Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rambling On: Consoles vs PC's

I am in no way and expert or even claim to be. I just am a fan of both having grown up in the age of consoles/pc's.

I do remember my humble beginnings in consoles when I was very little. My mom and dad had bought us an Intellivision and many of the games to boot. I remember the whole family coming over for gaming parties sitting around our 18" TV screaming and laughing and having a great time. I look back at those days with fondness and a smile on my face. We used to play it so much that we would break the controllers and have to get them fixed all the time and back then it was around $75 a pop so not cheap but we did it each time. Over the years other members of the family got into it and had Atari's, Collecovision's (even a PONG machine!) and then onto the big one a Vic 20! The Vic 20 was owned by my grandparents and my Grandpa had a lot of games for it with both cartridge and cassette form. This was all new to me and eventually we were able to buy one as well and I could run all the games my Grandpa did. I really wanted the Commodore 64 but we never had the money for it but I digress. Thru the years and finally we got our first computer, an 80/88, that had the latest gadget in the monitor could be switched from monchrome orange to monochrome green! We had fun with that til we got our first IBM computer. It was a beast with it's 32 kbs of ram and 10 mb Hardrive! I remember we had so much stuff on it that my Dad in frustration just started deleting stuff he didn't know what it was and in his frustration deleted some of the memory and OS files of the computer rendering it useless from then on. We then went onto a nintendo, sega genesis and another PC in my time at home.

In my time since home I have owned a Playstation, Playstation 2, Wii and 4 PC's. It wasn't til last year that things really changed again for me. With having so many problems with my new PC I got frustrated and decided I needed something more stable and after some thought and research decided to get an Xbox 360. My xbox has been in my house for close to a year now and I can say that I love it more than anything. It brings back those early days of sitting around with my family cheering and screaming and having fun (not to say I haven't had fun on my PC). Which brings me to my point - consoles vs PC's.

I am aware of the debate that has gone on for years of which was better a console or a PC and to be clear I think both are best. What? That isn't possible! Well nothing beats keyboard and mouse and being able to upgrade your PC. Things look better and are controlled better on a PC and unless Xbox (as the rumour goes) release a kb+m for the next Xbox then nothing ever will.  Consoles never need to be upgraded and you know that each game released WILL run on the machine as it is designed for it.

As the years have gone on debate has raged that console players are dumb and will buy anything which is why game developers are so happy to make games for consoles. Think about it though the console costs a fraction of the cost of a PC and will play ANY game made for it without having to upgrade. Meaning you simply have more money to burn and if you believe developers it is easier to make a game for the console as the specs NEVER change meaning it is more desireable to create for consoles. Designing for a PC means tasking into account every difference in specs, OS and capabilites of the machine and these days the end $$ seems to matter to devs and they just don't want to make that commitment to something that may or may not make it's money back or the profit it needs to satisfy the executives or so it seems to me. I could be wrong (remember NOT an expert) here if I were a game dev then PC wouldn't look good either. Development of the game takes longer and needs more man hours and money to make it work and if the game is a flop or heaven forbid gets pirated (this being the number one reason consumers hear as being a deterrant to developing a pc game) then they lose money and may never make another game again. The thing is PC players get real pissy these days when they look at a new game that doesnt push the tech and terms it consolized or ported which when that happens the game doesnt sell well on the PC.

The thing is PC's push the tech and without them we wouldn't even have consoles today as the guts in those machines were at one time the guts in the PC's. Right now we are in the console age again like the early days of Intellivisons, Collecovisions, nintendos etc and will again make the shift back to PC dominance again once devs realize they need the PC to push the tech. I do think that both are great as they have different things to offer the gamer at heart. Right now I need $1500 to upgrade my computer to play the new games(plus the cost of the games) that are coming out as my machine will not hold up but I only need $70 to buy the same game on my Xbox. Tell me what is more desirable...and it sucks as I have more PC friends than I do Xbox friends atm. I do get bugged about having a gaming console but I don't care as for the most part I put more time into PC than I do Xbox.

I do find it funny though that people who primarily play PC cannot function on a console but yet a console player finds it easier to switch to a PC and in fact finds it too easy. If you are a FPS gamer on a console you will find the kb+m strange at first but find that you can aim faster and better than someone who never has deviated from a kb+m. The PC gamer will always remark HOW MUCH BETTER the PC is then at the console player when they discover how much easier it is to play this way. I find that bothersome as the console player is playing with a handicap with a controller making it harder for them and maybe more enjoyable to succeed. Maybe a PC should play on a console to see how hard it is then see that they can play better.

I really think the big debate should be price point - if a console cost as much as a PC you might find that more people would just buy a PC instead. I have heard from many a console gamer that later converted to PC gaming is that price was the big difference. Why pay $2500 for a PC when $300 can play the same game just as effectively. When you're younger having $300 is easier than $2500 to buy something to game on.

Bottom line: If you're a PC gamer only then try playing on a console and see and vice versa - your views may change a bit and not be so harsh. Everything has pros and cons and those may change by trying it out. Like a picky eater - if you haven't tried it then how do you know if it isn't good?

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