The Big Debate: PC vs Console Gaming

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With Steam leading the way, massive discounts are available for both new and old games…

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Here at TGR we’ll give most things a go when it comes to gaming, and totally recognise that to get the best out of the gaming world you need access to every console going, as well as a reasonable PC to give you full access to any game that takes your fancy. But what happens when you need to pick one way or the other? Some people believe that all you need is a PC, but just as many again would say that a console will give you a proper fill of games. So we put them head to head, not in a practical sense, but in an argumentative sense. I got the opinions of some PC gamers, and pitched their thoughts against our very own Tom Edwards – have a read through and let us know your thoughts, there’s definitely some strong opinions from both sides to get stuck into!

Section 1: Games
PC: The range and quality of games on the PC outstrips that of consoles. While XBox and Playstation fans argue about their exclusives, many of these are merely console exclusives, also appearing on the PC. Add to that PC exclusives such as Starcraft 2 and DOTA2, and all of the incredible indie titles on PC such as Gone Home and the PC is the place to be for depth and quality of games on offer. Strategy games such as Civilization 5, and the vast range of MMOs on offer also give more complex and rewarding gaming than the watered down console equivalents.

Console: The only console exclusives that are on PC are almost entirely XBox exclusives, and Sony are world famous for making the best, most innovative and accomplished first party titles on the market. With the new generation, MMOs are coming to consoles in their droves, and they won’t need watering down. With touchpad/tablet controls RTS games are more viable than they ever were for a console, and now some of the best PC games that aren’t RTS or MMO, like The Witcher, are on consoles. There’s never been a better time to have one.

Section 2: Playing Online
PC: With the next-gen consoles both requiring subscriptions to play online, PC gamers will continue to enjoy free and reliable online play. With easy to access comms servers giving crystal clear chatting options which make consoles sound underwater, there no real reason to look away from the PC when playing online.

Console: Agreed, Steam is the best gaming network, and the quality and convenience is better than both current alternatives. It’s clear they’re both based on models from 2005, but let’s just see what the new generation brings. It looks set to be a massive step forward, with game streaming, remote control, built in PVRs and instant one touch sharing. That stuff ranges from complicated to impossible to achieve on a PC. Immediacy and simplicity are always a console’s strong points.

Section 3: Visuals
PC: PC gamers looked at the XBox One and PS4 graphics with a bit of a shrug. PC gaming has been at this “next-gen” graphical level for some times now. With Steam making living room gaming more possible, and various tools to auto-configure the graphical options in each game with no fuss, the old issue of complex tweaking and endless setting changes is being eliminated slowly. PC games will always be a step ahead of consoles, with semi-regular updates meaning they don’t need to wait 7 years for the next jump in quality.

Console: PCs can be very powerful, and graphically they are capable of graphics in advance of current gen consoles. But how far behind are they really? Only in the last 2-3 years have PCs really stretched far beyond what a PS3 can do, and only when you buy a graphics card worth 2 PS4s. Whilst PC games progress gradually, with incremental hardware upgrades, console games also do. The consistency of hardware gives developers a massive advantage as they learn to maximise resources, look at the glaringly huge differences between Halo 3 and Halo 4, or Resistance 1-3.The difference looks generational, and it will be the same for the next gen.

The Last of Us: You certainly wouldn't have seen something so beautiful on a 2006 PS3 game...

The Last of Us: You certainly wouldn’t have seen something so beautiful on a 2006 PS3 game…

Section 4: Controls
PC: While keyboard and mouse controls are still the prefered control method of choice for most PC gamers, giving more accurate control for FPS and MMO titles, more and more games are supporting game controllers out the box. This choice of input methods, which also include a range of joysticks and steering wheels, means that PC gamers have the ultimate choice of how to play their games.

Console: Not true. Motion control, however maligned by core audiences, is a huge part of the game market now and totally absent from PC. Joysticks are for flight sims and Mech Warrior, and the same high-end steering wheels are compatible with PS3. Mouse and keyboard is the only thing absent from consoles, and I for one don’t miss it. The mouse may be more accurate, but the keyboard was never built for games, it’s a compromise and remains an inelegant solution.

We’re not done yet! Head to the next page to finish off the debate…

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7 Comments on The Big Debate: PC vs Console Gaming

  1. Demonik Caveman (810 XP - Level 4)

    I prefer to game on console, i’m not very technical minded and like to keep things simple. So, console for me. 🙂

  2. mantas

    Consoles for me. Far too much hassle installing on PC, configuring, concerning about gpu drivers etc., unable to sell physical copies once installed, non-native controller support. I’ll live not having a super high resolution and framerate to play a good game that just works. Dark Souls being a good example.

  3. Axe99

    I game on both PC and console, but far prefer console despite my PC being closer in spec to a PS4 than a PS3. As well as the exclusives (just this gen I can name the Killzones, Resistances, SOCOMs, Warhawk, Starhawk, Heavy Rain, Heavenly Sword, Motorstorm, Gran Turismo, Journey, Flower, The Last of Us, God of War and Dead Nation, and that’s just off the top of my head), the reduced hassle and ‘it all works together’ factor of console is what wins me over. It took me four hours of searching through forums and trying different fixes just to get Mass Effect to run on PC, and then had a couple of glitches during playthrough. ME2 and ME3 worked from the get-go on console, without one freeze or CTD (Crash to desktop) between them. Jade Empire, Victoria 2, The Witcher, all great games on PC, all cause numerous technical headaches. If SteamOS can get around this, well and good, but until this is sorted, PC gaming will be where I go to get the games I can’t play on PS3/PS4, rather than my first choice for gaming.

  4. Jason

    I prefer PC, modding games, higher resolutions, some amazing graphics and a lot of cheap games. I do have a PS3 for games like tales of xillia, tales of grace, uncharter, the last of us and other exclusives. But PC is my number one choice. I’ve never had driver issues or games not working and I have over 150 games. Plus controller works for all of the AAA games.

  5. Mike

    I’ve been torn over this debate quite a bit this go around. Previously I had the cash to (eventually) get a decent PC and both consoles, but this year my choice was either an upgrade to my PC or one console. Arguments on both sides are good, and although I agree with many parts of both, I’m leaning towards PS4 this year. It’s in my budget, and I think back on the titles I would have hated missing in the last cycle I think of Catherine, Uncharted, The Last of Us, and Heavy Rain.

    In the past my main reason for playing PC was that I had a friend base there, but sadly many of them no longer game. On the up side, in another year I’ll probably have the money and find some great deals on PC upgrades, so it’s really a win-win. I mean, in the end shouldn’t it be about the games you like to play?

  6. Brendon

    I’ve alwaysed prefered pc over console because of it’s control, graphics and res options, diverse options of gameplay and steam.

  7. eric

    for me personally I play both PC and console gaming, but if some one want to just bother me I don’t care, but I am more confterable with a PC over a console because I grew-up around PC’s and things like that. so for me i am a PC persion

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