As long as there have been video game consoles, there’s been a debate between gamers over which platform was superior. Everybody likes to think- even if they don’t admit it- that their way is the right way, after all. Most of you who’ve played video games a great deal know at least a little bit about it. But what are the merits of each ‘type?’ Let’s take a look. Next time, we’ll examine how the two stack up against the new kids on the block: Mobile and Social Gaming.
For me, the biggest advantage of gaming on the PC has to be the modding community. With a lot of modern releases, the user-generated content is often just as good, and occasionally better, than the original content. With a few rare exceptions (Little Big Planet, Map Editors in games like Halo), user-generated content simply doesn’t have the sort of distribution on consoles that it does on PC.
There’s also the matter of power. See, modern consoles were pretty powerful when they first came out- but it’s been nearly a decade since their release, and they are, naturally, starting to get a bit long in the tooth. Most modern gaming PCs can outperform consoles on every level. Plus, there’s a lot more you can do with a PC setup- there’s a lot more you can do to customize how you’ve got your PC arranged, as most consoles don’t allow for multiple monitors and top notch peripherals like.
Finally- and this is a matter of taste- the mouse and keyboard is often cited as being better than console controllers for gaming. They allow for the development of more complex game-play and control schemes, and are often said to be more precise than hand-held controllers. For those who prefer the controller, there are plenty of peripherals- and even the ability to hook up a 360 controller to your PC, though it won’t necessarily work with all titles.
It seems the ball is entirely in PC gaming’s court.
Expenses. Malware. Complexity. These are all major stumbling points for the PC market which the console market simply strides right over. One doesn’t really have to worry about downloading a virus onto their console unless they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing anyway, and to build a stable and solid gaming rig will always cost more than just buying an Xbox or Playstation- even if you build your own, which does require at least a little technical knowledge.
Plus, some people simply prefer controllers.
Price. Ease of setup and use. More emphasis on social interaction. Console games do have quite a bit going for them, least of which is the lower price tag when compared with their notebook and desktop brethren. It also helps that, as a whole, the ‘feel’ of console gaming really seems like it’s an evolution of the video game arcades of old.
They’ve also got quite a few unique features of their own, such as the Wii’s motion control, the Playstation Eye, and Xbox Kinect. Whether nor these are gimmicks is up for discussion; they’re still something the consoles have which the PC does not- and allow for gameplay that you can’t really find on a computer. Gameplay on a console is also an entirely different bird than gameplay on a PC, and a completely unique- some would say more entertaining- experience.
Plus, there’s the matter of portability. Even without taking into account handhelds, it’s a lot easier to transport a gaming console than it is to lug a full desktop rig over to a friend’s place. Plus, on consoles- at least on older titles, before all the garbage about online play being more important than social interaction- you just need one system, and one game…then you and several of your best friends can play the night away. With computers, you all need a rig, and a copy of the game, and an internet connection…
You get the idea.
As we’ve already stated, consoles aren’t as technically powerful as computers. While they might have a lower price tag, there’s also less customizability available to those who own consoles- you can’t very well build your own xbox, after all. Plus, the lack of a modding community means all the amazing user created content one sees on the PC is noticeably absent on the console.
Another big failing point is reliability. Like it or not, the 360 and PS3 have had their fair share of technical failures- and even the Wii isn’t immune. Even if their life cycle is technically longer than that of a computer, many people are on their second or third Xbox, and the stories of melting PS3s and Wiimote mishaps are, though many of them may indeed be related to user error, a black mark against systems. In all honesty, if you treat your computer right, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last you at least six to ten years (though no one said it could run things WELL after the five year mark). Theoretically, you’re using your computer a lot more often than your console, as well.
So, if you do the math…I’d argue PCs could actually be considered more reliable hardware than consoles.
Anyway, it’s not my intention to arrive at a conclusion based on what I’ve presented here- that’s up to all of you.
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