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Console gaming is hardly different from PC gaming, and much of what people say about PC gaming to put it above console gaming is often wrong.
I’m not sure about you, but for the past few years, I’ve been hearing people go on and on about PCs "superiority" to the console market. People cite various reasons why they believe gaming on a PC is “objectively” better than console gaming, often for reasons related to power, costs, ease-of-use, and freedom. …Only problem: much of what they say is wrong. There are many misconceptions being thrown about PC gaming vs Console gaming, that I believe need to be addressed. This isn’t about “PC gamers being wrong,” or “consoles being the best,” absolutely not. I just want to cut through some of the stuff people use to put down console gaming, and show that console gaming is incredibly similar to PC gaming. I mean, yes, this is someone who mainly games on console, but I also am getting a new PC that I will game on as well, not to mention the 30 PC games I already own and play. I’m not particularly partial to one over the other. Now I will mainly be focusing on the PlayStation side of the consoles, because I know it best, but much of what I say will apply to Xbox as well. Just because I don’t point out many specific Xbox examples, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
“PCs can use TVs and monitors.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is the implication of one, and overall just… confusing. This is in some articles and the pcmasterrace “why choose a PC” section, where they’re practically implying that consoles can’t do this. I mean, yes, as long as the ports of your PC match up with your screen(s) inputs, you could plug a PC into either… but you could do the same with a console, again, as long as the ports match up. I’m guessing the idea here is that gaming monitors often use Displayport, as do most dedicated GPUs, and consoles are generally restricted to HDMI… But even so, monitors often have HDMI ports. In fact, PC Magazine has just released their list of the best gaming monitors of 2017, and every single one of them has an HDMI port. A PS4 can be plugged into these just as easily as a GTX 1080. I mean, even if the monitoTV doesn’t have HDMI or AV to connect with your console, just use an adaptor. If you have a PC with ports that doesn’t match your monitoTV… use an adapter. I don’t know what the point of this argument is, but it’s made a worrying amount of times.
“On PC, you have a wide range of controller options, but on console you’re stuck with the standard controller."
Are you on PlayStation and wish you could use a specific type of controller that suits your favorite kind of gameplay? Despite what some may believe, you have just as many options as PC. Want to play fighting games with a classic arcade-style board, featuring the buttons and joystick? Here you go! Want to get serious about racing and get something more accurate and immersive than a controller? Got you covered. Absolutely crazy about flying games and, like the racers, want something better than a controller? Enjoy! Want Wii-style motion controls? Been around since the PS3. If you prefer the form factor of the Xbox One controller but you own a PS4, Hori’s got you covered. And of course, if keyboard and mouse it what keeps you on PC, there’s a PlayStation compatible solution for that. Want to use the keyboard and mouse that you already own? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Of course, these aren’t isolated examples, there are plenty of options for each of these kind of controllers. You don’t have to be on PC to enjoy alternate controllers.
“On PC you could use Steam Link to play anywhere in your house and share games with others.”
PS4 Remote play app on PC/Mac, PSTV, and PS Vita. PS Family Sharing. Using the same PSN account on multiple PS4s/Xbox Ones and PS3s/360s, or using multiple accounts on the same console. In fact, if multiple users are on the same PS4, only one has to buy the game for both users to play it on that one PS4. On top of that, only one of them has to have PS Plus for both to play online (if the one with PS Plus registers the PS4 as their main system). PS4 Share Play; if two people on separate PS4s want to play a game together that only one of them owns, they can join a Party and the owner of the game can have their friend play with them in the game. Need I say more?
“Gaming is more expensive on console.”
Part one, the Software This is one that I find… genuinely surprising. There’s been a few times I’ve mentioned that part of the reason I chose a PS4 is for budget gaming, only to told that “games are cheaper on Steam.” To be fair, there are a few games on PSN/XBL that are more expensive than they are on Steam, so I can see how someone could believe this… but apparently they forgot about disks. Dirt Rally, a hardcore racing sim game that’s… still $60 on all 3 platforms digitally… even though its successor is out.
See my point? Often times the game is cheaper on console because of the disk alternative that’s available for practically every console-available game. Even when the game is brand new. Dirt 4 - Remember that Dirt Rally successor I mentioned?
