Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Existencial question: PC or Gaming Consoles?(no spam pls)

Last response: in Video Games
Share
April 3, 2006 1:42:42 PM

Hi guys, this is my first time here and Iam gonna kick it with the BIG QUESTION 8O - PC & Consoles, from the gamers point of view.
Now, Iam working on my english project at school, I had to come out with some "research question" and this is actually a LOT of research. And I have only five days left until deadline :) 
Please, could you guys here give me some serious opinions on this problem - whether to prefer a console (like Xbox360) or a PC. I care just about the gaming part of this (internet and multimedia software EXCLUDED).
I know this has been discussed for ages now and it is a pain in the heel of all web servers and polls, but Iam looking for some good observations and I think I can find them here.
Also, you see, there is lot of articles written about this topic but none of them is accurate enough, nor intelligent.

P.S. If this works and my english project does not suck in the final, maybe I can post some of the stuff here on tomshardware. It would be a pleasure...

Thanks for help! :D 
April 3, 2006 7:31:24 PM

OK, serious replies only...

1) I play PC games almost exclusively, primarily RPG or strategy type games, with the occasional shooter for good measure. I am currently playing World of Warcraft almost exclusively, but have played Guild Wars, Far Cry, and Call of Duty quite a bit in the past year.

2) Why do I play PC games? The depth of content and the MUCH greater control that a PC affords over even high end consoles. Some games do lend themselves to control via gamepad (shooters being one obvious example, driving sims are another), but many of the games I prefer do not. On the content side of the equation, there is no comparison between what is done in depth and play balancing on a PC versus a console. While an Xbox 360 has similar theoretical capabilities as far as hardware goes, the development cycle tends to be much shorter on the console side, and this prevents the development of deep and well-balanced gameplay. The expense of developing a game also makes it more likely that a console developer will favor a safe game over a risky, potentially ground-breaking one, whereas the PC world has a greater breadth of developer options, and can deliver truly innovative content more readily.

3) I already have a PC for numerous other purposes - why should I go and sink more money into another box, and another online subscription if I want to play that way as well? Given that the lifespan of a console these days looks to be 3-4 years before the next version hits, I feel even less need to go out and replace on that sort of schedule. Yes, I know my PC's video hardware gets outdated too, and even faster than that, but I can choose how and when to replace it, and my needs are not for the bleeding edge of technology.

4) As an adult gamer in my 30s, I prefer my online communities to consist of similarly minded and mature individuals (since we are gamers, we can't be THAT mature, but you get the idea :)  ). I don't need a leetspeak spewing, foul-mouthed pre-adolescent with the social skills of a retarded troll intruding into my hard-earned gaming time. I have had good luck finding the sort of people I want to game with online via PC games, and feel no need to look elsewhere.

5) I don't play huge numbers of games, nor do I jump on the bandwagon of the NEXT BIG THING as soon as it hits the store shelves. I don't need the volume of games that are available for consoles to keep myself happy.

6) I have small kids, and they tend to want to play the sort of machine that I play. If I play PC games, I can keep them playing the wealth of genuinely educational, non-violent software that is available much more easily than if I kept a PS2 or Xbox in the house. How many truly educational titles are there for those 2 boxes? Hint: don't hold your breath trying to think of some - you'll likely pass out...

Well, hopefully this has given you someplace to start, and given others something to discuss. Ultimately, PC games suit my needs far better than console games, but I don't pretend to be either representative or overly knowledgeable.
April 4, 2006 7:33:16 AM

You know, it's really not possible to, definitively, answer your question. The choice of one over the other is foremost a choice of game and convenience-vs.-control preference.

First the games. The games available for Consoles differ from those available for PC both in type and number. Despite Halo's success, a good FPS is always more enjoyable on the PC. Same thing with stratagy and some other type of games. Conversely something like platform, action-run-shoot or fighting games have never been very good for the PC and are not generaly made. The Japanese type of RPG is also a console game. Somethining like DDR or Guitar Hero, any game with custom controls really, is purely 100% console. There is a lot of overlap, but your choice of gaming device depends a great deal on tht types of games you play.

