Friday, December 5, 2008

PCGA Validation Testing Lab Video Tour

See the lab where the PCGA's minimum specifications are tested and validated...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

PCGA in the News - Gamasutra Piracy Special Report

Here is a snippet...

The PC Gaming Alliance is a group of industry leaders including reps from Microsoft, Dell, Activision, Capcom and many others, who meet to work on solutions for challenges facing the space and promote the health of the platform - and piracy is a particular problem for PC in particular. With that in mind, the PCGA has formed a new subcommittee to start examining ways to take the crucial first step of learning to quantify piracy and its material impact. Christian Svensson, senior director of strategic planning and research at Capcom, is a member of the PCGA, and tells Gamasutra that the new impact-oriented subcommittee is just now getting off the ground. There's a complicated road ahead with a good many factors still up in the air, but the subcommittee knows that quantifying that impact is a key first step. "We're just starting to lay out the groundwork," Svensson says,"I would hope within the next three months we have started to make some progress toward that."

If you are interested in anti-piracy, please consider joining the PCGA to help us craft our anti-piracy plans and deliverables. We have recently changed our membership plan to encourage every company in the PC Gaming industry to get involved. See for more information.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are the Guardians of PC Gaming
The PCGA has a clear mandate. "We are the guardians of the PC as a platform for gaming. We need to make sure there is an environment where publishers are not afraid to invest tens of millions of dollars in developing great gaming experiences," Stude says, and while it doesn't seem like the average gamer will often know what goes into the work the PCGA does, many of the group's ideas are compelling. Giving PC gamers a voice and proving their value as a market, while trying to maintain a balance between publishers keeping their content safe and gamers being able to play the way they want to... these are the biggest challenges in PC gaming right now. We wish the PCGA luck in trying to fight the good fight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Urgent Imperative Of Piracy

PCGA President Randy Stude recently sat down with Gamasutra for a frank discussion regarding the industry, especially piracy.

Here is a snippet:

Meanwhile, the PCGA hopes to attract game companies to its efforts -- and while potential committee members acknowledge the importance of platform stability, says Stude, "there's a far more urgent imperative they want to see discussion and debate going on around, which is piracy."

So the PCGA has formed an anti-piracy and DRM subcommittee which is just kicking off its efforts, starting with an endeavor to try and quantify the size of the piracy issue.

"At some point next year, we expect to be able to quantify the potential impact of piracy on the industry," says Stude.

So, now we turn to you readers. What type of change would be good for you? What are your feelings on DRM and other hot-button piracy issues? And even further, if you are a company in the PC gaming industry and you would like a voice in determining the direction of the industry, we invite you to join us!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Minimum Bar Team Makes Major Progress

As promised, PCGA will continue to post noteworthy updates on our progress. The minimum bar subcommittee is making significant strides in our efforts to establish a minimum bar “Gaming System” and set of hardware and software guidelines for the industry, all with the goal of improving the PC gaming experience and user satisfaction.

As reported previously, the subcommittee formed into 5 working groups, each with a distinct deliverable to the formation of the final guideline:

1. Minimum Hardware Bar Work Group: Mission is to define a minimum Gaming System “Bag of Parts”. The preliminary bag of parts was agreed to and 10 systems were built, comprised of various configurations of graphics cards, mother boards, CPU’s, OS and memory sizes. The systems were then shipped to our validation testing partner.

2. Performance Work Group: Mission is to define gaming performance and gaming experience benchmarks. This group has finalized our “gaming performance benchmark suite”, to be used to test our theories using the 10 hardware systems described above.

3. Validation Work Group: This group put together the lab that is hosting our 10 systems. The first round of testing is complete. The testing included running the prescribed benchmarks in the performance plan and a series of usability or experience tests to validate the measurements, correlating measured benchmark data against actual game play. We also tested below this minimum bar to make sure that we had headroom on the benchmark suite we will recommending. This proved that we had a suitable buffer from the benchmark which is important because it enables the benchmark to be scalable across more games within a genre. We now believe we have a solid minimum Gaming performance bar derived from a solid set of Gaming performance benchmarks. Our next step is to update the Gaming performance suite and quickly rerun the testing to further increase our confidence level.

4. Software Guideline Group: As you know, hardware is not the full story to creating a solid PC Gaming customer experience. It has to work hand and hand with the software (OS and Games). We have completed the software guideline which is comprised of two parts. The first part supports the minimum bar while the second consists of a set of ISV Best Practices designed to further enhance customer experience. We are currently incorporating this into our spec.

5. Utility Group: This work group is evaluating the need and the cost of implementing a utility tool which would determine if a set of hardware meets PCGA’s minimum bar. More work is being done in pursuit of this part of the min bar spec.

