Last time we all spoke, I apparently said some things that offended quite a few people. Specifically, I brought up why I felt that HD and the fascination with better graphics has lead to an overall decline in video game quality, which brought speculations that I am actually a 4chan user seeking to troll everyone. I would have thought that articles like my guide to being unhappy, my argument for why Turtles in Time is the greatest video game soundtrack of all time, or one of my very first articles where I talk about how Zelda II proved we’re all sexists for now and forever would have been the big instigators for such allegations. But it was my story about not properly researching my TV purchase that proved my trollhood. Hmm, OK then. /nodnod
To make up for this, I figured I should probably attempt to do a better job of articulating myself for at least the next article, and I should try to avoid stirring up unhappy thoughts or calling anyone out as generalized caricatures of gamers. So, with that in mind…yeah here’s why PC gamers won a long time ago.
If the Xbox One vs PS4 fight is considered a full-on World War, then the console vs PC debate must be the equivalent of the Cold War. For decades, people have been passive-aggressively sniping back and forth from either side, with PC gamers finding strength in Yahtzee Croshaw’s “PC Master Race” satirical aside and console gamers…uh…mmm… What again did console gamers ever have over PC gamers?
Oh right! Prices for consoles were vastly cheaper than PCs. At least, until new consoles started launching at $500 and $600 in broken states. Hmm…well, it must have been that consoles had more games supported and they were generally cheaper and…oh wait, PC gamers get essentially every single large-scale release and hundreds of smaller releases that consoles never see, and Valve has brought about the glorious Steam Sale that I hear so much about.
I’m a console gamer through and through, but that’s because I’m a lowlife Nintendo fan (your words, not mine). I really like the different experiences I can find on Nintendo’s consoles since Nintendo’s always trying to do something different and it’s generally the only company making anything for its systems, but even so, I look to my Xbox 360 and PS3 now and then when I need something closer to the “hardcore” demographic that good gamers are required to play now and then. But whenever I pick up a title for my Xbox, I hear how much cheaper, stronger supported, and overall better it is on PC.
Can you name a single huge release from the last year that didn’t appear on PC or isn’t planned to land on PC in a relatively short amount of time? Except for The Last of Us, a Sony exclusive, I don’t think you’re going to find anything. Even smaller arcade titles like Spelunky, one of my favorite retro-style games of the past few years, manage to find their way onto PCs in superior forms.
I got slapped down two weeks ago for complaining about HD graphics, but there’s a reason I get frustrated with them: video games are made by developers as they sit a foot away from an HD computer monitor. The games themselves aren’t even being built for consoles anymore. Rather, they’re all being downscaled to fit into the living room because the masses demand consoles and couches. And PC gamers even have both of those things now! And keyboards! And the Oculus Rift!
So let’s just drop all formalities and rip through reasons why PCs are better:
- PC games are cheaper for the consumer thanks to rampant sales.
- PC games have more options for controls/graphics/UI.
- PC games have vastly better community support, including developer-supported mods and player-driven forums.
- PC games are unmatched when it comes to smooth online modes.
- All genres work great on PCs, and some genres like the RTS or sim genres only seem to work on PCs.
- PCs are vastly better when it comes to backwards compatibility, not even mentioning emulation.
- PC games always look better than their console counterparts.
- PCs allow for more indie and homebrew creations.
- PCs are already multifunctional in that they can do virtually everything entertainment-wise with minimal experience necessary.
- PCs have games for hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike.
- There are far more high quality free games available on PCs than on any single console or even on all consoles combined.
- PC games are cheaper and easier to develop than console games, keeping developers happier and costs lower for customers.
- PCs are capable of holding infinitely more memory than consoles and at a fraction of the price.
- PC gamers are too busy swimming in their ocean of games to even realize that the console/PC war is still happening (that one may be more speculative).
In short, I’m finding fewer and fewer reasons to support consoles, especially with the way console gamers react to anything someone says or how any company acts. Mass Effect 3 has an ending that people don’t like, so they vote EA as the worst company in America. Nintendo makes a system for families so anyone who likes it must be a troll or a baby. The Xbox 360 introduces the Kinect and people lose their minds because Microsoft is clearly abandoning their hardcore consumers. Meanwhile, on PC, gamers flip out when Sim City doesn’t work because the game they paid for is legitimately broken.
I don’t think I even have the ability to hyperbolize the issue properly. I can think of some counter-arguments though, which will inevitably be referred to me as strawmanning the situation, but let’s see what I can do anyway.
First, people will say that PCs are more confusing than consoles, to which I completely agree with you. The only reason I haven’t bothered to purchase a gaming PC is because I’m extremely intimidated by the idea of getting the right specs and keeping those updated on a regular basis. But then again I’m also lazy when it comes to my entertainment and feel the need to constantly eat when I watch TV, or vice versa. I have dozens of friends who already have solid gaming rigs and would be excited to help me understand the process of finding a good gaming PC better, so the only hurdle is my own resistance to perceived work.
Next, there’s the inevitable debate over used games and physical copies since PC games don’t have either of those. Sure, you can find older PC games in games stores here and there, but overall you’ll never be able to sell back a PC game you don’t like or no longer play, nor will you be able to lend one to a friend. Unless you have Steam or something like that. Or you only purchase games when they go on sale anyway so that your entry cost is a hell of a lot cheaper. Or you’ve bought so many games that you can’t even remember which ones you’d want to sell back or get rid of. I like to display my games on a shelf, so I resist purchasing digital copies, but digital is absolutely the way of the future, and once every system uses games in the same digital form, what’s really the difference?
Finally, there’s still the argument that consoles are providing unique experiences that PC games aren’t, and I’m ready to agree with that as well. Except I’m using the Wii U as my example, so my argument is instantly invalid in most people’s eyes because the Wii U is made for families and babies, not real gamers (real gamers were never children and never have children). Even stuff like the Kinect, which I mentioned before and that everyone agrees was a gimmick, has shown that it can be incredibly cool…using mods that people have made for their PCs. Once Valve’s Steam Box appears in the coming future, what will consoles do that PCs can’t do better? Really, answer me that.
And there you have it. My magnum opus for my fellow lulz-seekers. Have I finally proven my griefer status and stepped over the line, or am I speaking some sense? I honestly have no idea, and I don’t feel like I should be the final voice in this space. So instead, let’s hear some comments on my completely arbitrary and ultimately meaningless article. What do you agree with and what do you disagree with? Let’s get those comments flowing! I don’t get paid unless I get a certain comment-quota!
(Funny story, I don’t actually get paid for my articles and freely volunteer as a columnist. Retroware just hasn’t shooed me away yet, though I am clearly trying my damnedest with articles like this.)