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The Five Stages of Griefing: Death of the Consoles

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Denial: But the PC cannot

For many, the console gaming experience leads to fond memories. You may see yourself in front of your HDTV nested on your cozy couch. You may smell the pizza shared between your friends as each waits for their turn. You may hear the cheering and jeering as the competition ramps up. You may feel the controller fit into your hand comfortably. The experience likely looks nearly identical to the following photograph.

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The Nunchuk was bound to taunt. If this were Xbox Live, taunt would probably be the Wiimote.

Source: engadget

 
In a not-so-subtle foreshadow: the above picture depicts Ryan Tani and three friends holding Wiimotes to play Unreal Tournament 3 with four-player split-screen through a PC. The ice is broken, you are acquainted with PC gaming; these are the reasons why it is no lesser than your console.
 
But the PC cannot play games on a couch.
 
PCs bear the stigma of being tethered to a desk by a 6-foot cobweb of wires unless it is completely unsuitable for gaming and folds into its own screen. Once you break past the stigma, and the stigma alone, there is no reason why you cannot attach a PC to your TV; how do you think consoles do it?
 
The console appears to have the advantage over the PC because you have no default option with a console except to output to a TV. The interface for consoles live upon the assumption that the user will be several feet away from their display; the PC can and has been fitted with similar interfaces. Since consoles were around for so long and televisions were so low resolution until just recently, they grew into the role. The consoles received a head start to your living room, but they are by no means better suited for the task.

 

But I hate the mouse and keyboard!

You may wish to phrase this statement as, “... but the gamepad is an input method designed for gaming and is thus clearly better!” The gamepad is not designed for gaming: for many games, the gamepad is the best compromise that we have between the needs of the dominant games and the environment the players are most typically in, a couch. The mouse and keyboard are better for games such as shooters and real-time strategies, but worse for others such as flight games. The Wii is an example of Nintendo’s attempt to break the assumption and push gaming into a new environment: standing up; a new input method makes sense. The Wii Remote was unsuccessful at unseating (pun whole-heartedly intended) either of the gamepad or the mouse and keyboard for the core audience, but how successful are recent touch interfaces? The console is not superior because you do not have the choice in input methods; with the PC, you do.

If you prefer one method of input rather than another it should be your choice to use it. That is the benefit of the PC: if you wish to play with the gamepad, demand developer support. If you prefer a flightstick, motion controller, touch screen, or steering wheel -- demand support. For situations where input methods create an unfair multiplayer experience, demand that the developer allows users to create servers for specific input methods along with mixed servers. Unlike the consoles, the developer/publisher does not need permission to serve their customers in the way(s) they desire. The mouse and keyboard is associated with PC gaming because almost every PC has them and often outperforms a gamepad; if your desire is to play Dirt 3, then you can by all means choose your input method to be a controller.

 

But games on the consoles have frequent support!

You may consider the flood of downloadable content (DLC) to be a great value-add to your initial purchases, and they are. However, prior to the micro-transaction era content updates still occurred for games on the PC. Developers had the choice whether to sell expansion packs to their users or release content for free to extend the long-term sales; their users would also create their own content in the form of mods to take the game in often totally new directions.

The usual point made against DLC would be that the console manufacturers and publishers are attempting to condition users to paying for content in lots of small chunks, which is true, but not the train of thought I am on. I am not against those business models especially with the whole world of other business models that open up, including the non-greasy free-to-play games; the problem I have is why there is a lack of free content. Apart from the obvious answer of Microsoft’s ‘restrictive policies’ on the Xbox, the why boils down to games on the PC often having a much longer shelf-life to warrant long-term support.

 

But the PC is too difficult, and I hate updating drivers! Just let me play!

I would like you to think about your most recent console situation: how many times have you purchased the same console? From experience outside of my work at PC Perspective, I know what concentration of new console purchases are to replace existing bricked devices. I also know how many people have multiple same-generation consoles to play all the games they desire, but rest assured that point will come up later. Let us assume that you did not outright purchase a new console and performed a warranty repair: you called up technical support and they sent you a cardboard coffin in the mail. It will be about 1-4 weeks before you are back in the game. Would it have been nice to be able to repair it yourself? If you feel as though you cannot, would it have been nice to send it to a small business computer store and have someone repair your system in person? How compelling is the latter compared to dropping your console in a post-office box and waiting up to a month? If local service is not compelling, then I am sure Dell and similar vendors will have no problems providing console-like service if you purchase from them instead.

When you go to purchase or upgrade your computer, those same principles still apply. You, your friends, or family are allowed to design and build your PC to suit your gaming needs and any number of small business computer stores can assist you. As for warranties: if you purchase from a small business computer store that honors manufacturer replacements with their own stock, there is no wait for the manufacturer to get back to you with a replacement. That is almost as pain-free as automatically updating drivers, Steam, and media center interfaces are attempting to get.

