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While Akhil, takes some time off from writing Blood and Thunder, the epic; he asked me to fill in for him during this Write Tribe Festival of Words. Apart from being a very good friend (the one in need kind), I also thought it was a nice opportunity to get rid of my Writer’s block, that I have had for a while. And what better to get rid of it then, gaming.

PC vs Consoles
The PC Strikes Back

There comes a time in the life of every gamer (who is worth his/her salt) when he has to pick a side. Once he/she does that, they defend that choice vehemently, with vigor and mostly aggressively. The choice between PC gaming and Console gaming, is arguably the most contentious among them (though Sony and Microsoft are getting there). Today we look at the 7 most basic reasons why a gamer picks one over the other.

PC Vs Console
The Return Of The Console

[Note: This article take the liberty that you know your way around basic gaming lingo. If that is untrue, worry not, and check out our Gaming 101 series.]

If you are a gamer, unable to decide whether you should upgrade your PC or buy the new X-Box or PlayStation, this article is for you. If you are a veteran gamer, and want to start a flame war right here, this article is so for you.

PC Gaming Console Gaming
Probably the biggest bone of contention, there is. These days almost each and every blockbuster game, pushes the graphical and the computational limit of a PC. In fact, if someone upgrades his PC every time in accordance with the “Recommended Settings” of every new game, chances are the gamer would be upgrading his rig almost every six months. In contrast, the console is more buy and forget. The hardware does not need to be changed. Every game that comes on the console, is optimized to run on that particular hardware and provide the best gaming experience. A normal life cycle of a console would be around 6-8 years.
The upside of having the latest hardware is that you will have the best graphics. Crysis, Battlefield, Far Cry look drolling awesome on PCs. In terms of graphics, a console game is like the vaguely related nephew to its PC counterpart. As I said the games are optimized for consoles, but a console’s hardware can hardly compete with the state of the art graphics card in its 3rd year of life cycle. A good way to put this would be say that a lot of demos that you see in conferences, even for console exclusives are run on high end PC. Enough said!!!
The PC games are dirt cheap. Even the latest offering are easily available at very affordable prices. Then there is Steam. An online game provisioning service, which allows for digital downloads of games at very attractive prices (and when I say attractive, I say throw away). On the downside, PC hardware is actually quite expensive. So buy a game for $1, but to play it you would need hardware worth $700 The situation is the reverse in Consoles. While the investment in the console is a small one, the games can be quite expensive ($49+). Even the online services (PSN, Xbox Live) don’t provide much reprieve. So if you think about it, the amount of money you would spend to play the best games, in the best way would normally cost you the same in both flavors
Mouse Vs. Controller
The mouse and the keyboard are ideal for FPS and RTS. However it feels cumbersome to use the keyboard for fighting games, simulations and to an extent platformers. So if you are the kind fo gamer who likes playing his AOE, and CS; PC gaming is the better option. Controllers are easy to hold. There are no useless buttons, and are created to fit your hands. They are perfect for button mashing games and RPGs. Ever see someone leaning along with their keyboard as they control their cars. Even the FPS genre has become easier to play with new trigger buttons. It still stays behind in the strategy domain though.
Co-Op Play
PC by nature are individualistic in nature. A guy tunes his machine according to his own wishes. PC gamer types alone, watches his movies alone, and hence plays his games alone. The game might be able to play multiplayer on the internet, and there might be option to add another player. But it becomes increasingly difficult to do so, as the number increase. In fact its safe to say that PC are better suited to single players Consoles are placed in common rooms. They are attached to TV screens, and adding a new player is as easy as attaching a new controller. Consoles are social inherently, they were meant to be used by friends together, sitting on the sofa, eating Nachos and drinking coke.
A reason why PC games are cheap is because they need to compete with piracy. The cracked versions of most games are available almost the same day the game releases, and most DMR techniques fall flat on their faces. The gaming industry itself acknowledges that piracy eats into most of their profits on the PC front. So if you are the grey market type, PC gaming is the best alternative. The consoles are usually black boxes. Its not easy to crack or hack the consoles hardware or software, which allows for better DRM control. Piracy is much more controlled here, and the profits are much more clear cut and transparent relative to a game’s popularity. Also, buying a console put you in a T&C agreements, allowing the service to make your console into a brick if your are found using pirated stuff.
The Games
This is the only reason that matters. Everything else is just gloss and shiny lights. The only reason you should be playing games on PC, is because it has the games you want to play. Most MMORPGs are PC specific, so if you are into World Of Warcraft, PC is the way to go. If you like your AOE or Rise Of Nations, its better you stick to your computer. God Of War, Killzone or the Last Of us are PS 3 exclusives. Halo 4, Gears Of War, Fable are all X-Box exclusive. So if you are interested in killing a god, you should think about a PS 3, if you like aliens and super human soldiers X-box is the place to be.

If you haven’t made up your mind, after reading this, tell us what confuses you. I you think there is more to it than we think, let us know.

[Both images courtesy: www.wickedpotatoes.com]
  1. The article does not mention the cost of an LED TV in case we will be playing on a console. A decent 40in TV will cost around 50 to 60k. And if we are considering upgrade of parts, I doubt we need an upgrade every 6 months because a high end card as old as GTX 690 can max out most of the games today.

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