Over the past week Kotaku have hosted ‘PC Gaming Week’ where I presume they tried to shake off the image of being an overly console centric blog and try to win back their fleeing PC audience from Rockpapershotgun.
As they said in their opening article for this week;
One might think that Kotaku Tower is a place bereft of computers, or at least gaming on computers, judging by how infrequently we write about them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
At least they’re aware of the reputation they have. Of course how far they go to show how ‘further from the truth’ this reputation is proves to be lacking.
With PC being such an expansive subject with so many themes and facets to look at, from modding to indies, piracy to digital distribution, MMOs to social gaming, you’d think they would struggle to slim it down to only one week of content.
It even started rather promising
Whether you grew up in the age of computer gaming or have even ever turned on a game on a computer, if you’re a gamer you owe your hobby to the computer. The first video games all ran on mainframes in the 50s and 60s. 1961’s Spacewar! is a computer game.
This week we pay tribute to all of our roots as a gamer, looking at the past, present and future of gaming on a PC. Join us with your own memories, experiences, thoughts on gaming on a computer.
But no, this is Kotaku we’re talking about here and they didn’t get their non-PC reputation for nothing.
Their week started on a wobbly foot, most ‘PC Gaming Week’ articles near the start just being the leftovers of Blizzcon from the week before, along with a continuation of the GFWL revamp story as part of Crecentes ‘Well Played’ newspaper article. If there’s anything that’ll shake off the idea that PC gaming is last thing on Kotaku’s mind it’s starting off a dedicated week with recycled posts.
Then came the first ‘Confessional’. Which seemed odd thing to call them. Surely a confession is something you do when you’ve done something wrong. Is PC gaming the 8th lesser known deadly sin? These Confessionals, while weirdly named, weren’t too bad. Pretty much confirmed most of what we knew already. Luke n Fahey were the avid gamers, Crecente straddled the fence, and the rest mostly stuck to consoles. Oh and Bashcrafts first PC game was Leisure Suite Larry. Go figure.
The week continued onwards with some strange choices; a Minecraft Halloween outfit, one of Tim Rogers posts getting the tag, and Baschraft talking about ‘The Computer Nintendo Never Released’. Which turned out to be a Famicom with a keyboard. Famicom aka NES. Which most counts would call that a console. Luke dragged up an article from July of a gallery of PC cover art. Maybe it was symbolic of how you can go back to old PC games anytime?
One interesting and risky choice was to run an article on “The many deaths of PC gaming”, in which they ran a montage video of many quotes on the ‘death of pc gaming’. It’s somewhat interesting they didn’t include their own Michael McWhertors mentions of PC gaming being stuck in the 90s. It might of been worthwhile if it wasn’t that it was the common joke of ‘PC gaming has been dying for several decades’. Maybe Kotaku could of done some analysis into it. like how much or little it had decreased, how the lack of digital sales data might skew results, etc. And the singular PC title they sit down to go in-depth on? Solitaire. Of all the thousands of games on PC that’s the one they pick. Even Sims would of been better. I respect how much they managed to get out of solitaire though, a good 1,000 or so word article on the game.
Some of their more well done articles were actually written by other people, including as usual a #republished hardware review. Some interesting takes, though no surprise that the guy working at Zynga sees a future of games with ‘social at the core’ and the guy at Riot Games sees it as a future of Free-2-Play micro-transaction games. Ken Levine gave the best one of the week. It touched on the heart of PC as an open platform free of licensing, red tape and middle men that drives innovation. It was good enough even RPS pulled from it (with the jab of “As part of Kotaku’s ‘PC gaming week’ (so does that make it okay for them to largely ignore the PC for the other 51 weeks of the year?)”).
It amazes me that Levine was about the only one to look back on some of the core values of PC gaming and what continues to fuel it in the face of it’s many apparent death rattles. A full week and not once did any of them really sit down and go ‘oh hey, PC isn’t a console’. None of them felt confident enough to look at the future of PC gaming themselves either. No thoughts on F2P, digital distribution, indie vs big studio development, if it’ll catch up to consoles again.
One particular issue for me was that a as part of PC week it had been suggested we ask about setting up a playdate through the kotakuites steam group on one of our community ran servers. playdate is an official kotaku event for a particular game for readers with the last one being for Reach. Its a week on and I have heard nothing back from Crecente or any of the other editors. Throughout PC week they’re going to ignore their own Steam group? Steam..PC, kind of go together. Now this may just be from it being me asking, and seeing as they banned me and it was quite a hoo-haa they may never want to here from me again, and I guess I wouldn’t blame them. But are they so pathetic as to piss all over thousands of their PC gaming readers to hold a grudge against one guy? Heck, don’t care about a playdate, maybe just some minor recognition would be nice, Just a quick article of “PC gamers, get together in the Kotakuites Steam Group”. Since Crecente is such a fan of big numbers would he like to know that without any help or intervention from the staff at Kotaku we’ve managed to grow in the past year and a bit to become the second largest gaming site group on Steam, second only to RockPaperShotgun, who are much bigger for obvious reason (their editors promote it for one..) We’ve got three servers set up and looking to expand to more, and have hosted nearly 300 gaming events including a half-arsed TF2 tournament over the summer (Which with a bit of support might of done much better). This isn’t the first time either. Sometimes I’ve even had replies only for any further communication to be dropped. Kotaku are as much about community as they are about PC gaming.
If Kotaku want to show that they’re all hip n trendy and totally all about the PC, then PC Gaming Week was the last thing they needed to do as it has ended up showing how incompetent they are in stepping anywhere outside their console safe zones, and I strongly recommend any remaining PC gamers sticking to Kotaku have a look at the pretty damn excellent RockPaperShotgun in the future.
Update: as I was writing this a post went up for ‘Show us your gaming Chair’. As part of PC Gaming Week. *groan*
Update 2: There is also this too for further reading. I don’t know who wrote it though, just had it forwarded to me: Kotaku: PC is Shit Week.