I’ve had a really good gaming PC for about three years now, and while I’ve had a blast playing games I never had a chance to play before, I’ve decided I’m done with relying on the PC as my primary gaming experience. I had plenty of reason to invest, I was given my gaming PC as a gift from a very close friend, he built it by hand to ensure it was the best quality possible, and I love this beast of a machine. I loved many PC exclusive experiences, in fact I’ve had too many to list here, but I’ve also got a short list of things that pushed me to this point. Sadly, while the list is short these are some pretty detrimental downsides.
- Part prices are too damn high, and I’m done paying it.
I know that having to deal with the high prices of the parts that will enable you to play the newest games is just part of the PC gaming market, but I also know I can neither afford it or rationalize the cost if I did have the budget for it. When the highest end card runs roughly the cost of building this entire PC I’m writing from ($1,200 that is) it’s pretty clear that’s money that can go to many, many other more important things. That’s two months’ rent, almost a year of internet bills, and many other things that my family and I can use a lot more than all the PC gaming I can jam in for the duration of that part’s viable use. No, I don’t need the fanciest cards or parts, but I’m looking at having to upgrade what was considered a high end video card three years ago and I have nothing I can do to really get my money’ worth back for it, a used card goes for maybe a tenth of what I paid for it on EBay, and I don’t need to build another PC for anyone. What do you do with these old parts? I could lay it in a closet in case something breaks, but after a decade of this, the parts just rot away. That’s a hell of a lot of waste, both in money and materials. Now if I could recycle the parts into something newer- like an upgrade system- that would be awesome, but at this point that doesn’t exist and I need to have something like that to keep me invested in upgrades. If GameStop or other game stores took PC parts I’d be in heaven, to be honest. Not only would it feel like less of a waste of cash, it’d mean that I wouldn’t feel like I was investing in something only to toss it in the trash without much use a short while later. It’s the gaming equivalent of buying newborn diapers by the box.
- Too many games. Many of them busted.
I, like many a gamer before me, have fallen into the steam sale rabbit hole where I buy a bunch of games for super cheap and wind up feeling really lousy for the risk. While I think I get a bargain at times, there are usually a few games I hate or just don’t play at all in almost every bundle. Retail key sellers like Bundlestars.com have gotten the better of me too, especially with bundles under five dollars which rely on having the “sweet treat” game in there to hook you. I can’t tell you how many bundles I’ve purchased because that one game is normally $25+ but it’s in this bundle for $1.99-$5. Those other games in the bundle might be good, but half the time it’s a motherload of trash keys the reseller needs to move to get something else in. Knowing that, you don’t redeem them or try them out to find they’re abysmal trash you wish you never heard of in the first place. I currently own roughly 350 games on Steam, and of those I only have 150 installed with a category system designed to get me to finish. I keep telling myself not to take another risk on these bundles but those they keep sucking me in. I recently made a hard and fast rule that I cannot purchase any new games until I beat at least three and delete them from my hard drive. That rule came to me after I purchased the John Wick Bundle last night so I could finally have all the Payday 2 DLC I wanted, but didn’t want to drop $50+ on.
The other issue with too many games is the DLC. When I played primarily on my 360, most DLC was eh, I’ll skip it territory, but as developers have learned how to nickel and dime us more efficiently- and it’s far more prevalent on PC than consoles- I have also learned the hard way to skip DLC unless it has rave reviews or is essential to the gaming experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped a purchase because I’d have to drop almost the same or double the cost of the game to get the full experience.
I am also very, very tired of having to mess with a PC title to even get it to start. I have never gotten GRID to fire up on my computer even though I more than meet the hardware demands for it. I spent roughly five hours after purchasing it trying to get it running and eventually just deleted it from my account on Steam. Nothing I did started it, and I researched hours to get it to run. Sadly, setup compatibility remains a common thing with PC games and that’s only the tip of the flawed compatibility iceberg that eats so much of our time. Steam has instated a refund policy but it’s limited. You can only get a refund under certain circumstances, and there are time limits on top of that. I spent my first two hours of refund time trying to get it to start and the automated system would not refund because I had surpassed that limit with five hours on the game timer.
These issues aren’t just found in the lower tiers of game publishing, almost every AAA game that I have ever tried to get running has had some sort of major issue because Ubisoft or EA decided to focus on the console versions over PC, and it shows. Look at Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X, and The Division on PC. At launch they were a mess, and some games never get fully fixed. Arkham Knight on PC had to be remade from the ground up because the studio responsible for porting it to PC didn’t have the knowledge to do so. They never should have been put on the project, but Warner Brothers didn’t care about the PC crowd, just the money they’d make from the sales of PC copies.
But, this last reason is the biggest one, and most important.
- It’s voluntary solitary confinement
Playing on my PC, which is hooked up to a monitor setup on a table facing a wall, I spend a lot of time kind of tucked away in a corner. Yes, I am aware I can hookup my PC to the TV, but I have a bad TV that barely runs my 360 and I also have kids that could do any number of things to my tower. Such changes just aren’t going to work for me and my limitations and I highly doubt that this is any different for most PC gamers. Besides, let’s face it, no matter how we set this up we’re still locked into staring at a screen and running a gaming system that makes way more demands of our minds, eyes, and hands than even consoles do.
With a console, I can play my games and be present in my family’s day to day lives, sitting among them in the living room and not tucked behind a corner. With a console, my wife can sit on the couch next to me and watch me play while she reads, even snuggle up with me if she so chooses, and gasp, talk to a man whose eyes she can meet when she does so. Even better, my kiddos can feel free to do so too. I can also engage with them because they can easily play console games with me. With my PC setup, if I want to show my wife something badass I need to get up, get her over to my screen, and then show her. With a TV and a console, she or the kids are present, and I can just let the events unfold naturally. I miss blowing away a bunch of tangos online with my wife sitting next to me watching and being present to take in what just happened instead of wondering why I’m spazzing on the other end of the table. I genuinely have to trade that interaction with my family when I game on my PC, I’m choosing to be solitary and regretting it if I spend too much time doing it.
Consoles are designed for group interactions; naturally forming an audience and getting gamers together is the whole point of them. With a PC it’s difficult to figure out how to play co-op, who gets the controller and who gets keyboard and mouse etc, the list of complications goes on for ages. With a console you just turn on the controllers and go, while some PC games are that simple to get going they’re far and few between.
So, yes, I am going to eventually get a console and start from scratch to make the console gaming experience my primary form of gaming again. I know that I’ll be keeping my PC around for those quirky PC only indie titles that are right up my alley, but as a whole I am moving on from what was once my favorite type of gaming. It’s a sad day to realize this, but it needs to occur and I’m ready for that drop when I can.