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Is it time to ditch the consoles?

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On the whole the benefits of console aren't what they used to be. Console hardware is sold at a loss leader with profit made on the games and in previous generations this gave you a powerful piece of hardware for a fraction of the price of a gaming PC. Today, we have 4K big screen displays in the living room and PC prices have been falling. Meanwhile, from PS3 onwards, launch prices of console hardware have increased. Games have crept up as well, and a launch PS3 at £425 brought with it £50 games.  PS4 was £350 but brought us the £60 game and online distribution pushed that higher.  For the price of a PS5 and a few games you can get a decent gaming PC to connect to the TV.

 

We have had a few threads here discussing the information overload that's already happening - there's not enough time to play everything so missing out on console exclusives isn't necessarily the big problem it once was because you'll simply be playing something else instead.  

 

But on PC there's a world of really, really cheap gaming at your fingertips. Steam and Epic offering free games, Humble Bundles and 'Pay what you like' deals.  Online services without monthly subscriptions.  New releases being typically £20 less on PC and pricess falling. Every time you buy a game you will be saving money. 

 

Then comes the hacking and modding scene. Fan made patches open up a whole new world of stuff, some of which are quite amazing.  The HD Resident Evil 4 that came out years before Capcom did it officially for example. The multiple fixes for Deadly Premonition that made the official buggy mess into the silky smooth, best version available. 

 

Then comes the modding of your hardware. When the Playstation 6 launches, just whack a new graphics card into your PC and you're off again. Connect multiple monitors, build a flight sim cockpit with the mountain of peripherals and accessories that are only available on PC.

 

Seems to me that the new console generation is at odds with what consoles should be - cheap hardware that is competitive and powerful compared to home computers. Buying a new console will cost a lot of money overall, as you factor in the £50 -£60 games, monthly online subs, and so on.  And when a game is multi format, the PC version is usually the best.  So, is

 PC the way forward now and is it time to ditch the consoles?

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2 minutes ago, Gotters said:

If gaming solely existed on PC type hardware with OS updates, drivers, fannying round with game patches, needing a keyboard etc etc I'd give up on it totally.

 

Long live the Switch - its the only machine I need or use now.

Is that still the case though? Windows 10, Nvidia etc all download and update drivers automatically these days. I've not had compatibility issues with games on PC in years. 

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6 minutes ago, Gotters said:

If gaming solely existed on PC type hardware with OS updates, drivers, fannying round with game patches, needing a keyboard etc etc I'd give up on it totally..


So would most of those families with consoles in the house who don’t have an interest in modding their PC.

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I've been almost exclusively a console gamer for the last 30 years and I'm starting to consider a change. A lot of it comes down to how much a good gaming PC would actually cost. If it's not much more than one of the next gen consoles I think I'd go for it. I reckon I'll still always prefer the simple user experience of consoles, but maybe the difference isn't so great there anymore and the sacrifice is worth it.

 

But a lot of this for me comes from writing about games and wanting to have access to more new releases, especially indie games. There's a ton of stuff that begins on PC as early access or as a full release before it comes to console (if at all), and having a PC would increase my options.

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I used to game on PC and gave it up, I just couldn't be arsed with the hassle. You buy a game on release and find that your combination of hardware causes shit frame rates or micro stuttering, and you have to wait for drivers to be released, or fanny about editing config files in wordpad. At least on consoles the worst case scenario is a 30gb day one patch.

 

As for game prices, I very rarely buy games on release. If I do though, The Game Collection sell most new releases for £38, which is reasonable. I never buy digital, those prices are a joke.

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If PCs had a Game Mode, eg. You booted up into game mode, no windows, no dash board just the games listed and when you clicked on them they started up with no fuss then maybe. But that's really just a console. PCs are still a bit too annoying to use for a quick ten minute game of something and in fact don't really offer that sort of gaming in a major way.

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I gave up on PC gaming because I found it too tempting to endlessly fiddle with settings and mods. Reckon I spent more time worrying about having the optimal set-up than actually playing the games, so I just went back to consoles. 

