Console Gaming May Not be the Best Option Anymore

ME3 Shadow Broker

Image By Flickr User: JBLivin (cc)

I’ve been player of home consoles for my entire life as a gamer. It used to be that I would steadfastly tout the superiority of my favorite consoles over the PC, even in the face of growing evidence to the contrary. I’m even still considering potentially picking up an Xbox One in order to play the likes of Halo 5 and Tomb Raider. I had an incredible time with the consoles of the past, and am very happy with PS4 now. It’s been an absolute blast. However, more and more often now I find my gaze wandering to the land of PC gaming. With everything PCs have to offer these days, I can’t help but wonder if remaining a primarily console-based gamer is the best way to continue.

Honestly, I think the biggest thing keeping me on consoles is momentum; momentum and large library of old console games. Aside from a small handful of console exclusives, there really doesn’t seem to be much reason to stay; at least not anymore. Until recently, I’d say the home consoles had a well-defined place in the gaming market. At first they might as well have been the only game in town, with machines like the SNES, Genesis, N64, and PSOne offering games that were largely head and shoulders above their counterparts on PCs at the time. Later, with the likes of the PS2 & Xbox and eventually the PS3 & Xbox 360, it wasn’t so much that the games were better, but rather that they were still cheaper options to the PC. However, with the rise of mods, indie games, and relatively cheaper hardware, it’s hard to say what exactly the place of the gaming console is anymore.

Almost everything that used to set consoles apart is gone now. Sure they’re still less immediately expensive than an average PC, but what else do they have that makes them special? They can’t claim to be more convenient anymore. Instead of letting you just pop the game in and play like before, now they’re just like on PCs.  One must wait for a game to install to the machine before it can be played, and that’s without having to wait for patches to download and install on top of that. Consoles aren’t even necessarily the best option for playing from the couch anymore either. It’s already easier than ever to hook up a computer to a TV, and, come this November, those of us who play on Steam will just be able to stream their games to their TV with Valve’s new Steam Link device. Just plug it in and it’ll be just like playing any other console! Further still, the controller is no longer the sole domain of the home console either. A lot of what comes out on PC these days has a controller option, and many of them can even be played with a good ol’ Xbox 360 controller. So not only would us console gamers not have to trade our couch for a desk chair, but we’d also get to continue to use a controller just like we always have.

It also doesn’t help that console gaming has its own exclusive annoyances as well. Online play in particular is rather hard to talk about when pitting console gaming against its counterpart on PC. Aside from the Wii U, if you want online multiplayer on console then you’re going to have to pay for it. No matter if you’ve chosen PS4 or Xbox One, if you want to play your games online it’s going to cost you $50 a year. Go to PC gaming, and the ability to play online is (for the most part) free. It’s included in the price of the game! Console exclusives aside, this leaves with a class of machine that is neither the most convenient to use anymore nor the least expensive overall. It’s a class of machine that has great exclusives, but are exclusives enough to raise a platform up to equal standing with its peers? And if they are, then what about the veritable tons of mods and indie games offered by PC? If exclusives make the platform, the sheer amount on the PC place the platform head and shoulders above the competition regardless of everything else.

This may all sound like I really dislike consoles and am chomping at the bit to abandon them and move to PC, but that’s really not the case. I don’t want to leave my PS4 to collect dust, nor do I want to see consoles fade away. They’ve always been the primary vehicle of my gaming experience, and I’ll likely continue with them until they stop getting made (albeit in a lesser capacity). It’s just that I can no longer ignore how good PC gaming has become. What’s more, now that consoles are more or less low-spec computers, maybe we console gamers should ask ourselves why we don’t see more of what’s made PC gaming so great on our consoles too. Microsoft’s more recent announcements have shown that mods for console games are at least possible, so why not other features currently enjoyed by PC gaming?

13 Comments Add yours

  1. drakulus23 says:

    As a PC gamer that grew up on Nintendo I actually disagree with some of what you said. Even in the 90’s the PC had a lot of fantastic games that consoles could only wish for.

    As far as the large library goes for backwards compatibility goes they’re really isn’t a comparison to PC. When you buy a new console you have to by new games for that console. The library isn’t big, especially with these new consoles, and it’ll take you a while to have a really good library like you did with your old console.

    PC gamers don’t have that problem. If I go out and buy a new PC all I have to is redownload my old games. I have over 300 games on my PC right now. Another great thing about PC gaming is that it’s cheap. I don’t buy $60 games on PC. I have four kids and that amount of money could be spent on them.

    I don’t think you’re bashing on consoles because you’re thinking about moving over to the PC. If it wasn’t for some really good Xbox exclusives coming out I wouldn’t have one. I love my Xbox, but it doesn’t compete with my PC or Wii U.

    Nice article, and sorry for long comment :].

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks for the in-depth comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’ll admit that I got a bit off-track with this one and that perhaps more research was needed. Until recently my exposure to PC gaming was limited to a handful of games, so there are probably more than a fair few classics on the PC that I don’t know about.

      That said, my intention wasn’t to bash on consoles so much as it was to point out just how PC-like they are now.

