Do you agree with this statement?

“Over the last thirty years, every single thing that consoles did better than PCs, or merely differently to PCs to appeal to a different market, has been thrown away, one after another.”

Source: … ning-to-PC

Hardware prices aside, I think I am in agreement, especially given the hassles to get the Xbox One working. PC gaming is in many respects easier.

Everything going online has changed everything. Consoles don’t really have an identity anymore because games have to appeal to as many people as possible because they are so expensive to make, whereas before niche gaming was profitable.

I think that competition has forced the consoles to try to offer more exclusive games though. There’s no point owning a console if it’s just a poor man’s PC.

I’m not really sure, I mean gaming on PC is still more of a ball-ache than gaming on a console. You’re more likely to run into technical difficulties on a PC, be it with crashes or incompatibilities, crappy servers or cheaters…

Yes it takes a while to load a game into consoles these days, and they don’t look as nice… but really, who outside of the hardcore crowd cares?

I guess you’re right about that Shadow. I imagine that most people aren’t as knowledgeable about PC hardware and software like we are.

Universal software (like Windows) and drivers etc make things easier though. Microsoft are going to phase out XP soon despite the fact that tons of people still use it. Whereas if you own a console you don’t need to worry about that.

I feel like this is especially true with the 360. First person shooters especially are really meant to be played on a PC. THe entire genre started there and they are really meant to be played with the precision of the keyboard and mouse. Now other genres of games are better suited to consoles. I personally prefer rpgs on a console. I don’t play sports games often, but they are better on a controller and couch also. The PS4 seems to have a more distinct selection vs the 360. Almost all of the exclusives on the 360 seem like they would be better on a PC.

I guess really it comes down to what input device you prefer. If MS and Sony would open up features on the console to cater to a PC crowd, then you could really call them the same thing.

This is my hope for the ‘Steambox’ movement. I prefer PC’s, but only because of the functionality and control input. I might actually buy a Steambox if they offer high performing, affordable systems while removing the difficulties of updating drivers, etc on a PC.

Yeah the Steam machines look interesting. I think they’ll appeal more to console gamers with a bit more cash floating around than hardcore PC gamers who are more likely to build their own rig. And that’s fine. Hopefully we’ll see some great high-end (and more open) alternatives to the Xbox One and PS4.

I actually don’t agree with it at all, as such. Simply because it’s an example of a tendency in these kind of opinion pieces that I seem to have become over sensitive to lately, of asserting a simplistic or myopic version of how things once were in order to criticize how they have changed.

Consoles haven’t “thrown away” anything they could reasonably be expected to have held on to. Shit doesn’t stay the same, markets change, and the videogame console model as we know it was always quite arbitrary and viable only by virtue of a few flukes of timing, shifting competitive opportunities and (largely Japanese) cultural reinforcements.

I have believed for years that this would be the last of the true console generations as we would recognize the concept. So of course they have to change to even attempt to stay relevant. How successful those attempts are is always to be seen.

Sometimes it can be useful to start with a strong, sweeping statement to define an extreme within a range of views. Discussion from there can narrow down the specifics and come up with edge cases where reality differs. Certainly there is a danger of oversimplification though.

We’ve being seeing plenty of feature creep in consoles, where they’ve transformed from dedicated gaming machines to something more generic. I don’t see this is inherently bad, but much of this complexity hinders the game experience itself, rather than helping it. For example, the Xbox 360 dashboard is not something that is well designed to make accessing games easily; you must navigate through ads and unrelated features. Contrast this with the great work that Valve have been doing Big Picture mode; at least for controller based games, they have made much easier and more pleasurable experience for PC gamers.

It’s quite hard to quantify the issues, but you’re probably right when it comes to online gaming. One of the downsides of a less regulated platform. On the flipside though, the less red tape when it comes to fixing issues on PC gives it an edge over consoles (for example the infamous Fez save file corruption fiasco).

