Which genre had a bigger impact to PC gaming RTS or FPS games?

Panel Discussion microphones
Panel Discussion microphones

What pulled you into PC gaming was it the fact that a new type of gameplay was created that just couldn’t be found on console systems? For many PC gaming took time to get into not only because of the cost of the systems, but that some of them took work to get running. However, the rewards were great for those who ventured into the world of PC gaming and through today some feel consoles are killing the PC gaming market (besides MMO’s) there are still millions of PC gamers out there.

If you look past the MMO’s and Flash games what would you find on these systems. Which would you find more of FPS, First Person Shooter Games or RTS, Real Time Strategy Games? Obviously with the recent release of Star Craft II I am sure you will see a Battlenet icon on many gamer’s task bars, but overall, who had the bigger impact on the PC gaming world?

In my opinion it is FPS games and this is coming from someone who loved to play RTS games and even turn based games. For me it was games like Wolfenstein, Rise of the Triad and of course Doom that had me going to Egghead software to slam three hundred dollars on the table for a Western Digital 750mb hard drive to build my first custom rig.

When I went to my first LAN party here in Florida it was the guys from Red-Eye that showed me how to use mouse look in order to properly use the hook in Lithium Quake 2. Now don’t get me wrong, StarCraft, Warcraft, Total Annihilation were also a big part of our LAN gaming, but it was games like Tribes, Duke Nukem, Shogo and Doom 2 that ruled our playtime.

We asked our panel of industry insiders their opinion on the question.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

I would have to go with FPS. Granted in the PC platform, RTS is bigger than it is on other platforms like the consoles. But even so I’d go with FPS having a bigger impact.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

In my opinion, Starcraft on RTS, and Quake on FPS.

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

I’d say RTS. Where FPS had a huge impact on hardware and game design. I think RTS brought a ton of previous non-gamers to the table for the first time and kept them there.

Danny Greig from XGEN Studios wrote:

I would say the FPS has had a larger impact on PC gaming but not by much. Doom/Doom 2 and Quake had just too much impact on PC gaming to ignore; I don’t think any RTS has had the impact of those games.  Blizzard has basically owned and dominated the RTS genre which has had a very large impact on the PC gaming industry but falls just short of what the FPS has done in my opinion.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

In terms of technology and broadening the appeal of the PC as a platform for gamers, I’d have to go with FPS.  In the early days, FPS highlighted the power of the PC as a gaming platform with superior performance to consoles.  There simply was no other way to play DOOM or Quake except on a PC.  The RTS on the other hand highlighted the power of the keyboard and mouse as an input control, but was not fundamentally limited to the PC.  It would have been possible to play Dune II on a console.

In terms of creating a genre that is uniquely PC, I’d have to go with RTS.  Today, consoles perform roughly as well as PCs and there are many shooters available on console.  And even though FPS controls are still superior on a PC, FPS is certainly no longer a PC-only genre.  Yet no one has really cracked the RTS nut on consoles.  With no technological barriers to clear,  RTS is a genre that’s simply best played sitting up with a keyboard and mouse, not reclining with a console controller.

If I have to pick one answer, I’m going with RTS.  The FPS made a bigger initial splash, but the RTS has endured as a uniquely PC genre and thus had a longer lasting impact on that platform.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I’d say first person shooters.  They survived longer as a genre, and people talk about Quake and Doom a lot more than they do Starcraft (I).   Me, I’m not a fan of the FPS genre.  I think there are more first person shooters as there are Phil Collins ballads… and they are largely just as indistinguishable from one another 🙂 .

Gary Manica from Smashing Ideas wrote:

Easy answer for me.  I want to say RTS games because I prefer them, but realistically they don’t come close to FPS games to me.

FPS games in general have been one of the (if not the biggest) pushers of hardware development on a PC for many years running.  Dev houses constantly refine massive engine libraries to push more and more polygons and maintain the minimum framerate that crazy FPS players demand.   Engines like CryEngine, Unreal, Source, idTech, etc provide a platform for, and push developers (hardware and software) to really go above and beyond while being able to use a mostly pre-built framework.  The tech they build in these engines has been filtering down to other gaming genres for decades now.  And there is a reason that other genres are adopting FPS aspects to them.

There are many instances of amazing RTS games out there, with a lot of really good ideas.  But I don’t think they affect the industry as a whole to the scale FPS games do.

So what is your take? Let us know your answer by posting in our forums below. See you next week.

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.