An offshoot of the work of the min bar team has been the formation of a Logo and Certification subcommittee. This team is hard at work building a proposal that will go to the PCGA Board for approval. The purpose a logo and certification program is to allow any customer to easily identify hardware systems and games that meet the PCGA minimum bar. Basically, a game that is tagged with the PCGA logo will work on a PC that is also tagged with the PCGA logo. Of course, lots of work and discussion needs to occur here before we launch this type of logo program.

As you can see, we have been quite busy, and we are closing in on our objectives. Things are really starting to come together and we have a lot of confidence that we will make a difference for PC gaming customers when we publish our guidelines. Please stay tuned and stay engage. Send me your ideas. We need your support!

Also, the PCGA needs the full support, through membership, of all companies in the PC Gaming industry including developers, publishers, IHVs and PC OEMs. PCGA members collaborate with the leaders in the PC gaming industry, participate in shaping the development and evolution of our work, and influence our strategy and direction. If you are interested in joining, please contact John Ehrig.


Rick Carini
PCGA Chairman of the Board
PCGA Minimum Bar Subcommittee Chair

Friday, August 1, 2008

PCGA Marketing Subcommittee Update

Hi, as well as being Chairman of the Data Research subcommittee I am also Chair for the Marketing subcommittee which is responsible for communications, member recruiting and events.

To date we have been busy in a number of areas. We are excited that very shortly we will be able to unveil our new logo for the organization. This takes longer than might be supposed, the design has to work across a wide variety of formats and backgrounds, be acceptable to all, be registered, etc. We are pleased with it and look forward to sharing it with everyone soon.

In addition to the logo we have also been working on a schedule of events and the PCGA will be officially attending the Leipzig Games Convention where our President, Randy Stude from Intel will be presenting an update on our activities and we will be holding an industry ‘meet-n-greet’ reception. The PCGA will also be at NVISION, , details for that will follow and we are looking at other events for the fall.

Finally, we are working with TriplePoint PR to help us grow membership and better communicate to the industry, the press and the public about the work of the organization.

If you have ideas about how we can better communicate, or if you know of events you feel we should participate in then please do post below. We read your posts and discuss them so please voice your opinions.

Many thanks,

Roy Taylor
CTO, PC Gaming Alliance
Marketing Subcommittee Chair

Monday, July 21, 2008

Data Research Subcommittee Update

Hi, as Chairman of the Data Research Sub-Committee I’d like to give everyone an update on our activities to date.

The research team has two broad goals. First to identify the total value of the PC Gaming software business. This is quite a task, retail boxed sales numbers can be found from major research firms like NPD and Chart Track but other revenue streams are harder to ascertain. However by examining data from different research firms with partial data and collating them we are starting to identify a whole.

This research is unearthing some interesting data already, some of it controversial and we are busy hammering away at the numbers to gain consensus. We are also triangulating this data and will be publicly stating what we believe the sum to be in what we have codenamed the ‘Horizons’ report. This will be late summer at one of the larger events we plan to attend.

Secondly we are looking at establishing the total value and extent of the hardware business, worldwide. This will include everything from complete PC’s to component sales where the hardware is used for PC Gaming. This is obviously also a huge task.

To aid us with these projects the Sub-Committee is currently taking in RFP’s from a number of the worlds leading research firms and the successful bidders will be contracted to establish regular reports, funded and owned by the PCGA that will detail the results from this research.

We are excited about the data we are already unearthing. We realize that some of it will be open to question since the project is so ambitious but we hope to invigorate a debate about the extent and importance of the PC Gaming industry. More soon.

Roy Taylor
CTO, PC Gaming Alliance
Data Research Subcommittee Chair

Friday, June 6, 2008

Minimum Bar Subcommittee Update: Establishing Guidelines for the PC Gaming Industry

As promised this is an update on the PCGA minimum bar subcommittee. I am excited to report that we have been making great progress as we work towards completing an encompassing set of Guidelines for the PC Gaming Industry. We have enjoyed lots of enthusiasm and strong participation from the PCGA membership.

The Sub Committee has formed 5 Working groups, each with a distinct deliverable to the formation of the final guideline.

1. Minimum Hardware Bar Work Group: Mission is to help define a starting point for a “Bag of Parts” that could possibly define the makeup of a minimum Gaming System. The preliminary list has been completed. Plans are being developed to build a number of these systems for testing purposes.

2. Performance Work Group: Mission is to help define a way to actually measure gaming performance and gaming experience. We have finalized our starting point and we are now preparing to test our theories by using the Min Hardware group systems in a validation and experience set of testing.

