Is PC gaming as we know it dead? Or just shifting course to be the dominant medium of the future? At Dave Perry's "Lunch With the Luminaries" Peter Molyneux, Phil Harrison, Chris Taylor, Raph Koster and Neil Young discussed what path PC gaming will take in the coming years.
Koster kicked off the debate by comparing web developer speed versus the games industry. "Iteration speed on the web is insane... the base assumptions on speed are astounding. By the end of the day they get 500% improvements on their metrics," he said, saying that, like Bungie's heat-maps used to fine-tune multiplayer levels, "Think about what we could be doing -- we should be sending back play transcripts."
He continued by pointing out that while "[In the past I thought that] the interface is where the rubber meets the road... but the web says I have no idea what platform you have."
"Flash is the next console," he posited. "It's pointing its way to the future more than the next generation of consoles," with capabilities increasing dramatically over the next 12 months. "Retail PC is in dire straits, but... the web is kicking the console industry's ass."
Gas Powered's Chris Taylor seemed to agree that, at very least, digital distribution of any kind is the way forward, saying, "PC gaming as we know it is dead... secure gaming is the future."
Ex-Sony exec Phil Harrison concurred, saying, "There is a generation of kids who are already on the planet who will never ever buy physical media," to protests by EA's Neil Young that "I don't think it's that simple and you'll get to choose."
"No it will not," said Harrison, who later said he thinks this is the last generation where physical disc media in a case is the primary means of delivery, and that the business model will have to change.
Radiohead's recent In Rainbows digital model "would work perfectly for games," he concluded, referring to a recent interview by band front Thom Yorke where he said he'd like to quickly release songs and even maybe iterate them via fan feedback.