PC Gaming: A Year in Review

PC Gaming: A Year in Review

The PC is arguably the oldest gaming platform on the market. While the Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 have been making headlines and fighting their console wars, the PC has still been going strong in the background. More and more gamers are switching to the PC every day, and recently it was revealed that there were more female PC gamers than male, making it a safe space for women who want to get away from some of the less desirable parts of online console gaming. Still, although the PC has always been a refuge for people who are willing to spend the money on a gaming PC, older rigs have recently started to struggle with playing current generation games, requiring many PC gamers to spend a lot of money on upgrading. In a way, this year marks the year when PC’s also have to move up a generation, causing many gamers to wonder whether or not upgrading their PC is worth it, or whether they should jump ship to the console side of things. Let’s take a look at the last year in PC gaming in order to make that descision.

The first important thing to note is that PC gaming and console gaming have never been closer. Nearly every big AAA release on consoles, from Titanfall to Borderlands, from Call of Duty to Far Cry 4, from Dragon Age Inquisition to South Park: The Stick of Truth, also came out on PC. Most of the time, these games come out at the same time as their console counterparts, although sometimes (especially for games from Japan) these games come out later.

Many genres that were previously thought to be solely the purview of consoles, like fighting games, have been migrating over to PC. In fact, Street Fighter V was recently announced to be a PS4 and PC exclusive. Not only that, but Microsoft recently revealed that they were asking the community on whether or not they want to see Killer Instinct, an Xbox One exclusive, ported to the PC as well. Arc System Works is also considering porting Guilty Gear Xrd to Steam, much like it did with BlazBlu beforehand. This kind of means that the PC is the bridge between both consoles, and is the only platform that can play exclusives from both consoles at the same time.

Of course, there are some games that the PC can’t play. Most notably, the PC cannot play ANY games featured on the Wii U, giving Nintendo a pretty decent hold over the PC market. That being said, Wii U emulators are already under development and a few games do run on the PC. So less scrupulous PC owners can even get their Nintendo fix… though it’s buggy and not nearly as good as it would be if you just purchased the console.

There are also a lot of game genres that just play better on the PC. You won’t find World of Warcraft on consoles any time soon, nor will you find SimCity or The Sims. Not to mention, many people swear that games like shooters and top down RPGs just control better with a keyboard and mouse.

PC Gaming: A Year in Review

The PC has always been and continues to be the best place for indie games. Steam Greenlight alone has allowed so many different games to come into our lives, from the insane shooting action of Broforce, to the deeply saddening wartime commentary of This War of Mine, the PC just has more games than any other platform. It has access to freeware games, browser games, early alphas of AAA games, and more. Not to mention the access to a whole lot of community created content. Steam and other platforms help moderate this content over platforms such as the Steam workshop; modding games has never been easier. But all this was true of PCs before last year, and PC gamers know that. It’s just that more steps have been taken to make PC gaming even more accessible.

Strangely enough, the release of next-gen consoles also was a boom to the PC. PS4 controllers, for example, can be used with a PC out of the box, and if you download a driver package, Xbox One controllers will work as well. One of the biggest problems with being a PC gamer was that you never had particularly good controller options, but now you can just steal them from consoles! The same goes for arcade sticks or any other peripherals, making it easier to play fighting games.

But the same downside to PC gaming that has held true in years past holds true now: cost and complexity. I recently built a brand new rig from scratch to keep up with current gen releases, and it cost me over $2,000. Many current games require things like 50GB of hard drive space, 8 to 16 GB of RAM, fast multi core processors, and more. Anyone running a rig even a couple years old will not have access to this sort of power, and to get access to this power requires spending a pretty penny, even more if you don’t know how to build a PC yourself. Unfortunately, this means that this year, in particular, is going to shut out a lot of gamers from the PC gaming sphere, as games like Watchdogs and Far Cry become just too heavy for older rigs to handle.

If you can spare the money and time, PC gaming has never been stronger. You can get your fix for AAA, indie, fighters, shooters, RPGs, and sims from a single source. Heck, you can even play Five Night’s at Freddy’s, and we know you want to do that for some sick and depraved reason. The PC is the jack of all trades, but it’s worth a king’s ransom.

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