer for business. One ComputerLand owner estimated in 1983 that a quarter of corporate executives with computers "have a game hidden somewhere in their drawers", and InfoWorld in 1984 reported that "in offices all over America (more than anyone realizes) executives and managers are playing games on their computers", but software companies found selling games for the PC difficult; an observer said that year that Flight Simulator had sold hundreds of thousands of copies because customers with corporate PCs could claim that it was a "simulation".
From mid-1985, however, what Compute! described as a "wave" of inexpensive IBM PC clones from American and Asian companies, such as the Tandy 1000, caused prices to decline; by the end of 1986, the equivalent to a $1600 real IBM PC with 256K RAM and two disk drives cost as little as $600, lower than the price of the Apple IIc. Consumers began purchasing DOS computers for the home in large numbers. While often purchased to do work in evenings and weekends, clones' popularity caused consumer-software companies to increase the number of IBM-compatible products, including those developed specifically for the PC as opposed to porting from other computers. Bing Gordon of Electronic Arts reported that customers used computers for games more than one fifth of the time whether purchased for work or a hobby, with many who purchased computers for other reasons finding PC games "a pretty satisfying experience".
By 1987, the PC market was growing so quickly that the formerly business-only computer had become the largest and fastest-growing, and most important platform for computer game companies. DOS computers dominated the home, supplanting Commodore and Apple. More than a third of games sold in North America were for the PC, twice as many as those for the Apple II and even outselling those for the Commodore 64.With the EGA video card, an inexpensive clone had better graphics and more memory for games than the Commodore or Apple, and the Tandy 1000's enhanced graphics, sound, and built-in joystick ports made it the best platform for IBM PC-compatible games before the VGA era.
By 1988, the enormous popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System had greatly affected the computer-game industry. A Koei executive claimed that "Nintendo's success has destroyed the [computer] software entertainment market". A Mindscape executive agreed, saying that "Unfortunately, its effect has been extremely negative. Without question, Nintendo's success has eroded software sales. There's been a much greater falling off of disk sales than anyone anticipated." A third attributed the end of growth in sales of the Commodore 64 to the console, and Trip Hawkins called Nintendo "the last hurrah of the 8-bit world". Experts were unsure whether it affected 16-bit computer games,but Hawkins in 1990 nonetheless had to deny rumors that Electronic Arts would withdraw from computers and only produce console games. By 1993 ASCII Entertainment reported at a Software Publishers Association conference that the market for console games ($5.9 billion in revenue) was 12 times that of the computer-game market ($430 million).
Computer games, however, did not disappear. By 1989 Computer Gaming World reported that "the industry is moving toward heavy use of VGA graphics".While some games were advertised with VGA support at the start of the year, they usually supported EGA graphics through VGA cards. By the end of 1989, however, most publishers moved to at supporting at least 320x200 MCGA, a subset of VGA. VGA gave the PC graphics that outmatched the Amiga. Increasing adoption of the computer mouse, driven partially by the success of adventure games such as the highly successful King's Quest series, and high resolution bitmap displays allowed the industry to include increasingly high-quality graphical interfaces in new releases.
Further improvements to game artwork and audio were made possible with the introduction of FM synthesis sound. Yamaha began manufacturing FM synth boards for computers in the early-mid-1980s, and by 1985, the NEC and FM-7 computers had built-in FM sound.The first PC sound cards, such as AdLib's Music Synthesizer Card, soon appeared in 1987. These cards allowed IBM PC compatible computers to produce complex sounds using FM synthesis, where they had previously been limited to simple tones and beeps. However, the rise of the Creative Labs Sound Blaster card, released in 1989, which featured much higher sound quality due to the inclusion of a PCM channel and digital signal processor, led AdLib to file for bankruptcy by 1992. Also in 1989, the FM Towns computer included built-in PCM sound, in addition to a CD-ROM drive and 24-bit color graphics.
By 1990, DOS was 65% of the computer-game market, with the Amiga at 10%; all other computers, including the Apple Macintosh, were below 10% and declining. Although both Apple and IBM tried to avoid customers associating their products with "game machines", the latter acknowledged that VGA, audio, and joystick options for its PS/1 computer were popular.In 1991, id Software produced an early first-person shooter, Hovertank 3D , which was the company's first in their line of highly influential games in the genre. There were also several other companies that produced early first-person shooters, such as Arsys Software's Star Cruiser , which featured fully 3D polygonal graphics in 1988, and Accolade's Day of the Viper in 1989. Id Software went on to develop Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, which helped to popularize the genre, kick-starting a genre that would become one of the highest-selling in modern times. The game was originally distributed through the shareware distribution model, allowing players to try a limited part of the game for free but requiring payment to play the rest, and represented one of the first uses of texture mapping graphics in a popular game, along with Ultima Underworld .