The other big factor in that decision is the balance of convenience over control. The PC lets you do things to your games a console can't, at the cost of convenience and compatibility. There is no "plug and play" for the PC - not really- and it requires a level of expertise far above that of console gaming. And I'm not even talking about trouble-shooting: the best $3000+ gaming rig is completely useless if you don't know even know what basic FSAA or AF is and can't adjust settings accordingly. The console can be fully used by trained chimps (a good thing!) but forget about modding, skinning, cheating, cracking, editing and all those other things so essential to a PC gamer.

Most people would list price as a big decision factor. I disagree within limits. Anyone who has a PC (and who doesn't?) can make it into a gaming rig for the price of a console. A mainstream PC with a good $300 graphics card is allready a gaming rig*. This is, of course, a different matter if you have kids and don't want them messing with your PC. Most people don't keep 2+ new-game-worthy PCs in their house while a lot of people have a console for every TV - or at least a TV and console in the kids room. (Look this up if it's a serious paper)


*another "minus" for the PC side: you have to know about hardware for gaming. And not only for upgrading: the "minimum requirements" listed on any PC game might as well be Chinese for anyone who doesn't understand. This doesn't bother me in the slightest - I do understand - but I can see how someone can be very put-off by it. (Just look at the Oblivion problems on this very forum - problems Xbox owners of the game never encounter.)

P.S. Oblivion is actually a very good "test study": it's wildly popular (lots of cases) and highlights nicely a lot of the points I brought up.
Related resources
April 4, 2006 11:52:42 AM

Quote:

*another "minus" for the PC side: you have to know about hardware for gaming. And not only for upgrading: the "minimum requirements" listed on any PC game might as well be Chinese for anyone who doesn't understand. This doesn't bother me in the slightest - I do understand - but I can see how someone can be very put-off by it. (Just look at the Oblivion problems on this very forum - problems Xbox owners of the game never encounter.)


Not my intention to completely debunk this point but the x360 version of Oblivion has its own set of issues. Guess which version got the first patch? Right.... x360.
April 4, 2006 12:53:50 PM

I'm talking more about "why doesn't Oblivion run on my Voodoo 3?!" type of things, patching is a necessary evil of any large game today, unfortunately.
April 4, 2006 12:56:11 PM

On the subjest of the cost, I've noticed that where I live(go Australia) The console games are a good ten to twentie dollars more that the PC titles.
Not sure if it's the same else ware but to me it makes sense, Remember that the console companys subsidise the cost of the consoles so they need to make up there losses some How.
So for me being a rather dedicated gammer I think I've probly actually saved money with my pc as it's lasted 3 years now and still playing games at rather high specs. I've upgraded the video card once but the resale of my old one and the games that came with the new one really put money in my walet.
April 4, 2006 2:13:48 PM

Thanx for the post, it was a huge one :) 
But I would disagree with you at the point about games on consoles. Even though Iam a dedicated PC player (I must admit that, though my point in my work should be unbiased :) ), I think there are lot of good and still not brutal or vulgar games out there...
I would almost go for either Xbox or PS if I had a kids myself (I dont since I still go to school). You see, those platformers (run and jump and shoot big pink elephants with your non-lethal bubble gum) like Ratchet and Clank are exactly the style of console games and it is actually meant for kids. I would be more scared to let my kids play on the PC since there is little control of what your kids CAN play. If you have console, then your kids play only the games you actually bought in the shop, therefore you have more control...Aint that right?
April 4, 2006 3:49:47 PM

I agree with your point on control almost entirely. As long as you are not connected to an online service for your console, and your kids don;t swap games with their friends (a large if, in my mind) then you do have more control than with an Internet connected PC. However, the only console which provides a decent number of non-violent, kid friendly titles is the GameCube, and I can't get too excited about that system despite its lower cost. From the standpoint of fun content that helps my kids learn and succeed in school - which is admittedly my highest priroity where kids are concerned - there is no alternative to the PC. I see far too many parents who do not monitor the games their children play, and while I am not a knee-jerk "Violent Games are bad for kids" type, I have a hard time seeing the value in letting a 6 year old play Grand Theft Auto or similarly mature titles, and there are fewer alternatives to this sort of game in the console space than in the PC space. I won't play a violent title if my kids are around and awake, and I want them to be shielded from violence in their games as much as I can manage; keeping them on PC games makes that much easier.

