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The best days for PC gaming lie ahead. Despite more than a decade of strong growth in console sales and a myriad of emerging threats ranging from smartphones to tablets the rumors of PC gaming’s impending demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, an NPD Group report from last year concluded that “the PC is still the most-used system for online gaming, with 85 percent of online gamers reporting using a PC for online gaming activities.” And industry heavyweights seem to agree. Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, indicated EA’s support for the PC in March of this year, saying “from our perspective, [the PC is] an extremely healthy platform… It’s totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform.”
PC GAMING MUST CHANGE
So PC gaming is doing just fine. End of story, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.
PC gaming has a big problem. It’s not the hardware. It’s not piracy. It’s not the games. It’s how PC gamers are forced to play. The environment is far too fragmented and siloed. As a result, the PC gaming experience is isolated, dissociative, and falls short for a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter. These social barriers are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the PC as a gaming platform.
Evolve intends to break these barriers down with a website and desktop app meant to help PC gamers connect, coordinate, and play. Still in closed beta, Evolve has grown to 3,000 members in 60 countries. Collectively, they’ve tracked over three million minutes of game time and have banded together in more than 1,500 groups and parties.
A NEW SOCIAL EXPERIENCE
As a website, Evolve functions as a traditional social network with features that include walls, status updates, a news feed, and integration with Facebook and Twitter. Gamers can express their opinions using the standard ‘like’ button—or, if they’re just not feeling the love, ‘meh’ and ‘hate’ buttons. The site is rounded out by comprehensive stats display, a games library, forums, and a groups system that allows players to build communities around their favorite games.
As a desktop app, Evolve makes its platform available where gamers spend most of their time: in-game. A website just isn’t enough. Gamers need a platform that isn’t limited to their browser. And the desktop app does just that, by offering up the full Evolve web experience through its high-performance in-game overlay. Beyond the features available on the website, the app provides additional tools including a gamer-oriented web browser, multi-protocol chat client, and playtime tracking. Rounding out the app is its party system. One part chat room, one part VPN client, the party system gives gamers a way to bypass clunky server browsers and quickly jump in game with their friends.
Although the desktop app is currently only available for Windows Vista and 7 with support for 400 games, the Evolve team plans on making it available for other systems and extending support to encompass virtually all PC games.
Expanded system and game support isn’t the biggest thing that’s in store for the platform, either. We’re currently hard at work on our killer feature: universal matchmaking. Multiplayer gaming has continued to explode, but gamers are still stuck finding matches one game at a time and only while that game is actively running. The prospect for quickly finding a pick up match across all these games has been nearly impossible. Until now.
Evolve’s plans may be bold, but we’re ready for the fight. If PC gaming is to thrive, it needs an open platform with a new direction. It needs Evolve.