If PC Gaming Needs Saving, Razer’s Blade Isn’t the Savior

By  |  Friday, August 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Earlier this week, a maker of computer gaming peripherals named Razer took out a big ad in the Wall Street Journal that claimed PC gaming is not dead. The ad promised to “bring a new age of openness and innovation to all gaming” with a new product unveiling on Friday.

So here we are. Razer’s hyped up product turned out to be the Razer Blade, a $2,799 gaming laptop with a 17-inch display, cutting-edge specs and an eye for design. Inside, there’s a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M processor, Nvidia GeForce GT555M graphics and 8 GB of RAM. The outside is built from a solid slab of aluminum that Razer wants to shave thinner than a MacBook Pro. A customizable touch pad and set of LCD keys are on top, next to green backlit keyboard.

PCWorld’s Nate Ralph got a demo of the laptop and liked what he saw. So did Kotaku’s Joel Johnson, who wrote that the Razer Blade “might not just be the future of PC gaming—it may be the future of PCs.”

Maybe for him. But when I think of the future of PC gaming, I don’t see one that’s dominated by portable gaming rigs with price tags of $2,000 and up. I something completely different.

Part of that future might consist of streaming video game services like OnLive, whose remote servers have their own graphics processors to provide the muscle for modern PC games. The technology isn’t ready for prime time yet — whenever I try OnLive, I can never ignore its tiny bit of input lag — but some day, it will be ready. And when that happens, the need for super-expensive hardware will evaporate for the vast majority of gamers.

The other part is a broader change in the way we use computers.  I don’t particularly care for the phrase “post-PC era,” but I like the idea behind it: The definition of a computer is expanding beyond desktops and laptops to include smartphones, tablets and televisions. In time, these devices may share the same content. They may even become modular, allowing the peripherals to change while the core computing device remains the same. (Hey, that’s good news for Razer’s mouse and keyboard business.) All those changes will dilute the importance of owning a laptop with expensive internal components.

I’m not saying all this to dismiss what Razer has created. It is what it is — a very expensive machine with some very impressive features — but that doesn’t sound like a savior to me. And who said PC gaming was in peril, anyway?

 
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17 Comments For This Post

  1. The_Heraclitus Says:

    LOL! Looks like they learned Apple's pricing model. Overpriced, overhyped H/W.

  2. Zair Says:

    Uhhh… hooray expensive laptop? I don't see how this is even anything NEW, let alone game-changing.

  3. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Except Razer left out the software, services, and support, which is what you really pay for at Apple.

    And for the record, at the Apple Store, $2800 will buy you a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, an iPad, an iPhone, and some apps.

  4. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    It enables you to change from one game to another. That is the game change.

  5. anon Says:

    i have this on my computer as well its called ALT + TAB OMG ITS A WINDOWS FEATURE…

  6. The_Heraclitus Says:

    LOL!

    Apple charges WAY too much then for its OS. ~$2000 for an OS? No thanks.

  7. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Same here. I can run multiple programs at the same time and switch back and forth.

  8. Rodrigo Says:

    I don’t think it’s good for gaming with a GTX555. If they’re aiming for those price ranges they should just sell it at $3000 and put a GTX580 in it instead.

  9. Amelia@IT Management Says:

    PC gaming is not dead. It's also not dying. It's just stale. What the PC gaming industry needs is innovation in the games. The market these days is saturated with 3d shooters who are made more for eye candy instead of gameplay quality. Gamers don't need an expensive piece of hardware (sorry Razer).

    Games should not require a gamer to update his hardware. The update should just be optional.

  10. SirFatty Says:

    I totally understand the laptop as a gaming device, as I switched to that platform 3 years ago (eschewing my desktop, I no longer use a desktop computer at all). The problem is the pricetag. I would forgo the LCD trackpad, 17" display and customized buttons for a lower price. Sub $1000 would be the spot for me.

  11. IT Rush Says:

    And who told you that pc gaming is dead? I don’t think so.. Looks like razer just come up with a good gaming pc there eh…

  12. Ohmz Says:

    looks really promising, I wanna try it out but 2799$!?

  13. @howmanymikes Says:

    Disregarding the initial focus of the article, I disagree with you re: Post PC, and specifically remote processing. Until we can break the laws surrounding causality, you'll always experience that "tiniest bit of input lag." Always. That is, unless that remote processing power is next to your monitor. Which is the situation we have right now.

  14. Simon Says:

    This isn't going to revitalize PC gaming, its helping bury it.

    Seriously, a $2800 gaming machine? Why bother when I can get an XBox 360 for $200-300. On top of that, I don't have to fiddle with drivers, anti-virus, and all the other BS that comes with PCs.

  15. Dave Says:

    I still prefer a mouse and keyboard for all games — especially shooters. The exception being sports games, which I like a controller and large TV. Not to mention the fact that PC games are cheaper and you can mod PC games like Fallout 3 to no end with customization and fan made content which gives you much better value.

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