Yes, you could either buy this relatively new game digitally for $60, or just pick up the disk for a discounted price. And again, this is for a game that came out 2 months ago, and even it’s predecessor’s digital cost is locked at $60. Of course, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Dirt 4 is currently (as of writing this) discounted on Steam, but on PSN it also happens to be discounted for about the same amount. Part 2: the Subscription Now… let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: PS Plus and Xbox Gold. Now these would be ignorable, if they weren’t required for online play (on the PlayStation side, it’s only required for PS4, but still). So yes, it’s still something that will be included in the cost of your PS4 or Xbox One/360, assuming you play online. Bummer, right? Here’s the thing, although that’s the case, although you have to factor in this $60 cost with your console, you can make it balance out, at worst, and make it work out for you as a budget gamer, at best. As nice as it would be to not have to deal with the price if you don’t want to, it’s not like it’s a problem if you use it correctly. Imagine going to a new restaurant. This restaurant has some meals that you can’t get anywhere else, and fair prices compared to competitors. Only problem: you have to pay a membership fee to have the sides. Now you can have the main course, sit down and enjoy your steak or pasta, but if you want to have a side to have a full meal, you have to pay an annual fee. Sounds shitty, right? But here’s the thing: not only does this membership allow you to have sides with your meal, but it also allows you to eat two meals for free every month, and also gives you exclusive discounts for other meals, drinks, and desserts. Let’s look at PS Plus for a minute: for $60 per year, you get:
2 free PS4 games, every month
2 free PS3 games, every month
1 PS4/PS3 and Vita compatible game, and 1 Vita-only game, every month
Exclusive/Extended discounts, especially during the weekly/seasonal sales (though you don’t need PS Plus to get sales, PS Plus members get to enjoy the best sales)
access to online multiplayer
So yes, you’re paying extra because of that membership, but what you get with that deal pays for it and then some. In fact, let’s ignore the discounts for a minute: you get 24 free PS4 games, 24 free PS3 games, and 12 Vita only + 12 Vita compatible games, up to 72freegames every year. Even if you only one of these consoles, that’s still 24 free games a year. Sure, maybe you get games for the month that you don’t like, then just wait until next month. In fact, let’s look at Just Cause 3 again. It was free for PS Plus members in August, which is a pretty big deal. Why is this significant? Because it’s, again, a $60 digital game. That means with this one download, you’ve balanced out your $60 annual fee. Meaning? Every free game after that is money saved, every discount after that is money saved. And this is a trend: every year, PS Plus will release a game that balances out the entire service cost, then another 23 more that will only add icing to that budget cake. Though, you could just count games as paying off PS Plus until you hit $60 in savings, but still. All in all, PS Plus, and Xbox Gold which offers similar options, saves you money. On top of that, again, you don't need to have these to get discounts, but with these memberships, you get more discounts. Now, I’ve seen a few Steam games go up for free for a week, but what about being free for an entire month? Not to mention that; even if you want to talk about Steam Summer Sales, what about the PSN summer sale, or again, disc sale discounts? Now a lot of research and math would be needed to see if every console gamer would save money compared to every Steam gamer for the same games, but at the very least? The costs will balance out, at worst. Part 3, the Systems
Xbox and PS2: $299
Xbox 360 and PS3: $299 and $499, respectively
Xbox One and PS4: $499 and $399, respectively.
Rounded up a few dollars, that’s $1,000 - $1,300 in day-one consoles, just to keep up with the games! Crazy right? So called budget systems, such a rip-off. Well, keep in mind that the generations here aren’t short. The 6th generation, from the launch of the PS2 to the launch of the next generation consoles, lasted 5 years, 6 years based on the launch of the PS3 (though you could say it was 9 or 14, since the Xbox wasn’t discontinued until 2009, and the PS2 was supported all the way to 2014, a year after the PS4 was released). The 7th gen lasted 7 - 8 years, again depending on whether you count the launch of the Xbox 360 to PS3. The 8th gen so far has lasted 4 years. That’s 17 years that the console money is spread over. If you had a Netflix subscription for it’s original $8 monthly plan for that amount of time, that would be over $1,600 total. And let’s be fair here, just like you could upgrade your PC hardware whenever you wanted, you didn’t have to get a console from launch. Let’s look at PlayStation again for example: In 2002, only two years after its release, the PS2 retail price was cut from $300 to $200. The PS3 Slim, released 3 years after the original, was $300, $100-$200 lower than the retail cost. The PS4? You could’ve either gotten the Uncharted bundle for $350, or one of the PS4 Slim bundles for $250. This all brings it down to $750 - $850, which again, is spread over a decade and a half. This isn’t even counting used consoles, sales, or the further price cuts that I didn’t mention. Even if that still sounds like a lot of money to you, even if you’re laughing at the thought of buying new