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Consoles still provide a better gaming experience for the money. I couldn't really reccomend that someone spend less than £400 on a gaming PC build, and consoles are available for about half that. This isn't even factoring in an OS purchase. Of course, the upside is that you get a general purpose computer as part of the deal. Also you know that the games you buy will always be playable, even if you upgrade your hardware down the line. You effectively get free "remasters" (akin to The Last of Us, not Ratchet and Clank) when you do so.

 

Another oft-stated benefit of consoles is that they provide a fixed target for developers, so you know you're getting the same experience as everyone else. With PC, you get to choose the experience you want - e.g. deciding if you want to prioritise framerate or visual quality. For instance I usually just want console-equivalent visual settings, but at 1080p and 60fps, but getting there but this usually involves menu diving and running benchmarks (or the actual game) to make sure I've set it up right. I suppose I could just buy really expensive hardware that's so powerful I knew it would make light work of whatever settings I picked.

 

I think some of this could change in the coming years. USB 4 should make external GPUs a mainstream prospect - meaning if you already own a laptop with a decent enough CPU, you won't have to buy an entire separate computer to run games, but just a GPU. So the value proposition vs consoles should become much more even. VRR TVs will make it less of a big deal if you don't have your settings dialled in exactly, because an uneven 60fps won't look worse than a solid 30fps. To be fair, this tech stands to improve the console experience too.

 

44 minutes ago, Gotters said:

If gaming solely existed on PC type hardware with OS updates, drivers, fannying round with game patches, needing a keyboard etc etc I'd give up on it totally.

 

Surely console gaming is not terribly different these days in terms of updates, patches etc is it? Admittedly you do need a keyboard and mouse. Steam has a great "big picture" mode and I think there's a way to get that to just open on boot, but these days of course there are plenty of great titles that aren't on Steam!

 

I see the lines blurring generally. In the next console generation, you're likely to need to choose between various "tiers" of hardware. If you buy the premium tier, you're likely to be presented with options about how you want to use that power, much like PC. It's a controlled set of choices, not the endless analysis paralysis that PC gaming can sometimes be, but still.

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54 minutes ago, Gotters said:

If gaming solely existed on PC type hardware with OS updates, drivers, fannying round with game patches, needing a keyboard etc etc I'd give up on it totally.

 

Long live the Switch - its the only machine I need or use now.

 

Are you posting from 2005? Updates and the likes are literally solved by one click and is no hassle at all.  

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I do think it's worth mentioning that the PC gaming landscape is much more consumer-friendly than consoles, which I assume is because of the competion between storefronts. We have a massive thread on here about difficulties people have had getting refunds from Sony, for instance. I'm not sure if they've improved their customer service since, but the main reason I got into PC gaming in the first place was because I bought a game for the wrong platform (PS Vita instead of PS3) and they just flat out refused to refund me. So possibly mainly out of spite, I've tried to minimise my investment in their platform.

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51 minutes ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

However much an XB1X is. 

 

Recently the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order pack has been available for £280. The Forza Horizon 4 pack with the dlc is £300.

 

Let's spec a worse new PC on overlockers and scan...

 

AMD RX 580 £200
12gb ddr3 ram (should be gddr5 but no equivalent available) £120
Jaguar CPU/ Intel i3 £40
Motherboard £70
4k blu ray drive £70
power supply £35
case £40 boggo standard one
xbox one bluetooth controller or budget mouse and keyboard £40
Win 10 64bit £110

 

£725 

 

Plus the OP isn't really a good example of the value available in console gaming when you only cite Playstation. There's much better deals available elsewhere like Game Pass.

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The case for switching to the PC was arguably stronger around the end of the last generation. 

People were going to lose access to the games they'd bought digitally on 360/PS3 if they switched to the next set of consoles and the pricing of full games on Xbox Live and PSN up to that point was abysmal. 

 

If I buy a Series X/PS5 this winter I'm still going to be able to play every game I had for the current generation, possibly better than before thanks to the new console having an SSD so they'll load quicker and the OS should be better. On top of that we've seen Microsoft and Sony regularly have quite good sales on their respective stores and Gamepass is a fantastic bargain. 

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2 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

But then the thread for every big game that comes out on PC has pages of people struggling to get it running right.

