Top 5 Friday: PC Gaming Is Still Better.

I’m supposed to be this blog’s “PC guy” but in several of my more recent blogs I’ve given you plenty of reasons to be turned off by PC gaming (notably, here and here).  Where’s my smug, better than you attitude gone?  Truth be told, I’d like to think of myself less as a PC gamer and more just as a gamer overall.  That said, I truly believe that right now, the PC is still the best gaming platform around, here’s why.

5.  Better peripheral & controller support.

Console lovers, is that a collective gasp I just heard?  How dare me, right?  For the longest time consoles won the peripheral & controller category, hands down.  Like Bob Dylan said though, “Times, they are a changin’”.  As of right now you can use your Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, or PS4 controller to play PC games.  In addition, there are a plethora of other PC controllers out there, not to mention the Steam controller just got a release date. Then there are all the peripherals that are completely bonkers, like the high-end flight simulator and car simulator stuff or the mouse with 400 buttons.  Want a GameCube style controller?  Done.  How about a SNES controller.  Done.  There are so many options when it comes to using controllers on a PC, so much so that I’d consider the PC the go-to platform for peripheral choice.

4.  Better purchasing options.

Anyone can go to a brick and mortar store to buy a game, and that’s perfectly fine.  If you’re looking to purchase digitally though, nothing beats the PC’s range of options.  With a PC you’re not limited to one manufacturers store, like you are with a console.  A quick story…  Last week I was jonesing to play The Witcher 3 but I really didn’t want to drop the full $60 on it right now.  I got online and in 5 minutes I found digital downloads for $30.  By contrast, I haven’t seen a console version of the game for under $55, and I’d assume you won’t find a deal like the one I found on either console’s digital store.  Steam has great sales, and so does GOG.com.  There’s greenmangaming.com and Desura.com.  With all that choice it’s hard to argue against the PC in terms of purchasing options.

3.  Better hardware.

Ok, here it is, the age-old PC argument. Yes, PC hardware, specifically PC graphics hardware, is better.  Primarily it’s better because it evolves more quickly than the 6+ year cycle that the typical console does.  PC hardware is better for a number of reasons that go far beyond just graphics cards though.  Solid state drives are amazing and the typical PC hard drive is huge.  Sure, you can install those drives in your console, but we’re not talking about pulling stuff apart and replacing pieces.  If you’re going to do that you might as well be on a PC anyway.  PC’s come standard with massive amounts of HD space, large amounts of RAM, and graphics capabilities that can be tailored to your needs.  If you’re into this sort of thing, you can even play games across multiple monitors at absurd resolutions.  Try that PS4!

2.  PCs aren’t stuck to the desk anymore.

One of the biggest detractions for console gamers is the idea that they have to be tied to a desk.  For the longest time that was a pretty legitimate argument.  Hooking up your PC to your living room TV meant all sorts hassles.  HDMI makes it so simple though.  One cable carries the video and audio to your television.  PC’s have TV style remotes that work great, wireless controllers, and all sorts of slick interfaces to navigate content you’ve downloaded, stream-able content, and even content coming from  your cable box.  With very little effort your PC can be as versatile as your Xbox One.  Your PC is capable of everything a modern console is and a lot more.  It takes less set-up than you’d think, and it works better than you might expect.

1.  PC’s are the future, just embrace it.

This makes me chuckle.

Let me clarify my point right off the bat here.  I’m not suggesting that PCs are taking over, rather that consoles are slowly morphing into PCs.  Back in the day there was a huge divide between the console player and the PC player largely because PC gaming was a hassle.  There were driver updates to do and firmware upgrades.  Games had to be installed and “patched”.  Some games even crashed without warning.  All of that starting to sound familiar, console players?  I thought so.  In this respect PCs aren’t better they were just first to the ‘gaming is a big hassle’ party.  By the time the next generation of consoles have hit the market, they’re basically going to be PCs. Consoles are already plagued by the same issues that PC gamers have been dealing with for years.  Again, I’m not suggesting that this is a good thing, but it’s how things are in an internet-connected world.  The days of buying a PS1 game at BestBuy, bringing it home and having it work perfectly seem to be gone.  Today you have to install your console games, and patch them, often on day one.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this, I’m simply pointing out that what you call a “console” these days is just becoming a PC anyway, so if you’re going to deal with all the same PC-centric hassles, you might as well reap the benefits of being a PC gamer.

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