The Reason You're (Not) A Console Gamer

Tsun Tzu

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Well...it's a matter of preference that encompasses everything from your preferred genres to your living situation and budget.

Personally, I grew up with consoles and PCs in somewhat equal parts. We had Nintendos and Sega systems from the time I was about, what, 6-7? I have particularly fond memories of all the blowing. So much blowing, man. I was almost like a job with how much I was doing it.

I prefer PC for any sort of genre that requires precision targeting (FPS, RTS, FPSRPG, etc.) and generally like consoles, or at least the controllers, for third person games and platformers.

I also greatly enjoy the amount of control I have over my PC. I'm not limited by or beholden to a certain company and I can use it for any and all media I want to consume. Same for laptops, which effectively function as a console for me anyway since they're a lot more mobile and versatile than a desktop.

The waters have become somewhat muddier with the whole being able to use console controllers for PC thing so...I effectively have the best of both worlds now.

PC keeps getting used and will continue to be used. My 360 and PS3 have been largely forgotten about for years now.
 

DrunkOnEstus

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I play on both PC and console (I need my exclusives, you know), and I feel like the furniture and living situation thing doesn't apply to me and shouldn't have to apply to many people.

When I play PC games, I turn on the PC that's in my living room on the stand next to my PS3, sit on the couch, pull out the coffee table drawer with a wireless keyboard to open Steam or whatever, and kick back in Big Picture mode with a wireless DualShock 3, or WiiMote, or whatever it might be. If I'm playing a fighting game/shmup, virtually every arcade stick works. Same goes for racing wheels and the games that use them.

The bugbear here is immediately obvious, and it's that it can be kind of a pain for me to play games that really do need keyboard and mouse control (Pillars of Eternity, DA:O, etc). I can set the KB&M on the table, but that really isn't comfortable. I've gotten totally used to playing FPS with a controller (I can pretty much kill it playing Titanfall and CS:GO on PC that way, which I wasn't expecting to do at all). That's the only negative I can think of though. If a game is on both PS3 and PC, I get to use the same controller, with higher resolution and FPS and total control over the experience as well as mods...it's not even a contest. It's just a shame that there's no PC version of The Last of Us, Dragon's Dogma (man that game could really use it), Red Dead Redemption, and so on. I imagine if I got some kind of lap table for the KB&M games I'd be totally golden.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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I had one foot in both pools pretty well from the get-go. I've always been a person who appreciates both console and PC for different reasons. I remember when PC games were neat and way different than console games (for the most part), and some still are. I always saw PC as not an alternative but an addition to, or consoles being the addition... either way they compliment each other but I can see why for people with hardline budgets, its difficult to own more than one platform.
 

Clive Howlitzer

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For myself, I was both. My first gaming system was a NES and my Dad also had a crappy computer that I remember screwing around with as early as when it was just an orange and black display running DOS. My first PC game was Doom and I loved it. PC gave experiences I couldn't get on console and vice versa. I loved them both.

It was only after the PS2 era that I finally gave up on console and focused purely on PC, after having been both for the whole time. Once consoles started becoming less powerful PCs, without all the perks, I basically moved onto pure PC. The gaps in the two started to become a lot more noticeable to me and most games came out on PC anyway. Combined with the fact I can use any control scheme on PC and have unlimited backwards compatibility, it just made sense. I always look into every console generation to perhaps win me back to picking one up but it never really happens.

And now that Street Fighter V has cross platform play with PS4, even less reason!
 

Kathinka

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Three reasons:

First, my two favorite genres are RTS and FPS, both firmly at home on PC. There is few RTS on consoles, and those that exist control terrible. First person shooters suffer immensely from controller input. I want my performance ingame to be limited by my own abilities, not stopped by a ceiling imposed by an imprecise input device.

Second, complexity. I like games that are a bit more deep and complex than the average CoD. Things like ArmA, Battlefield 2, Project Reality and Insurgency are absolutely unfathomable on consoles because of input and hardware limitations.

Thirdly, I don't want to pay premium for yesterdays hardware. I rather invest the few hours it takes to get ones head around building and operating a PC and save a ton of money on a device costing less, yet still outperforming consoles and being able to do anything they can do. I can understand people being willing to pay extra for convenience, and hey, good for them. But I'm a tinkerer at heart and always want to understand how everything works, so for me it's not really a choice.
 