Sorry for the size of the posts - I tend to get wordy up on my soapbox... :wink:
April 4, 2006 4:40:13 PM

Well, I have been reading your post once again and I must react on some issues which u had brought on the surface...
I dont think that console developers are more anxious to experiment than the PC developers. No way! On PC we have people like Will Wright and but that is just a droplet of originality in the sea of "copy&paste" crap. On console (like PS2) we could play SO MANY original (crazy and sick) games - just remember ICO (nowadays it is Shadow of the Colossus), Vib-ribbon or sick Katamari Damacy! And others like dance dance revolution, singstar! So many of them I can remember just from what I heard and I dont even play on consoles! (as I said, Iam PC gamer only...) I just cant take your argument about "not enough original games on consoles". Definitelly not... :) 

And finally. I still dont understand why do you stay with PC. Dont get me wrong but especially you are the type of gamer which almost SHOULD buy some console. Just imagine - you come home, sit with your kids and lovely wife on the sofa, in front of family-TV, and play, have fun. Then you say: "alright kids, lets do your homeworks" and so on... Would it not be more easier with console? :?
April 4, 2006 4:59:29 PM

This question came to my mind when I was talking with my friend about this topic. I mean, we cant possibly think that the BIG games market was started by those games (though brilliant ones) which were coming out in mid 80s? Iam not even sure when was this big boom of gaming and games in general, but I could think about it in a way that consoles (now we are talking Sony and its PlayStation) were the first impuls to start selling games in shops (wall-marts and other big shopping mammoths). Also advertising! Just how many adverts are on console games and where are the PC games?
What do you guys think about that? Was or was not gaming market started by consoles? I would go for yes...
April 4, 2006 5:09:42 PM

I never said that there weren't wonderful and original titles for consoles; what I did say was that there tends to be less incentive and fewer opportunities to do so on consoles. Console developers have to get product to market more quickly than do PC developers, and the hardware they have to design for has more rigidity than does a PC. There is a solid and growing independent developer community for the PC which creates both original games and mods for existing ones that has no equivalent in the console world, so far as I know.
April 5, 2006 11:48:57 AM

Quote:
... Also advertising! Just how many adverts are on console games and where are the PC games?...


well where is the best medium to reach PC gammers(by the way the answer is not "on the tv" or "At the Movies")
So that might explain why you don't see somany adds on the tele.
I know I see adds on the net though.

Quote:
What do you guys think about that? Was or was not gaming market started by consoles? I would go for yes...


Like just about every thing else to do with virtual entertainmeant, it started on the Computer (can't say pc as apple 2 for instance played rather large role, that was my first games machine :wink:...such fun... ).
the first game was on Computer, Computers made the arcade games possible they were the driving factor behind the hardware, so really I think that Computers is wear games started(and where it ends :wink:, yeh you can tell where my loyatys are)
Really games have been around on the pc for a bit longer, maybe not quite as high sales but the really reveloutionairy titles that I can think of are pc games.
April 5, 2006 6:13:03 PM

Yes, I totally agree with you that computer games were the first ones and therefore most revolutional and innovative. But that still doesnt solve the question whether was gaming market started by computer games or consoles (talking PS one). I mean, those games from 80s 90s could not be the main cause which started this HUGE GAMING MARKET which we find today... Iam just trying to find answer on this one, since Iam too young to remember how was the gaming situation at the end of 80s, beginning of 90s...
April 5, 2006 6:40:00 PM

Just jumping in here, fellas.

