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Mark Rein continues his discussion on what's wrong with the PC gaming industry

The last time we heard from Mark Rein, he was laying into Intel for the proliferation of "sub par" integrated graphics controllers on notebooks and desktops. He pointed at Intel's lack of motivation to design a graphics controller to rival NVIDIA or ATI has forced game developers to "dumb down" their games to cater to the lowest common denominator. This of course takes resources away from developing top-notch games. Mark Rein is on his soap box again and this time he is pointing his fingers at the retail industry.

With the big money being in console games, retailers have been giving the most attention to console while neglecting PC games. Rein again falls back to criticizing Intel for the position that PC gaming is in right now. "The problem is it's very hard to take a game that's designed for PS3 and Xbox 360 - where the big money is now - and make it run on a graphics card that isn't capable of rendering even what a third of what those things do," said Rein. You know there's an industry-wide problem when your average Joe walks into a store to buy a game for his brand new Dell or Gateway PC and then gets home to find out that he's playing a slide show with awful graphics.

Rein feels that things may change for the better with Vista as Microsoft pushes its gaming initiative further and promotes its Live Anywhere service which will allow PC gamers to play alongside their console brethren. Rein added, "We'll get a really nice performance boost and get closer to the theoretical limits of the hardware, in much the same way that when you build a console you're much closer to the iron than you are normally on a Windows system. That difference is slowly melting away with Vista so we absolutely applaud that."

Vista may be the next greatest thing for Windows-based operating systems, but it's a tall order to say that it will turn around the PC gaming landscape. Intel's next generation integrated graphics solutions will surely pack a bit more firepower, but it still won't be enough to power today’s high-end games (let alone future titles). The only way that we're going to see any progress is through consumer education when it comes to PC graphics solutions.

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Um... what?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 4:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
"The problem is it's very hard to take a game that's designed for PS3 and Xbox 360 - where the big money is now - and make it run on a graphics card that isn't capable of rendering even what a third of what those things do," said Rein.

Ok then sir, just develop for consoles then and leave the PC market alone if it is such a problem. It appears that you are simply complaining for the sake of complaining since you could remedy the problem yourself.

He probably does not understand that consoles are designed to play games and for the most part PC's are designed to do more than just play games. Any of us who have been around for a while knows that if you want to play games on the PC you have to spend more money and get more power than your average Joe might require, and why do I even have to point it out? Should it not be obvious to him? Consoles are usually sold at a minor loss anyways to get the hardware out and make money back on games anyways correct? You dont get such a deal on your 7900 GTX.

He can think what he wants, but the large MMO base on the PC in addition to a number of popular but not-so-hardware-demanding games would love to disagree. You do not need a $1000 SLI setup to enjoy good games lately, or even half of that. I think its good that Intel is still advancing integrated graphics despite the GMA 950 being comparitavely glacial to discrete hardware its still *alot* faster than previous integrated attempts.

RE: Um... what?
By mpeny on 7/26/2006 4:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. He has been milking the freaking 3D shooter genre that he needs graphical help to support the lack of original content. He is thinks recycled material with better graphics will make the game better.

His POV is utterly silly and short-sighted.

Onboard graphics was never meant for gamers. The card he wants costs as much as the motherboard, CPU and RAM COMBINED. WTF. Does Aunt Selma really needs 7950GTX to surf the web?

And when is the last time gamers complain about feeling rip off about Intel GPUs?

He is making an issue out of nothing.

Make new content. Stop recycling. and STFU.

RE: Um... what?
By rklaver on 7/26/2006 5:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well said...especially the "STFU" part.

Does Dell or gateway sell computers with Intel graphics (other than the laptops)?

RE: Um... what?
By UNHchabo on 7/26/2006 5:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
As for Dell, all desktops except their XPS line, and one of their Entertainment PCs, come with Intel graphics. Some are "Extreme," and some are "Media Accelerator."

As for their laptops, I'm actually kinda mad that their 14" laptop doesn't come with an option to upgrade graphics. I have to go for 15.4" or larger if I want a Dell notebook with better graphics.

I have no idea about Gateway, I haven't researched them.

RE: Um... what?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 5:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
As a followup since I work with these every day... our standard Dell desktops at work contain either GMA900 or GMA950, which I would say is about a Geforce 4 ti4200 equivalent. Obviously not fast but they do have Directx 9 capability and *ahem* they can play certain games, just dont even try Doom 3. In reference to my parent post, the GMA are the "Media Accelerator" and current generation while the Extreme 2 was the previous generation and fairly lackluster. If they even manage to produce a 6600 GT grade integrated video for the next generation, I'll be impressed.

