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Community Discussion: Blog by Stavros StevieGreek Dimou | Some Pros and Cons of PC gaming.Destructoid
Some Pros and Cons of PC gaming. - Destructoid

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I became a PC gamer since my xbox360 died by itself with RROD for the 4th time back in 2008. I was always a console gamer,and for the most I was a Nintendo fan,up until the Wii which I disliked. Unfortunately I was stupid enough to buy a Xbox360 in its first year of launch and spend about 500+ Euros for its hardware alone, along with the accessories I got for it only to be left without a console to play 2 years later on,when the warranty ended. That made me so furious I wouldn't buy another xbox360. Wii couldn't fulfill my gaming desires and back then PS3 was still very expensive,and I also never liked that much SONY's exclusives. It just happened that in about that time I had bought a new PC,that was intended only for casual use,like web surfing,writing word documents etc. I wondered one day if my PC could play recent and modern games,so I made some research to see what modern games required to run on my computer. Surprised I realized that the only thing that my machine was missing to turn in to a decent console platform was a graphics card,and one at the price point of 100 Euros would be more than enough to allow me to play modern multiplatform games. So I decided to buy that card and turn my computer to a platform that could play modern games,for just 100.
Since then my primary gaming platform is PC,even though I bought a Wii since then.
I found out that PC gaming has many advantages over console gaming,as it also has some drawbacks. Most times when I see discussions in the internet about PC gaming and comparison,posters are one-sided no matter if they are PC gamers defending PC gaming,or Console gamers defending Console gaming. So I decided to write a blog noting some positive and negative sides of PC gaming,as I see them myself. There could be more prons and cons than those I present here,but these are what are most important to me.


Pros

1) Better Graphics
This is the most used point in a discussion regarding the prons of PC gaming,and not without a reason. It is true that most games look better on a PC than a console. That is because technology advances all the time,day by day,and is offered to the PC market as early as it's available for mass production. Graphics card manufacturers usually bring new models to the market every year,with new models being more powerful than old ones,while consoles update every 5-6 years. That make PCs to get access to new technology much faster,which results in the ability of PCs to play games with better graphics than consoles. And sure,graphics aren't all that matter,and I'll agree that gameplay is more important than graphics.But that doesn't mean that graphics have no value at all as some people seem to believe. I got a copy of Metro 2033 which is the most graphics heavy game on the market currently,but couldn't finish it because of its awkward controls and punishing gameplay. But I can still load up Super Mario Bros on an emulator and spend my time enjoying a good game.
But one finds it reasonable that as technology advances,games which are based on tech,advance too.
If FPSs where stuck at Wolfenstein 3D level of graphics detail,perhaps games like Halo or Half Life 2 wouldn't be enjoyable as they are. As a gamer I want the games I play to have the best quality not only gameplay,but also in graphics,sound,controls,replayability,and a lot more other aspects. PC offers me the ability to enjoy better graphics. While graphics aren't the most important thing to enjoy a game,they still are an important factor that affects the overall enjoyment I can take from a game.
It's nice that even multiplatform games that weren't designed to look better on a PC,can look better because of higher resolution options,and the ability the user has with the use of his graphic's card software to force things like Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering in to a game. Graphics aren't the only reason to play a game,but they can make a game more immersive and enjoyable if they are good.

2) Cheaper Games
This is one of the factors that comes to my mind most often,because it's coming every time I buy a game for my PC. Prices of console games are inflated because console publishers like Nintendo and Microsoft ask from software publishers a share from the sales of their games that they sell on their consoles. But that doesn't happen in the PC market,and thus us PC gamers can buy games somewhat cheaper than console gamers. I remember when my Xbox360 was working,games for it came out at price points from 60E up to 75E. In PC gaming most new games cost 40 euros, with the exception of few publishers like EA who for some reason demand more money for their games,so often they charge them for 50,or 55 euros. Average for every multiplatform game that I buy for my PC I save about 20 euros in comparison with a console gamer. That gave me the ability to be able to buy more games as a PC gamer than I would ever could as a console gamer. And just in the first year the money I saved by buying PC games already met the price I had paid for my Graphics Card. Since 2008 I probably have saved more than 300 Euros by playing multiplatform games on my PC.

