I’m all for people getting their own form of enjoyment, whenever and wherever possible. As someone who has played videogames on virtually every avenue they’ve existed on, I’m not here to say that PC gaming is bad. In fact, it’s incredibly far from it. Certain games require the full range of control that only a mouse and keyboard are capable of offering. In fact, there are entire genres that have never translated to another platform because of how well they perform on PC. Fans of real-time strategy, MOBAs, MMORPGs, and weird sex games need not read further as there are very few other ways to enjoy those besides playing on PC. But the idea that the “PC Master Race” exists as the best possible way to experience games just seems utterly incorrect to me. It’s a platform that has several advantages, and can put you on the bleeding edge of technology years before consoles reach a similar standard. Yet is also rife with roadblocks along the way that rarely seems worth it. Bear in mind, this lists discusses PCs in regards to gaming ONLY. I realize computers are wonderful machines that can do this, that, and the other thing. The only argument I am making is that PCs are not the best for videogames. These five reasons obviously do not apply to everyone, but have been a barrier to me and enforce my stance that home consoles are (and always will be) the gold standard for playing videogames.
1. Cost: Chasing the System Spec Dragon
PC Gaming is an expensive hobby. I’m always surprised by how many people are willing to pay hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, to get a level of graphical fidelity that is just slightly above what is already available on consoles. Hardcore gaming PCs often cost more than all three major consoles combined, and while they may look slightly better, they do not allow you to play the breadth of games that are exclusive to the competition. This year’s top of the line graphics card will not stand the test of time, and the few extra bumps in visuals come at a steep premium. While not everyone who plays on PC pays top dollar for cutting edge looks, the vast majority spend more than they should elsewhere for a dedicated gaming machine. I suppose if you were in the market for a personal computer, and just so happened to beef it up with games in mind that it’d be justifiable. But for the purpose of this argument, I see no advantage to even paying the same amount for a machine with identical specs to what Sony and Microsoft are both offering. Even with a $1,000 budget, I’d sooner buy a console alongside a low cost PC to keep the two separate in case one failed. Dollar for dollar, PC does not stack up as a gaming rig. and I continue to look at people who dedicate thousands on custom built PCs with extreme skepticism. Cheap PC options exist, but in my personal experience, and the anecdotal experience of others around me, you often get what you pay for. Unless you have a professional need for a high performance machine, or simply have the capital to burn, I’d recommend getting more bang for your buck elsewhere.
2. Quality Assurance, or Lack Thereof
I’ve already mentioned that many console games never make it to PC, and the same can be said for PC games that do not make it to consoles. Yet year in and year out, the gap between the two seems to widen when it comes to some of the most talked about titles. Then there are games like Grand Theft Auto V, which eventually come out on PC in exquisite form, but two years removed from it’s initial console release, and also much more demanding of resources to take advantage of it’s improved effects. There’s also the growing problem of poorly optimized ports of huge releases. Recently, Batman: Arkham Knight’s sales were altogether suspended from Steam, while other big named titles such as Mortal Kombat X, and seemingly everything Ubisoft has touched in the last two years, suffer from innumerable crash reports and bugs. This coupled with the fact that until very recently, there was not even a way to refund games purchased on Steam are big red flags to casual gamers and people who simply do not want to wait and see if something they’ve bought works correctly. As much as I’d love to hold developers accountable, some games remain unrepaired regardless of public outcry. This issue extends to consoles, but seems to be more prevalent on PC. Many of the PC quality control problems stem from the same issue, which just so happens to be the next item on the list.
3. No Industry Standard Benchmark
Part of the reason people love gaming on PC is because they get to build their own custom machine tailored to their every need. I have always been fond of having something uniquely mine. I can appreciate and share the desire to build my own brand of supercomputer, silly as it may seem. Unfortunately, this is also the same reason so many games are poorly optimized for so many users. There is no limit to the amount of permutations of hardware available, and games suffer for not always being compliant with your preferred brand of graphics card/operating system/processor. It is the same issue that affects apps on the Google Play store. Having to work smoothly on multiple chipsets with different resolutions for owners of new and legacy devices is not an easy task. PC gaming would be much simpler for all parties involved if developers were able to take a unified approach for every release. Instead, you get a mixed bag of PC ports that are either unrivaled by their console peers or borderline unplayable.
4. First-Person Troubleshooter
When things are running smoothly, PC gaming can be downright magnificent. A combination of great hardware and software can work hand in hand to deliver some seriously awe inspiring moments. But when the waters get choppy, the amount of technical tinkering can turn into a day long project or a week long nightmare. While it has definitely improved, operating a PC with just a moderate amount of technical prowess can leave you bewildered with conducting independent research while all your friends are online having the time of their lives. Even with proper system requirements, the slightest issue can make your experience worse and the culprit is not always simple to find. It’s easier to troubleshoot problems for games that are popular or newly released, but smaller titles may not have the amount of exposure or support. Regardless, if you game primarily on PC, you’re bound to come across a problem, and discerning whether it is due to your personal build or the game itself is not always obvious.
5. I Like My Couch
I’ll take a big screen and a sofa over a desk or a laptop that runs hot any day. I know PCs can be played on TVs, and with controllers, but who are you kidding at that point? The console is made with the slouch in mind. Steam machines and PC accessibility in general are making strides to close the gap here, but the game console still reigns supreme when it comes to the entertainment system.
That’s my open and shut case on why I’ll never be a PC gamer. After you factor in the relative cost, reputation of poor ports, hardware fragmentation, potential time lost to technical issues, and not so couch friendly nature, it should be plain to see why I firmly detest the PC gaming’s claim to the throne. At the same time, it’s still a fine way to play, and one of the only ways to play some seriously great games. I’m sure I’ll be looking like a real asshole when XCOM 2 comes out and I’m forgoing everything I just mentioned, but sometimes PC is the only option. In the end, it’s all subjective. Life is meaningless and everyone dies, so enjoy your games whenever you can, and on whatever platform you choose. Let us know your preferred platform of choice by sounding off in the comment section below or by finding us on Twitter @GameAwry.