In December 1992, Computer Gaming World reported that DOS accounted for 82% of computer-game sales in 1991, compared to Macintosh's 8% and Amiga's 5%. In response to a reader's challenge to find a DOS game that played better than the Amiga version the magazine cited Wing Commander and Civilization , and added that "The heavy MS-DOS emphasis in CGW merely reflects the realities of the market". MHz, the 486 PC processor ran much faster, allowing it to perform many more calculations per second. The 1993 release of Doom on the PC was a breakthrough in 3D graphics, and was soon ported to various game consoles in a general shift toward greater realism. Computer Gaming World reiterated in 1994, "we have to advise readers who want a machine that will play most of the games to purchase high-end MS-DOS machines".A self-reported Computer Gaming World survey in April 1993 similarly found that 91% of readers primarily used IBM PCs and compatibles for gaming, compared to 6% for Amiga, 3% for Macintosh, and 1% for Atari ST, while a Software Publishers Association study found that 74% of personal computers were IBMs or compatible, 10% Macintosh, 7% Apple II, and 8% other. 51% of IBM or compatible had 386 or faster CPUs. By 1992 DOS games such as Links 386 Pro supported Super VGA graphics. While leading Sega and Nintendo console systems kept their CPU speed at 3–7
By spring 1994 an estimated 24 million US homes (27% of households) had a personal computer. 48% played games on their computer; 40% had the 486 CPU or higher; 35% had CD-ROM drives; and 20% had a sound card.Another survey found that an estimated 2.46 million multimedia computers had internal CD-ROM drives by the end of 1993, an increase of almost 2,000%. Computer Gaming World reported in April 1994 that some software publishers planned to only distribute on CD as of 1995. CD-ROM had much larger storage capacity than floppies, helped reduce software piracy, and was less expensive to produce. Chris Crawford warned that it was "a data-intensive technology, not a process-intensive one", tempting developers to emphasize the quantity of digital assets like art and music over the quality of gameplay; Computer Gaming World wrote in 1993 that "publishers may be losing their focus". While many companies used the additional storage to release poor-quality shovelware collections of older software, or "enhanced" versions of existing ones —often with what the magazine mocked as "amateur acting" in the added audio and video —new games such as Myst included many more assets for a richer game experience.
Many companies sold "multimedia upgrade kits" that bundled CD drives, sound cards, and software during the mid-1990s, but device drivers for the new peripherals further depleted scarce RAM.
AUTOEXEC.BAT files for memory management cumbersome and confusing, and each game needed a different configuration. (The game Les Manley 2 satirizes this by depicting two beautiful women exhaust the hero in bed, by requesting that he again explain the difference between extended and expanded memory.) Computer Gaming World provided technical assistance to its writers to help install games for review, and published sample configuration files. The magazine advised non-technical gamers to purchase commercial memory managers like QEMM and 386MAX and criticized nonstandard software like Origin Systems's "infamous late and unlamented Voodoo Memory Manager", which used unreal mode.
By 1996, the growing popularity of Microsoft Windows simplified device driver and memory management. The success of 3D console titles such as Super Mario 64 and Tomb Raider increased interest in hardware accelerated 3D graphics on PCs, and soon resulted in attempts to produce affordable solutions with the ATI Rage, Matrox Mystique, S3 ViRGE, and Rendition Vérité.As 3D graphics libraries such as DirectX and OpenGL matured and knocked proprietary interfaces out of the market, these platforms gained greater acceptance in the market, particularly with their demonstrated benefits in games such as Unreal . However, major changes to the Microsoft Windows operating system, by then the market leader, made many older DOS-based games unplayable on Windows NT, and later, Windows XP (without using an emulator, such as DOSbox).
The faster graphics accelerators and improving CPU technology resulted in increasing levels of realism in computer games. During this time, the improvements introduced with products such as ATI's Radeon R300 and NVidia's GeForce 6 Series have allowed developers to increase the complexity of modern game engines. PC gaming currently tends strongly toward improvements in 3D graphics.