 

Most often thats the fault of the developer. Patching broken games also occurs on consoles. 

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Pc prices have been falling? Not as far as I've seen. I could afford a system to play modern games on nine or ten years ago. I am certainly better off now than I was then, with no chance of being able to afford such a computer unless I get a much better-paying job than I do. 

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29 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

PC gaming is an odd beast. Whenever someone says it's too complex and that they prefer gaming on simple consoles, everyone accusing them of living in the past. But then the thread for every big game that comes out on PC has pages of people struggling to get it running right.

 

Yeah, I think this needs some qualification:

 

1 hour ago, dumpster said:

And when a game is multi format, the PC version is usually the best.

 

I would say that it is generally true that the PC version has the potential to be the best. Just that this is only the case if there isn't some bug that doesn't play nice with your hardware, and if they haven't implemented DRM which takes up half the system resources. Or if you hardware is powerful enough to just brute force through any such issues.

 

For instance the recently released version of Detroit: Beyond Human seems to run dreadfully on most PCs, massive CPU usage. Which is pretty unforgivable when the game runs fine on consoles which has 2012-era laptop CPUs. Who knows if this will actually get fixed or not.

 

@Revival TF are you doing. This would be a much better starting point: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/guide/DHTwrH/entry-level-amd-gaming-build

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3 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Pc prices have been falling? Not as far as I've seen. I could afford a system to play modern games on nine or ten years ago. I am certainly better off now than I was then, with no chance of being able to afford such a computer unless I get a much better-paying job than I do. 

The lack of competition for Nvidia at the higher end of the market has let them charge silly money for GPUs. 

 

SSD prices seem to be dropping by the week, RAM prices seem to be falling again and you get way more bang for your buck CPU wise since AMD brought Ryzen to market. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Liamness said:

 

@Revival TF are you doing. This would be a much better starting point: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/guide/DHTwrH/entry-level-amd-gaming-build

 

A better CPU but inferior GPU and RAM to what's in the One X plus it's missing, OS, Controller/M&KB and a 4K drive.

 

Even that works out at around £635 and the Ram and GPU are worse than what I specced.

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15 minutes ago, Revival said:

 

Recently the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order pack has been available for £280. The Forza Horizon 4 pack with the dlc is £300.

 

Let's spec a worse new PC on overlockers and scan...

 

AMD RX 580 £200
12gb ddr3 ram (should be gddr5 but no equivalent available) £120
Jaguar CPU/ Intel i3 £40
Motherboard £70
4k blu ray drive £70
power supply £35
case £40 boggo standard one
xbox one bluetooth controller or budget mouse and keyboard £40
Win 10 64bit £110

 

£725 

 

Plus the OP isn't really a good example of the value available in console gaming when you only cite Playstation. There's much better deals available elsewhere like Game Pass.

 

Windows 10 is £89, not 110. 

 

Anyhow heres a build from PCMR

 

CPUAMD Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor$119.99 @ Amazon

Motherboard*Gigabyte B450M DS3H Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard$59.99 @ Newegg

Memory*Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory$32.99 @ Newegg

Storage*ADATA Ultimate SU800 256 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive$34.89 @ Amazon

StorageWestern Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive$44.99 @ Adorama

Video Card*XFX Radeon RX 580 8 GB GTS XXX ED Video Card$159.99 @ Amazon

Case*Rosewill SCM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case$26.99 @ Amazon

Power Supply*Corsair CX (2017) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply$53.98 @ Newegg

Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts

Total$533.81, (£409.51)

 

 

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Nintendo aside, hasn't console architecture been getting close to PC architecture anyway - especially in the XB1/PS4 generation? The original Xbox pitch was pretty much a fixed-spec, stable PC, and the PS4 reveal was rolled out alongside slides like this:

 

sony-playstation-4-ps4-architecture-001-

 

Insert picture of Dolan with the caption "Everything was x86". Or something.

 

Anyway, I got a new graphics card last Black Friday/Cyber Monday as Destiny 2 players are moving to PC and my graphics card was the only underspecced part, so I'm hoping I can dip into PC gaming again, at least until the new consoles are revealed and at a sensible price...

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