Thyunda

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erbkaiser said:
I am a console AND PC gamer.

Typically, any game coming out on both I'll prefer to play on the PS4 for the following reasons:
1) Easier: I just slap the disk in and play
2) No incompatibility with drivers, controllers, DRM, phase of the moon... it just works
3) A controller is the superior interface for anything not requiring mouse precision.
4) My PC is getting on in age and I can't get a constant framerate in all cases... and I've upgraded it enough to make me have to buy completely new instead. And if faced with spending 2000 on a new PC or potentially buying 400-500 games, guess what I prefer.

HOWEVER, a lot of games simply will never work on a console so I play those on PC. Games like Crusader Kings 2, Civilization; Indie titles; retro classics; moddable games.

By owning a PC and a console I have the best of both worlds. The only things I "miss" out on are Nintendo exclusives, and Nintendo is getting increasingly more removed from what I consider relevant to my gaming tastes each generation, and whatever games Microsoft traps behinds wads of cash to keep it away from PS4 for a limited time.
Worth it.
I came here to say basically this. Even those same games. I can lose hours in my brother's Xbox One because it's in his room and he has a sofa up there that I can just recline on and play till I have to go do grownup things. The only flaw is that he goes to bed earlier than I do because he starts work at 8am and I'm a university student and am unfamiliar with the concept. When it comes to playing PC games, a desktop wasn't really an option because I'd lose the rights to it immediately. Family of five - if I bought a PC, it'd have to go somewhere in the house and that just doesn't fit with my mother's design plans. If she chose to renovate again, I'd lose access to the PC for the duration. Even if there's no renovation, I'd have to share the PC with my brothers because hey, it's my parents' electricity.
No such fuss with a laptop. Sure, in two years time it'll be so outdated it won't even run Future Minesweeper, but it's good for what I want to play now, like the Total War series or Civ or the Paradox family, but I can't do it for extended periods of time because I either lose the feeling in my legs or use the squeaky, uncomfortable dining chairs.

And I've never, ever given a shit about Nintendo. My first console was the Sega Megadrive. From there, the PSOne, then it was Playstation 2, then Xbox 360. Had a Gameboy Colour, and that's the closest I ever got to Nintendo.
 

rgrekejin

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I dunno. I feel like these factors are sometimes applicable and sometimes not. I grew up principally playing console games, really coming of age as a gamer in the N64 generation. I played various other systems and handhelds over the years, with no real experience as a PC gamer save for a few old shareware games on my parents' old Powermac and Oregon Trail at school. But two years ago I jumped ship from console to PC, because console gaming just failed to meet my needs with the new generation. Much as I love Nintendo, most of the major franchise releases I look forward to aren't coming out on the WiiU. They just aren't. I was disgusted with the (at the time) mandatory Kinect Microsoft was attempting to force on us, and although I'll usually pick up one of their consoles late in the generation for exclusives, I'll never make a Sony console my primary gaming machine until they learn to make a controller that isn't (in my opinion) a complete piece of shit. Without really changing anything about what I was doing as a gamer, PC became basically the only avenue open to me. I still mostly play on my TV from the couch. I still use a controller. I didn't change. But gaming changed around me, and pushed me to PC. Ultimately, I'm quite happy with the outcome - the fringe benefits of PC gaming are terrific, and as a console gamer I'd not really been aware that some of them even existed.
 

schmulki

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infohippie said:
On some rare occasions you might have needed to write a boot sequence (config.sys, autoexec.bat) designed to push everything possible into high memory to free up enough lower memory for a game.
That right there is MUCH more than enough to turn off many gamers. Then there's driver issues. Then there's issues of which settings do I need to turn down/off to make the game not run like garbage. It just kinda keeps going on like that.

infohippie said:
It was a bit more expensive than console gaming for a while, when the early 3D cards came out, but the hardware price differential has been steadily dropping ever since and the games themselves have always been cheaper on a PC. "Extremely costly", however, not at all.
The problem was, for a while there, you'd buy a video card, use it for one big game, then the next game comes out, and you're either barely able to run the game or are running it on the lowest settings possible. You had to constantly be upgrading hardware, which made it VERY expensive to keep up with. That has certainly calmed down over time, and I've now gotten aobut 4 years out of my 7850 so far, and expect to eek out another year before replacing it.
 