You can get an upgrade for even the Optiplex desktops which despite being designed for business use, do have a PCI-E slot. Last time I did a purchase order you could buy one with a moderate grade (7600 series equivalent) add-in or other lesser ones, its not like the older days when i810 was popular and even AGP was not an option.

RE: Um... what?
By dexvx on 7/26/2006 6:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
Be glad 14" laptops dont have discrete graphics solutions. Only a complete moron would put in a 30+W GFX in a 14" notebook. It'll burn your lap and have a battery life of 1 hour.

As for the Dell desktops, yes most of them *start* with GMA graphics, but they have PCI-E slots for upgrade.

RE: Um... what?
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 12:43:24 AM , Rating: 2
We welcome you to 2001, dexvx.

Now if you'll kindly catch up to 2006, you'll quickly figure out that quality graphics, heat, and battery life, are not exclusive towards eachother...

In fact, the biggest power draw on notebooks is the *gasp* frickin backlight for the LCD!

Why, would you look at that!

ASUS W7J 3P014P - Core Duo T2400 1.83 GHz - 13.3" TFT
12.4 in x 8.9 in x 1.5 in @ 4.4 lbs
Display 13.3" TFT active matrix 1280 x 800 ( WXGA )
Graphics Controller NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 TurboCache supporting 256MB - 128 MB

Oh, and the battery life is great too.

RE: Um... what?
By Lonyo on 7/26/2006 7:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, the main income for Epic is most likely their engine technology, which has been licensed for over 77 titles. So his one game is a drop in the ocean in terms of the engines uses.
Beter graphics and everything else is called progress.
So what if one of the games the produce in house is similar to previous titles? It's called a franchise, most developers/publishers have them, and some churn out a title every year.

IMO Epic have done more than their part. They even included a software render in UT2003/4 which meant people without 3D could in theory play their game.

Your POV is warped and uninformed. He is not speaking as a producer of one game, but as a creator of (widely adopted) new technologies.

RE: Um... what?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 9:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
You claim his POV is warped and uninformed, but I guess you are ignoring this company called iD that developed this game called "Quake" and "Doom" and licensed endless engines since then, possibly more than Epic ever did. I don't see Carmack complaining about the state of the market, or ever has.

What's your point anyways? He's whining about integrated graphics and what do you expect them to do? Bend over backwards, make an integrated graphics chipset thats on par with midrange graphics and add $100+ to your standard computer? Great integrated graphics is one thing, but the bread and butter PC that consists most of the market most people don't want or even require killer graphics. Read the last sentence again, most commodity computers wont take a price hike just because a PC developer cant have his cake and eat it too.

RE: Um... what?
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 1:23:08 AM , Rating: 2
Dammit.. it ate my post..

Newest Intel CPU, Integrated Graphics, Audio & Networking + 1 PCI-E 16x for expansion, ATX or compatible form factor.

Intel: ~$92
... and the same motherboard w/o a GMA 950 at the same price.
VIA: ~$53 (Though worse than a GMA 950)

ATI's offering is around $60, but they're disqualified because the FSB is only rated at 800 Mhz vs 1066 Mhz.. although it beats a GMA 950 .. generation behind.

You can grab an SLI motherboard for ~$80, without an IGP...
A low end 915 chipset motharboard for ~$70 ...

A GeForce 6500 costs $36, together with VIA's solution, you come to $89... So now you have 2 graphics cards, one that you can play Doom 3 and UT2k7 on.

Intel has no stranglehold on the AMD board market though.
AM2 board, integrated everthin' + PCI-E 16x, ATX or compat...
nVidia: ~$55 for the "6100" & ~$90 for the "6150"
ATI: ~$45 for an "X300" core.

There's a birds eye view of of Intel's stranglehold.

RE: Um... what?
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 1:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
>A GeForce 6500 costs $36, together with VIA's solution, you come to $89... So now you have 2 graphics cards, one that you can play Doom 3 and UT2k7 on.

Oh, and you save on shipping, too. :)

RE: Um... what?
By segagenesis on 7/27/2006 7:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well I appreciate you are trying to help out since you are providing some good examples rather than waffling, the point I am trying to convey is that Mark Rein is expecting way too much out of the PC market when he could just focus on consoles where you know what you are going to get. Realistically, companies that buy computers anywhere from 10 to 1000 or more at a time wont care about its graphics capabilities because these computers are designed to do work and not play games. The same applies to your average non-gamer who does more Microsoft Word and Solitare than Doom 3.

