Oh PCMag, Console vs PC

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | February 12, 2014 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: xbox, xbone, ps4, Playstation, pc gaming

PCMag, your source for Apple and gaming console coverage (I joke), wrote up an editorial about purchasing a gaming console. Honestly, they should have titled it, "How to Buy a Game Device" since they also cover the NVIDIA SHIELD and other options.

The entire Console vs PC debate bothers me, though. Neither side handles it well.

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I will start by highlighting problems with the PC side, before you stop reading. Everyone says you can assemble your own gaming PC to save a little money. Yes, that is true and it is unique to the platform. The problem is that the public vision then becomes, "You must assemble and maintain your own gaming PC".


No. No. No.

Some people prefer the support system provided by the gaming consoles. If it bricks, which some of them do a lot, you can call up the manufacturer for a replacement in a few weeks. The same could be absolutely true for a gaming PC. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a computer from a system builder, ranging from Dell to Puget Systems.

The point of gaming PC is that you do not need to. You can also deal with a small business. For Canadians, if you purchase all of your hardware through NCIX, you can add $50 to your order for them to ship your parts as a fully assembled PC, with Windows installed (if purchased). You also get a one-year warranty. The downside is that you lose your ability to pick-and-choose components from other retailers and you cannot reuse your old stuff. Unfortunately, I do not believe NCIX USA offers this. Some local stores may offer similar benefits, though. One around my area assembled for free.

The benefits of the PC is always choice. You can assemble it yourself (or with a friend). You can have a console-like experience with a system builder. You can also have something in-between with small businesses. It is your choice.

Most importantly, your choice of manufacturer does not restrict your choice in content.

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As for the consoles, I cannot find a rock-solid argument that will always be better on them. If you are thinking about purchasing one, the available content should sway your decision. Microsoft will be the place to get "Halo". Sony will be the place to get "The Last of Us". Nintendo will be the place to get "Mario". Your money should go where the content you want is. That, and wherever your friends play.

But, of course, then you are what made the content exclusive.

Note: Obviously the PC has issues with proprietary platforms, too. Unlike the consoles, it could also be a temporary issue. The PC business model does not depend upon Windows. If it remains a sufficient platform? Great. If not, we have multiple options which range from Linux/SteamOS to Web Standards for someone to develop a timeless classic on.


Source: PCMag

February 12, 2014 | 11:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

well now...under the skin...they are all PC's

February 12, 2014 | 11:28 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Honestly, yup.

February 13, 2014 | 02:40 AM - Posted by dan (not verified)

There's two people who know how to write on this site, Tim and Ryan. The rest just cannot write coherent sentences.

February 13, 2014 | 04:04 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

The mindblowing part: the number of Ryan's editorials and reviews which are copyedited by Josh, Morry, and myself. I can't remember anyone correcting anything of Tim's. Maybe Ryan?

That said, it is easier to correct than it is to write. Also, I guess I am a bit sloppy with my own posts.

I'm comfortable with the grammar of this post, though.

February 13, 2014 | 04:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

>>There's two people who know how to write...<<

There ARE two people...

[talk about nerve!]

February 13, 2014 | 01:32 PM - Posted by pdjblum

I think that is an exaggeration (some of the others write quite adequately), but I certainly get why you might feel that way: Scott has been posting quite a bit, and his posts are rarely coherent. Most experts on grammar will concede that writing that is coherent and not ambiguous is far more desirable than is writing with correct syntax and grammar that is ambiguous or incoherent. Scott's writing demonstrates neither; that is, his writing lacks coherence and his syntax and grammar leave a lot to be desired. I do appreciate his efforts and I know if he puts his mind to it, he can learn to write quite well without losing his own style and voice.

February 13, 2014 | 01:36 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Pabrandaf transcontinentery!

February 13, 2014 | 02:01 PM - Posted by pdjblum

My comment was meant constructively. I have watched the podcasts for years and read your posts for years, and I have the highest regard for you. I have no idea of the meaning of what you wrote as I am not smart enough to figure it out, but I certainly hope it was not meant to be disparaging or meant as ridicule. I truly appreciates Scott's efforts and try to understand his posts, but they are often confusing at best.

February 13, 2014 | 09:17 AM - Posted by windwalker

The biggest advantage of consoles is that you never have to check benchmarks. All games work.
This is what Steam must replicate through a system of tiers to make it crystal clear to anyone what games they can enjoy at the quality developers intended.

February 13, 2014 | 10:27 AM - Posted by Fishbait

You make some great points Scott. I'd like to add that many people that might want a PC do not buy one because of size. (I am a PC guy)

I have asked many people if they would pay the slight premium for a gaming PC that I would build them (even techs) but many would like a very small and thin system that for the most part is very difficult to build. (although I am thinking of hacking apart a certain mini-ITX Thermaltake case for that very reason)

This is all a moot point when on CPU graphics becomes powerful enough to push 1080p at around 60fps on most games.

February 13, 2014 | 02:20 PM - Posted by Jim cherry (not verified)

I'm not sure Intel will push graphics to that point. AMD is close but not big enough to capitalize on a console x86 soc for pc gaming that's on par with xb1 and ps4. And NVidia won't be making an x86 soc theirs will be arm based thus limiting its appeal.
So for the foreseeable future consoles will continue to outsell console like pcs.