Doozie

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I play on both but prefer PC. The selection of games feels so much more open and varied.
 

UrinalDook

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It's an interesting breakdown, Shamus, and I agree with you that this argument never gets anywhere because people ignore the broader, more personal factors.

However, I'm not sure that really matches up with my experience. Basically, I was a console gamer during my teens pretty much purely because of Halo. Once I got out of uni and started earning some money, though, I simply saw some friends playing on PC, decided it was far, far better and that I was going to have to change.

This was ground up. I had absolutely nothing that made the transition an easy one. I didn't have a comfy desk chair, I didn't have a proper computer desk, I didn't have a monitor, I didn't really have the space and I had no clue what I was doing when it came to part picking, checking or assembly. It's been a slow, arduous process. For two years, I was hooked up to 720p TV I used to use for the Xbox until I could get a proper 1080p monitor. I used a crappy wireless mouse for the first year, and it took me two and a half years to finally afford a decent mechanical keyboard. My seating quality has, if anything, degraded as I'm still on a creaky, ancient dining chair. When I upgraded my GPU after two years, it blew up my power supply because in my naivete I'd cheaped out on it initially.

And it was all totally worth it. But I understand why it's not for everyone.

Ultimately, I think the argument is pointless because neither side is willing to face facts: PC gaming is objectively better than console gaming on the simple metric that a PC can be made, with the right amount of work, to do anything a console can, and naturally has the ability to do many things better. But PC gaming is also considerably more expensive. And not just in terms of flat out costs, but personally. PC gaming is a drain on your wallet and your time. And I think the latter is something a lot of PC gamers forget, often because they've already invested a significant amount of time without realising simply by learning, reading articles, being interested in their hobby.

Permit me to demonstrate:

erbkaiser said:
I am a console AND PC gamer.

Typically, any game coming out on both I'll prefer to play on the PS4 for the following reasons:
1) Easier: I just slap the disk in and play
I just open steam, click play and play. Because I've already invested the time to download and configure, but now I don't even have to spare thirty seconds on case opening and disc swapping.

Meanwhile, this is become harder to say about consoles as mandatory installs become more and more common.

erbkaiser said:
2) No incompatibility with drivers, controllers, DRM, phase of the moon... it just works
A fair enough point, but honestly I think this gets a little over-exaggerated as an argument against the PC. Older games can be hell to get working sure, but I've yet to come across a brand new game that straight up refuses to work. Maybe I'm just lucky in that regard, but debacles like Arkham Knight really are an extreme minority.

erbkaiser said:
3) A controller is the superior interface for anything not requiring mouse precision.
Opinion, but also sort of irrelevant. You can get any current gen controller to work on PC, usually with a minimum of hassle. But again, there is that slight time cost when compared to the 'literally works seconds out of the box' functionality of consoles.

erbkaiser said:
4) My PC is getting on in age and I can't get a constant framerate in all cases... and I've upgraded it enough to make me have to buy completely new instead. And if faced with spending 2000 on a new PC or potentially buying 400-500 games, guess what I prefer.
I've never understood this argument. The same is true for consoles, only you can't upgrade a console. If you can't get decent performance in a new game, maybe just accept that you can't play games at max settings anymore. The hardware I have in my PC is better than an Xbone. That will now never not be true. Sure, one day I'll have to run newer games at lower settings, but only because the thresholds have shifted. Even good optimisation won't allow a future Xbone game to run better than it would on my PC with its current setup, even if in the future Low setting has come to be equivalent of the Xbone version where it's somewhere between Medium and High now.

But again, beating or even matching the performance of a console will cost you. Especially if you live outside the States.


erbkaiser said:
By owning a PC and a console I have the best of both worlds. The only things I "miss" out on are Nintendo exclusives, and Nintendo is getting increasingly more removed from what I consider relevant to my gaming tastes each generation, and whatever games Microsoft traps behinds wads of cash to keep it away from PS4 for a limited time.
Worth it.
Funnily enough, the only console I think would be worth owning for me, as a PC gamer, is the Wii-U. Because it remembers that the best thing about a console is the easy multiplayer - getting a bunch of your friends round and having some simple fun. Games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros and Mario Party bend over backwards to cater to local multiplayer in a way Playstation and Xbox seem to have forgotten.
 

