'Hardly anyone' agrees with Kudo's PC FPS BS
21st Sep 2010 | 09:37
Kinect creator is plain wrong
Not a lot of Kudo-s
"Hardly anyone plays first person shooters on the PC any more," said Microsoft's Kinect creator Kudo Tsunoda, taking a motion-controlled plunge into a sea of controversy and bad-feeling, and once again raising questions about the Windows giant's dedication to its biggest gaming platform.
Let's get something straight from the off, one Microsoft exec does not represent the views of the entire company. At least I hope that's the case – because, let's be frank, when it comes to PC gaming the software giant has hardly been jumping through hoops to make us believe they still care.
The party line is that the arrival of Fable III, a new Age of Empires and the next generation of Flight Simulator will rejuvenate the PC.
But it doesn't take a genius to spot that there isn't a first person shooter in sight.
Point or pointless?
So does Kudo have a point? For me, he is absolutely, unequivocally wrong, and here's why.
First of all, I challenge anyone to suggest that first person shooters aren't still popular after 20 minutes of trying to find a slot on a public server just after an update to Team Fortress 2.
When it comes to online gaming, first person shooters may not be in the same league as the likes of World of Warcraft or Farmville, but there are still hundreds of thousand of people playing each of the major shooters online at any given point.
Team Fortress 2, CoD: Modern Warfare 2 and Counter Strike, are all hugely popular at the moment. And the last title has been played by millions over a decade, influencing countless games on PC and console alike.
Indeed, early suggestions are that a little more than 700,00 people are concurrently playing the biggest online console game of the moment, namely Halo:Reach.
That's with a brand new game, in the flush of a massive marketing campaign.
And yet at its peak there were 2.7 million people logged onto Steam in the past 24 hours, with never less than 1.25m logged on.
You do, of course, have to carve that number up; many won't be playing FPS, many more won't be playing games at all.
But to describe numbers in the hundred of thousands as 'hardly anyone' is not only crass, but also downright deceptive.
Nobody is doubting that the Xbox is a brilliant, vibrant and hugely successful platform both online and for first person shooters, but the PC gaming market is still flourishing in both of these areas despite lacking a unified piece of hardware; success is not an either or.
Gaming events organiser Corin Cole is a fan of all the gaming platforms, but he insists that PC first person shooters still have a massive audience.
"Console games will always find an easier audience than their PC equivalents due to considerations such as price of platform and ease of access, however there are still large numbers of gamers who feel that consoles cannot compete with a keyboard and mouse, particularly when it comes to first person shooters," he said.
"Hundreds of thousands play multiplay online shooters on the PC every day, with many more enjoying single player games, and as the prices of computer components continue to drop, the hurdle over which PC gamers must jump will gradually be lowered."
The view is by no means extraordinary, HP exec and Voodoo founder Rahul Sood recently hit the headlines for suggesting that Microsoft had scrapped a dual Xbox/PC gaming online tie-up because having mouse and keys in first person shooters was so massively advantageous that the 'console players got destroyed every time'.
I am lucky enough to have access to all three major online gaming platforms – PlayStation, Xbox 360 and PC – and it is still the latter that captures the lion's share of my now limited time.
I love mouse and keys for first person shooters and I've graduated through most of the major players through the years: Counter Strike, Doom, Quake, RtCW, Call of Duty and Team Fortress.
Why did he say it?
What makes Tsunoda's comment even more galling is that it seems entirely unnecessary for him to express his opinion in the first place.
The interview – in Game Informer – was not pushing him into a corner and his comment was in response to the fairly tame: "Looking at first-party games and 360 exclusives in the future, are we going to start to see Kinect integrated in small or nuanced ways? Or is it a "go big or go home" approach to gameplay?"
Hardly an invite to slag off PC gaming is it?
CVG editor Tim Ingham agrees: "Perhaps the oddest thing about Kudo's statement is how absurdly unnecessary it was.
"If he'd have wanted a reference point for why building games 'from the ground up' is the best approach, he could have named a host of Xbox exclusives that have done the business.
"He was obviously trying to pay Halo a huge compliment – and let's not pretend that to some extent, that game didn't tempt over a big chunk of PC gamers to console.
"But he was so definitive in what he said, he risked upsetting the millions – and there are still millions – of FPS PC gamers around the world."
Still, the proof of the pudding will be when I'm sat with stunning Crysis 2 on my PC and Kinectimals on the (rightly admired) Kinect for Xbox 360.
Perhaps I'll be one of 'hardly any' Kudo Tsunoda – but I know which one I'll be firing up.