For all the fuss made about the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, itâ€™s a simple fact that the PC isnâ€™t going anywhere as a platform for hardcore gamers. Itâ€™s still the best place to enjoy strategy games, RPGs and 3D shooters. Itâ€™s still the top platform for online gaming, covering everything from World of Warcraft to Battlefield 2142. And itâ€™s still the platform where the biggest developments in graphics technology happen first. What game has been on everyoneâ€™s lips since last yearâ€™s E3? Crysis: a PC only game. Meanwhile some of the most exciting next-generation console titles â€“ Alan Wake, Bioshock, Devil May Cry 4 â€“ are coming to the PC as well.
Crysis looks set to redefine video games with a combination of stunning graphics and realistic physics.
But PC gaming also has an image problem. Despite the efforts of Alienware and its imitators, the average gaming PC remains a big, ugly beast. Itâ€™s so huge that it has to be hidden in a study or back bedroom, and so noisy that some people canâ€™t bear to be in the same room. If you live in a cramped space or have a style-conscious partner, it can be hard to justify why you keep one in the house at all.
These are the same factors that have led to a dramatic swing away from desktops to notebooks in the home. Notebook PCs are expected to take over 50 per cent of overall PC sales in 2007, and much of this is down to the consumer market. Even if the average consumer doesnâ€™t need mobility in the classic sense, thereâ€™s something about a system that can be carried from room to room, used on the sofa, and packed neatly away at the end of the day that we find irresistible. The only problem for gamers was that the vast majority of notebooks have â€“ until fairly recently â€“ been utterly useless for playing games.