MoltenSilver

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There's one big sort-of 'beyond your control' factor I think you left out here: you played what your friends played. If your friends had PlayStation, that meant you needed a PlayStation. If your friends were were playing Halo, you needed an xbox, and so on and so on.
 

Something Amyss

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Most of my recent game purchases are PC.

I own a current gen console pretty much because I know that no matter how perfect PC gaming might be, I have friends I want to play with who can't be bothered. A couple years back, I saw Rich from ReviewTechUSA basically voice this in a way that really helped me understand that.

I might be better to service your own car, but I'm never going to do that.
It might be better to grow your own food, but I'm never going to do that.
So why, then, yell at my friends because they're never going to service their own PC or put in the legwork to make games work?
My primary determining factors for where to buy are who I'll play it with, and what the price is.

EeviStev said:
Go Team Gamepad.
Though I am still very much in that camp. Most games I play work with a gamepad and I will keep using one.
 

JSRevenge

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I'm a PC guy, and it's almost entirely due to price point. We have a PC because we need a PC. On top of that framework, I can spend 100-200 dollars on my birthday or Christmas and treat myself to a stick of RAM and a video card, or a new monitor, or a new headset, because the rest of the year I can play $2-$15 Steam games and F2P Blizzard titles. It's mostly about the money.

We have a Wii (and had a PS3, which I sold), but I couldn't justify buying anything for it, and haven't for a long time (obviously). $60 is pretty steep for something I'll play to completion and then shelve.

EDIT: I am totally getting a Steam Link (and maybe a Steam controller) for my birthday this year (it comes out the day before). I'm not sure where that falls as far as the overall argument goes, but it's nice to play on a couch every once in a while.
 

Dalisclock

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MoltenSilver said:
There's one big sort-of 'beyond your control' factor I think you left out here: you played what your friends played. If your friends had PlayStation, that meant you needed a PlayStation. If your friends were were playing Halo, you needed an xbox, and so on and so on.
That only applies if you're into multi-player. If your more into the single player scene, then it doesn't really matter what your friends are playing on.
 

MoltenSilver

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Dalisclock said:
MoltenSilver said:
There's one big sort-of 'beyond your control' factor I think you left out here: you played what your friends played. If your friends had PlayStation, that meant you needed a PlayStation. If your friends were were playing Halo, you needed an xbox, and so on and so on.
That only applies if you're into multi-player. If your more into the single player scene, then it doesn't really matter what your friends are playing on.
I partly disagree. Even with single-player experiences if your friends are all on xbox consoles playing xbox exclusive games, then that's what's going to probably be a big topic discussed within your group of friends. If you aren't playing the same games, you are then going to be the odd-one-out when, for example, people are discussing the various branches they chose in an rpg and their experiences, while you can't contribute to the discussion.

Of course this is going to vary a lot from friendship to friendship. If you have plenty of other aspects to your group of friends and videogames is a tiny part, then it might not matter at all. But when I was in high school video games were the biggest common ground for my group of friends. The most pertinent reason (There were others, but this is what made any other choice basically irrelevant) I got an xbox 360 over a PS3* was because that's the console that my friends were getting, and not picking that same one meant being unintentionally-but-none-the-less ostracized from a large amount of conversations and interactions.

*I did get a PS3 much, much, much later, after the PS4 came out, due to them being dirt-cheap and stores doing anything to get PS3 consoles and games off the shelves to make space. Also I was/am a big PC gamer, but that came from before I met these people and PC gaming was a much smaller subset within my group of friends, as opposed to 360's which everyone had.
 

Zen Bard

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While I agree with Shamus that the argument ultimately comes down to personal preference, it's not always dependent on outside influences beyond our control.

I grew up as a PC gamer on my dad's Apple IIe (yeah...it was a loooooong time ago). So PC gaming was just what I knew. And it was pretty safe since the "gaming industry" was just begining then. When it finally took off, PC gaming became more complex. There was a much greater variety of games from which to choose and had varying ranges of processor intensity. Soon if I wanted to play a particular game, I had to upgrade my motherboard and graphics card, download new drivers, find and apply game patches and probably tune my system.

It got to a point where I was upgrading my system every time a new "Elder Scrolls" game came out.

Eventually, I had enough.