So really then, why are people surprised that Intel integrated graphics has such a big share of the market? Performance is not free and even if Intel made a killer integrated graphics chipset Mark Rein would still complain citing that its not as fast as a high end SLI setup. I bet if he had his way he would demand that consoles offer a graphics upgrade module every year for a few hundered dollars just so consoles dont stay glaciated in the same technology!

Your idea of using a cheap 6500 on an equally cheap board is good, but it goes back to what I mentioned about the GMA 950 or any other integrated graphics... it would run the game but not very well. Certainly the 6500 is far less than ideal for UT2007 anyways, correct? And while its not your comment, why the hell do we care about the "77 titles will use the Unreal 3 engine", someones never heard of Rareware and like it matters which game runs which engine... this guy will obviously never be satisfied. Live Anywhere? Great, but you will still need to spend at least $500 on current generation graphics cards to match the XBOX 360. Again people are not thinking here and assume that performance comes from magical fariy dust. Mark Rein if the PC market is too complicated for you just pack up and develop for consoles since it would obviously make you more money, I won't miss your games because there are plenty of others who are willing to fill your spot.

p.s. - Dailytech will "eat" your post if you take too long to write it out :/

RE: Um... what?
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 10:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
With a GeForce 6500, you can play UT2004, and probably even UT2007, well.

It won't be playing at 1280x1024 with all the bells and whistles, it'll play fine at 1024x768 at medium to medium high, with a framerate above 30 (the minimum for effective), and the ability to make out words on signs at distances more than 100 game meters.

It'll also make hefty column sorting, themed window handling, Vista's Aero, modifiable video streams, multi-stream video conferencing, and any general user interface much faster, more stable, and with no tendancy to glitch and leave remnants of a window's contents when it's moved, closed, or minimized.

So, yeah, Intel's offering is horse crap in comparison.

You don't need to spend $500 to match XBox 360 quality, although to match it's framerate, certainly...

The over $300 video card market is geared specificly to fast-paced games, that demand high framerates in excess of 60 with high quality...
$90-200 range consists of video cards with high quality and medium performance, such as the 6600 & X1700, for either high visual quality RPGs with playable framerates, high visual quality RTSs with playable framerates, and high but not ultra-high quality First Person games with playble framerates...
The $30-90 range consists of 'mainstream' videocards like the 6500, which let you play games fine, but without all the bells and whistles.

Intel's & VIA's products would be sub-$30.

RE: Um... what?
By Tyler 86 on 7/28/2006 12:04:35 AM , Rating: 2
... or, if you'd rather play the game with all the bells and whistles, and can deal with the stutter, you can... which Intel's can't do at all , because it doesn't correctly support a measurable portion of the high end techniques, even though it claims to...

The Intel GMA 950 accepts the instructions, but then ****'s up the screen... Go figure...

Cakeeaters beware
By Dfere on 7/27/2006 3:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Again, I have to point out- you can have your cake, and eat it too. That is how people eat cake. Consumption necessitates posession first.

However, if you eat your cake, you no longer have it. Therefore you cannot "Eat your cake and have it, too."

Double dum ahhh.

RE: Cakeeaters beware
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 10:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, technicality there... You can eat your cake and have it too - providing you still desire it in it's post-digested state.
Case in point; Intel's offering is akin to digested cake.

I have an idea for Mark Rein
By retrospooty on 7/26/2006 4:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
Dood, I love your games, and totally agree with your opinion of Intel and thier lack of effort on the graphics front, now here is my suggestion.

DONT DUMB DOWN YOUR GAMES... Simply stop it. Intel graphics suck, there is no rule saying you have to dumb down your games to run on it.

I would throw the reverse at you... Since developers are "dumbing down" thier games, Intel has no motovation to pump up thier graphics output.

Just my 2 cents after hearing the same rant for years.

RE: I have an idea for Mark Rein
By dmcanally on 7/26/2006 5:25:34 PM , Rating: 3
I would expect that as long as game developers like to make money and consumers like to save money… games will continue to be ‘dumbed down’ for the PC.

RE: I have an idea for Mark Rein
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 12:19:10 AM , Rating: 2
Ironicly, games haven't been 'dumbed down' at all for the PC, as opposed to their console (specificly; Xbox 360) counterparts, in capability...

However, they do typicly default lower, although they also typicly can look better than their console counterparts via some switches and options.

They develop the games towards the top of the line first, and then scale backwards, or develop the 'paths' concurrently. This costs time and money.

Yeah, I think they should just stop bothering with that "no flipping way is this worth playing" extra low quality DX7 path.

