The gaming news world is rife with announcements to do with the Sony PlayStation 5, about all its great new features, and while they are good features, are they worth writing home about? Has anything changed in a long time in the console world, or are they still playing catch-up with our favorite community?
Before you grab your pitchforks, this isn't going to be me berating consoles for 20 minutes, on the contrary, I don't hate consoles at all, I don't even dislike consoles, I have consoles, but I'm going to highlight the reasons I personally, prefer my gaming to be done in front of a PC.
So, in no particular order, i am going to breakdown those reasons, and hopefully present a valid argument, so without further ado, here you go.
To be fair to Sony, for years this was a staple come back within the PC community, that nothing is ever really out of reach, you can still load up Transport Tycoon today on a brand new PC, sure, you need to fiddle around a bit, but you wouldn't get far on a console. For reference, Transport Tycoon was released in 1994, and you used DOS to play it, and it was great.
However sure enough Sony has announced its new backwards compatibility, that you'll be able to play, even online, with PS4 users, which sounds good, but you can bet there will be all sorts of requirements and probably very few games supporting it, I guess we'll see on that one, but for now, sorry, got to give it to PC gaming.
Sure, consoles have some level of backwards compatibility, but I think we can all agree that it pales in comparison to PC gaming.
The PC community has created a topic here that remains unparalleled in the console world, and that's the customization of your battlestation, if you buy yourself a nice new PS5, you take it home, open it, pop it on your counter under the TV, and that's about it- don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal if you don't care, maybe you want a set it and forget it kind of gaming device, your not into RGB or fan controllers, I understand.. I think.
Sure you can customize the room to your heart's content, but that's where it ends, whereas, in the wonderful world of PC gaming, your battlestation becomes an extension of yourself, you are often forced to craft it one component at a time, and because of that we end up with a wonderful situation where no 2 rigs are the same, sure we share components and peripherals, but the way in which we display them is always unique.
You put your rig together (unless you buy a pre-built, which is still ok, but your at the mercy of the sales company here, and you can definitely get a better build for the money, if you build it yourself), then you start thinking about everything, the mouse you use, the keyboard, the very desk the two items sit on, the speakers, the monitor, when we think of all these components it's no wonder there's a thriving community on the topic, it does start to sound expensive though.
Not a one trick pony
I feel like this one could be considered reaching, but I'll roll with it, your PC is far more than the sum of its parts, and far more than a gaming machine, for me, it's the tool in which I write these posts, it's my music listening center, it allows me to do work, and so much more. Now sure, consoles have come a long way, but ultimately the line stops at Media, they're great for consumption, but that's where the usefulness ends, and a PC consumes your favorite media, and then some.
Take your PC and do some cryptocurrency mining if you like, or start your own website, or learn to code, or make your own game, watch a movie, I could go on but that would really change this article a lot, point being, no console is as versatile as a PC, the PS5 included.
Picture this, you fire up Battlestation 5, and you notice your not getting 60+ FPS, but your only getting 45FPS, the horror, point being, you slap yourself a new GPU in there, (probably for less than the cost of a new console) and your away, providing it fits in your case- GPU's are getting big. Contrast that with a console, and you find yourself in the previous compatibility discussion, e.g can you even play this new game at all without upgrading your console, and are you getting a full experience?
You could get 6 years easy out of 90% of a PC build, and still find yourself playing new games, whereas consoles are replaced every what, 2 years? As soon as the next Xbox comes out, people will happily jump ship, because their own console now feels inferior, but you don't get that with PC, because your 980Ti is still a kick-ass card, even if the new 1080 comes out the next day.
Some console games are restricted to a single console, and this is bad, and some people even go as far as buying more consoles to combat this, but if your a PC gamer, then your probably never going to face this. Sure there is always exceptions to the rule, but it's unlikely you'll miss out by being a PC gamer, pretty much all AAA titles end up on PC eventually, and usually cost less to boot.
Think Microsoft, and then remember that 99% of Xbox exclusives, will be available on Windows 10 eventually anyway, and even Sony has a system in place called PlayStation Now, which brings tonnes of PS3/4 titles to the PC too, which for me, puts another solid point in the PC scoreboard.
Have you heard of Steam? They're a small company that runs the biggest and best video distribution platform ever, with something like 20,000 games available, your not going to run out of games, and some of them are free, and however you might feel about free to play games, there is no denying they feel like they're dominating at the moment.
But the best part of Steam, and to be fair, all the other PC Gaming stores is the sales. Admittedly they have gotten less crazy over the years, but you can find some crazy deals around Christmas and the like, so get your wish-list full of everything you can't afford, and ride that train to the next major holiday- see if you can grab a bargain.
And don't forget Humble Bundle, you can buy multiple games and, here's the kicker, you can pay whatever you want! Although, dont do that, its for charity so your supporting a good cause and often getting multiple games at a time, it's the sole reason I have so many games on Steam that Im probably never going to get around to playing.
Some genres just really lend themselves to PC, and while its probably unrealistic for me to call them hidden, there may be games you previously couldn't play, take Real Time Strategy games, sure there's some on consoles, but this type of game was meant for PC, and only by playing them on PC do you get the most out of them.
The same can be said for MMORPG games, take World of Warcraft, such a behemoth of a game, but only possible on PC really, use extra macro pads to execute complicated commands, your PS5 won't be able to you here.
