The myth of the PC master race
By Benjamin Howard, Columnist
PC gamers flock to the phrase “PC master race” to verify their platform as undoubtedly superior to consoles. Another common added phrase is “console pleb,” usually implying that those who play games on consoles are either too poor to afford the proper PC rig or are casual players. A third possibility for console gamers, however, does exist, and it’s probably more common than the others: they prefer consoles. Perhaps the Internet (the world’s largest cesspool of extreme, un‑nuanced arguments) has coloured my view, but it seems that a huge number of people don’t see any reason at all to prefer consoles over PCs. I’m here to explain on behalf of my plebeian brethren.
Consoles are nice and simple. You don’t have to build anything like you do with a PC—the choice is among three black boxes, usually decided based on which games one wants to play. Some people don’t want to have to know the ins-and-outs of electronics just to play a video game, which is required to have an ideal PC rig, or they don’t want to deal with the hassle of putting one together. It’s very rare with a console game to have to adjust the settings to make the game run as it should, or to have to worry about a bad port. Of course, if a game is broken, that’s another story. This generation of consoles has received good ports across the board, unlike the PC, where improper ports are more common (Batman: Arkham Knight being the most recent example). Therefore, choosing to play on console means less to worry about. On top of that, consoles are upgrade-free, thus one new purchase can get you access to the newest games for at least the next five years. This is much simpler and easier than upgrading a PC, and it’s also cheaper.
I’m no expert on PCs—I play most of my games on console—but after doing a brief Google search, it seems that in order to play the latest and greatest on PC, every three years, possibly more often, one must buy new parts to upgrade, at a cost of at least $200. Basic math shows you’re paying less for hardware overall on console. Most PC gamers will admit to that, but also claim that they make the money back from the savings they get on software, namely from Steam sales. Well, that might’ve been true in the past, but the nature of Steam sales has changed. There are no more Daily Deals or Flash Sales, making the lauded Steam sale less of a bargain than before. Console companies have also begun to offer bigger and more frequent sales to compete with Steam’s ones. Comparing the prices of console games at retailers such as Best Buy with their PC counterparts on Steam, I found that the prices for new games were nearly identical across the board. However, I would argue that the console gamer is actually getting more bang for their buck because they’re getting a physical copy as opposed to a download.
I don’t want to get too far into this digital‑versus‑physical debate, but suffice it to say that if you prefer physical games, then consoles are the way to go. If anyone remembers the Xbox One’s disastrous unveiling, a big issue there was that the Xbox One (like a PC) would be unable to play used games. Clearly console gamers care about their right to physical media.
Another thing: most people have a decent TV room, right? But not everyone has a nice computer room. I know I don’t. My PC is in the middle of the kitchen, the chair is uncomfortable, and the monitor is small, sub‑1080p, and mounted way too high up on the wall, forcing me to look up constantly as one would while in the front row of a cinema. Video games are things of leisure, and for many people that’s just more feasible on consoles.
However, probably more important than everything else are the games. The PC is great for single‑player and online multiplayer, but not for offline multiplayer. The ability to play video games with friends (and in the same room) is arguably the biggest strength of video games. When faced with the choice of either playing video games by myself, reading, or watching a movie, I’m more inclined not to pick video games. However, doing any of those things with friends? Video games all the way! The lack of offline multiplayer on PC games is the final nail in the coffin for me.