It’s been a few months now since I did my first ever PC build, and it’s genuinely changed the way I enjoy gaming.
As with everything there are pros and cons, which I’ll come to. But the way it’s changed my habits is quite interesting.
No longer bound to specific platforms for a lot of things (of course there are always platform exclusives), I’m suddenly in a position of overwhelming choice. That’s a big deal. What does one do with so much choice, though?
I’ll get to that. But first, here’s a quick pro/con rundown from my experience so far.
Straight out of the gates, we all know that the biggest benefit of PC Gaming is the fact that you can manage the hardware yourself, and upgrade over and over. This allows you to get the sharpest visuals, the highest framerates etc.
So, yeah. You get to experience the best version of most games, due to there being no specific hardware restrictions like you would get from a console.
Then, you have choice. Oh so much choice. What game do you want to play? Ok, well how old is it? Doesn’t matter! You can probably get it to run on your PC.
Backwards compatibility isn’t a selling point, or an uncertainty in PC Gaming. It just is. Plus, with places like Gog.com working hard to bring back older titles all the time, it’s more and more likely you’ll find a 30 year old gem you used to love.
Game prices, too are better. With console game prices going higher and higher as new generations of consoles are released. PC gaming seems to be relatively unscathed.
Better still, the sales in Steam and Epic etc are always giving you better deals. Sure places like CDKeys have great offers for all platforms. But damn, the PC deals on there are excellent!
So you have better choice, better pricing, better versions of games. What’s not to love eh?
Well……there are some things I just don’t like. PC Gaming is awesome, but damn, there are some frustrations.
The not-so-good bits
Launchers, launchers, launchers……..
Being removed from that safe, single-console ecosystem is fine, but having to download different launchers and stores to just get the games you want, is an absolute pain. PC gaming is anything but straightforward.
So, you have Steam, Epic Games, EA Origins, uPlay and many many others. You want the best deals, and to shop around? Fine, you have plenty of stores to choose from! You just have no single place to see your progress in all of your games, and need to update games all over the place.
Steam is the big one, and I get that publishers want to cut costs by not paying a percentage of sales to Steam or any other store. But honestly, making it more awkward for the consumer isn’t the best way to earn more money.
Sure GOG are trying to help PC Gamers, by creating the universal launcher “GOG Galaxy”, which is pretty cool. But it isn’t the answer, not yet anyway. It does include Playstation and Xbox, too, which is cool.
Managing updates is a pain in multiple launchers. But it’s not exactly the end of the world, is it?
The other thing is that you’re never really able plateau with your build spec….you could spend a few thousand pounds on gear, and be behind the curve pretty quickly. I feel that if you buy a console, you’re good for 5-7 years (“pro” versions be damned).
But PC Gaming puts you in a cycle of wanting to endlessly upgrade and improve. Chasing that particular dragon is pretty addictive, but my god is it expensive. Always looking for that improvement, that next part……I’ve already upgrade my GPU and want to add more storage, upgrade memory etc etc.
Sure, games are cheaper, but gear isn’t, and you’re likely to upgrade your rig more frequently than you would swap to a new console generation.
It isn’t the most cost-effective way to play games, with a higher set-up cost, and a non-stop upgrade path. But playing the games at their best, is worth it.
A change in habits
One of the biggest side-effects of trying out PC gaming, has been that I’m not really bothered by new releases any longer.
Instead, I’m re-buying all of my favourites from the past couple of generations. Playing Titanfall 2 on highest settings, re-playing The Witcher 3 and getting back into the Xcom games.
Nothing new bothers me, even Cyperpunk 2077 is a vague interest at this point. Sure, Halo Infinite is something I’ve been dying to try, but that’s coming out on PC and on Gamepass anyway, at no extra cost.
I’m happy in a land of previous joys. Re-playing games that I love and experiencing them in new ways.
The hours we’re putting into Rainbow Six: Siege is something I didn’t anticipate! A game I previously had a great time with, now opened-up even more thanks to it costing £6 and all of us wanting to play it on PC.
PC gaming is expensive to start with. It’s expensive to keep upgrading, and arsing about with launchers to find your games and updates is a pain.
But it’s given me a place to play games I’ve been unable to play in years (Grim Fandango anyone?!) and it’s helped me stop chasing the latest releases, so I can just enjoy what I actually enjoy.
A strange side-effect, but a welcome one! I figure my age has something to do with it. Newer isn’t always better. If something is fun and you enjoy it, then just bloody enjoy it.
I don’t think that it should have taken building a PC and spending all of my site earnings on keyboards, mice and games I’ve already played, to teach me that. But hey, here we are.