In all cases, the PC is not behind their console counterparts; this argument has waged on too long. It is time to move past the focus on the PC and spend a little time criticising the console.

Are you experiencing anger?

December 8, 2011 | 05:44 PM - Posted by castlefox (not verified)

I almost never buy games at full price of 60 bucks unless its a game I am really looking forward to. I have never re bought old accessories from when I had my ps2. My ps3 is online service is free. I also have been renting 3 ps3 games from my local library for the last year for free. I would have liked to see other cost comparisons. That did not assume what was assumed in that cost break down.

I personally think the REAL reason why people have been buying a console over a gaming PC in the latest generation is that a console is 400 bucks and a gaming PC you assumed is 1000. Many more people have 400 bucks to splurge on VS. a 1000.

That all being said. I'm greatly looking forward to building a gaming pc and installing linux.

December 8, 2011 | 07:27 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Kind-of. I'd say more generally: marketing and giftability.

As for the cost comparison, the point was to show "Hey, this is a much better experience with the PC... and it's cheaper. Thus, arguments that the PC is more expensive are simply wrong."

The PC *can* be more expensive than the console... but only in special cases otherwise it wouldn't be worth it for the company to MAKE the console. Example -- if you borrowed all your games from the library, the console manufacturer would make no money... thus they would not sell the console under cost. Obviously on average they're expecting to make profits... which means on average they expect people to throw their money away.

December 8, 2011 | 07:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree, Over a consoles life span they are much more expensive,

STEAM on PC is king...

GTA4 + DLC = £4
Bioshock 2 + Bioshock 1 for FREE = £7
Oblivion = £4
Crysis + Crysis Warhead = £7

The list goes on, You're talking well over £200 worth of console games for £22. I bought Dead Space 1 &2 in the recent STEAM sale for £8, Again about £60-80's worth if bought on console.

Factor in greatly improved image quality, Higher frame rates, Higher graphic quality, Games that are actually rendered at HD resolutions and not fake up-scaled HD like the consoles.

The last console I owned was a PS2 but never again will I go back to them..

December 9, 2011 | 04:36 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I see this article doesn't factor in actually having friends on the platforms, considering a large amount of people get consoles for their friends do. They'd probably call you bitter, for they're happy and you're not.

December 10, 2011 | 03:37 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

This article summarizes really well -- which gaming platform to purchase based on your friends.

http://www.theseize.com/?p=81

December 10, 2011 | 12:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

good opinions, but i would like to point out a couple issues. First of all, you seem to ignore the way lots of people get games which is borrowing them from their friends. When im done with a game, i can loan it to all my friends who can play for themselves. 10 years ago we could do this with pc games as well, but now with constant connections required to fight piracy, our glorious publishers have decided we dont need that option anymore. It seems the position of the industry is that the physical game is irrelevant, you are purchasing the right to play the game on only one account and can never transfer that when u r done. this is of course utter nonsense similar to the crap the record companies were pushing to kill used cd sales right before napster ate their lunch. Sharing with your friends is good right, not according to steam.
Which brings me to my second point, the constant connection requirement. I can play my console games anywhere in the world where i have power and have the full single player experience i crave. When i got into steam, i thought that offline mode offered the same option, Then my dsl went out for a couple weeks. Try it sometime. Unhook your computer from the series of tubes known as the internet. Try to boot steam, the first thing it does is try to go online for offline mode, then shut itself down when it can't connect. so therefore the only way offline mode is worth anything is if you know before you lose your connection that you are going to lose your connection. How many of the connection problems youve had came with a warning. Therefore you lost your whole steam library. Also, lately all of the ea games on steam wont even play in offline mode without being able to connect to server. So what do i do when i lose connection and threfore every steam (well over 100) ive bought. Play my consoles which work just fine offline. So i guess my point is that each has strengths n weaknesses, but i think you missed a couple huge weaknesses for pc gaming that i have been experiencing lately.

December 10, 2011 | 02:16 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Consoles are turning into that. Again, it's a problem with nature of the industry turning into consumable entertainment rather than intrinsically valuable art. Consoles are designed for the former nature where PCs are better suited (although not best suited until we get past proprietary platforms altogether) for the latter.

Just don't let publishers use DRM... or at least not after an initial launch window (though that extra control hurts them, publishers are addicted to it, and it's not too damaging if it gets removed very quickly)

December 24, 2011 | 12:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is already the case on consoles. To play any EA game online (like battlefield 3) you have to have a pass which comes with the game. If you buy used or let someone borrow it, they have to pay $15 for the pass. Soon all games will have this which means that used 3o dollar game just became 45, more than many games cost on steam.

