Earlier this week we talked about cross play between consoles vs PC games, namely the aspects of cheating that tend to occur more prevalently on PC than they do on consoles. Today, Daily Reaction is taking it a step further to talk about the general divide between the PC and console video game market. Will we determine once and for all which is “better?”
Chandler: I’m a console gamer through and through. My experience with PC is less than stellar and I like my console for one simple reason: simplicity. Consoles offer uniform hardware so optimization tends to be uniform across all games. If I wanted to play the same game on PC, I would have to make sure that whatever system I was playing it on met the minimum specs, and even then, there are a number of other factors that can impact how well your games run on a PC.
I don’t envy developers that have to make sure their game works on numerous set ups. Console seems easy to me. If it works on one, hypothetically, it should work on all of them. The same cannot be said for PC games. Part of me wishes I had more time and money to invest in a huge gaming set up, and consistent upgrades that could run games at top tier quality, but the fact is I’d rather have a consistent and dedicated machine than have to worry about multiple components and upgrading this or that to make sure that I’m getting the most out of my game.
Now a lot of this may be coming from the corner of not being a graphics snob. Gameplay far outweighs visuals to me, and unless a game is near unplayable, I can forgive the odd frame drop, lower resolutions, or non photo-realistic graphics. In some cases, less than perfect visuals are part of the experience, and that’s not the aspect of the game that shines most bright. In terms of performance, I know that some PCs can outperform consoles, but I just don’t care enough to invest in it.
There are also the console exclusives. I’ve been a member of the PlayStation family, and there are some things that I can get here that I just can’t get on PC. Sure I could pirate, or emulate, or whatever the kids are calling it these days, but I don’t participate in media piracy — movies, music, or games — so that draw of PC gaming is lost on me, and I love my Uncharteds and God of Wars and similar experiences way too much to give them up in favor of the mouse and keyboard.
I will admit that I don’t fully understand PC gaming. I haven’t very actively played PC games since the original StarCraft in the mid 90’s, so I’m sure there is something I’m missing, but I just prefer the simplicity and living room entertainment of consoles. Yes, I am fully aware there is crossover and you can connect your PC to a TV and/or home theater setup, but again, it seems to lack the simplicity and unified platform that a console offers.
Writing all of this has actually been quite revealing to me. Perhaps the reason I am a console gamer rather than a PC player has nothing to do with the pros and cons or differences between the platforms, but rather my upbringing with consoles in my home and lack of access to a powerful gaming PC throughout my life. As gamers, have we settled into our console or platform or choice based on our experience in gaming over the years, as opposed to having made a conscious choice to play in that space? It’s certainly something to think about.
Dan: As I said during our first part on this discussion. The best aspect of gaming is its ability to offer a fantastic experience for just about anyone, regardless of what they are looking to find in it. Some gamers like to keep things simple, while others enjoy the complexity of making their own custom experience, and some like to only play a few titles or genres, while others like to play everything under the sun. That is what makes gaming beautiful.
I find that PC gaming in general requires a bit more knowledge of hardware and software, even on the most fundamental of levels, simply because there are more parts involved, as well as an operating system to work with. To some, I can see that being too much of a barrier of entry, but to others that is just part of the fun. Being able to find a particular keyboard, mouse or even gamepad offers a slew of options that most console gamers do not have, can be appealing to some. But, as I said, not everyone cares.
Console gaming is fantastic for its plug and play ability, as well as certain software that can be designed for a specific hardware, without necessarily having to worry about multiple specs, that is, unless it is multiplatform. Although, PC gaming can be a near mirror image of the same experience, if you know what you are doing, and I think that is where the platform starts to lose people. Much like anyone who is into working on cars, there are those who just want to drive without having to deal with anything, and there are those that want to personalize their car, or have a simple project to work on. It all comes down to comfort levels.
As much as I do love my console gaming, I don’t think I could ever ignore the PC side of the industry simply because so many wonderful things start off there. Due to a number of factors, the ability for smaller developers to put everything on consoles just isn’t going to happen, which means that there are a ton of fresh experiences that are only going to be found on PC platforms. Not all of them will require a super expensive gaming rig, which is the other issue that is also brought up every time debate starts.
The reality of the situation is that you can get a decent PC that can play a certain level of games for about the same price as a console and get more utility out of it, but that generally requires more knowledge about what you are purchasing, or even how to upgrade things yourself. Computers are a difficult market to break into, especially if you don’t have any understanding of what you are buying — or needing — which is why consoles are a fantastic and simple option. Gaming is supposed to be fun, and in general, not stressful, so honestly, regardless of which camp you are in, enjoy what you have and don’t worry which is “better.”
Consoles vs PC: The Gamers' Debate (Part 2) - Daily Reaction