Unlike the generally accepted push for improved graphical performance, the use of physics engines in computer games has become a matter of debate since announcement and 2005 release of the nVidia PhysX PPU, ostensibly competing with middleware such as the Havok physics engine. Issues such as difficulty in ensuring consistent experiences for all players,and the uncertain benefit of first generation PhysX cards in games such as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and City of Villains , prompted arguments over the value of such technology.
Similarly, many game publishers began to experiment with new forms of marketing. Chief among these alternative strategies is episodic gaming, an adaptation of the older concept of expansion packs, in which game content is provided in smaller quantities but for a proportionally lower price. Titles such as Half-Life 2: Episode One took advantage of the idea, with mixed results rising from concerns for the amount of content provided for the price.
During the 1980s, the cheap and talented workforce of the Polish People's Republic began producing video games with Warsaw company Karen, founded by enterprising emigrant Lucjan Wencel, developing many hits that were released in the United States. The 1991 strategy game " Solidarność " by Przemysław Rokita, where players led a trade union to political victory, was the symbolic beginning of a new trend where interactive works applied video game conventions to local Polish culture and history , and through a distorting mirror portrayed the Eastern Bloc, local villages, and the mentality of citizens. Developers in this age struggled with minimal profits, working after hours, harsh working conditions, older computers, and an ignorance of foreign languages and sentiments. The country saw its own text based games – e.g. Mózgprocesor (1989), arcade games – e.g. Robbo (1989), football manager – Polish League (1995), Doom-clone – Cytadela (1995), and The Settlers -clone – Polanie (1995), however the adventure game genre was the "most significant species in the 90s", a genre which was finally cracked with Tajemnica Statuetki.
Tajemnica Statuetki was the first commercially released Polish adventure game,one of the first Polish and Polish-language video games ever, and Chmielarz's first game that he had developed from start to finish – the first officially sold program that he wrote. It is sometimes erroneously considered the first Polish computer game, a distinction held by Witold Podgórski's 1961 mainframe game Marienbad , inspired by a Chinese puzzle called "Nim", and released on the Odra 1003. (Meanwhile, Polygamia writes that 1986's text-based Puszka Pandory is the first game written by a Pole, sold in Poland, and reviewed in Polish press). Despite this, Onet wrote in 2013 about a common misconception that the game marks the point where the history of digital entertainment in Poland begins.
In high-end PC gaming, a PC will generally have far more processing resources at its disposal than other gaming systems.Game developers can use this to improve the visual fidelity of their game relative to other platforms, but even if they do not, games running on PC are likely to benefit from higher screen resolution, higher framerate, and anti-aliasing. Increased draw distance is also common in open world games.
Better hardware also increases the potential fidelity of a PC game's rules and simulation. PC games often support more players or NPCs than equivalents on other platforms [ citation needed ]and game designs which depend on the simulation of large numbers of tokens (e.g. Guild Wars 2 , World of Warcraft ) are rarely seen anywhere else.
The PC also supports greater input fidelity thanks to its compatibility with a wide array of peripherals.[ citation needed ] The most common forms of input are the mouse/keyboard combination and gamepads, though touchscreens and motion controllers are also available. The mouse in particular lends players of first-person shooter and real-time strategy games on PC great speed and accuracy.
The defining characteristic of the PC platform is the absence of centralized control; all other gaming platforms (except Android devices, to an extent) are owned and administered by a single group.
The advantages of openness include:
There are also disadvantages, including:
The openness of the PC platform allows players to edit or modify their games and distribute the results over the Internet as "mods". A healthy mod community greatly increases a game's longevity and the most popular mods have driven purchases of their parent game to record heights.It is common for professional developers to release the tools they use to create their games (and sometimes even source code ) in order to encourage modding, but if a game is popular enough mods generally arise even without official support.
Mods can compete with official downloadable content however, or even outright redistribute it, and their ability to extend the lifespan of a game can work against its developers' plans for regular sequels. As game technology has become more complex, it has also become harder to distribute development tools to the public.
Modding has a different connotation on consoles which are typically restricted much more heavily. As publicly released development tools are rare, console mods usually refer to hardware alterations designed to remove restrictions.
Although the PC platform is almost completely decentralized at a hardware level, there are two dominant software forces: the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Steam distribution service.
Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984.
Valve does not release any sales figures on its Steam service, instead it only provides the data to companies with games on Steam,which they cannot release without permission due to signing a non-disclosure agreement with Valve. However, Stardock, the previous owner of competing platform Impulse, estimated that, as of 2009, Steam had a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games. In early 2011, Forbes reported that Steam sales constituted 50–70% of the $4 billion market for downloaded PC games and that Steam offered game producers gross margins of 70% of purchase price, compared with 30% at retail. In 2011, Steam served over 780 petabytes of information, double what it had delivered in 2010.
