To PC or Not To PC
I seem to be at cross-roads… looking left… looking right. Not sure, which way to go. Caught between change or sticking to what I really know and feel comfortable with. It’s a question that most of us gamers have faced at some point, deciding our chosen platform. I am wondering if I should stick with consoles or swap… to PC gaming?
It’s a debate that has been bantered around ever since the 8bit days, with the emergence of the NES and Master System. As you may know I have used most system, yet have always settled for console gaming. Two reasons stand out for this decision; cost being the primary one, and on my side a little laziness! I like to go into stores, look around at the games on offer and pick one. I know that as long as it says Xbox 360 on the box, unless the disk has been scratched it will work as soon as I get in. With PC gaming its a little different, having to check the system specification first, making sure it will run nicely on my invisible rig! Sounds petty I know… it’s just one of my little quirks!
Cost is another factor, with a decent PC rig costing anything from £800 upwards. There are cheaper alternatives out there but how future proof are they? How long before I need to upgrade the graphics card, add more RAM just to play the latest Battlefield? These are the questions that made me choose to stick with this console generation. Obviously in a perfect world I’d have them all, but in this economic climate it really isn’t a viable option… for me anyway.
So why am I now pondering this question, once more? Why am I wondering whether to ditch the consoles for a PC? I’ve seen a lot of changes in my time and for me the PC platform is becoming more and more a tangible proposition, especially for the next gen. Several things have changed over the last few years, and certainly in the past six months I have found it even more difficult to dismiss the platform like I have done in the past. So what has changed? Why do I think that the PC is soon going to be the perfect choice?
Let’s start with the choice; certain genres really don’t seem to translate well to the console. MMOs and RTS games, just to begin with, work really well on the PC. Yet when you look at the offerings on the console there are only a few that really worked. Then let’s take a look at the Indie scene – indie games on the PC are offering a lot more variety and originality over the AAA titles, which at the moment tend to be sequel after sequel. With hardly any original ideas or IPs being developed, the indie scene certainly has a more attractive pull at present. All is not lost on consoles though – for instance Journey on the PS3 was just simply amazing, and one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. Also Minecraft is now on the 360, allowing us console gamers to create our own worlds. However when you compare the console version to the PC… so much is missing. It’s a cut down version at best; still addictive and great to play, but missing that little shine that the PC version has.
As stated earlier price has always been my main issue with PC gaming; the initial outlay can set you back quite a bit. However the PC is future proof! Moving with the times as it happens, no restrictions for developers as long as you keep updating your PC regularly. With consoles it’s a case of ‘this is the hardware, this can be achieved now what are you going to do with it?’ Anyone seen Battlefield 3 running on the PC next to the 360? I hate to say it but it’s when you see something like that the penny drops as to how old the 360 really is.
Don’t get me wrong the 360 version still looks beautiful, yet the PC version offers so much more with better lighting and textures throughout. Also the actual price of the games between the different formats is just silly! Battlefield 3 when released, like other console games, retailed for around £39.99. If you shopped around you could indeed get a much better deal, but the PC version (the most expensive I ever saw it on a retail shelf) was £29.99. Now I know £10 doesn’t sound a lot but that’s the general rule of thumb on pricing. So mathematicians… let’s add this up. The general life of the consoles is around 10 years; would you say that’s a fair life cycle? Ok, so let’s go with buying a game every month, with this price difference. That’s an extra £1,200 we’ve spent on games over that ten year period. That’s the price for one hell of a gaming rig… wouldn’t you say?
Then we have the extra £40 a year to enjoy the features of Xbox Live Gold. Features such as cross-game chat, parties, Netflix and Love Film. On the PC you can use all of these features for free!
So you see folks I’m really beginning to think the next generation for me will be the PC, unless something rather beautiful is unveiled by the big three…. something that blows my mind! But what do you all think, are the consoles the logical choice still, or is the PC going places the consoles just can’t touch? Let me know… to PC or not to PC?