It is a truth universally acknowledged that PCs are the superior gaming platform. Or at least, that’s what my boyfriend seems to think.
The debate between lovers of PCs and those loyal to console is rapidly becoming more apparent the more I fall into the gaming universe. The rivalry between consoles has always been there. Microsoft and Sony are in a constant battle to outdo each other, while Nintendo releases cute little next-gens in their wake. Now, PCs headline as a favourite and everyone is out building their own custom gaming machine instead of lining up for a new Playstation.
Don’t get me wrong – consoles are still held high up on their pedestal, but with virtually every game available on Steam, who needs multiple boxes cluttering up the TV cabinet?
After some (admittedly rushed) googling, it seems clear to me that both side of the argument remain stubbornly in place. Two articles, both from digitaltrends.com and published in November 2013, stand on either side.
Matt Smith’s piece, titled “Why I Cancelled My Playstation 4 Pre-Order (It Wasn’t To Get an XBOX One)” pushes for PC gaming’s superiority, putting it down to better quality graphics. He also touches on the disappointing development of both the Playstation 4 and XBOX One from their immediate unveiling to their actual release. Using examples of new release games, Smith discusses how consoles are restricted to limited graphics quality – particularly the XBOX One, with it running Call of Duty: Ghosts and Dead Rising 3 at only 720p resolution.
He includes this video to show another comparison between console and PC platforms. There seems to be a pattern where newly released games are playing better on a computer. It certainly seems easier too – no numerous game cases hanging around, no disks to remember to eject, no controller cables threatening to wrap around your ankles. PC gaming, and programs such as Valve’s Steam, offer a convenient all-in-one place for the average gamer to enjoy.
However, as I mentioned before, consoles are hardly going out of fashion despite having their flaws. Ryan Fleming, countering Smith’s argument, believes that the gaming market still belongs primarily to console producers.
He begins his argument in a slightly unusual fashion – by agreeing with some of Matt Smith’s points. He acknowledges the obvious facts; that PCs “better graphics, can be upgraded, and years ago began offering the social integration that is just now reaching console fans”. However, it is with much conviction that he finishes his statement “consoles are, and will remain king for the foreseeable future”.
His reasoning? Money and convenience. Where having all of your games on one platform may be less clutter, consoles are generally much easier to access. Most people know how to handle a generic game controller from an early age – I was three the first time I played Resident Evil on my chunky Playstation 1 – but trying to work WASD keys is like losing control of your fingers. Personally, I like to attach a mnemonic to the keys – “What? Ahh! Stupid – (I’m) Dead” – because those are most likely the things coming out of my mouth. Consoles are universal; for all ages, and all skill.
When it comes to money, Fleming argues that game production companies are most likely to invest themselves in consoles due to their ability to gain massive profit. In 2012, he claims that all three major console producers (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) had software sales that “topped 331 million [units]”. The producers are hardly going to drop out of the console business when games such as GTAV sold 25 million copies on console alone.
So, what difference does the platform make to playing the game? Other than graphics, price and accessibility, is there any evidence that different platforms change the way a game is played or interpreted? Do we get any less immersed on a PC in comparison to a console?
What I feel it comes down to is a gamer’s personal identity and representation. PC gamers are considered elite due to their hardcore, “true” gamer personas. Due to their accessibility, consoles are demoted to being a common, “everybody” platform, which translates into “casual” in the video game ‘verse. This doesn’t mean PC gamers won’t use consoles, or vice versa. I think it just means that when it comes down to it, what is better depends on what each individual wants to gain from playing. As for me, I’ll stick to my ol’ fashioned Spyro and Ratchet and Clank on Playstation – then at least I’ll know which buttons to press.