Sorry PC, you got a fat ass, and it’s only growing.
Recently, I stirred up a little controversy among some of our CheatCC readers with an article exploring the differences in PC and console gaming (the comments section is where the real fun begins).
However, I think some may have gotten the impression that I was anti-PC. Nothing could be further from the truth. As outlined in the article (and if you read anything else I contribute to the site) you’ll see that I often struggle with where my true allegiance lies. Frankly, the consoles are always going to be my first home when it comes to gaming, but I can’t deny just how much fun I’ve had with the PC over the years. Some of the most entertaining moments in games have come when I had a mouse and keyboard at my fingertips. Does that make me more of a PC gamer? No, not really. I guess I’m someone that never really saw those two as direct competitors. For me, the experiences on the PC were always different than what you would find on a console. Again, not better….different. The same can be said of the current and next-gen. There are just certain experiences you find on the consoles that you simply can’t find on any other platform. So, in the end, I’m once again torn between two loves. Ever try to pick your favorite child? I mean, we all have one…we just pretend we don’t. At the very least, I try to be fair and evenhanded when it comes to why I love each system (PC or console) based on its own strengths.
Having said that…let me tell you one of the reasons PC gaming really blows compared to consoles.
As many of you already know, Grand Theft auto V was released to huge success and fanfare. I was a bit of a late bloomer and only recently had a chance to pick up a copy in the last week or so. Now, I knew there would be an install disc. Based on the news stories we do here at CheatCC, It was something I expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was that the install disc is 8 gigabytes in size. Granted, this has been reported already, but I guess it just didn’t click. The problem is, I still own an ancient 360 with a small hard drive. So, before I could even play the game, I had to spend 20 minutes figuring out what stuff I would dump and eventually go back and re-install GTA V after my initial rental period for the game ended. I’m not going to lie; this pissed me off a bit. But hey, my fault for being behind the times, right?
Well, take this little issue and multiply it by a factor of 10 when it comes to getting a game to work properly right out of the box on a PC. I can tell you that the last custom PC-rig I built myself was in 2005, right after Battlefield 2 for the PC had been released. My intent with this system was to build it in a way that would run anything currently on the market, and stay ahead of the curve for a few years. I’m happy to say, that’s exactly what happened. Then, slowly but surely, I noticed I had to start dropping the graphical settings of newer games just to get them to run at a decent frame rate. Finally, I had to give up on PC gaming on that rig, as it just couldn’t’ keep up (imagine a car slowly sputtering for a few miles and then finally rolling to a stop). I’ve built new PCs since then, but I’ve never been able to put the time and money into one like I did with that system.
The first reason, naturally, is price. Getting it to where it needed to be for current PC gaming is no cheap proposition (at the very least, clocking in at almost twice of what a current-gen console would cost). The second reason is the fact that, after all that time and money I’d put into my PC, I’d always feel like I was a hamster on a wheel; it was never ending. How long would it be till I see my perfectly configured system start falling behind yet again? Say what you will about my clunky, old, white model 360, it still works great! I can play literally ANY new Xbox game released today, no different than I did almost eight years ago.
Sadly, the PC gaming industry shows no signs of change. Recently, a site listed the system specs for the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts. These unofficial specs call for a system with 6 gigs of RAM, a sizeable video card, and a whopping 50 gigs of hard drive space. If accurate, these specs essentially mean that anyone without a high-end system won’t be able to touch this game on the PC (sorry Walmart shoppers). Console users, however, will be playing it for months and years to come without issue.
This speaks to the fundamental difference in attitudes between the two platforms. It feels like console developers are constantly trying to improve their software while also optimizing it for the current-gen system. They try and make it as accessible as possible, given the technology. Yet, PC development continues to expand to bloated levels that are simply unattainable to the general public.
Why do system specs for PC games continue to rise? Do we not have the technology to make a killer PC title that’s optimized for lower-end technology? Or is this concept simply a fantasy; akin to things like the Easter Bunny or an un-annoying Kardashian (yeah, find me one…I dare you).
My point is, I can’t afford NASA-grade technology to play future PC titles. At this rate, that seems to be where we’re headed.