Sunday, November 22, 2009

Officially a Convert

I stumbled across a forum thread this morning where someone decided to try to stir up some shit by pointing out that online multiplayer on consoles was inferior to PC multiplayer because, as a general rule of thumb, you can have more people playing at once on the PC.

At one point in my gaming 'career', I was a die-hard PC gamer and didn't like consoles one bit. Games tended to be a lot prettier and generally 'deeper' on the PC, and as far as I was concerned, if you wanted awesome, interesting, bleeding edge games, you bought a PC…if you wanted to play a platformer, you bought a console.

That all changed with this console cycle where console hardware finally caught up to PC hardware…and gaming hardware in general is at a point where improvements are subtle and not the giant leaps they used to be. It used to be that a console could match a PC only to be left in the dust six months later…but not anymore.

PC gaming is certainly dying, and it's down to two things: Less support from developers…and simple ease of use.

Firstly, I don't understand the lack of developer support. The general idea is that it's not worth releasing a game for the PC because it can be copied and pirated too easily…but as I've mentioned before, I buy 90% of my games pre-owned…which means that the cash I paid for the twenty or so games I own never got near a publisher, it only went to my local gamestop.

In fact, the Gamestop pre-owned business model works almost exactly like piracy. One person buys a full price game, a portion of the price of which goes to the developers…then a few weeks later he returns it to the store, where someone buys it pre-owned…where none cash goes to the developer. Repeat. Basically, from a purely financial point of view, there's no difference to the developer if I buy a copy of their game from the pre-owned shelf, or mod my Xbox and pirate a copy.

Anyway, I digress.

I think the last proper game I bought for the PC was Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. I got back from the store, put it in, waited 20 minutes for it to install…and it froze at the start up screen. What followed was two and a half hours of uninstalling, installing, reinstalling, searching forums, downloading patches, updating drivers and generally dicking about until I got it to work…at which point I had to turn off every graphics option because it ran like cold molasses.

Then, of course, we have the problems like I had with Knights of the Old Republic, where even though my PC had WAY higher specs than the recommended system requirements…it just wouldn't work because there was a problem with my exact model of graphics card that there was just no fix for…and I can't return the game because there's technically nothing wrong with it.

Basically, you can talk about 'free' and 'bigger' online multiplayer, but the simple difference that makes consoles blow the PC out of the water is that I can go to a store, buy a game, put the disc in the tray and that game will work. If it doesn't, I can go back to the store and swap it out for one that will. There's just no dicking about.

Also, a lot of console games may have a maximum of 16 players…but I can turn on my console, instantly see which of my friends are available and what games they are playing and we can go straight into a game.

1 comment:

Evan 08 said...

I'm pleased to say that I ditched the PC about five years ago. Once I tried out the XBox (original), I was sold.

I will concede that the controller is a bit limited when compared to a keyboard and mouse, but I also never had to contort my hands in hundreds on unnatural ways to get my Xbox controller to do what I expected.

I've never had a problem with my console games. Yeah, I had an XBox 360 give me the red ring of death, but considering that I use it as my gaming console, DVD player, Zune streaming music, and for netflix, I really can't complain that my $200 console died after using it virtually every day for two-plus years.

I really wish that I could get one or two specific friends converted from PC games to the XBox console, but I only have so much influence.