Everyone Getting Into Gaming
Hey guys I had hoped to make this first post from my sabbatical a bit longer but this weekend, after three weeks on the road , has me rested, relaxed and you guessed it, sick. I wish summer would hurry and get here.
If you have not yet seen the news Amazon leaked a game control pad which seems to hint they are about to announce their won console system. This has been a growing trend, with STEAM doing it’s own box and many others following with simple game boxes. Most of these are very simple gaming devices designed to run essentially the same games your phone runs now. Some of them are pushing farther but even many of those are staying with the Android market for the most part, STEAM of course is going the Linus approach.
The first thing we can take from this is that gaming is BIG money. We have been telling everyone that for years but now as more companies embrace video gaming the truth is out of the closet. It is a relatively, over the long term, low cost form of entertainment and can be a fun group activity not just in your home but with others around the world.
I still contend however that gaming is not seen at it’s peak until you have experienced it on a PC. Most families have a computer in their home and for the cost of a decent video card, usually under $200, they can experience a good gaming experience that surpasses that of a console. If the better gaming experience was not enough to convince you, how about lower costs down the road? Lets say you have a budget of about $100 per year you will allow yourself to buy games. On a console two games and you are done, during a good STEAM sale the average PC gamer can pick up as many as 20 games for the same cost. Then there is the entire indie game market where lows costs games might mean lower end graphics but often amazing game play. Kerbel Space Program, Pixel Piracy and Space Engineers are three titles we have looked at on the show and lets not forget the rage bully of indie games, Minecraft.
Now console people are at this point going to say that a PC must be upgraded regularly to enjoy new games. That is true to some extent but the need for upgrades has dropped a lot over the years. Thanks to the push of indies titles as well as publishers building games for multiple platforms, we are seeing some of the hardware demand for games come down with a few exceptions each year. As an example lets look at the Radeon HD 7770, this video card was released a hair over two years ago. Now that might not seem that long ago except at the time it was released it was then an entry level gaming card. Two years later the card has been rebranded the R7 250X and is still considered one of the best budget gaming cards on the market. Now if you can get two years out of an entry level video card, and this looks to be good for the next year as well so three or more, I would say with a slightly more expensive card you can push even farther and suddenly the upgrade argument falls apart.
Consolers when hit the upgrade and game pricing arguments defeated, usually fall back to the fact that they can play on the TV in the living room and enjoy the big screen. Well we beat that argument too when we showed our SFF builds can look great in any room in the house and hooking to a TV is super easy. Even better while your gaming console is using the 720P capabilities of your TV a decent gaming computer is using it’s full 1080P resolution. While consoles have come a long way in versatility when it comes to surfing the internet and streaming media, lets be real it is way easier to do this with a keyboard and mouse than a game controller, especially if you have to type a URL or an email.
Now let me be clear, I am not saying consoles are bad. I am saying that the so called clear cut reasoning that consoles are better for the living room is wrong. PC gaming “could” have a higher upfront cost. However with most families owning a PC a simple upgrade can turn most of those into a respectable gaming machine. If the upgrade route is gone the gaming PC suddenly has the lower up front cost. Even if you do buy a gaming PC the cost of gaming which can range from games costing the same prices as consoles to being free and with a lot of sales options in between, will eventually mean the cost war is won by the PC.
One other point to mention that gets overlooked so often. When you invest in a game library and you upgrade to your new console do all your games still work? This is actually a worry every generation. Upgrade your PC and your library is still there for your gaming fun.
With tax returns about to hit a lot of people are looking at gaming so lets broaden our options. I did a quick search online and a number of boutique gaming PC makers can give solid gaming systems for around $1000. You can do this as a DIY project for around $800. Both are more expensive than the consoles but with much larger gaming libraries, better graphics, more versatility and the cost for buying games in the long run being much cheaper, the gaming PC in my opinion just offers a ton more value.