Quote:
I mean, those games from 80s 90s could not be the main cause which started this HUGE GAMING MARKET which we find today


Of course they could! In fact, I'd push you back even further: the first console system was probably the Atari 2600, if we're defining it as a gaming system that connected to a television and allowed multiple games to be purchased separately but played on the same system (which is why I'm disincluding "Pong" as the first console). If you ask me, that's exactly when people started falling in love with gaming, and coming home from the arcades that were so big back then.

Of course, now that I say it, you could also argue that the video arcade is what really started it. I mean, people used to stand in line to play a game. (Anybody remember setting up the line of quarters on the screen so people could see just how long you intended to play?)
April 5, 2006 6:46:50 PM

Quote:
I still dont understand why do you stay with PC. Dont get me wrong but especially you are the type of gamer which almost SHOULD buy some console. Just imagine - you come home, sit with your kids and lovely wife on the sofa, in front of family-TV, and play, have fun. Then you say: "alright kids, lets do your homeworks" and so on... Would it not be more easier with console? :?


Actually, in my case, exactly the opposite. Among other reasons, I'm a PC gamer rather than a console gamer because nobody in my household wants to watch me play games on our big family room TV ... ESPECIALLY my wife, who'd rather be watching HGTV. If I want to play and the kids are asleep, I'm off to the computer room where I can shut the door and get the 7.1 surround sound a-crankin'.

I think you'll find that most parents have had to learn self-discipline when it comes to gaming (sure was a shock to my system), and taking over the family room with gaming doesn't really send the right message in my opinion.

I may be sliding us off topic, though.
April 5, 2006 8:54:04 PM

Quote:

Please, could you guys here give me some serious opinions on this problem - whether to prefer a console (like Xbox360) or a PC.


I think this question by itself is similar to "which color do you prefer, red or blue". There is no right answer, it is all the matter of preference choices, such as controls, type of games, place of gaming (living room vs office) and so on. Even age plays some role here (PC gaming is for more mature gamers).
April 6, 2006 2:27:09 AM

I think I'm inclined to agree with MxM.
It really does have alot to do with the user prefrence, though I still think there some really untrue things said in the pc verses console debate, like pcs being more expensive than consoles.
at first yes but once you through in cheaper games and the abilitys, I think in the end they break even really. so yeh I'm inclined to agree with user preference right now, and as most people aren't computer literate to know how to change a graphics card or configure graphics options corectly it's not too much of a surprise that consoles are generally more popular for gameing.
April 6, 2006 7:51:17 PM

The point about the simplicity of consoles is well made - they are truly plug and play devices, with little to configure and almost nothing to repair or upgrade. Computers give you greater flexibility, at greater cost and investment of time and energy, but also with greater returns. It's a lot like what you see with cars - some people like to fix and maintain them on their own, others take the car to the dealer at the first sign of trouble. Neither way is wrong, they are simply opposite ends of a spectrum of choices influenced by many factors. People play computer and video games to have their own personal kind of fun, and opinions on that are as varied as snowflakes. FInd what you like, play to have fun, and don't worry about what anyone else says is better...
April 6, 2006 9:09:17 PM

Also talking about what is cheaper, people often forget that for modern consoles (XBox360) HDTV monitor or TV is a MUST. Now compare price for that plus extra price for games, plus the fact that there 3 consoles, and if you are a console fun you want to have them all, plus the fact that XBox 360 (which cost 500$) appeared only 3 years after the original XBox. In 3 years I spend probably about the same amount on video-cards, but even that was not really necessary to play PC games with good graphics.
April 7, 2006 3:02:26 PM

