Some might argue that Steam is saving PC gaming, and for many users, this may be the absolute truth. Buying games from the cloud rather than having to deal with DVDs and CD keys is a big plus for any PC gamer. That said, not everyone prefers a keyboard and mouse.
Many gamers stick to the basics. A controller, a console, and a big-screen television are all someone needs to enjoy the latest and greatest games complete with HD graphics and multiplayer capability. The great debate between consoles and PCs has been waged since consoles came to the world. Now, more than ever, the differences between the two are becoming more of a matter of semantics and less about actual concrete variables.
Take the fundamentals of the two. Both consoles and PCs use very similar hardware and run on similar operating systems. Consoles can be connected to monitors while PCs can be hooked up to televisions. Many of these systems share the same games, with certain genres such as MMOs being more dominant on the PC.
Taking a look at statistics, the PC has been dominant in terms of total PC game sales since 2010 with projected earnings continuing to extend the PC’s lead over consoles in gross revenue.
One is optimized for a controller while the other is better controlled by a mouse and keyboard. Beyond that, they’re pretty much the same.
The latest buzz going around the gaming world is a rumored move by Valve to issue a special Steam client for big-screen televisions and standard gaming controllers. Essentially, your PC would become a game console much like the Xbox or PS3.
That said, there are plenty of reasons to be wary of choosing one platform over another. Game purchases rarely cross over between platforms. This means that you can’t exactly buy a game on Xbox and play it on the PS3 or PC. Meanwhile, a growing number of publishers are releasing PC games universally so you can play the same game on OS X, Windows, and even Linux without having to rebuy the game for the different platforms.
There is also the matter of functionality. The PC, while a capable gaming system, is also useful for a number of other tasks. You can browse the Web and run business applications between games on the PC. Consoles, on the other hand, are typically restricted to games, streaming media, and a basic browser.
PCs are superior in terms of graphics quality. Consoles, being fitted out to keep costs down, usually don’t offer the same shadow details or texture resolution as what you might find on a game made for a PC. Consoles, on the other hand, are fairly cheap by comparison.
You can get a modern console with all the benefits of guaranteed compatibility with all the games currently being made for the platform at a relatively small price. In fact, the starting price of around $200 makes it a much more economical solution than buying a gaming PC running Windows.
In the end, the choice comes down to personal preferences. Do you like enhanced visuals and extended functionality or do you just want something you can get your game on with? Are you more of a keyboard and mouse type of gamer or are controllers more your style? These answers may vary greatly from person to person, which only lends fuel to the heated debate. For now at least, the PC will remain every bit as much a key component to the gaming world as it has for the past two decades.
What about you? Do you believe PC gaming is dying in favor of consoles and other dedicated solutions?
PS3 Controller by Lucas Jeszke