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NVIDIA GeForce LAN Day 2 & 3 Coverage

by Sam Reynolds     |     October 18, 2011

NVIDIA’s GeForce LAN: PC Gaming Isn’t Dead


Recently the technology news aggregator Slashdot posted an interesting article in the form of a short story entitled “Who Killed Videogames” from the blog Insert Credit. Through the vehicle of a short story, video game designer and author Tim Rogers argues that videogames as we know them are dead and are being replaced by simple free-to-play games backed by some sort of virtual currency.

In the world of Mr. Rogers, free to play social gaming is the crude rubble that is left of the video game world. The new breed of game designers, in his mind, are one part data-obsessed ad executive and one part drug dealer. An example can be found in the opening soliloquy of one of his characters:

“You teach the player how to play the game in one minute. Within that one minute, you give them in-game money. You make them spend all of that money to buy an investment that will begin to earn them profit. They build a thing. It says: this thing will be finished in five minutes. Spend one premium currency unit to have it now. You happen to have one free premium currency unit. The game makes you use it now. Now you have a thing. Now it says to wait three minutes to collect from that thing.”


While the genre of free-to-play social gaming has taken market share and profit away from mainstream game developers, the world of PC gaming isn’t yet the dystopia as described in the story: PC gaming exists as something more than a vehicle to sell ads against and gather analytics data of how to better sell ads.

NVidia’s GeForce LAN, which concluded this Sunday, was the perfect epitome of why PC gaming is not dead. Although the GeForce LAN had some elements of a trade show to it – announcements, exhibitors, and disinterested ‘booth babes’ – the heart of the event was a “Woodstock”-like gathering of the gamers.


Perhaps Woodstock – with its tagline of “3 Days of Peace and Music” – isn’t the most appropriate simile to use as the GeForce LAN was set on an aircraft carrier and anchored in the game Battlefield 3, a military themed shooter with the pickup and play simplicity but addicting, difficult to master qualities of a free-to-play title.

For 3 days gamers from around the United States (and the world) gathered to do something they could all do from the comfort of their own home. However, they congregated in the dark caverns of an aircraft carrier’s hanger deck because of the same reasons that music fans gather at a rock festival in the hinterland or why the Burning Man type gather out in the desert every summer: the social experience.

In some ways events like the GeForce LAN can be seen as a ‘revival tour’ for PC gaming. The festival like atmosphere of a major LAN party – with everything from the 60 odd player tournaments and gamers showing off their custom built PCs to eachother – isn’t something that the console gaming world can replicate. Partially owing to the fact that all of the major consoles are now half a decade old, and the next generation isn’t expected for another few years, console gaming has become a very contained experience. Developers and hardware manufactures like NVidia have seen the opportunity to prove that PC gaming isn’t dead and with events like the GeForce LAN they have succeeded.

 
 
 

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