If you are curious about this new “PC Gaming Alliance” that was announced at GDC as a partnership between Microsoft, Intel, NVIDIA, Epic, AMD, Acer, Activision, Razer, and Dell.  What is it going to DO exactly?  They are looking to give the PC its single-voice champion to communicate to the gamer, to help in communicating requirements and also….well we aren’t quite sure.  And Ben at Ars Technica seems to have the same inquisitive reaction.

Having executives from Microsoft, Dell, Nvidia, Epic, and Intel speaking about various ways to promote gaming lead to some rather interesting observations, as they clearly have divergent agendas. Epic’s Mark Rein once again railed against integrated graphics, while noting that the price of NVIDIA’s 8800 line of graphics cards continues to drop in price, leading Intel’s Stude to look uncomfortable, while a smile crept across the face of Nvidia’s Roy Taylor. A question about whether or not Vista or XP would be pushed at the OS of choice for gaming also lead to a few uncomfortable moments, with Microsoft’s Ungaust claiming that Vista is a success while noting the similar growing pains of XP.

It was also emphasized that the group had no plans to push for digital distribution. “Why would we stop buying shrinkwrapped games?” Rein asked; he also praised Best Buy and Wal-Mart’s support of PC gaming.


While the group seems to have a solid grasp of what’s wrong with PC gaming, it didn’t put forth any compelling ideas about what to do about them. It’s also unclear why consumers should trust a group composed of members that have much to gain by presenting only certain kinds of information. While many would argue that XP is, at the moment, the better OS for gaming, would Microsoft allow the PCGA to say so? Would standards for PC hardware include information about ATI cards even though the company isn’t part of the group?

As the meeting broke up, there seemed to be many misgivings about the group, primarily focused on the fact that no one was sure what it would actually do. Everyone agreed that the issues the PCGA discussed were real but, without a strong roadmap detailing what the PCGA hopes to accomplish, the group may simply become a quagmire of differing goals and ideas about what PC gaming should be and how to best serve its needs.