back to article EA preps video game PCs

Electronic Arts (EA) plans to release pre-configured PCs alongside big name video game launches, in an attempt to blur the boundary between high-end PC gaming and hardware expense. Games blogger Chris Remo recounts a conversation on Sunday at Comic-Con with an EA rep, who told him the first such PC will be launched with Crysis …

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Jon
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Works for me

My PC is in need of an upgrade to play the latest all singing and dancing games but after years of building my own machines I 'd like something that will just *work*! I can always add to it at a later date - overall it looks like a great idea!

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Stop

GPUs are the problem

The most confusion comes from the graphics card.

They're given such absurd names, usually just consisting of a 4 digit number, that the average Joe doesn't know what's what and wonders why Crysis won't run well on his ATI Radeon 2400HD.

EA would be better working with ATI and Nvidia and sorting out a joint marketing approach which would benefit them all - and us.

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Brilliant idea!

They could sell them with dedicated peripherals designed to help the gamer interact better with the game software! And make them easier to set up than normal computers!

What would we call such a wondrous invention?

CONSOLES.

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see the text

Nothing more than a new generation of consoles, this time with a mouse and keyboard - brilliant (sarcasm)

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Coat

A PC built to run Crysis

But will it ACTUALLY run Crysis?

(sorry I had to...)

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One day

hopefully they wont use windows and then I will buy one.

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Not as stupid as it sounds

Thats actually not a bad idea, my last PC upgrade was based on the specs needed to play Bioshock.

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Dead Vulture

EA again? Two words for you!

"Chip Hawkins" and "3D0"!

( Alright that was technically three, but you get the point! )

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Stop

Expensive way of doing things

So you buy a PC for Crysis, then 6 months later you buy a new PC to go with the next game etc etc etc (Otherwise you have the same confusion as at present i.e. will this run on my machine questions)

So it'll be sold in PC World? (I can't imagine any other customer base being so unbeleiveable stupid)

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Meh

Crysis: Warhead, is a scaled down version of Crysis (A console version if you will), so running it shouldn't be a problem for modern PCs.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Brilliant idea!

Hahahahahaha.....

When you can get a good MMORPG or RTS running on a console let me know. Oh and it must be possible to upgrade it, and come with another computor that alowes me to type documents ETC.

Some of us can justify £400 for a PC, but not £400 for a PC £400 for a PS3 or XBox.

Basicly your not funny, and wrong.

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Based on EA's other releases,...

...will these computers also include long, un-skippable EA videos to be played every time you start the computer?

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RE: GPU's are the problem

"EA would be better working with ATI and Nvidia and sorting out a joint marketing approach which would benefit them all - and us."

They (Nvidia and ATI) are currently in legal trouble for something similar to this, but that was just to benefit them and not at all us :)

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stupid idea

It doesn't blur the boundaries between the costs at all, everyone will know that the game is £40, and so the remaining £560 is for the hardware (which is unlikely to be cutting edge).

And if some people aren't capable of working out whether there pc will play a given game, are they expected to buy a new pc everytime they see a new game they like?

So, it just becomes a branded EA box that is guaranteed to play one game. Wow.

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chip who?

Wasn't he called Trip Hawkins?

No word on who will be manufacturing these machines? Will they be EA-branded Foxconn/Asusteks or an alliance with Dell/HP/Alienware?

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@AC RE: Brilliant idea!

"When you can get a good MMORPG or RTS running on a console let me know"

Final Fantasy XI, best MMORPG out there by a large margin, available on PS2/360 and PC.

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Paris Hilton

Theory vs. Practicality!

Well this sounds like it could be a winner, on the surface. But given the fact that these machines will be sold by "well known" computer retail giants no doubt, herein lies the problem. People who use their PC's for gaming generally know their hardware and what they want. Whereas staff who work in said retail stores know jack diddly (generally). Being an ex-enthusiast who only used a PC for games, here comes the theory bit, this is a good idea as the likelyhood is that your new gamaing PC will be good for a couple of years before needing an upgrade.

Paris, because she's hot......in theory

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RE: Based on EA's other released,...

And be rereleased every year, with fuck all changed except the icons look a little more realistic and the start button is a bit shinier.

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Agreed

...sounds just like a console to me too. If they are smart about it there is a market there, it's not a big job to build a PC that can be upgraded cheaply in the future, mostly its just a case of picking the right motherboard but it can be a confusing business for anyone who doesn't have the time to trawl through hundreds of reviews to filter out the obsolete info and all the hype and spin from some writers. If they can offer a good gaming PC for a decent price and upgrade packages for the same system for at least 2 years then they could be on to a winner. Trouble is they will have to compete with GPU, RAM, HD, etc. vendors on the upgrade package price and will still suffer if they offer the best bang for your buck hardware but 'reviewers' are discrediting brand X because brand Y is handing out the freebies for good reviews.

Still, looking forward to seeing what they come up with. If they can offer a standard unit with standard upgrades then they can also use standard setups, ie. single click braindead overclocking with all the lockups ironed out and the hardware giving all it's got. Of course, if they don't offer any kind of linux support then they suck cocks in hell ;) No games for linux you say? Then they can bloody well make some.

