What’s the Real Argument Here?

I recently wrote an opinion piece that was countering the price of PC gaming vs the price of console gaming. I realize that both of these subjects are absolute opinion even if one turns out to be cheaper than the other. We can nit pick all we want. We can always counter what someone else has written. That’s the great thing about writing an opinion. 

What I don’t like is the fact that once you reach a certain point in counter arguments that both arguments become moot and what happens is one side decides it needs to make a personal attack to try and justify its side. I’m not that kind of writer. I never go into an argument or debate with the intent of personally defaming the author or the work itself. When I see people doing that the only thing I can think is that I have some how hit a soft spot, or spots, to that persons delicate ego. I also understand that when we write and put them out on the internet for all to see that we welcome in that opposing opinion and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is the personal attacks on the writer and the website.

In my recent opinion piece on VG Tribune I countered the argument that PC gaming was cheaper in the long run than console gaming. The author of the opposing article obviously took offence to what I had said and came back with a very long and drawn out explanation (exactly what I am doing now) quoting almost my entire article. The funny thing is, the author didn’t really make any new points or state anything they hadn’t said before and even trapped himself in a hole trying to counter what I had said as if it wasn’t a real fact. The truth is there are different ways to determine an opinion on what has value and what doesn’t.xbox-live-and-playstation-plusLet’s start with PS Plus and Games with Gold. The author had originally stated that we pay for services and then those services end up going down and we lose our time and our money. I countered by saying we get 72 free games a year. Now the author counters with the fact that the games we get for free are not actually free and that we pay the $60 a year fee to get those games, that it’s just a clever marketing trick to make us think they are free. So what are we actually paying for then? Are we paying for services? Or free games? But isn’t it both? In reality, $5 a month to get six free games (two if you only own one of the consoles) and have online services doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me. And it obviously doesn’t seem like a bad deal to the close to 100 million members of both services that pay a yearly fee. Someone sees value in the services so really trying to act like the services are bad for consumers seems like a ridiculous thing to say. And telling consumers that, you have their best interests and then proceed to tell them there’s no value in it seems wrong to me. I really don’t know how many more times you can have this argument. There is value there, end of story but there are certainly plenty more free games on PC.

Here’s one of my favorite things that PC gamer’s like to argue:

However, PS Plus (and Xbox Live) are paid services. Part of the expectation when exchanging money for an online service is that one expects that service to remain live and stable. Part of the cost you pay is meant to ensure such stability. So when these paid services go down, no matter how one views it, gamers are losing game time and thus money. While companies may offer compensation for lost game time, the fact remains that those consumers are simply not receiving the service they paid for.

If anything, having been through a few outages throughout the years, I can tell you that both networks function 99% of the time. I’m sure you know, you’re reading this right now trying to remember all the times that either network went out and wondering if it was actually Sony or Microsoft’s fault and not some wanna be hackers DDOSing the servers to death. fgnevermetdeadmanWhen you pay money for a service outages happen. Storm hits, your power goes out. The electric company isn’t going to reimburse you for you time and money, but it’s a service you pay for right? When your cable goes out for no reason, when you lose cell phone signal, when you go to a restaurant and they mess up your order. These are all services that you pay for and problems come up and accidents happen. That’s the nature of paid services at any level, anywhere. The only reason PC gamers complain about this is because it doesn’t directly affect their entire system, but it really doesn’t affect the consoles either. You can still play offline. If the servers for a certain game go out, it is out across all platforms. So what’s the problem here? Are Sony and Microsoft wasting our money? I don’t think so and they typically give you an entire day of their service back or free games in return. So did we really lose anything but a couple of hours of our lives? These are recreational activities, they’re already a waste of time. joysticks.inddI made the explicit point that the authors PC build didn’t include a keyboard and mouse. He goes on to say that he has several controllers he uses:

Yes, part of the allure of PC gaming is the objective superiority in accuracy a keyboard and mouse offers, especially in FPS games. However, the greater allure of PC gaming is that on PC, you have a choice as to the input device you use.