3. Validation Work Group: This group is putting together a validation plan that will utilize the systems that are being built by the Min Hardware group and use the output of the Performance group as a criteria to validate against. This test plan will also include usability testing as it applies to Gaming. The testing will become part of a feedback loop to help finalize the Minimum Hardware “Bag of Parts” and the accuracy of the Performance benchmarking proposals. The plan has been finalized and is waiting to be executed, as soon as the systems arrive.

4. Software Guideline Group: Hardware is not the full story to creating a solid PC Gaming customer experience. It has to work hand and hand with the software (OS and Games). A set of guidelines will be proposed for developers to follow to enable games to run at the Minimum Bar. The group has an initial outline and we are about to begin the review process within the team.

5. Utility Group: This work group will evaluate the need for a tool for customers/developers/OEMs that will help determine a systems’ ability to meet the minimum bar. The team has agreed to continue to pursue this idea. A proposal is being drafted for review.

As you can see, we have been quite busy, but much work remains to be done. We are as anxious as hopefully you are to see the results of this hard work begin to pay off for gamers, developers and the PC gaming industry as a whole. Please stay tuned and stay engage. We need your support!

The PCGA is also actively seeking membership from developer, publisher, IHV and PC OEM companies. As a PCGA member, you and your company will have the ability to network with the leaders in the PC gaming industry, participate in shaping the development and evolution of our work, and influence our strategy and direction. If you are interested in joining, please contact John Ehrig


Rick Carini
PCGA Chairman of the Board
PCGA Minimum Bar Subcommittee Chair

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What exactly is the PC Gaming Alliance?

Welcome to the PC Gaming Alliance and our new Blog. The PC Gaming Alliance, formed earlier this year, is a non-profit, open consortium of companies that have joined forces to promote PC Gaming. We firmly believe that PC gaming is a large, vibrant and growing industry, one that we hope to become the authority voice for world wide. Our desire is to use this Blog to have an interactive dialog with the PC gaming community of developers, publishers, consumers, and media. In this entry, I will update on the overall happenings of the PC Gaming Alliance and let you know what you can expect to see from us as we progress towards our goals and deliverables.

On a personal note, the PC Gaming Alliance is one of the more exciting things I have done in my working life. Having the opportunity to work with the biggest and best companies in the PC Gaming Industry is a real treat. Since announcing our little consortium, we have been hard at work to make progress on a number of fronts. The head of each of these efforts has been asked to comment on status of these efforts in their own Blog entries to follow. However, I will briefly update you now on where the PCGA is today and where we will be going over the next several months.

  • Our Charter is to provide an industry voice to PC Gaming. The members of the PC Gaming Alliance are undertaking an effort to tell gamers (and the World) how big PC Gaming is. We expect to have the first of this data available in the 3rd Quarter of this year (sometime in August or September). This data will show that PC Gaming is by far the largest of any gaming platform in the world. By largest I am referring to both revenues and total number of gamers.

  • A second key effort is to provide a set of minimum systems requirements, or stable starting point, for game developers and system builders. After 2 months of organizing, we are starting to move into SMU Guildhall lab (thanks Guildhall for all of your support). The testing will begin soon to find out how to get a list of popular PC games running @ an acceptable frame rate and @ an acceptable quality level. Members of the PC Gaming Alliance are donating equipment and manpower to help facilitate the testing efforts of this lab. When this effort concludes we should be able to announce a starting point and an adjacent marketing program to promote this starting point. The PC Gaming Alliance is looking forward to clearing up minimum systems requirements for gamers. We know that this issue has created problems for the PC Gaming Industry in the past and hope that our efforts, as an industry consortium, will resolve this.

  • Piracy… If you pirate games you need to know that you are stealing. The PC Gaming Alliance believes that gamers should be able to enjoy gaming on the PC without annoying DRM solutions from multiple different vendors getting mixed with different hardware and operating systems to create a confusing and untested environment. If you open a PC Game that you have purchased and don’t want to have to worry about the DRM solution invading your privacy while still protecting the intellectual property of the game developers and publishers then we are going to wind up on the same page. If you believe in stealing games then we want you to know that the PC as a gaming platform is going to suffer as a result. If game developers cannot make money on the PC because of piracy they won’t make PC Games. This year we will attempt to quantify how big PC Game Piracy is. We intend to provide industry recommendations based on the results of this research.

Please provide your feedback. We really enjoy getting suggestions from the community at-large and want to hear from you. Do you believe we are doing enough for the PC Gaming Industry? Is there something you think the PC Gaming Alliance should be doing that it is not?


Randy Stude
President, PC Gaming Alliance

Friday, April 11, 2008

Welcome to the PC Gaming Alliance Blog

Watch here for postings from the leaders of the PC Gaming Alliance!