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30 Retro Rumors
PC Gaming Will Die By 2002 (Retro Rumor #28)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 23, 2015   |   Episode 28 (Show Archive)  

Welcome to 30 Ridiculous Retro Rumors, a brand new series that will run daily between November 26 and December 25, 2015. This is a series where we debunk some of the craziest rumors and predictions of all time. Today we're looking at the PC market, which some feared would die completely by 2002. Let Next Generation explain it all in today's episode of 30 Ridiculous Retro Rumors.

This is a real rumor taken directly from the March 2000 issue of Next Generation ...

Do you remember Harold Camping? He was the crazy old cook who predicted the world would come to an end in 1994. And when it didn't happen, he moved the date up back to 1995. And then moved it again to 2011. Obviously he was he wrong, but each prediction gave him an opportunity to spread his paranoid delusions with a wider audience. Here was a man so afraid of society changing, that he found himself hoping for literal End Times.

While Robert Dyer may not be as deranged as Harold Camping, his hyperbolic prediction feels just as paranoid. With the Dreamcast already on the market, and the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox waiting in the wings, traditional PC developers were starting to feel the pinch. They worried that games and experiences normally found on computer would jump to home consoles, spelling certain doom for the PC market.

Robert's dire prediction ran counter to Next Generation's otherwise rosy coverage. This was a magazine that championed risk-taking computer games and named the PC the game machine of the year in 1997. But with broadband taking over and new consoles stealing the best games, there was real fear that something had to give.

Ironically, most of Robert's greatest fears ended up working to the benefit of the PC market. While the broadband-connected world helped console makers like Sony and Microsoft, it was a much bigger boon to the market he feared would dry up. This opened the door to digital distribution, which flooded the market with games both big and small. Within a few years of this prediction we saw the rise of Steam and a whole host of innovations you could only find on PC.

The dreaded blurring of the lines also benefited traditional computer gamers. Not only did Half-Life and Quake find their way to home consoles, but Mortal Kombat and Final Fantasy made the jump to PC. These days it's rare to see a major console game released without a PC port, even if some of them are less than ideal. To this day we still see big budget games being made for the PC market, and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon.

As for Robert Dyer, he bounced from one company to the next after making this failed prediction. He landed at Crave Entertainment soon after leaving Eidos, which was soon followed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Recently, Robert was the Vice President of Partner Publishing at Zynga. He left in 2013.

Harold Camping also left in 2013, but not for the same reasons.


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