PC games are sold predominantly through the Internet, with buyers downloading their new purchase directly to their computer.This approach allows smaller independent developers to compete with large publisher-backed games and avoids the speed and capacity limits of the optical discs which most other gaming platforms rely on.
Valve Corporation released the Steam platform for Windows computers in 2003 as a means to distribute Valve-developed video games such as Half-Life 2. It would later see release on the Mac OS X operating system in 2010 and was released on Linux in 2012 as well. By 2011, it controlled 70% of the market for downloadable PC games, with a userbase of about 40 million accounts.Origin, a new version of the Electronic Arts online store, was released in 2011 in order to compete with Steam and other digital distribution platforms on the PC. The period between 2004 and now saw the rise of many digital distribution services on PC, such as Amazon Digital Services, GameStop, GFWL, EA Store, Direct2Drive, GOG.com, and GamersGate.
Digital distribution also slashes the cost of circulation, eliminates stock shortages, allows games to be released worldwide at no additional cost, and allows niche audiences to be reached with ease.However, most digital distribution systems create ownership and customer rights issues by storing access rights on distributor-owned computers. Games confer with these computers over the Internet before launching. This raises the prospect of purchases being lost if the distributor goes out of business or chooses to lock the buyer's account, and prevents resale (the ethics of which are a matter of debate).
Modern computer games place great demand on the computer's hardware, often requiring a fast central processing unit (CPU) to function properly. CPU manufacturers historically relied mainly on increasing clock rates to improve the performance of their processors, but had begun to move steadily towards multi-core CPUs by 2005. These processors allow the computer to simultaneously process multiple tasks, called threads, allowing the use of more complex graphics, artificial intelligence and in-game physics.
Similarly, 3D games often rely on a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU), which accelerates the process of drawing complex scenes in realtime. GPUs may be an integrated part of the computer's motherboard, the most common solution in laptops,or come packaged with a discrete graphics card with a supply of dedicated Video RAM, connected to the motherboard through either an AGP or PCI-Express port. It is also possible to use multiple GPUs in a single computer, using technologies such as NVidia's Scalable Link Interface and ATI's CrossFire.
Sound cards are also available to provide improved audio in computer games. These cards provide improved 3D audio and provide audio enhancement that is generally not available with integrated alternatives, at the cost of marginally lower overall performance.The Creative Labs SoundBlaster line was for many years the de facto standard for sound cards, although its popularity dwindled as PC audio became a commodity on modern motherboards.
Physics processing units (PPUs), such as the Nvidia PhysX (formerly AGEIA PhysX) card, are also available to accelerate physics simulations in modern computer games. PPUs allow the computer to process more complex interactions among objects than is achievable using only the CPU, potentially allowing players a much greater degree of control over the world in games designed to use the card.
Virtually all personal computers use a keyboard and mouse for user input. Other common gaming peripherals are a headset for faster communication in online games, joysticks for flight simulators, steering wheels for driving games and gamepads for console-style games.
Computer games also rely on third-party software such as an operating system (OS), device drivers, libraries and more to run. Today, the vast majority of computer games are designed to run on the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. Whereas earlier games written for DOS would include code to communicate directly with hardware, today application programming interfaces (APIs) provide an interface between the game and the OS, simplifying game design. Microsoft's DirectX is an API that is widely used by today's computer games to communicate with sound and graphics hardware. OpenGL is a cross-platform API for graphics rendering that is also used. The version of the graphics card's driver installed can often affect game performance and gameplay. In late 2013, AMD announced Mantle, a low-level API for certain models of AMD graphics cards, allowing for greater performance compared to software-level APIs such as DirectX, as well as simplifying porting to and from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, which are both built upon AMD hardware.It is not unusual for a game company to use a third-party game engine, or third-party libraries for a game's AI or physics.
Multiplayer gaming was largely limited to local area networks (LANs) before cost-effective broadband Internet access became available, due to their typically higher bandwidth and lower latency than the dial-up services of the time. These advantages allowed more players to join any given computer game, but have persisted today because of the higher latency of most Internet connections and the costs associated with broadband Internet.
LAN gaming typically requires two or more personal computers, a router and sufficient networking cables to connect every computer on the network. Additionally, each computer must have its own copy (or spawn copy) of the game in order to play. Optionally, any LAN may include an external connection to the Internet.