3) Exclusives
That is mostly a matter of taste,but besides Nintendo's exclusives I don't like that much the exclusives of the other 2 consoles. Halo is good but I wouldn't buy another machine just for it. I never got in to Playstation exclusives,but I respect that they are quality games,just not for my taste.
But PC has exclusives too. In fact,the fact that there is no an authority that would decide which games get sold on PCs or not,allows many niche games to come out on this platform,that would never reach a console.
And PC has some nice exclusives,for many tastes. If you like MMOs,PC has a plenty of them and they are all exclusives. Yet I am not an MMO fan,and the exclusives I like are games like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series,and Serious Sam 3. These games are considered too niche to be on consoles, yet I like them very much. S.T.A.L.K.E.R was the first series to feature an open-world,free roaming FPS gameplay,along with RPG elements and Horror/Survival atmosphere. It's a unique experience no other game of any franchise can deliver. Serious Sam 3 is the only recent FPS game that truly delivers classic FPS gameplay from the 90's. Duke Nukem Forever was nothing like that,it featured Health Regeneration,Weapon limits and other gameplay elements that are obviously from the new-school of FPSs,of the Halo/Call of Duty generation. I started playing FPSs in the 90s,and I loved that genre so much because of its gameplay,which is drastically different of how modern FPSs like Battlefield 3 play. I like healthpacks,brutally murdering monsters,and having large levels stuffed with secret areas and easter eggs to discover. But these aren't the only PC exclusives that are good. There are many PC only games out there,for almost every niche market and taste.
I can't even count the exclusive franchises that PC gas,unlike the console market where the exclusives of one console can be counted in the fingers of a person's hands.

4) Emulators
You know,my first console was an Atari 2600,and even though I had many consoles since then,there where always some good games for each console I had that I never got to play. Some of them where never shipped in my continent (Europe) others arrived too late on a console's life at the time most retailers had already removed games and hardware of said console from the selves to make room for newer consoles,so there where always some games I missed. Now I can play all those games that I missed on my computer,and at 1080p. It's like magic and I couldn't believe it when I realized that there are libraries of hundreds of console games from the early 80s up to more recent times that I could get the chance to play them,and that if it weren't for Emulators I would never be able to experience them at all.

5) Modding
Perhaps one of the most important prons of PC gaming,is the fact that the files and folders of a PC game are accessible for those who know how they can manipulate them. The modding community has done very much for the rest of us gamers,who doesn't know how to mod ourselves. Modding has many faces. It could be free new content that you download like new maps,guns,npcs,or missions/sidequests,and even new games running on the engine of another game. But it isn't only providing new content. Modding can also be used to alter how a game plays,without adding any other playable content. The recent case of the bad port of Dark Souls,and the unofficial fix is a great example. In the past PC gamers who happened to know also how to manipulate a game's files,also managed to fix games that where broken by making and supplying the community with unofficial patches that fixed problems the developers couldn't bother fixing. Knowing that there are people out there who like games enough to fix them or add to them,and are willing to do that for free,to share the experience of it,is something that makes me feel very comfortable as a PC gamer. I know that games that are fun but have some problems will get fixed,and that for some games I will get new content for free. That solidarity between PC gamers is a very nice thing.

6) Customization
And here comes another part of why I enjoy gaming on my PC more than gaming on consoles.
The fact that I'm given more options to customize my personal experience with the game is something very nice. Options and choices are nice. I can play a game with a keyboard and mouse,and not just a specific type of keyboard or mouse,but any.I'm not forced to use a specific input method like a specific console's controller. I can choose my mouse to have 3 buttons,5 buttons,or 10+ buttons,choose between the resolution of its laser sensor,and between anatomically designed mice for right-handed people or left-handed people. Or I can choose to play with a controller,and I can choose between many controller shapes and not just one. But it isn't only control customization,I can also customize my FOV in most games,the graphics,and many other aspects. Being able to customize your experience is nice.

7) It's still a PC
One shouldn't forget that a PC is still a PC with all the conveniences this holds. What I'm talking about is that at any time I can just press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and return to my Desktop screen,from where I can access my mail or Facebook account to see if somebody replied to me,or to look for a walkthrough if I got stuck somewhere. And then I can return to my game exactly where I left it,without having to turn it off to do the other things I wanted to do. That's something nice. When I played The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess I got stuck many times in some puzzles where I couldn't find the solution and got bored trying out. So to progress I had to pause the game,turn on my PC,and then look for a walkthrough in the internet. A process that gets tedious if you have to do it often. But if you are already playing a game on your PC,you can just press 3 buttons together on your keyboard and you will be magically teleported to a web browser window in 2 seconds. Having that convenience is very nice.