Well, thousands of thanks for your voices here! After couple of days when I was deep in the topic, I have understood a lot more things about "PC vs. Consoles" and have written those things in my project.
There is though one thing I would like to share with you on this topic. During the brainstorm process with my friend (it was kind of discussion), we thought of perfect comparison connected to this topic.
Lets say that we have microwave oven representing the video game consoles and whole kitchen (with all tools needed to prepare good food) representing PC. Some people go, buy oven-ready food and put it in the microwave. They get food which makes them satisfied but it does not taste any extraordinary. This is parallel with consoles when people go, buy CD or DVD and put it in. Instantly they play. After they are finished with the game itself, there is nothing.
On the other hand, people who have the skills and have chosen the kitchen prepare food with extraordinary taste and consisting of several dishes. It takes more time and energy but it pays off. And this is the case of PC. The games are like adding spices to meal - you can tweak them, modify them, simply make them to fit your taste.

That is the principal thesis which describes relationship between PC and Consoles.
April 7, 2006 4:27:28 PM

Quote:
Lets say that we have microwave oven representing the video game consoles and whole kitchen (with all tools needed to prepare good food) representing PC.


Interesting comparison. I like it.
April 7, 2006 8:07:39 PM

I also like the comparison, but I think it just indicates that we are the computer gamers. I somehow doubt that console gamers will like this comparison. Just a hint out of nowhere :) 
April 8, 2006 1:39:39 AM

well just for games a computer has better graphics but also they get outdated fast and a xbox 360 will always be able to play the games that come out for it and that is not the case for a computer. But I still like computers better
April 13, 2006 9:04:36 PM

They both have plusses and minuses. For me, PC games are better when i'm playing alone or by myself. Console games tend to be more group things (the bigger TV, 4 controllers, games designed for multiplayer like that, etc). Lately however, I have been playing almost exculsivley PC games and am thinking of becomming a pure PC gamer. The only console I probably will have is one by nintendo. They make extremly original, good games such as Zelda, which would have to be my favorite game hands down of all time (ocarina that is). So to answer your question, it depends on the circumstances, but to me, systems like the xbox 360 are just watered down PCs, as microsoft tends to release all games on the 360 for PC also.
April 18, 2006 1:09:22 PM

Quote:
Well, thousands of thanks for your voices here! After couple of days when I was deep in the topic, I have understood a lot more things about "PC vs. Consoles" and have written those things in my project.
There is though one thing I would like to share with you on this topic. During the brainstorm process with my friend (it was kind of discussion), we thought of perfect comparison connected to this topic.
Lets say that we have microwave oven representing the video game consoles and whole kitchen (with all tools needed to prepare good food) representing PC. Some people go, buy oven-ready food and put it in the microwave. They get food which makes them satisfied but it does not taste any extraordinary. This is parallel with consoles when people go, buy CD or DVD and put it in. Instantly they play. After they are finished with the game itself, there is nothing.
On the other hand, people who have the skills and have chosen the kitchen prepare food with extraordinary taste and consisting of several dishes. It takes more time and energy but it pays off. And this is the case of PC. The games are like adding spices to meal - you can tweak them, modify them, simply make them to fit your taste.

That is the principal thesis which describes relationship between PC and Consoles.


Very good analogy. I like it also, like a kitchen and preparing a complex meal..things can and do go horribly wrong unfortunatly. Thats the only thing I am envious about console gamers. The games just work. They never change or evolve..but they work!
April 20, 2006 7:32:16 AM

Thats true, I forgot about "the blue screen" and other issues connected with computers. But anyway, is there a possibility a could post my article about "consoles vs. PCs" on this web?! (Iam asking webmasters primarily :) )
April 28, 2006 1:59:33 AM

Quote:
I mean, those games from 80s 90s could not be the main cause which started this HUGE GAMING MARKET which we find today...


Of course they are.

My dad bought an Atari 2600 when I was 9 (1979)...his generation never really developed an interest in video games because they weren't generally available when he had the most leisure time (ie before a career and family)...there were some games available on mainframes, but there were very few people involved prior to the 80's other than people involved in the early (and not home) computer industry. Therefore, my dad tended to read and watch TV during the little leisure time he had...the same activities he had done when younger.