I myself use a DualShock 4 when flying/driving in GTA V, the Xbox One Elite controller for Witcher 3, complete control when using my Saitek X52 Pro flight sticks for Elite: Dangerous, and my awesome keyboard and mouse for Halo 5: Forge – which, by the way, is free on PC.

This is where the author, in my opinion, has it all wrong once again. Without a keyboard and mouse you miss out on what it is that PC gamers scream about when they play FPS on a console or any game for that matter.  Without those crucial items it seems you’d be just as well off on a console as you would on a PC. The author then mentions what he uses on his games in typical PC Elitist style. Lets take a quick look at just how much those three controllers cost, minus the keyboard and mouse since he didn’t state which one’s he has.

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Saitek X52 Pro flight stick. $179.99
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Xbox Elite Controler. $149.99
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Dualshock 4. $46.99

So for just those three items (after tax) it would cost you $408.07. That’s practically the cost of the PS4 Pro. You could certainly get yourself an Xbox One S or a PS4 for less than that. So tell me how it’s still cheaper to be a PC gamer if you’re going for the better experience? I didn’t even add a keyboard and mouse but just go ahead and add at least $150 to that total. Don’t forget tax. Now I’m sure you could get most of these items for a little cheaper than what they retail for but these are the prices right now on Amazon and Microsoft’s website.

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Cronusmax Plus. $59.99

You do have a choice of whatever input device you want and that’s a great thing but it seems like it drives up the cost more than anything. In reality it depends on what kind of gamer you are but you can certainly buy all kinds of accessories and expensive controllers for both console and PC but without a mouse and keyboard it’s kind of hard to use one. Consoles also have the choice of input device and here is the perfect example. I use this device because I didn’t like the way the Xbox One controller felt in my hand. I had been playing the PS4 for quite some time but when Halo 5 came out I decided to get an Xbox One. The controller though felt cheap in my hands, it wasn’t comfortable for me so in comes the CronusMax Plus. This simple USB stick allows you to wirelessly use any controller you want on any console. It’s easy to use but does require a PC to setup functionality. Any PC really. You can even hook a USB hub to it and use a keyboard and mouse. How bout that? I currently am using mine on my PS3 since the battery for my Dualshock 3 can barely hold a charge anymore. This is a great little device you should check out if you want to use any controller on any console. Only $59.94 on Amazon.com.

fotonoticia_20151023130453_1280The “highly optimized” portion of this is simply incorrect. In fact, we have many games this generation proving that games on console simply aren’t optimized.

As far as highly optimized goes, he takes it out of context. The consoles are highly optimized for one thing, to game. They have purpose built CPU/GPUs and you can’t buy them at all. I consider that highly optimized. Now games may have trouble. As a console gamer we all know that frame rates drop in and out, some of the games mentioned performed poorly on Xbox One but seem just fine on PS4. Fallout 4 seemed fine to me on PS4 with the occasional frame drop which again we are all used to. We understand as gamers that this could probably be removed by gaming on a PC but the games he specifically mentioned had widespread problems across all platforms; Just Cause 3, Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Unity all had problems at launch. I never implied that the games were highly optimized, the console itself is.screenshot4Let’s move on to the video the author posted, YouTube. The build the guy in the video uses is fairly similar minus the graphics card the original author suggested in his build. I urge you to watch the video but I’ll do my best to summarize and point out what I think is reasons why you should just stick to consoles, but make your own informed decision.

I’ll start with the frame rate. While some of the games were able to produce better frame rates they weren’t that impressive and without a monitor (remember, that’s not considered apart of the build) you’re still stuck using a TV which may or may not be able to produce 60 fps.

Now the games being tested go all the way back to 2011 with Skyrim; Crysis 3, Dead Island Riptide, Bioshock Infinite and BF4 all in 2013; Far Cry 4 in 2014 and Dirt Rally in 2015. Watching the video you’re looking at smooth frame rates and experience on all the games in 2013, I would expect nothing less from a CPU that was made in 2013. It also played Skyrim from 2011 on high at 50-60 fps, that’s great and all but when the remastered version comes out I doubt the CPU would be able to handle it, maybe on medium settings? We’ll have to wait and see. Dirt Rally and Far Cry 4 are the newest games and seem like those are the ones that struggled the most and the YouTube user suggested, lower, medium settings to get 30-40 fps.