So I flipped to a console. I lloved the fact that, for the most part, I could just pop the disk in and go. No tuning, no loading drivers or patches and no upgrading hardare everytime a cool new game came out. It was also nice to play a game on a 48" TV while reclined on the couch as opposed to being hunched over a desk looking at a smaller screen. However the graphics quality isn't as high on admittedly, a last gen console as a custom build PC.

So I currently juggle both platforms. But as a standard, I'll probably play major Triple A games on the console but play Indie or "classic" games on the PC.
 

laggyteabag

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At this point, I am pretty much a PC gamer. I made the transition a couple of years ago after the last generation of consoles were more than showing their age, and I really wanted to play World of Warcraft on something that wasn't a shitty laptop. Since then, I realised that I just preferred playing games on my PC, as I just had more options (control scheme, graphics, mods, etc).

Consoles do still have a very special place in my heart, as I do own an Xbox One that I play Halo and Destiny on, but all of my friends, and the majority of my games are on PC, and there is absolutely no evidence of that changing any time soon.
 

infohippie

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schmulki said:
infohippie said:
On some rare occasions you might have needed to write a boot sequence (config.sys, autoexec.bat) designed to push everything possible into high memory to free up enough lower memory for a game.
That right there is MUCH more than enough to turn off many gamers. Then there's driver issues. Then there's issues of which settings do I need to turn down/off to make the game not run like garbage. It just kinda keeps going on like that.
Yeah, but the last time I had to do something like that was... 1996? It hasn't been an issue for literally decades. I'm still not sure what you mean by "driver issues". You install your video card's driver, install the game, and play. When there's a new driver out you install that one and get slightly better performance. And most games have a button to click that will determine optimal settings for your card, and Nvidia at least (I bet probably AMD too) also have a similar feature built in to their software that will pick the optimal settings for most well known games. You really only have to delve into the graphics options if you want to choose a specific balance or mix of features according to your own preferences.

infohippie said:
It was a bit more expensive than console gaming for a while, when the early 3D cards came out, but the hardware price differential has been steadily dropping ever since and the games themselves have always been cheaper on a PC. "Extremely costly", however, not at all.
The problem was, for a while there, you'd buy a video card, use it for one big game, then the next game comes out, and you're either barely able to run the game or are running it on the lowest settings possible. You had to constantly be upgrading hardware, which made it VERY expensive to keep up with. That has certainly calmed down over time, and I've now gotten aobut 4 years out of my 7850 so far, and expect to eek out another year before replacing it.
Yeah that was the case for a while, but again, it hasn't been an issue for a VERY long time. Mostly due to consoles, actually - you could buy a cheap mid-range card and play most AAA games on similar quality levels to the console version (or a little higher even), and thanks to consoles remaining the same for most of a decade you did not have to upgrade your card at all unless you were trying for significantly higher quality than the console version. Now with the new consoles you can once again buy a cheap mid range card and be at or above new generation console quality. Again, you can stick with that same card for the duration of this console generation and only upgrade when the NEXT generation comes out.

I do understand your arguments, but they are between ten and twenty years out of date. All of the "problems" you bring up are simply not the case any more, and haven't been for a long time.
 

FalloutJack

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Truth is, I'm a dynamic gamer, having done both, but it's obvious to anybody that knows me that consoles are my strength. Even while dual-classing, I am a console gamer. That is the control format in which I prefer and am best at. Need proof? Compare my playing of an FPS (or in third-person, for that matter) on either system and just see which one is awkward for me. My muscle memory and coordination favors a handheld device. You can thank years of Atari, Nintendo, Sega, and Sony systems.
 

BramblinTheGnome

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Makes sense. I need a computer for my job, so instead of buying both a computer and a console I just buy a slightly better computer than I would otherwise get. In the long run the extra cash I pump into my computer to bring it up to gaming status is way less than it would cost to switch to console gaming. Plus, I have a nice work space in my office and my living room tends to be dominated by my significant other who is usually watching some horrible show on Netflix that I would prefer to avoid.

As for the difficulty of getting PC games to work, my first experience with gaming was back in the NES days. I thought it was much easier following simple DOS prompt instructions to get a game installed and running than the voodoo needed to get an aging NES system to actually play a game. I know that neither of those situations have anything to do w/ current age gaming, but it's hard to shake earliest experiences.