The Lazy Designer

Console vs PC?

I don’t think I’ve spoken much about how I play games on this blog beyond mentioning that I strongly disliked the previous xbox and that mostly we play PS3 games (with a bit of Wii mixed in). At one point I was not playing any games on the PC anymore.

Over the past couple years things have slowly started to shift. I started using Steam again and purchasing more games. Then our xbox finally died. When I carted off all the games I had owned for it and its predecessor, I became rather pissed. We owned some fun games and with the console’s demise I knew I would never be able to play them again (unless I bought another flawed xbox). Even buying the xbox one is pointless because it lacks backwards compatibility.

I realized that most of the games the family plays are available through Steam and often at a much lower price. Theoretically Steam will be around for a long time, and we’ll have access to all our games for a long time (unlike consoles which seem to avoid backwards compatibility nowadays). But I kind of likely playing games on the home theater.

Years ago I had tried playing games via PC on the television with poor results but lately I’ve started messing around with it again. I already have a controller kit to use game controllers on the PC. With Steam’s Big Picture mode, full controller interaction is provided.

I think I have found our new console. Almost. The only hitch so far is that my laptop is the only machine we have in the house powerful enough to play games. Obviously I need the laptop for work (and I dislike carting it between rooms) so now I’m looking for a suitable dedicated PC. But I think once I have that, I’ll not be bothering with consoles again. (And to help justify the purchase of yet another computer, I think I’ll setup a proper Minecraft server on it.)

Thoughts? I realize console gaming is very big with many folk out there but there just doesn’t seem to be enough amazing, exclusive, games on console to warrant them, for me.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • James Paten

    I started as a PC player in my younger days and switched to consoles back in the 2000’s as a way to avoid the constant hardware updates every six months that seemed to go into buying a game for the PC previously. Recently, however, I was faced with the imminent demise of my own 360 and the choice of getting a next gen or a PC.

    Ultiamtely, I chose PC for many of the same reasons you did. I can use my PC for things other than gaming. I love the reduced cost and convenience of programs like Steam. And with more and more technology making it easier to stream video feeds from a computer to a TV screen, it really is becoming a no brainer to me, especially with the lack of power from this new gen of consoles.

    Not to mention the presence of MANY more indie games on the PC and the use of tools such as modkits and free dev tools (like Unity) and I am very happy with my choice. Not to mention that while technology for the PC is developing at a solid rate, the need to constantly update hardware is less of a presence due to less developers pushing the boundaries of the PC (sometimes due to the consoles themselves gating progress, sometimes due to PC only titles like strategy games being less resource intensive. All in all, I’m happy to be a PC player again, despite it still being viewed as a “dying race” amongst the industry.

  • Brent Knowles

    Yeah, I find the “dying race” thing baffling. There’s just so many more games to choose from, on the PC than the console. And in many ways the consoles have picked up many of the “PC problems” that they were supposed to avoid and handle them worse than the PC — what comes immediately to mind is the need for constant patching of the PS3 (and less frequently, the Wii U). At least on a PC you can skip an update and still use your online apps!

    I’m actually kind of surprised that console gaming is still as big as it is considering that consoles are no longer the simple plug-and-play and never worry about devices that they used to be.

  • James Paten

    Well, I do think it comes down to price. I bought my 360 in 2006 for $500 with my tax return that year and it carried me into 2014. 8 years for $500 is pretty impressive. Contrast that with my modest PC I built myself for $800 that will likely require a new graphics card or more RAM within 3-4 years and it certainly isn’t a cheaper deal, at least on the front end. Games are much cheaper and the utility I gain is worth it, but for many people, the cost of a gaming PC is too high to initially get in the game and even see what there is to experience.

    Not to mention the console exclusives. While many games like Civilizations or other strategy games are PC exclusives, consoles also tend to have games such as The Last of Us or other “hit” titles that either don’t make it to PC, or take an inordinate amount of time. For instance, many sports games, which have millions of players, rarely debut on the PC or show up at all. So it would play into the tastes of the player in addition to the cost.

  • Brent Knowles

    Yeah, for me console exclusives have never been a draw, but I understand the sports game angle. And the price certainly used to be an issue, though my current “gaming pc” is actually a $400 laptop. I can’t play on highest graphical settings obviously, but most games still run fine.

    Thanks for the comments! Hope all is well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.