So what does all that mean? To me it means that you’re getting practically what the console experience is for a price that is more expensive than a console. The YouTuber goes on to say it, “depends on what you mean by gaming PC… I’d say no, but it can play games… Someone who’s on a budget… Someone who wants to play games causally.” He also mentions that the build can’t really play new titles and that it would struggle with them. I agree with him. I think if you built either one of the builds that the original author suggested that you would be struggling to play games next year and beyond until you upgraded to something better, which again requires a new CPU and motherboard. The YouTube user even suggested that if you were on a budget that you should wait a bit longer and that there was better out there for a little more money. A little more money than the $600 you already paid.

Regardless of what the original author says you will be struggling to play newer games and that really isn’t comparable to what the PS4 does or the PS4 Pro or an Xbox One S. He then goes on to mention core i5 and i7 processors. I really laughed hard when I read that because it only reinforces the fact that you still would be better off upgrading. He confirms what my original article says by saying that yes his build is obsolete on Day 1 but so are the PS4 and Xbox One, but those consoles won’t struggle to play games like they would if you’re playing on his suggested builds. He tires to state how the PC he recommended is more powerful than a PS4 Pro and Xbox One S, which they are, but even with all that extra power they will still struggle, you’re better off on the console for less money to get the same experience these cheap PC builds offer. atgamesmegadriveboxAgain let’s move on to his next point. The misconception of plug and play. Yes the consoles of new are not the simple plug ‘n’ play devices that you see for $20 at WalMart or the ones that Nintendo and Sega are releasing. But, they are more plug ‘n’ play friendly than a PC is. Yes you have day one patches, yes you need to actually power on the console, update it to the latest firmware and create an account. Things that could limit the experience of being able to play immediately. These are requirements of both PC and console though. If there’s a Day 1 patch then the PC is getting it too. When you build a computer for the first time you have to install the OS, then you have to update that OS and all of the other little things that Windows wants you to upgrade. Then you need to install Steam and all of the games you want to play need to be downloaded and installed. Depending on your internet connection you could be waiting significantly longer than your console brethren. He also mentions how the PC gives you the power to fix your own issues if something comes up, whether that’s a BSOD, optimization or even an issue with the game. Let’s think about that for a second. You needed help to build that PC. Do you think after those simple steps that lines of code, software with no tutorials is going to be easy to just pick up and use right away? You’d have to research and watch countless videos and read countless forums to get your problem solved. To PC gamers this is easy to do but not everyone understands PCs and how they work and they certainly don’t know what to do with the software. I’m not saying that you, the reader, is an idiot. I’m not suggesting that at all but what I am suggesting and to some, proving, is that it is cheaper and easier to game on consoles than it is on PC. If PCs were easier it’d be the way.

I’ll try to make my final points here but there is one thing that we can all agree on. Consoles are becoming more and more like PCs. The way they are built, the way they function is all pointing at PC. That is a great thing, I agree, but we’ll still have consoles. Even PCs have, consoles, pre-built Steam machines that play PC games. Sounds almost like a console to me.

I don’t believe what I am saying is a misconception. Both of us have facts that can be countered with more facts. All of what we have said are facts. What I don’t appreciate is the author telling the world that I am deliberately, and VGTribune, are deliberately posting bad, ill informed articles. Let us remember that these are opinions being backed up by facts. We can go on and on about this for days or weeks, I’m sure, but I’d rather you, the reader, do your own research. Look at what both sides have said, use the links we used, take the information we have given and make your own informed decision. These might be the most in depth arguments I’ve seen between PC and console and I like it. We should be out there informing people that gaming is great no matter what you use but who doesn’t like a little competition. I think at this point we can both agree to disagree.

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