Debate Club: Consoles vs PC (The PC Side)

Chris you ignorant slut.  Seriously though…

As I read Chris’s position on the console vs. PC debate, it was hard not to be swayed.  There were several major points he covered, but the overarching theme seemed to be the availability of games on consoles, vs. the availability of games on PC.  Game availability is a point I simply cannot debate.  As a gamer whose sole gaming platform is currently a PC I missed The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V, and Super Mario 3D world.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg too.  I could list off a ton of console exclusives that I’ve missed out on by not owning one.

The main counter-point I have to Chris’s argument is that (I believe) his point refers to consoles lumped together as a whole.  While there is no doubt that the combined list of Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U exclusives is larger than that of the PC, I’m not sure that any one of those systems on its own has a huge advantage.

Assuming again that the debate is between consoles as a whole and PCs, there is a huge investment required by the console owner.  I checked Amazon.com and as of writing this it would cost over $1225 for the three current gen consoles.  That doesn’t include any games, extra controllers, or even tax.  With the price of gaming PCs as they are now it would be easy to find a pretty high-end machine for much less than the cost of the consoles.  With a few youTube tutorials, it’s even pretty easy to build your own computer, lowering the price substantially.

Consoles as a whole may have a definite edge over PCs in the category of available exclusives, but I believe that the PC is nigh untouchable when it comes to games-per-dollar.  With Steam, gog.com, humblebundle.com, and others, it seems like there is always some massive sale going on.  The steam sales in particular are pretty legendary amongst the PC crowd for the sheer amount of games available on discount and the absurd size of some of those discounts.  While I didn’t get the chance to play The Last of Us, the $60 I would have spent on that one game goes a long way on Steam.

In his argument, Chris brought up the fact that indie games used to be a wildcard for the PC but that indies tend to be more console inclusive now.  I agree with that, but I believe that the PC still has some tricks up its sleeve.  First off, extreme simulation experiences are pretty much PC exclusive.  I’m talking about the guy with 6 monitors and the $2000 simulation cockpit used for Flight Simulator.  While that’s not ever really been my bag, it’s certainly an experience that’s only available on PC.  In addition, the Oculus Rift is PC only, and that’s a device that many believe is a true game changer.  If it’s not the future you’re after, the PC offers great retro gaming options through emulation.  I don’t really get into the emulator scene myself, and I know that it’s viewed as kind of shady, but there’s no doubt that some games (like old arcade games that never came to any console) can find some new life through emulation.

Taken as a whole, I believe that consoles have a distinct edge over the PC in the exclusives department, but the amount of investment to be a console hardcore is pretty massive these days, and consoles aren’t as sturdy as they used to be, either.  That $500 Xbox One might need to be replaced in two years.  Furthermore, no single console is any closer to solving the “I want to play all the games” problem than the PC.

As a final aside, I find this whole debate very tiring these days because there simply isn’t a good answer for those of us hardcore gamers.  No matter what single system you choose, be it a PC or one of the consoles, you’ve made the wrong choice.  If I buy a PC I can’t play The Last of Us, if I buy a PS3 I can’t play Halo 4, if I buy and Xbox I can’t play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.  What’s so frustrating to me is that the exclusives themselves make up a very small portion of games overall, it’s just that many of them are so great that they make us feel compelled to spend hundreds of dollars on a console just for the right to purchase them.  I want to play The Last of Us so bad, but at this point I’d have to spend $250 on an outdated console to play one, single game.  I don’t even have the option of buying the PS4 — a console that might actually get some use over the next 5 years — because tLoU isn’t available for it.  I truly believe that right now, the PC is the best option, but it still drives me nuts that I don’t own all of these consoles.  I’m tired of missing things. I HATE YOU BILLS!

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