There's a couple of important numbers that PC brings the potential to have higher, these numbers being Frames per second, and resolution, these days, console games are proud to be running at 30FPS, which is... okay. But how about 120FPS? I don't need to tell you that one of those numbers is bigger than the other.
Resolution is the other, and while consoles are getting there, the Xbox can now play certain games at 4K which I'm sure is nice, but how about 8k? how about 16k? Both possible- but it's an honorable mention that supposedly 8K has been surrounding the PS5, which... I'll believe it when I see it.
Not too mention while pumping out these numbers, your PC will probably be quietly powering away, meanwhile in the world of consoles, those things are pushed to their limits when a AAA title comes out, and always have limited graphics because if they weren't done that way, they simply wouldn't work very well- PC's your free to run them as high as you like, just make sure you have the hardware to back it up.
If you like the look of a gaming pad, like the Xbox controller, for example, you can take it, and use it on your PC, it's that simple, you can use just about anything to control your PC, and consoles might not be so forgiving. Don't like the way a game is controlled? You can probably map those controls any way you like, and even use macros to perform complicated functions if the game calls for it.
Or, just find literally any Bluetooth controller and connect that thing to your PC, with a £5 Bluetooth adapter (because you can), and your cooking, but I would really recommend powering through with a keyboard and mouse. Not to mention that a keyboard and mouse makes for a better player, it gives you far more control than a game-pad is able to provide, and it shows. Gaming mice are so fantastically accurate these days, that the little joystick on a typical game-pad, just can't compete at all.
Learn Something New
People used to say that PC's had a learning curve to gaming with them and using them, but who are we kidding, kids grow up on computers now, and use this to their advantage when something on the PC doesn't quite go right, though this isn't being highlighted to say that PC's go wrong- everything can go wrong, even consoles, they can hang, freeze, all sorts.
With a PC, you have to look after them, you have to care for them arguably a bit more than a console, which means stuff can go a bit stray, this can sometimes require a bit of intense googling to find out what drivers best to use with your new device, or what that error code means, but the great thing is you can probably find your answer pretty quick, as people tend to document these issues when it happens to them along with the fix.
Wont somebody think of the mods?
Picture this, you get your new game on your console, you play it, you finish it, you're done with it, now what? Pop it on the shelf to give you something to clean once a week? Maybe- but on PC you take that experience and you mod the living hell out of it, take Skyrim, people have modded in thousands of additional hours of fun out of a game that was released in 2011, can anyone say they are still playing a console game that was released in 2011?
You only have to look at something like GTA5-mods and you immediately see the plethora of varied and interesting mods, again this is a game that was released in 2013 sometime, but the PC community is still thriving- and mods do this very well, many games live on because of the community outdoing themselves to allow it.
Pay to Play
What's that all about? If you're a console gamer, you're probably used to paying for the privilege of playing your games with other like-minded folks, which does not fly with me, if you buy your game on PC however, you can play that puppy on multiplayer for no extra cost! It's worth mentioning the advent of game passes are swaying this notion somewhat, given that you can join say Origins Access program and pay for your games monthly or yearly, but, this is still just for the game itself, not the ability to play it online.
It'd only be fair to mention this isn't always the case, some console games don't have an additional multiplayer cost, but I feel that enough of them do employ this (quite expensive) cost, that it's worth mentioning for sure, a membership on top of the console cost, and the game you just spent £59.99 on, just feels plain wrong.
So there's often a notion that PC's are much more expensive than consoles, and this can get a bit woolly here, because PC's as a statement is incredibly broad, sure, if you get the absolute most expensive of every component, your going to end up with an expensive PC, but the same goes for the opposite of that, and I'm not saying buy the cheapest thing available- but time and time again people have put together builds that match consoles for the same price, so really it depends what you want to get out of the experience.
People like to include your monitor and speakers etc when fighting this corner, but nobody ever includes their £800 TV when they are pricing up a console, but you'd not get very far in console gaming without a TV, so go ahead and include that monitor in your argument, you deserve it. You can build a comparable PC for around the same price as a console, but throw another £100 on top of that, and you're already beating them, and this means you can surpass them- and ultimately your games will look better for it- who knows, maybe this will make you a better player too.
Consoles are just restricted PC's
Take apart your brand new Xbox one X, and you will see some familiar components, they are after all just 'computer's that run different software, even the x86 architecture that is found in present-day PC's runs on consoles like the PS4, which begs the question, why would you choose the more restricted of two choices?
Choice within PC's is a great part of the debate, you can have absolutely everything your way, you want your favorite picture as a wallpaper? You got it, or maybe you always wanted the Matrix pattern trickling down your screen, go ahead and do that, want to fill your PC with 8 RGB fans and illuminate your entire room? You can totally do that.
Is there a community built around people posting excellent pictures of their Xbox's for all to review, and draw inspiration from? I'd like to see it. But here, we have the PC Master Race, we have the bastion /r/battlestations, we have, even if I do say so myself: Rigz, what I'm trying to say is when you build your battlestation, and you ascend, you're joining something great.
I feel I've exhausted everything there and made a pretty good case for the PC master race and Battlestations alike- remember, it's your life, do as you please, hopefully, this didn't come across as a console bashing session, more so a few valid reasons on why come upgrade time, you may consider ascension.
Think I've forgotten something? Let me know by emailing [email protected].
Thanks for reading.