February 14, 2014 | 04:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ARM based in the tablet market dominates, Do you think a high end gaming rig performs so well beacuse of Intel, or is it the Descrete GPU in the PCI slot, giving Intel a little help! AMD could if, they wanted to, build a more powerfull gaming APU and put the whole device on a PCI card, and then any old Desktop PC could become more pawerfull for gaming, and the PCI card based gaming APU could run the games hosted on the APU in the PCI slot, along with Steam OS(all on the PCI card), while the motherboard CPU runs whatever. The gaming APUs that AMD makes are going to be merged with AMD's desktop GPU SKUs eventually, and the CPUs on the gaming APUs do not have experience any PCI overhead or latency because they are righ next to the GPU and shareing the on DIE internal bus, and memory controller. You don't think Nvidia would love to have an x86 license, but Those ARM ISA(ONLY) custom based CPUs from Apple, and now Nvidia's Denver, are not the same as the ARM holdings refrence designs! Apple's A7, and Nvidia's denver only run the ARMv8 ISA, they are custom wide superscalar designs with more execution units, for more IPC than ARM Holdings' refrence designs, go read Anands' review on the Apple's A7, and Nvidia's Denver ARM ISA(only) custom CPU cores. Why do you think Nvidia is putting a Denver core on Maxwell, Nvidia wants to get around the latency intorduced by having to encapsulate/de-encapsulate the data into PCI packets, and having a CPU on die with the GPU will help. Both AMD and Nvidia(starting with denver) will be merging the CPU with the GPU on their Descrete graphics SKUs in the future, taking away any latency advantages that the console APUs did have, and relegating the motherboard CPU to a support role! Descrete GPU are already 90% on the way to becoming fully functioning SOC descrete computing platforms in their own right, they just need a CPU core (or more cores) on die with the GPU to make the transition complete.

February 13, 2014 | 10:50 AM - Posted by Lord Binky (not verified)

*shrug* I find my friends that aren't PC gamers are simply because they do not want like the responsibility computers entail.

They don't like having to migrate their stuff when they upgrade. I had a friend who had 4 Xboxs piled up only two worked and when one died he'd buy another. He'd was one of the top 500 Dead or Alive players. When an Xbox died, his maxed out friend's list and everything just transfered over. Minimal effort. The reason he kept the other ones around was because whenever I eventually visited I could repair them. It is much more tedious to do the same for a PC in comparison, and that difference is enough for him to shun PC gaming.

Another friend just hates fixing things that goes wrong software wise, he much prefers a console where he can just make due until a patch pops out that fixes all his problems. I invest alot of time learning how to fix up/optimize my computer, which lets me come over and do it for him in a matter of hours. He doesn't want to put in that time to develop those skills to do it for himself, which is fine because he develops other sets of skills I don't have which lets me ask him for help for other things. Still, his preference is consoles over PC mainly because of the effort required because he wants his electronics to 'just work'. Consoles are good enough, and either 'just work' or don't, and they either get cleared up with a patch, or they don't. It isn't dependent on him.

I prefer PC gaming, but I prefer gaming with my friends above all else so I still game on a console. I dream of a day when console and PC can multiplayer together. Yes, I know that's unlikely especially with the issues in control of FPS games, that's why it's a dream.

February 15, 2014 | 10:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

responsibility computers entail.


really? its 2014 and we still have dipwads that don't understand how to function something that basically RUNS THE ENTIRE WORLD? How easy are computers these days? GRANDMOTHER EASY! can your friend tie his shoes and walk without tripping?

does he own a car? waoh woah woah.. wait a second.. car ownership might require insurance and some type of responsibility..so OF COURSE NOT!

that argument is so shove your head into a wall stupid....LOL, meh computers are hard...me buy console....

February 13, 2014 | 02:29 PM - Posted by Jim cherry (not verified)

PC gaming biggest strength is customizability, which allows consumers to get whatever they want at multiple price points and in multiple form factors.
PC gamings biggest weakness is a lot can go wrong from bad drivers to os corruption, hardware incompatibility, lack of optimization, proprietary a.p.i's, broken d.r.m software, broken anti virus software, and inconsistent performance.
Of course support can go along way to solving a lot of the weakness but some things can only be solved by locking down and drastically reducing the choice that makes pc gaming so powerful.

February 13, 2014 | 03:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Factor the cost of ownership.

With PCs, your cost of ownership is typically this:

-PC hardware
-Games (prices for NEW games vary from as low as $10 (indie) to $60 (AAA-title games like COD & BF series)
-Broadband Internet
-MMORPG subscription fees

With consoles:

-Console hardware
-Games (nearly all NEW games cost $60 - I have yet to see an Xbox1 or PS4 game costing less than that)
-Online subscription
-Broadband Internet
-MMORPG subscription

That's pretty much it. It's obvious that owning a console will cost more in the long run because of the extra costs of ownership associated with it compared to PC ownership.

Plus, if you're clever enough, you can pirate PC games much easier than console games and not get your PC blacklisted like what MS/Sony can do with your console. You HAVE to factor piracy in as that can greatly affect the cost of ownership for either the console or PC.

February 13, 2014 | 04:13 PM - Posted by Jim cherry (not verified)

No one cares about long term cost these days haven't you heard of credit :}

December 23, 2014 | 11:16 PM - Posted by Garry (not verified)

Seems there are many countries (and people) who run on credit.. USA, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Japan all have HUGE and increasing debt problems. Any many others.. Sooner or later, this will overwhelm the ability to pay the interest...

I know your comment was in jest but some people don't get this.

Personally I try to moderate my spending so I'm heading towards zero debt, not more debt.
My total debt including my house, 4wd, car and credit card is less than 20% of my salary.

Very few countries can say that. Or people I guess.

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