We’ve had numerous incompatible hardware/OS combinations on consoles since XP came out, so you still have to upgrade to keep up. PC gaming actually has an advantage here because most XP games should run on Windows 7 or 8, whereas original Xbox games probably won’t run on the 360 and almost certainly not on the One.

Yeah but a unique console is a unique console. They aren’t meant to be forward or backward compatible really. It’s an afterthought at the moment.

With a PC, devs have to worry about a million different hardware configurations but universal hardware and software narrows that down a lot. It could be a lot worse.

It’s not really anyone’s fault if someone makes a game for a specific console or OS and it’s not compatible with something else. Those were just the market conditions at the time.

I imagine his point was that you present cutting support for a 13 year old OS as a negative you don’t deal with on a console when support for consoles is cut way shorter.

Yeah, that’s what I meant. Also, 13 years (has it really been that long?) is a very long time in the tech industry. XP had a great run.

Apples and oranges. The light that shines twice as bright will burn half as long and all that, meaning a console will have a lot more gaming support than an OS if it’s successful. I think we overestimate how easy it is for people to upgrade their computers as well. Few people want to worry about that it seems.

I actually think consoles are starting to last a lot longer these days though since graphics have reached a point where they almost don’t matter anymore.

Hmm - the length of support is a completely separate issue from the amount of support. I don’t we can refute the former by changing the subject to the latter.

I think with these Steam machines we’ll be seeing more smaller, console sized all-in-one units that are replaced rather than upgraded (which, while easier, has the unfortunate side effect of being incredibly wasteful).

Yeah the last generation was several years longer than usual; I imagine the current generation will be even longer.

Even aside from changing the subject there, how can one possibly find the amount of games on PC lacking (or does gaming support mean something other than releasing games on it)? Are you just talking about your particular tastes rather than the overall market again? Perhaps for specific genres you’re right (like, JRPGs, fighting games - though that’s changed recently - or other such console centric experiences) but on the other hand there are genres prelevant on PC that aren’t often seen on console in much the same way (like, CRPGs, heavy strategy games, dota-likes, simulators of all kinds be it racing, flight, tank, train, space, all encompassing like ARMA, very serious or arcadey enough for less dedicated gamers, and most MMO titles that aren’t Final Fantasy, though the latter is perhaps starting to change as some F2P games get ported). Most AAA blockbusters have a PC version as most are third party while indie games of all kinds (which are not just 2D platformers but also role playing games, adventure titles, first person shooters and so on, some rivaling bigger studios) are also far more widespread on PC even after the introduction of digital distribution on consoles. As far as I can see a PC gamer overall will have way more games to choose from than on any given console if not all put together and that’s not only thanks to the immense back catalogue on offer (that is more often than not compatible with future hardware and OS) but also with modern releases in mind. Again, perhaps less console style games just as consoles have less PC style games (though again that’s changing, even Japanese developers have started providing more PC support with games like Metal Gear Rising, Castlevania and Dark Souls) but that’s just logic at work as developers obviously tend to utilize the strengths of each platform. The only way to say an OS has less support than a console and be right is to talk about an OS that historically has had less focus on gaming, like Mac OS and Linux (even if that too is slowly changing). Obviously Windows is still a must for PC gaming.

My point was you don’t have to worry about hardware configurations for a console. If we use the PS1-2 for example, both consoles sold over 100 million consoles and had tons of support especially during their prime. The graphics weren’t built to last but you didn’t suddenly need a new sound card to play something that wasn’t technically that much better than what you had already. Instead of using new tricks on new hardware devs got the most out of an existing console.

In the case of PCs, devs do well to keep in mind average hardware. It’s something that made both WoW and LoL so successful. You don’t need the best hardware to play them. In fact, you can play them on relatively cheap hardware smoothly. Now averages change but the point still stands.

This is why I like universal tech/software. Devs look at what most people are using and build on that. But when you are talking about an online game, historically there have been many incompatibility issues that have to be corrected quickly (ISP/router issues/driver problems, different sound/graphics cards that weren’t supported etc). It’s something people take for granted IMO.