December 11, 2011 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This be bull. Everyone says the PC is dieing and everyone says console gaming is dead, yet both keep breeking there sales records. So long as theres money in it both arn't going anywhere any time soon.

December 13, 2011 | 09:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I wish this was true. I really do. Truth is, at 1080p with giant pixels on flat screens. Most consumers can't tell the difference in quality nor do they care to uses a mouse and keyboard as a means of interface. A nice wireless game controller and DX9 is frankly good enough. Almost all new blockbuster PC games are console ports and this trend has increased and not decreased. And honestly, until we are all able to run games like Crysis 2 and Metro 2033 on sub 500 dollar boxes there will be no change in the trends that show a decline in PC gaming. I am PC enthusiast and I have to admit that its way too much money to build a system that has awesome gaming performance, especially when both AMD and NV are lagging so far behind in giving people enough VRAM on even their most expensive cards. Discreet graphics cards are awesome, I have two in SLI and love them, but they are incredibly over priced compared to every other part of my system.
8G of DDR3 ram @ 1600 cas8 = 80 bucks
i7 2600k @ 5GHz+ = 300 bucks
z68 UD7 mobo = 300 bucks
120g SSD = 150 bucks
A pair of GTX 580s = 1100 dollars?

This is why console gaming has eclipsed PC gaming and will continue to do so until GPU makers can find a way to lower prices drastically.

BTW- a 2600k for 300 bucks with 8g's of nice DDR3 is far more powerful (and better at math) than a couple 580s.

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December 13, 2011 | 09:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

one last thought- I will be excited when I can buy a motherboard from Gigabyte or EVGA with a socket for my CPU and my GPU. Let me install both chips and decide how to cool them. That is the future of discreet graphics.

December 27, 2011 | 03:14 AM - Posted by Makaiookami (not verified)

really at the end of the day if you swap the 360 out for a PS3, and include decent gaming mice and keyboards for your gaming PC your PC is totally more expensive. The current decline of the 50 dollar PC game and the rise of the 60 dollar PC game offsets the 10 dollars a game savings, and then there are other factors like amazon, trading in old games you'll never play again, etcetera that will further denounce your arguments for the PC.

At the end of the game quit trolling and get a PC and a PS3. There's no reason why both can't subsist and look at console sales during black friday. There's no way you're going to convince all of those parents that they'll save more money for their kids or that it'll be a better use of their time energy and effort to get them a PC instead of a 360.

What REALLY needs to happen is that companies need to give you a steam version with your console version. If they do that, then every argument you've made becomes m00t and pointless. You buy the console version because you get the PC version with it and you make your judgement on which is better without any additional increase in price based on changing your mind.

This article is just a waste of time really. You only make your point in a very narrow circumstance. I doubt you've convinced a single person and worst of all, it's a 1 size fits all solution that is written in a way to demean and demoralize people who have more varied preferences than you do in this realm.

December 28, 2011 | 09:53 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Actually the largest points I made against the consoles were how they damage art due to their disposable nature. The rest was to disprove that the PC is any worse in any way.

And the consoles will continue to be disposable ad-infinitum. That's their goal. Be a vessel for consumable and disposable entertainment... not timeless art. Because consumables have churn... and make big 2-week sales.

But hey, if you have a PS3 that can play the majority of old games -- great. Better hope it doesn't get serviced otherwise say goodbye to your old collection. Chances are the one you're getting back cannot.

December 31, 2011 | 09:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

u mAd?

"At the end of the game quit trolling and get a PC and a PS3. There's no reason why both can't subsist and look at console sales during black friday. There's no way you're going to convince all of those parents that they'll save more money for their kids or that it'll be a better use of their time energy and effort to get them a PC instead of a 360."

since im a parent.. when my 4yr old grows and has gaming needs. he'll always have the family gaming pc. after demonstrating responsible behavior, he'll get my hand me downs! if he wants a console.. well, im sure there's a chore for that.

"This article is just a waste of time really. You only make your point in a very narrow circumstance. I doubt you've convinced a single person and worst of all, it's a 1 size fits all solution that is written in a way to demean and demoralize people who have more varied preferences than you do in this realm."

pc gaming: a difficult thing to explain to people. ive tried. If OP convinced 1 person, then i say thank you to him.

"What REALLY needs to happen is that companies need to give you a steam version with your console version. If they do that, then every argument you've made becomes m00t and pointless. You buy the console version because you get the PC version with it and you make your judgement on which is better without any additional increase in price based on changing your mind."

btw, you are not very persuasive either.

December 31, 2011 | 09:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ps. how do you backup movies and music on a console?.. i know its possible but it seems like it would have to involve an x-86 computer. or maybe you can use the competitors box

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