I spoke to Chris Taylor recently, and asked him how he feels about the state of PC gaming. 'Good' would be an understatement. Chris designed two of the world's cleverest strategy games: Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander.
More recently, he and his company Gas Powered Games took over development of Age of Empires Online, a free-to-play version of the old classic. Here are his thoughts on why the platform has never been stronger.
PC Gamer: I'd like to ask you how you feel about the general state of PC gaming. We're kind of at a weird time where sometimes it's all doom-and-gloom and piracy is ruining everything, but then we've also got stuff like Steam, and it's getting much easier for new developers to get something out there. Is this an exciting time for PC gaming, or a scary time?
Chris Taylor: It's pure excitement, there's no question. That's an easy one.
PC gaming had one problem. We had a retail presence problem because we started to get into this transition, we lost retail space, so there was this reaction to that, so less product went into development. But I don't know who was taking stock, because between The Sims, and World of Warcraft, and what's happened in China with PC gaming, what's happened in terms of PC games being played in the social and casual space, it's all around us.
I think PC gaming went from a "Huh, is there a problem here?" To "Oh, not only is there not a problem, but PC gaming is bigger than ever." It just had to go through a little bit of a reinvention.
The piracy problem is gonna be all but solved as we emerge here, and I think the new question is - which I love - is "What's the future of console gaming?"
And I used to joke about that last year, when people were interviewing me. Off the record, I was going "You know, they should really be asking about the future of console gaming."
Now people are. This question is starting to come up. And I was like "Ah, I don't know - but that's your problem. Don't look at me." I don't have to answer that question, because I know what the answer for PC gaming is now, and I have a PC gaming company, right? I make PC games. And I'm about as happy about where we're at as an industry and as a platform than I've ever been.
Yesterday we heard why Chris couldn't go back from free-to-play now, and tomorrow we'll have his thoughts on Steam and the future of digital distribution.