The Benefits of PC Gaming

The Benefits of PC Gaming

I always find myself trying to convince my friends to try out PC gaming. I show them my huge Steam library. I show them how I have my PC set up to play games on my TV.  I show them how I can connect a controller to the PC effortlessly.  Everything! I show them everything! How many have I converted?

One.

Just one.  But, that only encourages me to continue my efforts!

This post is simply an attempt to convince any would-be gamer the potential advantages of making PC gaming your primary gaming space. It isn’t about PC versus console, and though inevitably, comparisons can’t help but be made, that is not the primary directive. The objective of such a campaign is to convince those that game exclusively on a console, that there is another option– another option that has more benefits than they may realize.

There’s even a flow chart for Steam sales!

Cost & Complexity
The only real reason there are even ‘console wars’ in the first place, is because most people don’t have the disposable income to afford more than one console. Not only that, but it’s not the greatest financial decision to invest in multiple consoles, especially now, where permanent exclusives are few and far between (Well, except Nintendo).

There are two very large reasons console gamers outnumber PC gamers. First and foremost, the upfront cost of a console is a much easier pill to swallow than building a dedicated gaming rig. This is true–the initial cost of a decent gaming rig can be steep, depending on what parts you purchase. However, that upfront cost will easily be offset in the long run due to amazing sales (which can be found on Steam and through other digital game providers), discounted game codes (typically $50 for a new game on PC vs $60 on the consoles), and even a game library that you’ll never have to worry about being made obsolete due to a new generation.

The other large hurdle for potential converts is the perceived complexity of building and maintaining a gaming PC. While this consensus was true many years ago, building your own computer has become a pretty easy task, almost plug-and-play at this point.  Truly, the most difficult task of building a gaming PC on your own is making sure that all your parts are compatible with one another prior to purchase.  However, if you’re really lacking confidence in your ability to build a PC yourself, there are also affordable services out there that will do that process for you.

Maintaining current drivers for the various systems of your computer is about as easy as updating your console. You will be notified when new drivers are available, and you can update merely by pressing the update button. Fiddling of individual game settings can be complex, but some gamers actually relish in the complexity of trying to find the best setting to make the most out of your hardware. For those that don’t particularly care for that aspect, get a Nvidia video card–there is a program that, on a per-game basis, will find the most optimal settings for you automatically, based on your current hardware.

Graphical Fidelity and Performance
Graphics aren’t everything, but we sure do love it! Unfortunately, and this is especially true of the new generation, consoles have fallen very far behind in the graphical department. In order to adhere to the affordable console price point, Microsoft and Sony were forced to resort to hardware that just isn’t up to snuff with what’s currently available. The Xbox One and the PS4 are already having issues running most games at 1080p at 60fps, something that even some budget gaming rigs can handle with ease.

Speaking of frames per second, that brings us to the issue of performance–something that I value much higher than graphics. Don’t you hate it when you’re playing a game, and during an intense action scene, the games starts chugging, stuttering, or lagging? Or, there’s a certain area that the machine just cannot handle very well? Unfortunately, on a console, you can’t adjust your graphics, or do anything about that issue. You’re stuck with it, and you have to hope some future patch will fix the issue. With a PC, if your machine is struggling at a certain point in a game, you can adjust your settings accordingly to improve your frame rate.

Game graphics are just getting ridiculous!

Permanent Game Library
One of the greatest things about PC gaming is that there isn’t a worry of losing the ability to play your library of games, even when you upgrade. About a year ago, I was playing computer games from the early 90s on my new gaming rig! When you choose to upgrade to the next generation of consoles, you lose access to your collection of games. However, Microsoft is working to rectify that for some 360 games for the Xbox One…depending on publisher approval.

Discounted Gaming
Between key sellers, Steam sales, and the indie bundles, you can fill out your PC gaming library rapidly and on the cheap. Steam sales offer extremely great pricing for some of gaming’s most well-known titles, usually getting complete packs for as low as five dollars each. If it’s some indie game action you want, grabbing up indie bundles (of which there are many) can get you a set of indie games for as little as five to ten dollars. Sometimes, the indie bundles even have publisher bundles that come out to be an exceptional value.

If the newest game is what you want, there are reputable key sellers that purchase from physical retailers in bulk, in order to offer discounted keys for new games. These keys can be used to activate the product on services such as Steam. There is some fuss in regards to these sellers, but the keys are legitimate and do work. I recently pre-purchased Batman: Arkham Knight for $36.00!

SteamMachines are Valve’s response to PC convenience.

Convenience
The most prevalent argument I hear when debating this issue is that people like to plug their console into the TV, plop on the coach, grab their controller, and have it just work. I can’t argue with this sentiment– it’s a solid one. However, you can do much the same with a PC, although admittedly, there is a bit more setup involved. Mostly, it’s just a couple extra steps, such as setting up your display and audio preferences and buying an adapter to use a controller on your PC, which may not even be necessary depending on your controller of choice.

Fortunately, HDMI cables have made this much easier, as they transfer video and sound. There are also streaming options coming from Steam, which will allow you to stream your Steam library games to another TV in your house from your computer, along with a compatible controller! These options will be coming soon.  Check it out here.

Additionally, there are ‘Steam Machines’ coming soon, which is Valve’s response to the plug and play convenience argument against PC gaming. These affordable computers will be pre-installed with Steam’s SteamOS platform– a console, but a PC at the same time!

Productivity
There are apparently other uses for a computer besides gaming?? If you build a gaming PC, you also have a powerful, high-speed computer that you can utilize for other purposes, as well.  Gaming machines are very powerful, both in processing power and memory. This proves useful when working on a project with 20 browser tabs open, while editing video, and compressing files, all at the same time.  A gaming PC can effortlessly handle doing all these things simultaneously, whereas a regular, run-of-the-mill PC would likely have difficulty performing all of those operations at once, causing lag issues.

So, what do you think?  Have I converted you?

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