The gaming scene of today is utterly massive in every way, shape and form. Millions of people around the world at some point interact with games. Whether it be by tackling a JPRG on the train ride home, locking themselves in a dark room for a few hours of survival horror, or immersing themselves in a marathon of online gameplay. Yes, we gamers come in all different shapes and sizes.
We may all play differently, on different devices, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t change the fact that we all have one common interest — we love to play video games.
When it comes down to the devices, there are generally two platforms to play on: console or PC. While gamers can be found on one or the other, even if they’re playing the exact same game—the experience can vary altogether. Some in both categories can generate animosity towards the opposing side, exaggerating faults and becoming an evangelist for advantages.
It is very much the truth that when it comes down to console and PC gaming, there is a pretty obvious difference. In some cases, a person may be too comfortable in their ways to even consider transitioning to another gaming platform. Referring to console gamers, many have thought about making the jump over to the PC-side, but have ultimately deemed it a steep challenge.
But is that really the case? Well, take it from someone who happily enjoys the best of both worlds; it really isn’t as bad as you think.
When looking at both categories, the first question one may ask is: “What exactly are the advantages/disadvantages?” Here, I’m going to highlight a few common arguments that console players use in an effort to avoid switching to PC:
“I Could Never Run It!”
In the case of console gaming, most gamers enjoy one common feature: optimization. The PC is a very fragmented platform. You and your buddy can both have a computer, but the two of you could be at completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes down to graphic power. On the other hand, you and your buddy can have the same console and even if your model is a newer variation or vice-versa; the vital components are exactly the same.
This is one gripe that a lot of console gamers as their main basis for deciding against moving to PCs. But how much water does it hold?
The difference between a console and a computer is night and day; while they both are capable of playing games, the experience isn’t quite the same. A developer can tailor-make a game for that console, as the components are fixed. When that same developer is creating a game for the PC, he has to take into account that not everyone’s setup may be powerful enough to accommodate the game. Therefore, the developer now has to make the ‘compatibility horizon’ as broad as possible.
Many console-gamers believe that it’s also too expensive to build or buy a competent PC. However, it’s actually quite the opposite. Really, it depends on how far you want to go. Having a great PC doesn’t mean you’re going to shell out the money for a near supercomputer. To run most games, you just need a few decent parts. The rate at which new processors and graphics cards are being developed is incredibly high, meaning that there are a lot of options available.
While some games are certainly a lot more demanding than others, having a set of decent parts will still give you a chance to play. You can build a competent setup yourself for about the same price as a PlayStation 4, give-or-take a few titles. Not only will you be paying a very similar price, but for the most part, you won’t have to replace anything for at least a half-decade. Upgrading isn’t a yearly thing, unless you’re the type that always likes to be on top of all the new technology. It’s a luxury, but not a necessity.
“But, the Online Community!”
Many console gamers have become very attached to their respective online communities. Xbox LIVE, the PlayStation Network, and even the Nintendo Network have all shown strong growth since inception. All are utilized by core groups of users that have in part helped develop the online communities as a whole. Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network even have programs which reward premium users with free/discounted games.
On the PC side of things, the online community is just as great, if not arguably better. Steam has become a big name in the industry in the last few years. The growth has even forced competitor’s to adopt some practices only seen on Steam. Even with ‘Big Picture Mode’, Steam has generated an easy-to-use system and coupled that with killer deals. Services such as the Steam Greenlight and Steam Early Access programs have also helped indie gamers to spotlight titles enrolled in the development process. The social aspects are also on par with the aforementioned networks, making it a very well-rounded online hub.
“And What About my Controller?”
Unlike consoles which have dedicated controllers, PCs are mainly reliant on the traditional keyboard and mouse combination. For some games, such as some first-person shooter titles and role-playing games this setup works quite fine. However, when it comes down to racers, platformers, fighters and action/adventure titles, having a pair of analogue sticks and triggers is almost a necessity.
Thankfully, PCs are able to recognize a variety of different controllers, and their are hundreds to choose from. Gamepads, joysticks, steering wheels, flight yolks — all the major categories are present, and feature several options which appeal to different price ranges. Even the newest model of the Oculus Rift will launch with an Xbox One controller, and various others are supported by the Windows platform. Steam Big Picture mode creates a more graphic based UI intended for controller navigability.
— THE BOTTOM LINE —
The jump from console-to-PC gaming may seem huge, but it really isn’t. A lot of people feel intimidated when they consider the idea, but at the end of the day, there’s no real reason for the apprehension.
With PC gaming, you have a plethora of options to choose from, which means that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get into it. You can start small just to try it out and gradually work your way up the ranks, should you so desire. Not to mention that the PC gaming scene has a massive amount of users that will gladly help newcomers out, if any assistance or advice is needed.
I started off gaming primarily on PC, but through the years, I got a chance to play quite a few different consoles. I moved over to console gaming about five years ago, and it became my primary way to play games. However, I never fully left the PC scene. I still put several dozens of hours into a lot of PC titles, especially simulators.
Some may simply prefer one platform over the other, but there’s nothing wrong with coexistence. So then, if you’re not a PC gamer, go ahead and try it out. Who knows, you and PC gaming might just be compatible.