Online multiplayer games have achieved popularity largely as a result of increasing broadband adoption among consumers. Affordable high-bandwidth Internet connections allow large numbers of players to play together, and thus have found particular use in massively multiplayer online role-playing games, Tanarus and persistent online games such as World War II Online .
Although it is possible to participate in online computer games using dial-up modems, broadband Internet connections are generally considered necessary in order to reduce the latency or "lag" between players. Such connections require a broadband-compatible modem connected to the personal computer through a network interface card (generally integrated onto the computer's motherboard), optionally separated by a router. Online games require a virtual environment, generally called a "game server". These virtual servers inter-connect gamers, allowing real time, and often fast-paced action. To meet this subsequent need, Game Server Providers (GSP) have become increasingly more popular over the last half decade.[ when? ] While not required for all gamers, these servers provide a unique "home", fully customizable, such as additional modifications, settings, etc., giving the end gamers the experience they desire. Today there are over 510,000 game servers hosted in North America alone.
Emulation software, used to run software without the original hardware, are popular for their ability to play legacy video games without the platform for which they were designed. The operating system emulators include DOSBox, a DOS emulator which allows playing games developed originally for this operating system and thus not compatible with a modern-day OS. Console emulators such as Nestopia and MAME are relatively commonplace, although the complexity of modern consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation makes them far more difficult to emulate, even for the original manufacturers. [ when? ] only run small Homebrew games and certain old arcade titles that were originally ported to the PS3 from older platforms.The most technically advanced consoles that can currently be successfully emulated for commercial games on PC are the PlayStation 2 using PCSX2, and the Nintendo Wii U using the Cemu emulator. A PlayStation 3 emulator named RPCS3 is in development, although it can currently
Most emulation software mimics a particular hardware architecture, often to an extremely high degree of accuracy. This is particularly the case with classic home computers such as the Commodore 64, whose software often depends on highly sophisticated low-level programming tricks invented by game programmers and the demoscene.
PC games have long been a source of controversy, largely due to the depictions of violence that has become commonly associated with video games in general. The debate surrounds the influence of objectionable content on the social development of minors, with organizations such as the American Psychological Association concluding that video game violence increases children's aggression,a concern that prompted a further investigation by the Centers for Disease Control in September 2006. Industry groups have responded by noting the responsibility of parents in governing their children's activities, while attempts in the United States to control the sale of objectionable games have generally been found unconstitutional.
Video game addiction is another cultural aspect of gaming to draw criticism as it can have a negative influence on health and on social relations. The problem of addiction and its health risks seems to have grown with the rise of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs).Alongside the social and health problems associated with computer game addiction have grown similar worries about the effect of computer games on education.
There are several computer games museums around the world. In 2011 one opened in Berlin, a computer game museum that documents computer games from the 1970s until today. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, in Oakland, California also exhibits PC games in its general collection. The Video Game Museum in Rome is dedicated to the preservation of videogames, and includes Pss games in its collection. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California holds a collection of PC games, and allows visitors to play Spacewar! , the first computer game, on a restored original DEC PDP-1.
The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was widely available in July. The Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and also the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1.
The history of video games goes as far back as the early 1950s, when academic computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations as part of their research or just for fun. At M.I.T. in the 1960s, professors and students played games such as 3D tic-tac-toe and Moon Landing. These games were played on computer such as the IBM 1560, and moves were made by means of punch cards. Video gaming did not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 1980s, when video arcade games and gaming consoles using joysticks, buttons, and other controllers, along with graphics on computer screens and home computer games were introduced to the general public. Since the 1980s, video gaming has become a popular form of entertainment and a part of modern popular culture in most parts of the world. One of the early games was Spacewar!, which was developed by computer scientists. Early arcade video games developed from 1972 to 1978. During the 1970s, the first generation of home consoles emerged, including the popular game Pong and various "clones". The 1970s was also the era of mainframe computer games. The golden age of arcade video games was from 1978 to 1982. Video arcades with large, graphics-decorated coin-operated machines were common at malls and popular, affordable home consoles such as the Atari 2600 and Intellivision enabled people to play games on their home TVs. During the 1980s, gaming computers, early online gaming and handheld LCD games emerged; this era was affected by the video game crash of 1983. From 1976 to 1992, the second generation of video consoles emerged.
The Tandy 1000 was the first in a line of IBM PC compatible home computer systems produced by the Tandy Corporation for sale in its Radio Shack and Radio Shack Computer Center chains of stores.