I was raised on video games...there was always a game machine in the home growing up...and arcade games were in every store and arcades were common. My leisure time was consumed with video games to the disappointment of my parents. I always asked for video games for Christmas and my birthday.

Now, that whole generation has grown up, and most of us are making decent livings and have some amount of disposable income and some amount of leisure time. We tend to buy games and game consoles (or PCs) for ourselves and/or our children. That's the BOOM in the video game industry.

Teenagers and pre-teens typically depend on the approval of their parents to make purchases. Most teenagers, especially ones not working, cannot afford to shell out $400 for an XBox360 or $1000 for a somewhat decent gaming PC. Advertising may be directed towards you because the advertisers expect you to convince your parents that you really need the latest console for Christmas (witness the release of the XBox360) or some other day where gifts are exchanged, but the industry is after whoever has the money. Although I bought games as a teenager, it wasn't until I was almost 17 and working that my brother and I could pool our money together, and actually buy an NES console.

Bottom line...the boom in the video game industry was not the arrival of Sony's Playstation or the arrival of your generation...it more closely coincided with kids, teenagers and twenty-somethings from the 80's growing into their earning power and either buying consoles for themselves or their children.
April 28, 2006 2:24:22 AM

Quote:
Please, could you guys here give me some serious opinions on this problem - whether to prefer a console (like Xbox360) or a PC. I care just about the gaming part of this (internet and multimedia software EXCLUDED).


I realize your research project is over, but this is for posterity.

Consoles and PCs are typically apples and oranges for gaming in my world.

I started on consoles, then moved to PCs (and hated consoles), and now use both.

Prior to online gaming, console gaming always tended to be more social. You invited your friends over to play Tecmo Bowl on the NES or Mutant League Football on the Sega Genesis on the family room TV. Multiplayer games were easy to set up on the consoles (that's how they were designed). You typically did not invite your friends over to watch you play Master of Orion or X-Wing over your shoulder on a dedicated 15" monitor.

PC gaming, in my opinion, had the better quality and more original games all through the 1990's, and the hardware was significantly more powerful. PCs started using games on optical media long before the PSOne was released. True 3D graphics and dedicated 3D graphics cards showed up on PCs loooong before the N64 made them common place in the console market. By the time the N64 was released with its 3dfx chip, PCs were well beyond that chip's capabilities.

I loved my Sega Genesis, but titles like Master of Orion and Doom and X-Wing and Descent and Warcraft and Command & Conquer and later, Fallout and MechWarrior 2 won me over to the PC and kept me there. In fact, I had very few nice things to say about the console market after the Dreamcast died.

Now, the consoles have caught up again and the hardware is on par with the PCs. Console manufacturers are getting ATI and nVidia to design high end chips specifically for their platforms which are extremely powerful. You can still buy higher end PC hardware, but it will cost you, and I'm not sure Ghost Recon will look any better on a PC than it does on the XBox360. I think quality software titles has swung in favor of the consoles, too. The PC world just isn't releasing as many games these days as developers are all migrating to the more lucrative (and simpler since hardware is defined) console world. There is a lot of console trash being released, but amongst that trash, there are more quality titles than what's available to the PC.

I own a PS2 and a Gamecube. We always play sports games (Madden, NBA Live) on the Gamecube because we love the wireless Wavebirds...hands down the best controller ever made. I bought the PS2 so I could play God of War and Tekken 5, and then I found Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero. The consoles are still typically played when friends are over (other than RE4 on the GC).

The PC is played when I want to be by myself and enjoy some strategy gaming whether it's real-time or turn-based. I used to think shooters were best played on a PC because of the keyboard-mouse controls, but GWAR on the XBox360 is perfect using two analog sticks, and Resident Evil 4 (on the GC) is probably the best (scratch that...funnest) shooter I have ever played. Sorry Far Cry and HL2 fans...

Why choose? eBay allows us to have one of everything.
!