This is part of the reason why, historically, consoles have had more support during their prime (before graphics start making your eyes hurt because we’re used to better), only now they are aging better.

Now the question is: can people be content with a console for 10+ years? I think console manufacturers are going to start thinking more long term and therefore will blur the lines between consoles and PCs.

Of course, they are still separated by controllers. It all depends if people are content with the graphics IMO.

Well, indeed, consoles are as is and PCs need some thought put into the purchased parts (or complete models) because a PC can be meant for many different uses like office work, design, video editing, bitcoin farming (lol), or video games, and then on top of deciding what you want it for you have to decide if you want it desktop, laptop, home theater, tablet form, and then look for the best things for your chosen budget. I don’t see what any of that has to do with claiming gaming support for an OS is less than on consoles.

Depending on the budget I don’t think a PC gamer absolutely has had to upgrade sooner than he would have to get a newer console and even so you save a lot of money on cheaper PC games that are commonly at least ~10 cheaper by default even before considering the amount of crazy sales happening digitally and in (mostly online retail) stores for them (which aren’t as hard on the publishers as they don’t need to pay as high platform fees, if any).

I think buying new parts a couple years after a console generation has started is a good rough guide. It’s best to wait on consoles anyway, for them to mature as platforms, to avoid early revision hardware, software and service problems, to build a decent library, to see which system gets the most support you enjoy, etc. By such a time you also get a good idea of the kind of PC hardware you might need to keep up with them throughout the generation if not easily exceed them enough to last another couple years into the next generation until you once again buy something up to date. Even if you have to settle for a less than optimal experience by lowering the visual quality or dealing with lower frame rates on certain later games (it’s not like you don’t deal with that on consoles, it’s kinda crazy some companies have been hyping full HD two generations now but the systems still fall short of that expectation too often to be comfortable with it, while frame rates get the short end of the stick way too often) it’s easily made up for by the rest of the platform benefits, not to mention you can revisit these games when you do upgrade and experience them at their best without the need to buy some HD remaster that fixes them up (if one is even made to give the choice on consoles, of course actual remakes are a different matter).

Consoles have their strong points and PC does too, many things PC gets as an open platform, not just hardware wise, are incorporated in later consoles (like online gaming back in the day). Hardware wise, things like the Occulus Rift are possible thanks to the platform being so open and not preset in its capabilities. It’s great to see what people experiment with and how they shape the future. For a more conventional example, the graphical features and power of the PS4 and Xbox One GPUs has been incorporated in PC graphics cards for years, so even if few games have utilized them all at the same time in the way you expect to see them used in your average cinematic blockbuster, we have seen more than mere glimpses of what’s possible, like how Battlefield 3 could easily run with 64 players, large maps and 60fps in 1080p on a half decent gaming PC from ~3 years ago and now Battlefield 4 on the new consoles approaches that (and iirc still doesn’t hit 1080p even on PS4).

If a console generation lasts longer then on PC you will be able to put off upgrading further. Or you may end up upgrading regardless because you bought a fancy new 4k resolution monitor or want to dabble with 3D gaming and/or ORift, or 120Hz (and the frame rate to match), or whatever else requires much beefier specs than the standard goal of 1080p/60fps, but has great benefits for those willing. Though anyway I don’t know if the first parties prolonged the last gen on purpose and they wish to repeat it or if it was simply a side effect of not being profitable enough until way too late to be comfortable with replacing the machines before making up for it with more sales. Besides, for all I know they’d love to go for the Apple model of providing a new console every year allowing the whales to shower them with money while maintaining compatibility for the less well off users that will still only upgrade once every 5 years (but end up with less than ideal experiences much more often than they do these days where hardware capability is universal for a time). Or they could end up turning games into a service with fees up the wazoo and the hardware provided and replaced with better for “free” (paid for tenfold by the subscriptions), or the hardware could become just a streaming box with irrelevant computational power or some other nightmare scenario. Who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see but I think we’ve got at least a couple traditional generations ahead (if not several more, I believe conventional hardware still has a ton of room for more power that games can eventually utilize, this generation’s leap isn’t so great only because consoles chose technically already outdated and basically off the shelf bits and pieces to keep costs lower rather than over the top customized technology a la cell which means recent PC games have already impressed people and a similar level of quality appears less astounding, it’s definitely not because we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns already) before things have the potential to really be shaken up with paradigm shifts beyond experiments that aren’t meant to completely replace them just yet (like Sony experiment with streaming and how VR is making steps on PC).