Cons

1) Could be Expensive to start playing on PC if you have a very old computer
If you already have a recent computer you bought just for doing general casual things,there are huge chances that the only thing you need to turn it to a decent gaming platform is a relatively cheap graphics card which costs way less than buying a new console. But if you don't have a computer at all,or it's a 10 year old machine that barely can run Google Chrome, it can be quite expensive to buy a new PC just for gaming. Buying a new PC just for gaming could be hard to justify its price. But if you already have a modern PC,which by modern I mean a PC that would have costed to you about 600E anywhere the last 3-4 years,most probably the only thing preventing you from playing multiplatform games with console graphics quality is a cheap graphics card. You don't have to buy one of those megabeast cards that cost 500 Euros or something. You can play a mutliplatform game with visual quality as an xbox360 but at 1080p,with a 60-80 Euros graphics card.
Cards like the AMD HD 7970 are for people who want to play games with way better graphics than those of current console games like Crysis,at ridiculously high multi-monitor resolutions like 7680x1440p.

2) Bad Ports
Since the current console generation started,most multiplatform developers started developing games for xbox360 and then porting these games to PS3 and PC. Often not much care is being invested on the PS3 and PC versions of the games,which leads to platform-specific problems. You might not hear that often PC gamers complaining about such problems as PS3 gamers,but that's not because developers love PC more than PS3. It's because most of the problems the PC versions of the games will be fixed (in time) by the PC community who has the ability to tinker with a game's files. But bad ports are still coming out. I'll never forget downloading the demo of Crysis 2 and seeing a "Press Start" message on the title screen in the PC version of the game,while I had no controller attached to my computer,and I had to try the 100+ keys of my keyboard one by one to find which keyboard button does the same job the xbox360' controller's start button does. Using's Skyrim's menus with a mouse and keyboard was a mess with its designed for xbox360 GUI design. Unfortunately most multiplatform games are made for xbox360 and not all developers care enough to apply required fixes for the other versions of their games. That can lead to many frustrations for us non-xbox360 gamers,including PC gamers and PS3 gamers.

3) Viruses and Save deletes
PCs can get viruses. And if you have an anti-virus software running on your computer,your computer will be too slow,no matter how much powerful hardware you have. For enjoying a nice gaming experience every frame that you can get per seconds matters. That's why I've been playing without an anti-virus program running on my computer. But not having an active anti-virus running puts you on risk. In the 4 years that I'm a PC gamer,I had to do emergency formats 3 times. And 3 times I lost many of my saves from my hard disc. There are occasions where you have a format planned,and you have the time and means to backup your saves,but there can also be emergency situations where a format is immediately required,and you can't backup. I've lost my saves of Oblivon where I had hundreds of hours in them. I've lost my saves of Crysis,and many other games. Something like that could give you a reason to play through some of these games once more,and it could be an unorthodox way to gain replay value for a game,but for games that are HUGE and have many choices like Oblivion and the Mass Effect series,loosing your saves can be a disaster.

4) Upgrading (arguable)
A cons that I often see some people talking about is having to upgrade your computer very frequently to be able to play new games. That is mostly something a console gamer would say though. You see,it's true that as time passes by some games have new cool graphics enhancements that require more power. But to be honest upgrading was never a real problem for me. You see most of the AAA games are ports,and most ports aren't enhanced,so they don't really need much more powerful hardware to run them. You can play Skyrim with a 5 year old graphics card for that matter. There are though games that do have enhanced graphics like Battlefield 3.
The thing is,that graphics enhancements are optional. I can choose to play Battlefield 3 on Ultra,but I can also choose to play it on Very Low. Sure,a game that makes use of the latest hardware needs the latest hardware so you can play it with the best possible graphics,but it's not necessary to play a game with its best possible graphics. I can't play Battlefield 3 at Ultra at 1080p with all things like AA at 16x,but I can play it at Very High settings at 1080p with AA at 2x,and the game still looks awesome,and far better than its console versions. The key word here is choice. Graphics are customizeable and thus better graphics are optional. If you don't want or can't play the latest game with the best possible graphics,you don't have to,you can play it with less good graphics.



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