Obviously having heard MobyGames was working on a feature about episodic gaming, Mark Rein VP at Epic Games calls episodic gaming a “broken business" during his keynote at the Develop Conference in Brighton, England reports Next Gen. He also goes on to claim Intel “ruined the PC gaming business.”
The man is entitled to his opinions and the future of gaming will definitely play out over the next so many years. The statement that gets me is, "Intel ruined the PC gaming business.” I cannot even fathom how someone can make this connection. PC game sales are down. I personally believe it is largely due to piracy. You can hop onto BitTorrent and grab an ISO of just about any PC game out there, along with key generators and software to emulate an optical drive. Brian thinks PC games slumped because it is just too hard and expensive to keep up with the myriad hardware requirements. I pretty much have a PC dedicated to gaming. It is an expensive hobby and possibly one fewer and fewer people are willing to afford in the light of the next gen consoles. A rational person would probably believe it is a combination of the two.
How Intel had anything to do with this is anyone's guess.
I agree with both arguements (the piracy, and the hardware costs). I don't make enough money to buy cutting edge graphics cards or more memory. A lot of other people don't either, but this isn't just Intel, its the other capitalists too, plus the notion that graphics make a game... Piracy is obviously a huge problem in the game industry, but I have no opposition to it.
Usually, you don't need cutting edge graphics cards. Until the games started using shaders, you could play any game on a 5 year old card without problems. Now, you need to just make sure your card supports the current shader version and it should also do well with anti-aliasing.
As for memory, it is FAR from expensive. Most teens can easily afford 512MB of RAM (at least in the US). It runs about $25-30 for 512MB of PC3200 RAM. That may not be the absolute fastest RAM, but it's pretty close.
I agree that hardware costs are one reason why PC gaming is starting to decline. However, the piracy part is what I don't agree with. If you think piracy only affects PC games you're dead wrong. Come over to ASIA and I'll show you PS2 and XBOX games selling for USD1.06! PC games today are much harder to crack and heck some games like Splinter Cell Chaos Theory took 1.5 years to crack. It's not like back then when cracked games were like released 1 month before it hit the store shelves. Now it's like 1 week, 1 month or 1.5 years. There is some truth to what Mark rein says. Intel owns about 40% of the integrated graphic card market while the rest is divided between Nvidia and ATi with maybe about 3% held by other manufactures(like Trident). If you go into any gaming forums you can see alot of questions like, "Can I run this game on my Intel 900 chipset?".
Although true about Intel being a leader in integrated graphics, most serious gamers will agree that integrated graphics and sound are not worthwhile. Most serious gamers will disable onboard sound and video and use separate cards, even if it's more expensive to get those extra cards. Even when nVidia or ATI put in onboard graphics, serious gamers will still get a separate video card. They just work better. :)
In the past, I've commented on the cost of keeping a computer at a level where you can play every game (unless the OS doesn't support it, in which case, you can run dual OS) for about $300-500 every 2-3 years. The low end will still work but isn't as good as the high end cost. You can find that if you search the forums. That may seem like a lot, but break it down and it's only $100-$250 per year. Most people spend way more than that on soda or coffee or even candy. It really is a common misconception that having a gaming computer is expensive. Sure, if you want to buy a new computer every few years, it is expensive. But you don't have to. Upgrading really isn't rocket science and most people (at least in the US) know someone who can do it even if they can't. I won't repeat how I got those numbers... just search for the thread and you'll find it. If you can't find it, reply and I'll search for it and link it for you.
Intel is not responsible. People like Mark are responsible by making games that won't work on the relatively powerful computers (even cheap computers are extremely powerful today compared to what we used to have) that common people have. His company is well-known for eye candy, but that eyecandy comes at a cost, and he's angry with Intel for not shoving that extra cost down people's throats.
(This post was written on a MacBook with shoddy Intel graphics.)
Then why is it I still see "will this game work on my Intel Chipset?".....!!!?!!! By the way, the part where you said hardcore gamers won't use onboard sound cards is coming to an end. Just about every gamer I know uses it. To make matters worse Creative cards are selling less and less. Hell their drivers are crappy as well. Go into any gaming forum and you'll see alot complains on how the voices sound like chipmunks and farting effects added.