If some genius wants to play Doom 3 on his Geforce 3 (I'm sure it's been done...), he can write his own dx9 to dx7 wrapper, or he can stick his thumb up his arse (I'm sure it's been done...).

RE: I have an idea for Mark Rein
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 12:20:47 AM , Rating: 2
Also, most low-end graphics cards spec'd for DX9 (such as Intel's IGP) cannot run the game at it's DX9 specifications, and so need to be run at DX8 or even DX7 specifications.

RE: I have an idea for Mark Rein
By vortmax on 7/27/2006 10:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
Unlike most of the postings below, I can relate to Mark's frustration for the most part, but he seems to be forgetting the fact that Intel has not upgraded their IGP in such a long time for one simple reason. Money.

It costs them next to nothing to manufacture the GMA 900/950. It does all the basic things that people need to do on a computer. Why fix what ain't broke? Why would Intel spend a penny on upgrading their IGP if it's not going influencing their motherboard sales?

They could care less about the small percentage of gamers, let alone 'dragging' down the game developers and industry. Until Intel's bottom line gets hit as a result of their poor 3D performance, nothing significant will happen besides the usual IGP refresh every 2-3 years.

RE: I have an idea for Mark Rein
By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 10:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well, wake up and smell the coffee...

Consider this a hit.

If it doesn't cost them anything, and you agree their AGP is poor, not even mainstream, but isn't broken...

... why should they call it "Extreme", and still charge over/near $100 for their IGP equipped motherboards?

Going VIA for motherboard & IGP costs ~45$ at most, and a decent videocard you can grab for ~45$ at most, and save 10$ and beat the crap out of Intel's solution...

Intel's milking their brand name, and damaging the market.

Worst rant I've heard in quite a while
By cubby1223 on 7/26/2006 5:03:03 PM , Rating: 3
One of the great parts of a computer is that if you never play pc games, you are not forced to pay for the technology.

Don't blame intel, blame Dell & HP & such that apperantly do such a poor job explaining the computers to the customers.

RE: Worst rant I've heard in quite a while
By Homerboy on 7/26/2006 5:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
how about the consumers buying ignorantly?
its the consumer's job to make an educated decision when pruchasing. I dont go buy a Ford and then complain when I get my doors blown off in an Indy race do I?

By spindoc on 7/26/2006 5:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think Indy cars, or at least CART, use a Ford/Cosworth engine. :) and they don't have doors. ;)

By cubby1223 on 7/26/2006 11:52:54 PM , Rating: 3
Did you just respond without understanding a single word I typed? How do ignorant customers factor into what I typed? If you want to continue with your rediculous analogy, what should have been written instead is, "why should I be forced to pay for an Formula 1 race car if all I do is drive 30mph the 2 miles to work each day?"

By Lonyo on 7/26/2006 7:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
ATi are incorporating X700 (iirc) level graphics in an upcoming chipset, which is quite a long way ahead of Intel. Not sure about nVidia.
Intel don't even try and advance a huge amount.

By Eug on 7/26/2006 4:33:43 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, this Mark Rein guy really is a whiner.

RE: Wow...
By Xenoid on 7/26/2006 4:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
I could whine about him. He's not doing all he can either. Why don't your games fully support two+ cores? Huh? Explain that, then fix it, and come back Marky. Actually don't come back, go fix everyone else's software too. It's not just the hardware industry, the software we are running is not taking advantage of new features that were released over a year or two ago.

RE: Wow...
By Lonyo on 7/26/2006 7:32:58 PM , Rating: 3
Unreal Engine 2 was released before dual cores were even vaguely mainstream (before any dual core desktop CPU's were out).
Unreal Engine 3 WILL have dual core support.
Thanks for playing, go back into your hole now.

Oh, and at least 77 titles will be using that engine which will support dual cores/multi threading.
He's done his bit. Now you do yours.

Hardware Scores
By Trisped on 7/26/2006 4:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think the real Vista push on PC power will come from the hardware rating system. Then game developers can indicate a score required for minimun and recomended play, and uninformend buys can compair the scores on they games they want with the PCs they are going to buy.

I am not saying the Microsoft rating system is perfect, but it gives a much better idea of power then the current system of familys and numbers. I am sure their are more then a few poor saps who bought a computer with a NVIDIA 7300 instead of a 6800 because the 7300 was a bigger number and cost less.

By michcool125 on 7/26/2006 6:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Mark, I applaud you for you not being afraid to voice your opinion about Intel! It really is all true. Keep up the pressure!

Everyone says PC gaming dead this and that. Well there will always be a special nich group that will NEVER go away, and as far as expanding, thats up to what Win Vista will really do for PC gaming.

