Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Common Misconceptions of PC Gaming

As primarily a PC gamer, over the last few years I have seen PC gaming growing and growing in popularity. While once upon a time games consoles were the optimal system for playing video games, PCs have rocketed technologically and have surpassed the power of consoles. This means there is more of a reason to game on a PC thus popularity for the platform has grown and now PC games make up a decent percentage of the gaming industry.

But, of course, considering how popular games consoles are, people find it difficult to move from their preferred platform and we hear a lot of negativity towards PC gaming and there are a lot of excuses as to why people wouldn't want to use a PC as their primary platform. I'm writing this to make clear some misconceptions and hopefully teach you something if you didn't know about it already.

Now before I start, I don't want you to think I'm some "elitist" who thinks you should definitely game on a PC. Everyone has the right to play how they want to play on any platform they like for what ever reason. I just want to clear up some things and maybe help you consider PC gaming. The following are a few common reasons people decide against PC and explanations of why they are incorrect.

PC Gaming is too expensive!
So I'll start with the big one. The main thing you hear is people complaining how expensive it is to buy a PC when they can just pick up one of the new generation of consoles for £400-500. While the face value of a PC can be slightly more expensive than a console (you can easily build a PC for £400-500 that will perform about as well as a console) you're paying for what you get. Not only will it perform better than a console, it's not just a gaming machine. It's a whole PC to do what ever you want with! You can either buy a PC pre-built which tends to usually be the best idea for beginners but slightly more expensive or you can get help in finding parts and you can put it together yourself or with some help from a friend. Building a PC may sound daunting but it's just like putting Lego together.
As far as games go; brand new AAA games tend to be about £10-15 cheaper as developers don't need to pay a licence fee to the console makers (e.g. Sony, Microsoft). There also tends to be a lot of sales on PC games, especially on Steam where games often go down to 75% off.
So while you may be paying more than you would for a console, you're getting more than a gaming system and, of course, there is the fact you will be paying less for games.

I don't want to sit at a desk with a small screen
This is also a common one you hear. It has a pretty simple solution, as well. Hook your PC up to your TV and sit on your comfy sofa! It's simple enough to do these days; most modern graphics cards in PCs tend to have an HDMI port which makes it so much easier as modern TVs come with tonnes of HDMI ports.
Getting sound may be a little more difficult but still very do-able. Your TV may have an audio input port, if it does you can simply connect the audio output on your PC to the audio input on the TV with a single 3.5mm audio cable. If your TV doesn't have an audio input, you can just plug some external speakers in to your PC which you can pick up for a decent price.

I don't like using a keyboard and mouse!
The keyboard and mouse argument is brought up a lot. I personally think that keyboard and mouse controls tend to be better for a lot of games but there are certain games and certain genres that controllers are a lot better for, such as racing and platformers, and if I ever want to play one of those games, I just plug my controller in and go. You can even get a wide range of different controllers such as racing wheels for racing games or fighting sticks for fighting games.
Of course, if you don't want to use mouse and keyboard, you can plug your favourite controller in via USB and play away! Most games on PC are compatible with controllers as it is becoming a more and more popular option.
From the last generation (PS3 and Xbox 360) the only officially compatible controller was the Xbox 360 controller, but there are many unofficial drivers for the PS3 controller to work as normal. From the new generation (PS4 and Xbox One) both of the controllers are compatible. The PS4 controller is plug and play and the Xbox One controller has official drivers.

You have to constantly upgrade PCs!
This is quite an amusing one. There would be no reason to upgrade or change anything in a PC unless any of the hardware breaks down. I have no idea where the thought of upgrading your PC to run the latest games comes from. If we look at it from a console point of view, they can run the latest games for around 8 years with the same old hardware they had at the beginning. So by that logic there is no reason that PCs can't do the same. Being able to upgrade is quite the opposite to a downside. The freedom to do that isn't available with consoles and thus I believe consoles hold back the gaming industry. Game developers aren't allowed to advance with the technology they use to make games because if it is pushed too far, consoles wouldn't be able to run them while a high end PC would still be able to play them. 8 or so years from now when the current generation of consoles come to the end of their lives, PC technology will have advanced a fair bit and would be able to run amazing looking and amazing performing games but we'll still be at the same level due to the industry not being able to advance.

Anyway, I hope this gives you a better insight in to PC gaming and shows you it's not as bad as it's made out to be. If you need any more information just ask or have a quick search of the Internet and I'm sure you'll find a lot of people voicing their opinion.

Thanks for reading.

Jay Bowen

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