Tuesday, May 22, 2007

PC vs. Console

See this beauty up here? This is the first system I ever played a video game on, the Atari 2600. I got one for Christmas as a kid when I lived in Germany. I have no idea how my Dad (he was in the Army) managed to get one but I loved it. The first night I had it, I played it for so long, the joystick gave me a giant blister on my left hand because I was gripping it so hard. When the home console craze faded out, I started playing games on an Apple IIe. I loved playing "Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One" and later "Jordan vs. Bird" on the Commodore 64. These are the early foundations of my love of gaming.
Why do I bring this up? After reading some comments on my "Halo 3 Beta" post from my buddy Eli (an Associate Editor at GameDaily) and long time reader John X, I got to thinking about the difference between PC and console gamers. Both types of gamers view the video game industry very differently and you could find guys on both sides who think one is better than the other. I have my own view on where I think the future lies for both PC and consoles (and despite the fact that I do mostly console reviews, I enjoy both) but I really want to open this up to everybody, so here's what I'm looking for - a public debate on which is better, console gaming or PC gaming. Let's call it Point/Counterpoint. I imagine Eli, John X and a few others of you are more than willing to voice your opinion on PC gaming so what I need is a reader (Frosty? General?) who would be willing to take a console gaming stance.
I seriously doubt this public debate will really give us a definitive answer on a long held argument, especially since gaming is a matter of personal preference, but at least it should be fun. Email me if you're up for this.


Ub3rn00b said...

With a PC, you can choose your components. Yeah, there are alot of people that go out to a certain site and pay a premium for a premade system. But with your PC enthusiast, you have tons of parts to pick and choose from. And there are new parts and upgrades to choose from coming out constantly. If you have the money, you can upgrade every month or so. If not, you can buy the previous generation (in PCs, a generation is around a couple of months. In consoles, a generation is a few years) at a discounted price. Because CPU and GPU manufacturers are always coming out with new products, the older products drive sharply down in cost especially in the used market which you can find being sold and traded on several forums websites. I buy nearly all of my PC components used or "OEM" which saves me a ton of money.
With consoles, you buy what you buy and that's it. You're stuck with it for a number of years until a whole new console comes out. This has it's good points and bad points. For example. If you buy a brand new PC, 2 years down the road, there are going to be games that your PC simply can't keep up with anymore. While on the console, 2 years down the road the games are still made specifically for your console. Next was supposed to be the bad point. I can't really think of one.
With PCs, the online community is huge and there are several games taht have long time followers. In XBOX Live, there are a few games that retain a long following such as Halo 2, CoD 2, the Burnout Series. I dunno. At any given time, I can start CoD2 and see thousands of PC servers going on. Same for a large number of PC games. Plus, there are modded servers. The user community is able to make modifications tot he games to make them better, more playable, more exciting, and sometimes suck more. I avoid the "suck" ones.
Another point goes to the console for game compatibility because some companies hachoo *ubisoft* ahem...excuse me, make games for consoles and then make a poor attempt to try to port them to the PC. This results in a junk game on most PCs (unless all your stuff is a month or less old).
Another point on pricing. While it feels like alot of money to dump on a new console every couple of years, 400 for an xbox 360 isn't bad considering that since I bought my original XBOX, I've probably spent 2500 or more on my PC upgrades and component swaps.
Personally I really enjoy both. I think my PC and my 360 are a gaming combo bonanza. I can't say that one is better than the other. The PC can be used for so many types of gaming. I mean obviously there are alot more PC games than 360 or PS3 games or for any other type of console ever made. Tons and tons of different genres. Basically, if you have the know how, anything you can do with a console you can do with a PC except play a few games that are console exclusive. On a console you plug it in and everything works (most of the time), but even nowadays using a console takes some know how. Unless you are talking about the Wii...heh

Ub3rn00b said...

oops..it says "email me". My bad..

FrostyMelon said...

I actually come out of the PC gaming world. The 360 is my first console since the old Sega Master days/daze (anyone remember the REAL Shadowrun?).

I have likes/dislikes with a console. One of my big dislikes - the sluggish analog sticks...FRUSTRATING in a fast paced shooter, even with sensitivity pegged at the 'high' setting. I thought I could bring my PC skills over to the console...but, soon found out that it's tough to move over - I was even warned by my fellow PC gamers that I will end up hating the shooter on a console. The good news is that I am not quite at that point, but frustration is slowly eroding patience.

I also don't like the fact that if something goes wrong with the console...there's not much I can do about. At least with a PC I can troubleshoot, and make my own repairs. The console...I have to deal with MS.

Likes about the console - the fact that I can plop my rear down on in the recliner, click on, and game away. And, the 360 has gone beyond being just a gaming box, so it gives me a ton of options for the total entertainment package. The 360 library is starting to grow in depth, so I have/will have a ton of gaming options to choose from - shooter, RPG, RTS, arcade, etc. Again, I can get all of this by turning the console on, and tossing a game into the drive (or a d/l from XBLA).

Following ub3rnoob and his post - the mod community. What a great addition to the PC gaming world. It's a shame that it doesn't (or can't?) spill into the console world, especially with titles such as Unreal Tournament being released over the summer. It's the mods that give the PC shooters a lot of life. I do not strictly play games on the console, I still toss in Q3A and game away...and I have no issue finding FULL rooms with Q3A, even this far down the road since it's release (still a great looking game, and great shooter). The reason for that is based around the mods and solid community that they built. So, when my frustration boils over from the console...I head over to the PC to help calm my nerves, and lower my blood pressure. And, up until my career started going full speed, I ran a computer hardware/software/overclocking review website, so stripping down a PC or adding components is second nature. Though, getting review product for free and going out to buy the hardware...two different scenario's...so the PC gets the occasional upgrade now. Another nice thing about the PC - free 'stuff'. A new map pack out for your favorite game? You'd just go to the companies website and d/l for free...but not on the console. I think a sad truth around this - we'll see this change on the PC side of life, too. A lot of companies are looking at what the console guys are doing, charging for this, that, and the other, and I think they realise that they can do the same for their PC games.

...both have pluses, both have minuses...I think in order to meet the needs of a true gamer - you need to do a little of both.

Ub3rn00b said...

That's a good point about the maps being free on the PC (usually). I'm suprised that MS doesn't charge us for updates that fix their own problems. Another thing about maps on console games is that the companies will release a couple maybe once a year and expect use to be happy about paying 10 bux to get them. In the PC world, just about every game out there has tons of user made maps that people are happy to give away for free.