IBM PC compatible computers are computers similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT, able to use the same software and expansion cards. Such computers were referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones. They duplicate almost exactly all the significant features of the PC architecture. This was facilitated by IBM's choice of commodity hardware components and by various manufacturers' ability to reverse engineer the BIOS firmware using a "clean room design" technique. Columbia Data Products built the first clone of the IBM personal computer by a clean room implementation of its BIOS.
The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit home computers introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979 and manufactured until 1992. All of the machines in the family are technically similar and differ primarily in packaging. They are based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz, and were the first home computers designed with custom co-processor chips. This architecture enabled graphics and sound capabilities that were more advanced than contemporary machines at the time of release, and gaming on the platform was a major draw. Star Raiders is considered the platform's killer app.
The game port, originally introduced on the Game Control Adapter, is a device port that was found on IBM PC compatible and other computer systems throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It was the traditional connector for joystick input, and occasionally MIDI devices, until replaced by USB in the 21st century.
The IBM PCjr is a home computer that was produced and marketed by IBM from March 1984 to May 1985. The PCjr was positioned as a complement to the very successful IBM Personal Computer (PC), competing with other home computers such as the Apple II series and the Commodore 64. It retains the IBM PC's 8088 CPU and BIOS interface, but provides enhanced graphics and sound capabilities over the original IBM PC, ROM cartridge slots, joystick ports, and an infrared wireless keyboard. The PCjr supports expansion via "sidecar" modules, which are attached to the side of the unit. New software such as King's Quest I showcased its PC gaming capabilities.
A console game is a form of interactive multimedia entertainment, consisting of manipulable images generated by a video game console and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the console, called a controller. The controller generally contains a number of buttons and directional controls such as analogue joysticks, each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld game.
1984 saw many sequels and prequels and several new titles such as Tetris, Karate Champ, Boulder Dash, and 1942.
1982 was the peak year of arcade and console games during the Golden age of arcade video games. Troubles at Atari, Inc. late in the year triggered the North American video game crash of 1983. Many games were released that would spawn franchises, or at least sequels, including Dig Dug, Pole Position, Mr. Do!, Pitfall!, Q*bert, and Xevious. Additional consoles add to a crowded market. The new Commodore 64 goes on to eventually dominate the 8-bit home computer market.
Fueled by the previous year's release of the colorful and appealing Pac-Man, the audience for arcade games in 1981 became much wider. Pac-Man influenced maze games began appearing in arcades and on home systems. Nintendo broke from their mediocre early releases with Donkey Kong which defined the platform genre.
The following history of the Amiga documents the development and commercial history of the Amiga, a home computer product line manufactured from the middle 1980s up to today.
The TeraDrive is an IBM PC compatible system with an integrated Mega Drive, developed by Sega and manufactured by IBM in 1991. The TeraDrive allowed for Mega Drive games to be played the same time as the PC section is being used, as it is possible for the Mega Drive and PC hardware to interact with each other.
Following the introduction of the IBM Personal Computer, or IBM PC, many other personal computer architectures became extinct within just a few years.
IrisVision was an expansion card developed by Silicon Graphics for IBM compatible PCs in 1991 and was one of the first 3D accelerator cards available for the high-end PC market. IrisVision was actually an adaptation of the graphics pipeline found in the Personal IRIS workstation to the Micro Channel architecture and consumer ISA buses found on most modern PCs of the day. It is also notable for being the first time that any variant of IRIS GL was ever ported to the PC.
In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic arcade games from the 1980s using the games' original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.
Tandy Graphics Adapter (TGA) is a computer display standard for an IBM PC compatible video subsystem that improved on IBM's Color Graphics Adapter (CGA) technology. Whereas CGA could display only four colors at a time at a screen resolution of 320×200 pixels, a TGA system could display up to 16 colors. While not strictly an adapter—the TGA hardware was available only integrated onto computer motherboards, not on a separate card—TGA is so called to parallel CGA, to which TGA is related and with which it competed. TGA is also known as Tandy graphics.
"The third member of the deadly troika that lays the videogame industry low is the home computer boom currently in full swing by 1984
We've been developing games that are community-based for more than ten years now, ever since the original Unreal and Unreal Tournament. We've had games that have had free online gameplay, free server lists, and in 2003 we shipped a game with in-game voice support, and a lot of features that gamers have now come to expect on the PC platform. A lot of these things are now features that Microsoft is planning to charge for.