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Many, many gamers...

... are NOT tech-heads. Whilst there are those of us who can, and do, throw PCs together there's a lot of PC gamers out there who neither know, nor care about what's in their shiny silver box (mine's brushed aluminium).

I can see EA making money on this, they'll throw together low-end gaming rigs cutting every possible corner (like most Dell's they'll have cheap cases, motherboards, RAM and cooling at the very least). Still cheap components might not matter though, since I'm guessing the hardware will be obsolete within a year as it'll be specced for a specific game rather than over-specced to meet the demands of tomorrows games.

Slap some "custom" case-art on the rigs, based on the game they're specced for and they'll fly off the shelves. "CRYSIS-Ready"* will be the new "Vista-Ready".

* well not CRYSIS maybe by the time they release them, perhaps DOW2 or Empire: Total War...

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Useless

A £400 PC will not run the latest games at maximum quality and a decent resolution. Will the marketing literature state that for optimal performance please set game quality to low/medium or lower your screen resolution to 800x600? I don't think so. How many will EA con with this bullshit?

And I can imagine the kind of components they will stuff into the cheapo case fitted with a generic 350W PSU. They will want to make a profit, most likely a big one, so I can imagine it will consist of components to the value of £300-£350. These PC's will be a joke to the serious gamer.

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Avi

So they've taken the Minumum Specs list...

And given it to a shop? Hardly groundbreaking.

More useful, as mentioned above, would be the hardware manufacturers making it easier to work out what their products do.

Even better, produce console games that make use of the keyboard and mouse. Then I can spec my PC for doing PC things and go and get a Playstation for doing playing things.

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Unhappy

Halo 3

I can't wait for Microsoft to jump on the bandwagon. With the average Halo3 game last 7 hours from start to completion, that £400 price tag is starting to look rather high.

(Naturally I am ignoring multiplayer online gaming, just to support my argument.)

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What they need is a standard platform

They sell the "Crysis PC", then on the box of future games they can write "compatible with the "Crysis PC".

That way they can recomand a configuration that is powerful enough to run the game and fully compatible without gamer having to worry about CPU, Ram, GPU etc...).

If EA plan to use the year's blockbuster title to promote that year's platform instead of calling it "EA gaming PC 2008, 2009, 2010...") it's OK, but if you need to buy the PC just to play one game this won't fly.

I wonder if "EA gaming PC 2009" will be the Battlefield 3 PC...

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Anonymous Coward

Much as I love PC games...

...I wouldn't need to go through all the hardware upgrades if they just gave me mouse/kb support for consoles instead.

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Linux

ps3 love

"When you can get a good MMORPG or RTS running on a console let me know. Oh and it must be possible to upgrade it, and come with another computor that alowes me to type documents ETC."

Apart from the upgrade side (which you can do with the HDD and rumors for RAM) - you can always install linux on a ps3 and have office programs - or in my case mythtv frontend.

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The reason for graphics cards names

Most kit comes in four flavours: excellent and expensive (for people with money to burn), excellent without the over priced badge (for knowledgeable bargain hunters), cheap rubbish (for people who know a car capable of 120mph will really do 12mph in town) and rubbish with an expensive badge for the ignorant masses.

This is an excellent pricing strategy for ATI/nVidia, but it does cause disappointment for games customers when they find their XYZ8Ol is one tenth as good as the XYZ80I that was reviewed.

If the machines were available mail order, and it was clear what the parts were and that the parts were not special cut down versions or deliberately modified to be incompatible with standard ATX parts then I might recommend one to someone without the skill to assemble their own PC.

If the games did not require windows then I would consider buying some of those too.

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Yes but...

This is a stupid idea that merely feeds into the trend of having to spend a fortune on upgrades to play the latest PC game, which 9 times out of 10 has sacrificed game complexity and play experience to the almighty god of ray-tracing. The game sucks, but at least it looks good (and has several layers of DRM and requires a persistent IP connection to boot).

No wonder the PC game market is evapourating.

It's like having to rebuild your garage every time you buy a new car.

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Joke

@Alexis Vallance

I prefer to use the 3 digits instead.

Usually the numbers after the £ symbol.

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Anonymous Coward

bahh, consoles are better.

No messing, stick the disc in and play on a big screen, not a crapp 17in monitor. No messing with DirectX and/or drivers every time you install the latest game, no massive multi-DVD installs.

£400 will get you a very smart PS3, and a few games, A PS3 has more grunt than a high-end PC, and devs reckon the Cell/RSX combo is more powerful than a high end GPU.

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Jobs Halo

More game companies need to use this same initiative

In terms of EA being such a big player in the gaming industry I think this has a potential to do well, only if other developers use the same thinking and design games for these machines. Because lets face it, Xbox360 and PS3 games can be easily played on PCs within a decent budget, take ATi's genius pricing and performance card 4850 and stick in a cheap Athlon X2 processor with of course some decent RAM and you should be perfectly fine to run the latest games. So in conclusion, get games companies to design games with these PC specs in mind and of course market the hell out of them so that everyone knows about them i.e. Take Apple for instance, genius marketeers! And the PC could get a new lease of life in the gaming industry.

