Sunday, 16 October 2011

PC Versus Console Gaming.

I came across an article on Gamerant about Id's John Carmack and his statement about PCs not being the lead platform for gaming and how Valve disagree. This obviously started I'd say a discussion but was more of a flame war about which was better PC gaming or console gaming. So here we are at the age old debate about the matter, so here are my thoughts about the matter.

While I am primarily a PC gamer, I do agree with John Carmack, and actually believe PC has never really been the lead platform for games, consoles have always been ahead, you can take this back to the days of early Nintendos and Segas and compare them to the likes of Amiga and Commodore, both of which were good platforms for gaming but I am sure consoles were ahead in sales back then as well. The fact of the matter is that console gaming will always be popular due to the fact of it's simplicity. What I mean by this is that you can go out and buy whatever console you want and buy a game for said console and you can play straight away. With PC gaming after you buy a disc of what ever game you want to play, you have to sit there and install the game so you are waiting 10 - 20 minutes or however long before you can actually play your game. That is 1-0 to console.

We then have the debate about cost and a lot of people have this notion that if you want to game on PC you have to spend thousands. While yes you can spend thousands if you're the kind of person that needs to have the latest tech possible, you will spend a ridiculous amount over the years. I bring up a point that console gaming could also cost a ridiculous amount if you want to have the latest version of which ever console you choose and go out and buy a new Playstation or Xbox etc every time they release a new one (and I don't mean PS2 to PS3 or Xbox to 360, I mean buying a new one when say you have a 250GB version and they bring out a 320GB version. There are people out there who do this, just as there are people who upgrade their computer every 3 months). The point I am getting to is that PCs don't have to cost £2,000. You can quite easily upgrade every 3-4 years and still have no problem running the latest games. The last time I upgraded was maybe 2 years ago (I can't remember so don't quote me on that). That was getting me up to a dual core chip, 4GB of Ram and a Radeon 5770 graphics card (which is the very minimum I would suggest for pc gaming, I am not sure of the Nvidia equivalent) costing me about £300 or so while it won't run the newest games at the highest graphical settings it runs them perfectly fine at the default settings, which is probably about on par with console graphics. Yes a 'gaming' PC is more expensive than any console counter part, but you also get a pc with your gaming platform if you choose to go down this road unlike consoles.

You could also debate the matter of exclusive games for consoles, and yes there are quite a few out there (and I'm not going to get in to a rant about Xbox exclusives that should be available for PC through GFWL). I would have to say PC probably do have a lot more exclusive games than consoles combined such as the obvious ones like WoW, Starcraft, Diablo and Total War series. Then you have the likes of Quake, Unreal, Hard Reset and Red Orchestra making an appearance on the shooter side of things. There are literally hundred, possibly thousands of PC exclusive games. Where as consoles each have very few in comparison.

It is obviously going to be easier for developers to create games for consoles as they have specific hardware specs so they only have to make one setting suited to that, while on PC they have to be able to support both high and low quality graphics. Which is why I believe PC gamers are seemingly more loyal and appreciative to companies that look after them, just look at Valve and Blizzards fan base.

Last point I am going to make is the keyboard and mouse versus controller debate. Frankly I find this stupid to be quite honest. Some people find controllers easier to use than keyboard and mouse and vice versa. Unless you are in to competitive gaming it doesn't matter. I prefer controllers for games which involve fighting, racing along with rpgs (final fantasy etc..), I prefer keyboard and mouse for shooters and mmos. They have made controllers compatible with PCs, it seems kb+m is starting to make an appearance over on the console side of things with the release of CS:GO for the Playstation. Why it took a pc developers to bring this to console god knows. But hopefully it's a sign of things to come so we can once and for all stop this pointless debate as it doesn't matter.

At the end of the day, there will always be both PC and console gamer, and this debate always seems to happen when either a) a 'next gen' console is released, which is when the "death of PC gaming" is usually predicted or b) when a consoles are showing their age which is when the PC gamers seem to come out of hiding and go on about how consoles are dated tech and pc gaming is the way forward. We see to be getting toward the latter right now.

I will leave you with this final thought. If you enjoy gaming just go out there and game. It doesn't matter if you play on PC, Xbox, Playstation, Wii, Gamecube, N64, SNES, NES, Dreamcast, Saturn, Genesis, Master System, PSP, DS, Gameboy, Game Gear...... are we starting to see my point here. Stop bitching about how the console you don't have is worse than the one you have. Just play it and have fun, enjoy it. You know the reason behind them being created in the first place.

Fanboys piss me off!