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20% Off 20 Games At Windows Marketplace

The Windows Marketplace is running a sale on games, with 20 of the most popular PC games selling for 20% off through the end of the month. On sale is World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Call of Duty 2, GRAW, and City of Heroes/City of Villains, among others. Not a bad deal.

The PC game market isn’t doing so well lately. Mostly, that’s the fault of the manufacturers, who spent so long pushing the features of the latest and greatest graphics cards that many hardcore gamers gave up on upgrading their PC and just bought a game console. For the PC game market to rebound, two things have to happen:

  • System requirements must be easier to meet and understand.
  • Piracy must be made more difficult.

Microsoft is in a position to accomplish both.

For the first, Microsoft should release a basic spec, based on the Windows Experience Index, that publishers can put on their boxes to indicate recommended system requirements. For example, for a current spec, Microsoft could require X amount of processor, X amount of RAM, and an X capable graphics card, and call that Games For Windows 2006 requirements. Any game that could run on that system at 30 frames per second or better, would get to put a Games For Windows 2006 sticker on the box.

As the years went buy, Microsoft would release a new spec every year. Publishers would test their games on systems that met each year’s requirements, and if the game topped 30 FPS, it would get the sticker. If a game came out in 2008, but was coded well enough to get 2006/2007/2008 certification, it would sell better, because it could run on more and older computers. Gamers who have systems certified for the 2006 requirements would know not to buy games with the 2008 sticker. Simplicity. Help consumers, and they’ll buy more games.

As for piracy, as much as I may hate copy protection, no one can deny that piracy is extraordinarily rampant in the PC game industry. I wouldn’t release a PC game if I were a publisher, since piracy is so damn easy. Microsoft has a decent system for stopping piracy: Windows Genuine Advantage. Tie every game to the Windows install, and BAM! significantly reduced piracy. Microsoft also gets the benefit that games won’t run on non-Genuine Windows.

Can it be done? Sure. Will it be done? I don’t see Microsoft making any steps in the right direction. For the sake of the industy, I hope they do.

September 12th, 2006 Posted by | General, Windows | no comments

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