Will vista really help?
By MonkeyPaw on 7/26/2006 7:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how Vista will help, as it will consume more resources than XP. Integrated graphics have typically been built for workstations and cheap PCs--2D only and deal with it. How much more can you expect out of an IGP that is fighting the CPU for memory? How can you blame OEMs, when it's the consumer that demands a $500 PC? You can't blame OEMs for offering the product, as there are millions who buy PCs for the Internet.

I suppose he does have a bit of a point, though, since very few OEM machines found at BB or CC ship with a dedicated graphics card anymore. One would think that $1000 would get you a reasonable all-around machine, but it never seems to work out that way. You end up with a faster CPU and more RAM on the same IGP platform. At least there's an x16 slot in there. Remember the AGP-slotless machines of yesteryear?

That would be
By Merry on 7/26/2006 7:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Epics' </pedantary>

I think i may be drunk

Teh messiah
By Soviet Robot on 7/26/2006 11:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
Mark Rein is so enigmatic that all he has to do is open his mouth to get it posted in the news.

So True
By Kilim on 7/27/2006 1:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
First off, I am a store manager of a Gamestop with a somewhat decent (80+ titles) of PC Games for sale.

People do not knwo what they have. I mean, they cannot even play something like the first call of duty on their brand new Dell computers. Yes, I make people look at the system spec before I sell it to them, warning them we do not take PC games back. You know what the most common response I get?

"I have XP."

They do not know, and those same people get turned away from PC games. I do understand Intel's need for a low end model, but I also understand the frustration of a game developer who has been handicapped so severely. Intel has a right to protect its profits, btu a game developer has just as much right to voice his opinions.

By SonicIce on 7/27/2006 1:44:34 AM , Rating: 2
so people are dumb, what are you gunna do? this happens with everything. sometimes they can't even figure out the console.

Sure Mark
By dev0lution on 7/27/2006 2:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, now that you mention it, they'll get right on it. Right after you and all the other game developers stop pretending the specs on your stupid retail boxes actually represent what's required to make your games run looking a bit better than the graphics on the original atari system.

So Intel and integrated graphics chipsets suck. So does pretending your software runs on them. It seems you've figured out, much like OEM PC manufacturers, what the general public feels like spending their money on (and it's not discrete graphics so they can play your new games)

many people don't want to play
By mforce on 7/27/2006 8:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
Let's not forget PCs are not gaming consoles . The way I look at it most games should be for discrete graphics only . If you want to play Doom3 on your PC that's fine , go spend 200 $ and get a graphics card , there's a PCIE slot even if you have integrated graphics ( from what I know ) .
Integrated graphics is for people that either don't want to play or really shouldn't play ( PCs at work , school ) . There's really no reason integrated graphics should cost more and be more complex to play games . I'm sure nVidia and ATI wouldn't be too happy if they wouldn't see their discrete solution as well.
So put a label on you games : discrete graphics card required ( min. FX 6200 or ATI x1300 ) . That should solve the problem .
Oh and as someone said before stop whining man .

By rushfan2006 on 7/27/2006 9:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't disagree more with this Mark dude's comments. For that matter everyone in this entire thread who is even remotely siding with Mark on the integrated graphics thing is just insane.

And the way he's kind of dissing a PC's gaming ability in favor of consoles...PUHHHHLEEEEEEZE!

I admit I play consoles sometimes...I have an Xbox that's collecting dust now...last time I played it was about 3 months ago...but I've played PS2 (nephews have it) and Game Cube before....

I keep going back to my PC as my preferred choice for gaming platform.

The folks that buy the games with the crazy specs requirements that put out the insane graphics....mostly are folks that are pretty hard core PC gamers -- and these days I can almost bet you they have pretty sweet custom rigs, probably OC'd to death, with a ton of OS tweaks (like my system) and they are more than willing to drop the cash for these rigs too.

So trust me...the average joe gamer -- they are just picking up a console more likely than not....and thus they couldn't care less about this here article or what this Mark guy is saying.

Just pointless to me....its ALWAYS been this way -- the folks who are big PC gamers, never complained or care about the integrated graphics...

By Locutus465 on 7/27/2006 12:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
How do nVidia/ATI IGP compare to intels? Don't both companies offer solutions for Intel? Are the prices for these solutions much more expensive than the intel counterpart? Depending on the answer to these questions, couldn't a possible solution be for OME's to switch to ATI/nVidia parts, and get the extra marketing advantage that having a GeForce/Radeon inside your system would give you?

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