      From my experience, aside from still using physical media, there isn’t all that much that sets home consoles apart from PC gaming anymore. The PS4 and Xbox One both essentially follow the lead of the PC, except that they’re a bit less convenient in terms of backwards-compatibility and what’s available to play. The Wii U might be an exception here since it does it’s own thing and lives on Nintendo’s first-party titles. It’s a good machine that can do things a PC can’t.

      If it weren’t for exclusives and accessibility though, I was just thinking that most of what consoles offer could also be offered by PC along with everything else the PC brings to the table.


      1. drakulus23 says:

        I think the current consoles are way underpowered when compared to modern gaming PCs. Exclusives are really the only thing that I can see driving console sales now to be honest.

        I used to be a physical game collector, but I gladly made the switch once I had my first kid and realized how much they like to mess with my stuff. I really love my Wii U, but it’s hard to recommend to anyone since there is a lack of games on the console and Nintendo is pushing the NX out the door next year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. duckofindeed says:

    I still prefer consoles, though I am starting to see less advantages than I used to. I used to not want to play PC games because I just wasn’t interested in the games. Now, lots of games are made both for consoles and for PC, so the selection is similar. I also didn’t want to play on a computer when I had a nice big TV to use, and I wanted to use a normal controller, but that’s not really an issue, either. I also had a bad computer back in the day, and PC games would freeze every few seconds, making them impossible to play anyway.

    I guess now, honestly, I just love consoles because it’s what I’ve been doing all these years. I’ve grown attached to them, even if buying new ones constantly is a bit of a nuisance. Okay, a big nuisance. It’s just hard to change when you’ve been doing something since the days of the SNES.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Agreed. At first it’s the only option, then it becomes a preference. For me, in my mind it’s still *better* to continue with my consoles because that’s what I’m used to, even though I’ve been shown what looks to be a better path. There’s so much more that I want to dive into on PC, but inertia is a hard thing to overcome.


  3. cary says:

    (Fortuitous timing with this article, as I’ve got one brewing about the Xbox One/Windows 10 integration that was discussed last week at Gamescom!)

    There really used to be not just a line in the sand, but a concrete wall between PC gamer and console gamers, didn’t there? More than once I probably derided one or the other depending on whatever I was favoring at the time. But for a long time, it seemed that once you were on one side or the other, that was that. Now, it’s all just “gaming,” no matter the means. Yet, despite this seeming confluence, there’s still issues that set PC-ers and Console-ers apart, such as exclusives and availability and cross-platform play. I think we are headed down a set a converging paths that will eventually all end up in one spot, a spot where gaming simply happens no matter the device.


    1. duckofindeed says:

      It definitely seems that way, doesn’t it? In the past, computers and TVs and consoles all felt like such different devices. Now I can watch Youtube on my TV using a video game console. Everything’s combining into one. Computers are gaming consoles and gaming consoles are computers. TVs are computers. Phones are computers. They now have watches that are computers. Soon, everything’s going to be a computer….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    This week I’m sharing a UWG article from my fellow admin Hatm0nster, because he addresses a gaming issue that’s not uncommon these days: console vs. PC gaming. And it’s not a matter of either or, it’s more a question of acceptance. As a mostly console player myself who recently turned back to PC gaming (if not full force), I’ve come to see the value of having a gaming PC as a viable addition to anyone’s gaming setup. And frankly, with as headache-y as both the Xbox One and PS4 can be, I can also see the value in only playing games on PC. But when one has only ever played games on console, making this leap is a bit tougher. If you’ve recently found yourself on this fence, I highly encourage you to check out Hatm0nster’s article and leave your own thoughts.


  5. Red Metal says:

    I’ve always been kind of a mix between the two – I find myself gaming on both consoles and the PC. Although I do have to say that at this point, consoles have hit something of a point of stagnation. It’s annoying when are one or two interesting games that I can’t play because I don’t have the right console. Not helping is the fact that there’s no backwards compatibility with the new consoles – it gives consumers very little motivation to get them. The PC has almost never had this problem. It did when the newer operating systems were incapable of going into DOS, but that problem was instantly solved with the invention of DOSBox. Also not helping is the AAA industry’s anti-consumer practices such as the aforementioned compatibility problems along with their, not-so-great PR, which only seems to be getting worse with time. A lot of the big-name companies such as EA and Activision are still making a lot of money, but their strategies are not sustainable. If the only thing they focus on is graphics, this just means that there will inevitably be a backlash once consumers catch on and break the pattern.

    Having said all that, the reason I switch between the consoles and the PC is because some games play better with a controller and on a TV screen while others are better suited for a keyboard and mouse control scheme. Also, upgrading the PC to play new games can be quite expensive. Then again, one can play a PC game on a TV screen while the opposite doesn’t usually hold true. And then there’s the issue of the Steam controller, which will would allow one to play PC games on the TV screen, thus bridging the gap.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      If the Steam controller is indeed as universal as they say it is, then yeah we’ll finally have that bridge that’s been so long in the making. You do have a point about upgrades being expensive though. Cost is still prohibitive to be sure, but it seems like it’s been getting less so with each passing year.


  6. ouroborus777 says:

    I posit that consoles never were the best option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Perhaps PC was always the most powerful, but consoles did have their place once upon a time. They’ve kind of lost that place now though.


Add to the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s