A run down of the pros and cons for either side of the PC-console divide.
There is a massive, long-lasting debate over which is better, PC or console gaming. Let’s be honest up front, neither suck. Here are a few select reasons why both consoles and PCs are good to get your fix of virtual reality in your spare time.
PCs support the mouse and keyboard combo. This allows for greater precision and speed over fiddly analogue sticks. A PC gamer on the Tom’s Hardware forum proudly exclaims, “I only play shooters”, and concludes, “Don’t even think about using a controller for shooters because your reflexes are better transferred via the mouse.”
One of the main reasons why PC gaming is preferred by some is due to the ridiculously easy process of upgrading your kit. Processor and graphic card prices drop so quickly that it’s hardly bank-breaking to refit your rig in a year or so for better graphics and more speed. A PC can always have up to date kit whereas the console has components that you’re stuck with until the latest Playstation or Xbox is released.
PC graphics are also spectacular. 1080p can seem a bit 2001 with the PC as a medium rig can comfortably cope with that type of resolution, depending on game and other settings of course.
Due to Sony and Microsoft’s licensing and publishing costs, games are at a much more premium price point than the PC equivalent. Defiance is the newest futuristic online open world shooter for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. According to Game.co.uk, priced highest is Sony’s version at £39.99, then Microsoft’s at £37.99. Unsurprisingly the PC version is by far the cheapest at £25.99, over ten quid cheaper than its rivals.
As a PC gamer you have the choice of multiple online servers to play on and you’re not tied into a service like Xbox Live and Playstation Network. Best of all it’s free, unlike lag-ridden Xbox Live. Xboxers do have the choice of the free Silver edition… but seriously, why would you?
The storage space on a PC is far greater than any console’s on the market today. Hard drives with a capacity of over four terabytes allow for almost unlimited storage for all your gaming progress.
PC-convert Aaron Meakins says, “I used to be a console gamer, Xboxer through and through, but the naff online server and lag just tipped me over the edge.” He too found the lower price of PC games and the ability to upgrade his hardware a real draw, admitting that he “liked the idea of having the newest kit all the time.” He was further seduced by the “online brilliance of multiple severs”, which were “just so superior to the console’s on the market today.”
But it’s not all fancy figures and impressive prices, oh no. Even though PC gaming has a well-stocked arsenal, you can’t help but think they aren’t for casual gamers, they’re for hardcore gamers who crave this sort of excellence.
Consoles are simple, quick and easy to use. There are no long drawn-out game installations. Star Wars: The Old Republic has reportedly taken up to two days to install on PC. I went to the trouble of timing this myself on a brand new £750 gaming PC; the installation of all three discs took 2 hours 13 minutes 46 seconds, which is far from two days, but a long process nonetheless. Not exactly what you want when you’ve frantically torn the cellophane from your newest purchase to get playing, only to find you have hours to wait until you can indulge in some much needed virtual reality.
Console controllers are incredibly nice to handle and easy to use. Although PC gamers protest that the mouse and keyboard combo is the best, it can take a while to get the hang of. One simple controller is easy to fathom and it’s all you need to play games well, and immediately.
Pricing is a huge issue for most people. For a decent PC to play games on (and without building it yourself) the cheapest is around £500. And for a rig to play games at the very best quality, you’re looking at more like a grand. For that price, you could buy both Xbox 360 and PS3, extra controllers, add ons and the top ten games of the year for each. No brainer?
Perhaps most importantly, a console just works. Put the disc in and play. No long installation process or the hastle of buying different components every three months when you find your three-month-old quad-AMD 3000 and Nvidia Orgasmo-card won’t actually run Generic FPS 10 because it’s got driver 1.1 instead of 1.1a. You don’t need that, right?
Depending on what you’re after, PCs and consoles both have their pros and cons. For the more hardcore gamer, I’d choose a PC every time. With free servers, huge storage space, cheaper games, spectacular graphics, ever-improving hardware and precise controlling system, a PC allows for the ultimate gaming experience. However, if it’s just a FIFA night with the lads now and then, or you only turn your current platform on once in a while then a console will be the top choice.
This all holds true for now, but with a new generation of consoles just around the corner we may have to revisit the debate before too long. The suggestions are that the PS4 may be able to hold its own against the majority of PCs graphics-wise for some time. Exciting times!
Featured image: Breck School via Wiki commons