systems every several years, because your PC “is never obsolete,” tell me: how many parts have you changed out in your PC over the years? How many GPUs have you been through? CPUs? Motherboards? RAM sticks, monitors, keyboards, mice, CPU coolers, hard drives— that adds up. You don’t need to replace your entire system to spend a lot of money on hardware. Even if you weren’t upgrading for the sake of upgrading, I’d be amazed if the hardware you’ve been pushing by gaming would last for about 1/3 of that 17 year period. Computer parts aren’t designed to last forever, and really won’t when you’re pushing them with intensive gaming for hours upon hours. Generally speaking, your components might last you 6-8 years, if you’ve got the high-end stuff. But let’s assume you bought a system 17 years ago that was a beast for it’s time, something so powerful, that even if it’s parts have degraded over time, it’s still going strong. Problem is: you will have to upgrade something eventually. Even if you’ve managed to get this far into the gaming realm with the same 17 year old hardware, I’m betting you didn’t do it with a 17 year Operating System. How much did Windows 7 cost you? Or 8.1? Or 10? Oh, and don’t think you can skirt the cost by getting a pre-built system, the cost of Windows is embedded into the cost of the machine (why else would Microsoft allow their OS to go on so many machines). Sure, Windows 10 was a free upgrade for a year, but that’s only half of it’s lifetime— You can’t get it for free now, and not for the past year. On top of that, the free period was an upgrade; you had to pay for 7 or 8 first anyway. Point is, as much as one would like to say that they didn’t need to buy a new system every so often for the sake of gaming, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been paying for hardware, and even if they’ve only been PC gaming recently, you’ll be spending money on hardware soon enough.
“PC is leading the VR—“
Let me stop you right there. If you add together the total number of Oculus Rifts and HTC Vives sold to this day, and threw in another 100,000 just for the sake of it, that number would still be under the number of PSVR headsets sold. Why could this possibly be? Well, for a simple reason: affordability. The systems needed to run the PC headsets costs $800+, and the headsets are $500 - $600, when discounted. PSVR on the other hand costs $450 for the full bundle (headset, camera, and move controllers, with a demo disc thrown in), and can be played on either a $250 - $300 console, or a $400 console, the latter recommended. Even if you want to say that the Vive and Rift are more refined, a full PSVR set, system and all, could cost just over $100 more than a Vive headset alone. If anything, PC isn’t leading the VR gaming market, the PS4 is. It’s the system bringing VR to the most consumers, showing them what the future of gaming could look like. Not to mention that as the PlayStation line grows more powerful (4.2 TFLOP PS4 Pro, 10 TFLOP “PS5…”), it won’t be long until the PlayStation line can use the same VR games as PC. Either way, this shows that there is a console equivalent to the PC VR options. Sure, there are some games you'd only be able to play on PC, but there are also some games you'd only be able to play on PSVR. …Though to be fair, if we’re talking about VR in general, these headsets don’t even hold a candle to, surprisingly, Gear VR.
“If it wasn’t for consoles holding devs back, then they would be able to make higher quality games.”
This one is based on the idea that because of how “low spec” consoles are, that when a developer has to take them in mind, then they can’t design the game to be nearly as good as it would be otherwise. I mean, have you ever seen the minimum specs for games on Steam? GTA V
Actually, bump up all the memory requirements to 8 GBs, and those are some decent specs, relatively speaking. And keep in mind these are the minimum specs to even open the games. It’s almost as if the devs didn’t worry about console specs when making a PC version of the game, because this version of the game isn’t on console. Or maybe even that the consoles aren’t holding the games back that much because they’re not that weak. Just a hypothesis. But I mean, the devs are still ooobviously having to take weak consoles into mind right? They could make their games sooo much more powerful if they were PC only, right? Right? No. Not even close. iRacing
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or better or AMD Bulldozer or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
GPU: NVidia GeForce 2xx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory / AMD 5xxx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory
These are PC only games. That’s right, no consoles to hold them back, they don’t have to worry about whether an Xbox One could handle it. Yet, they don’t require anything more than the Multiplatform games. Subnautica
So what’s the deal? Theoretically, if developers don’t have to worry about console specs, then why aren’t they going all-out and making games that no console could even dream of supporting? Low-end PCs. What, did you think people only game on Steam if they spent at least $500 on gaming hardware? Not all PC gamers have gaming-PC specs, and if devs close their games out to players who don’t have the strongest of PCs, then they’d be losing out on a pretty sizable chunk of their potential buyers. Saying “devs having to deal with consoles is holding gaming back” is like saying “racing teams having to deal with Ford is holding GT racing back.” A: racing teams don’t have to deal with Ford i