I've been going through quite a struggle in the current generation of gaming. I've wanted a playstation 3 for quite a while as well as a newer PC(custom made of course). Problem is almost all my funds go towards college loans. Well I've come to the realization that I can't have my cake and eat it too. Many of the recent games I've been playing are ps2 titles, and older ones for the NES, SNES, famicom, super famicom, and famicom disk system(since they're cheap). Been watching several older gamers(around my age, some older) on youtube talk about old shit. Like Lazy Game Reviews:
As a youngin' I thought when I'd be this age I'd be able to purchase systems and games to my heart's delight. But there's too many options out there and too little cash in my wallet. So I talked to my good friend who's been a staunch advocate for pc gaming for the past 10 years. The most recent console he owns is a n64. At first I was antagonistic towards him, saying how a ps3 is a cheaper platform and has more games that I want to play. But little by little, I started to fall in love with pc's again. Let me try to list all the key points that came up during our discussion.
1.) If I were to upgrade my 5+ years old computer to current gaming standards, I would have to pay around 300 bucks.(all those parts pretty much add up to a whole new system) And while a ps3 would also cost 300 bucks, I would still have to pay extra for controllers, and other hardware depending on the game.
2.) While online console gaming has come quite far since the days of SegaNet, there are still several issues that need to be worked out. Several games still experience lag. Many features are left out of games which are commonplace on pc games. (online multiplayer is still new for games that aren't fps's) Online play for console games is heavily dependent on support from the company. Dedicated servers, mods, patches, etc. are far more common with pc titles.
3.) The cost of pc games is generally cheaper. Several games are available on platforms on Steam for insanely low prices practically every week. Also combined with the fact that practically every pc title that comes out now is available for digital release, I no longer have to go 20 miles to the nearest bestbuy to pick up zeno clash when I can simply download it. True story, I actually had to go quite far to find King of Fighters '98 soon after its release. Less popular titles are harder to find due to them being on physical media. Making console game sales heavily reliant on advertising.
4.) PCs as a solitary, stable gaming platform are still relatively new. Watching several LGRs and other's videos, I realized that in the 80s and 90s, several different operating systems were around. This meant that for a long time, games were not simply for "PCs" but for "Tandy compatible" or DOS systems. Also, I always thought that computers originally had more impressive graphics and the technological gap between consoles and computers was decreasing. (in terms of games) However, I noticed that several games out in the 80s and 90s weren't as impressive, popular, or as frequently released as NES or SNES games. Yet, during certain other eras, like the late 90s and early 2000s, there was a definite boom of computer gaming with 3d shooters and online gaming.
5.) Consoles are becoming more like computers. I thought this especially when the 360 came out. Now, even installs are becoming quite common with console titles. No longer do console games have that advantage of being quickly accessible. Consider this:
Look at that. A 20+ year old system with dirty cartridges. STILL, all you gotta do is blow, insert, and turn on. Voila, right at the game's startup screen.
Now Look here:
Loading screens. Sure individually they are pretty fast but look at all the shit you have to go through to get to the game! And this is AFTER you boot up the system and navigate through the system GUI. Now I'm not saying that you don't have to do this on a pc. Quite the contrary, seeing how my point was that consoles are becoming more like computers.
6.) Consoles are becoming more expensive, computers are getting cheaper and consoles are not as well made anymore. Remember how much the ps3 initially cost?
What did it have like a 60 gb hard drive? Several heating issues? And I don't think I need to say anything about the 360.(100 dollar wireless adapter?) Even my wii gives me trouble sometimes, freezing or refusing to boot up entirely without me unplugging and replugging the power cord. Even before that I remember my friends ps2's were breaking right and left when they were about 3 years old. My SNES, NES, and twin famicom are still running smoothly though.
Previously I stated that I would have to spend 300 on a new computer system. I was also looking at laptops. 690 for a core i5 system with a 500 gb hard drive, 4 gb of ram, etc. Now, given that this is primarily for school use, the power on that baby is insane given the price. The major stumbling block here that prevents mainstream computers such as this one to play hardcore games is a macho video card. While I have no doubt it would be able to run team fortress 2 no problem, crysis 2 might be a challenge. Even still, it's safe to say that powerful laptops are getting cheaper. Also, it would be foolish to ignore that it is quite common for people today to each have their own personal computer. It's a good thing macs are getting back into gaming. So my basic statement is that if the production of powerful video cards can come down enough so that they can be put in more mainstream systems, more computers can be used as current gen gaming platforms. PC/mac games will still be around for a while just because the platform is so common.
7.) The release of systems in set generations creates a weird spectrum in terms of the quality of games. You know what I'm talking about. Several times at the release of a new system(ps2, ps3, 360) the launch titles absolutely SUCK. And those towards the end of a life cycle tend to rock hard. But can be overlooked.
8.) Waves. I think that best sums up how we should think of the future of gaming platforms. Like I said before, in different times, different platforms were preferred due to the games they offered. However, it is possible that different platforms do not need to compete due to niche differentiation. Coexistence can be attained if different systems focus on different types of games. And with the focus on motion control in console games, it's possible. Who knows. All I know is that pc gaming is alive and well. Hello, Starcraft II? Also consider the current trend with consumer electronics being the ability to use one device to accomplish several different types of tasks.(look at phones)