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Alien

Wait a minute..

Heh, I think the idea of turning PCs into glorified consoles has already been done. They even created their own version of the BSOD, RROD - Red Rings of Death.

Alien for the only people other than yourself who understands what it really takes to build a gaming machine. Shame they sold their souls to the Dell.

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Flame

@bahh, consoles are better.

What are you smoking???

"No messing, stick the disc in and play on a big screen, not a crapp 17in monitor. No messing with DirectX and/or drivers every time you install the latest game, no massive multi-DVD installs."

Ok first things first, only reason you play on the big screen if because GENERALLY you sit further away and it needs to be bigger to see all the detail. I would rather play Assassins Creed on my PC instead of a HDTV because I can see further when it comes to flag hunting. Nice being able to see a flag a half mile away due to the draw distance being maxed. Now onto the other foolish comment you made. How often do you mess with DirectX to get something installed? Most of the time it asks to install an update to DirectX to make sure youhave the lastest version at the time the game was released and if you already have it or newer it doesnt do a damn thing. Now WTF are you talking about MultiDVD installs? Only 2 games I know of lately with 2 DVDs are Age of Conan and Vanguard. So ummm, why not do some damn research before you spout off at the mouth.

"£400 will get you a very smart PS3, and a few games, A PS3 has more grunt than a high-end PC, and devs reckon the Cell/RSX combo is more powerful than a high end GPU."

So for almost $800 US I can get a "very smart" PS3 and a few games? Damn inflation is a bitch isnt it? Could have sworn that it was more then a "few" games for that price seeing as the high-end PS3 is what? Around 400 or less now right? Anyway More grunt? Again do your research before you spout off cause it just makes an ASS out of U and well......U. Granted yes they havent fully utilized the potential of the Cell/RSX system, but by the time they do your argument will still be pointless seeing as at that time PCs will be far more powerful.

Damn I hate know it alls. Flames for obvious reasons

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Stop

EA = Lazy Bastards!

Maybe EA should concentrate on making their games work properly on currently available hardware... The overbloat codebase for games like Battlefield 2142 is just designed to suck on anything that's not next gen.

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EA hardware?

No thanks... It'll stop working in 6 months time when they decide to terminate the online service crucial to using it.

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Terrible idea....

It's just an excuse for EA to not spend as much time making their games compatible with different systems. Instead they'll say "well you should have bought one of ours" rather than releasing a patch or two.

Anyway, what happens when they release their next game with a slightly different spec? Do you have to then buy ANOTHER PC, or worry if the spec you have will actually play the game?

If you want convenience, buy a console. If you want upgradability, build your own PC.

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Go

RE: Chip Who?

Yes, it was "Trip". I met him once... he was very... tanned. Nice guy though.

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Worse than consoles

These will be over-priced, average spec for the game.

It pays to research and build a future proofed machine yourself rather than relying on EA (YEAH WE TRUST THEM) to build it for us.

But then, if you've got money to throw around.. pfht. Go for it.

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Unhappy

@David Webb

Wow. That game defines simultaneously defined new levels of pain, irritation, and the word "grind".

I played that game for a few months with a bunch of my friends. Worked on my red mage for a while until I unlocked one of the other classes. I can't remember which for sure, but I think it was paladin. Played with it and got to Surabaruta (or whatever that beachy area was with all the goblins). We quit when one of my friends that had unlocked dark knight was asked by the only group we could find to tank.

And that's why I don't play FFXI.

I liked the multilingual servers and the language-independent communication. I LOVED the fighting system with its' chains. I loved the FF-y environment. But I HATED the fact that there was no way to solo and even grey enemies that give no experience could hand your ass to you unless in a group, the crafting system was "for pretend", and everything was literally hours of walking apart with no means of transportation aside from the ludicrously expensive (and yet still slow) chocobos and impossibly expensive airships. At least with real jobs you get paid for the time you waste.

Hell, even Everquest had free boats (unless you started in Luclin, which was why I quit after exactly one week). Anarchy Online (my second generation MMO of choice) one upped all that with instantaneous transporters.

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The Bic PC

so these are effectively going to be throw away, title dedicated systems then.

Bet the hardware vendors are rubbing their hands with glee.

Sounds like something for people with more money than sense.

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Fed up with upgrading

PC gaming will die: EA is gonna lose money trying to save a platform that will not survive the PS3, Xbox 360 and their successors.

PC hardware (and especially graphic cards) has a way too short lifecycle and at one point, users will grow tired of upgrading every 6 months. Most of the time, if you're serious about gaming and want a card that will last a bit longer, you'd have to cash out insane amounts of money (eg. the cheapest Nvidia GTX280-based cards sell for about$450), especially when compared to console which are heavily subsidized.

Giving up PC gaming is also a fantastic opportunity to regain your freedom, not being tied up to Vista or XP and explore better OS like Ubuntu or MacOSX.

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