PC gaming is going through a renaissance. All of a sudden, it’s seen as the go-to platform for gaming. And it’s taken on an air of luxury that it just didn’t have in the past. It’s all being driven, of course, by the vast differences in user experience between PCs and consoles. Both the current generation consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, have weak AMD GPUs on the inside. They’ll put out 30 frames per second on 1080p resolution screens, but they won’t go much beyond that. And if you want eye-candy like HBAO or 16x MSAA, you can forget it.
The PC, on the other hand, is a different animal. Here resolutions go all the way up to 5K. And right now, both AMD and Nvidia have graphics solutions that will run resolutions up to 4K. Then there’s the fact that with a PC, you get to turn on the eye-candy that’s sorely lacking on consoles. Of course, you’ll have the stump up the money to do so. But with new graphics cards going for as little as $200, it seems like a no-brainer.
When it comes to VR, we’re still in early days. But right now the only place where you can have a good VR gaming experience is on the PC. Why? Well, right now, VR headsets need to run at 90 FPS. This is because running any lower than this induces motion sickness in the user. VR headsets also have to operate at staggeringly high resolutions. Otherwise, virtual worlds look fake and blocky. Today’s consoles cannot provide a convincing experience in VR, meaning the PC is the only acceptable platform. Eve: Valkyrie and Surgeon Simulator both look far better on the PC, despite being “multi-platform.”
One of the concern consoles players have about PC gaming has nothing to do with the games themselves. They don’t want to give up the couch for an uncomfortable swivel chair. But with so many inexpensive gaming chairs on the market, this isn’t much of an issue either. What’s more, you can still hook up a controller to the PC if you love your couch too much to let it go. In fact, some games, like Super Meat Boy, actually recommend that you do.
But, finally, the biggest draw of PC gaming is the fact that the community can mod games. Take Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as an example. When the game released back in 2011, it came out with a few bugs and things that needed improving. The makers of the game provided the odd update and DLC. But it was the community that built the most interesting add-ons. For instance, people created add-ons that improved the graphics, changed the armour and managed inventory better. People also added in their own story elements and made mods that fundamentally changed how the game played.
What this did was create a community that extended the longevity of the game. People are still playing Skyrim today. And it’s not just Skyrim that benefited from modding on the Steam community. Most popular games have been rebuilt in ways that the developers themselves never intended. And this has kept PC gamers coming back for more and more.