Anyway, on topic, consoles definitely have lost a lot of their ease of use while PC gaming has been improving on its issues (not to mention that less and less people are PC illiterate as they’re growing to be more and more convenient, if not necessary, for every day life).

For me, what is driving me away from the console market is the closed system mentality. I don’t mind a system that lasts many years because that saves me money, but I don’t like being nickle and dimed now like the console companies are doing. Making one pay for online gaming when in reality all they appear to be offering is tech that has been free on PC’s for years, ie voice communication and a messaging friend system. They rarely are actually hosting servers or incurring much cost with these systems.

Also the idea of releasing a game with content locked until I pay even more to get it really just pisses me off. So far I don’t feel like that has happened to me in the PC market.

I really also like the kickstarter movement as I feel this gives more obscure ideas and developers a chance to release something that I would not get on a closed console. Legend of Grimrock and the upcoming Project Eternity and Torment games are perfect examples. I still enjoy this old school style of gaming that apparently is too old school for the general console market.

Again with regards to Steam and the SteamOS, do I particularly care if it is successful? Only with regards to developers better supporting Linux in general. I think open source and DRM free are really ideal. This is the exact reason I will always purchase a game on GOG vs Steam because I prefer to be able to download and backup a game and have the knowledge that I own that title with no restrictions. GOG dies, I just maintain my multiple backups.

One the most difficult things about consoles are end of life issues that occur. Maybe I am thinking more long term that most gamers, but I still play my Genesis and Saturn games occasionally. The nice thing about a PC is you know that this issue is minimized, especially with community support on a lot of older titles. If my Saturn dies, thankfully SSF exists. If my 360 dies, what do I do with all of my titles and especially the downloaded content?

I think its more than fair enough myself that you pay for Online . Its isn’t free or cheap and one should be expected to pay for it .

That’s the best part of the console - easy for use and the knowledge that no matter when you buy the console any game you buy will look same on every other console (from the line) and run

I don’t see how that’s a factor myself . In a few decades time never mind the systems I doubt any of our CD Saturn or Mega CD games will work

Then you don’t understand the value of what you pay for. Online gaming as far as user hosted servers costs the developers nothing other than the time to code the online component. You think Microsoft or Sony are spending much money providing servers? Why do you think consoles are severely player limited in multiplayer games? It is because they are using a peer2peer (p2p) system. You are hosting the game on your system in most cases. There is the exceptional game that has servers provided by MS, but not worth the amount you pay yearly to game on Live or PSNow or whatever it is called. I don’t own a Playstation so I can’t assess the value there, but I did own an Xbox and 360. I stopped subscribing to Live a few years ago when I realized I wasn’t getting anything for my money. Live is almost a pure profit center for MS. All the games I played were hosted by the user. MS used minimal resources to provide a basic friends list and party hosting system. This easily could have been paid for by all the crappy ads I had to deal with in the dashboard that were larger and much more obnoxious than anything I have ever had to deal with in 25+ years I have been PC gaming.

Closed hardware is one thing, closed ecosystem is not. Selling add on content that could disappear at the discretion of MS or Sony. Should they decide that the 360 is obsolete and not allow downloads, what happens if I have to replace my system in 20 years, etc? Most likely I am SOL. At least I can back up my downloads on the PC and store them. Before the online movement, console games and content were yours as long as you could keep them working.

Hence the greatness of emulation and the ability to backup your software and other content. The ability to create an iso and run it on your PC completely protects my systems from abuse and minimizes wear. If my system does die, my games are all backed up and I can play them on my PC.