Occasionally I come across a console gamer looking to make the change to PC gaming. They're interested primarily in better graphics and mods. What holds them back are a mix of legitimate concerns, and a vast amount of false information invented by anti-PC gamers. I felt that I should clear up the benefits and disadvantages to PC gaming. I've been gaming on consoles since the 90s, and have experience with all consoles since NES and Sega Genesis. I built my first gaming PC in 2008, and since then I've developed many modifications for games as well as designed quite a few levels. So this will be a purely informative and non-biased post.
You may also wish to read this article which is somewhat related.
Below are some of the common questions asked by console gamers looking to switch to PC gaming.
1. Isn't PC gaming much more expensive?
- If you're willing to learn to build a PC, or have a friend/family member who can build one, then you can build a powerful console killer PC for $500-600. Pre-built PCs will set you back close to $1,000 for inferior hardware than a custom built $500-$600 PC. Therefore, the cost of a pre-built PC is one of the legitimate concerns against PC gaming.
- However, upgrading to each new console generation totals up to far more than building one solid gaming PC. In other words, PC gaming is less expensive in the long run. This brings us to our next question.
2. Don't you have to upgrade PC hardware every few years to play the latest games?
- Absolutely not. This is one of the most common concerns preached by anti-PC gamers, but it's mostly nonsense and/or extremely exaggerated. First and foremost, new hardware is not necessary to simply play new games. Sure, certain outdated hardware may struggle on higher settings of a new game, but you can still play the game. So I'll say it clearly, you do not have to upgrade to the latest hardware to play PC games.
- If you want to run games on the highest or near-highest settings for the next few years, you can build/buy a powerful one and it will certainly last for a while. 2013's AMD R9 290X will easily run the latest games on the highest settings (barring extremes like supersampling) at 1080p 60 FPS, or even 1440p 60 FPS (some games will require a few settings to be lowered for this, but it's still higher settings and resolution than console).
3. What if I prefer gaming with a controller?
- Then use a controller on PC. Microsoft's wired XBOX 360 controller works (as does the XBOX One controller), and most games support it. Logitech and other brands have controllers with a unique layout. However, the mouse and keyboard combo is one of the benefits to PC gaming. A mouse gives you far more precise aiming for shooters, and far more precise movement for platforming. A controller has about a dozen buttons, while a normal keyboard has over 100 keys (but you can get smaller models which take up less space, and are beneficial to many gamers). There are some games that actually make use of nearly every key on the keyboard, namely the ArmA series.
- Many multiplatform and PC exclusive titles take advantage of hotkeys. No more navigating through menus with a controller, simply press a key to equip an item.
- Believe it or not, it took me less time to get used to the mouse and keyboard than to get used to a controller. Mouse and keyboard just give you more freedom for hand movement, so you don't have to keep your hands clutched around a controller all the time.
- High end gaming mice as well as keyboards, especially mechanical keyboards, are much higher end products than any controller. They offer much greater reliability than controllers (which use normal rubber membranes like standard keyboards), and are much more precise. Did you ever notice how with sports games and such, sometimes things don't come out right when playing with a controller? Or how your old controllers don't work anymore. This is because they're such low quality products. Did you ever notice how hard it is in some games to use the diagonal functions with a controller? They're not precise and they're not reliable, especially wireless controllers. Serious gamers should always use wired peripherals, this is less of an issue for casual gaming.
- There are also keyboards with macro functions, allowing you to make custom key combo bindings which may be helpful for competitive gaming. Even if you're not sold on mouse and keyboard, once again, you can use a controller for PC gaming.
4. What if I prefer gaming on my couch or bed, with a big TV?
- Then do the same for your PC. Plug it into your big TV, hook up your controller, lay down and go play some games. There is nothing from stopping you from doing this with a PC. Modern video cards have HDMI ports. Some slightly older (but still powerful) models have an old analog VGA output for your ancient TV, and newer ones also include DisplayPorts. There are also a ton of adapters to use if your TV inputs and GPU outputs don't match up. These adapters are dirt cheap, and may be included with the GPU and/or TV.
5. Are PC games more of a pain to set up and play?
- Not at all. You have to install PC games which takes a few minutes, but even modern consoles have game installation now so it's practically the same thing. Except installing console games is a much lengthier process.
- Launching your game is as simple as double clicking an icon, or selecting it in your games library if you use a digital client like Steam (which is highly recommended). Many times you don't even need to use a disc, especially if you buy games digitally from Steam or someone similar. This makes PC gaming even easier - no losing discs, no scratched discs that don't work, etc.
- People like to claim that as soon as you turn on a console you can essentially go straight into a game, while they act like PC requires some number of steps to actually start playing a game. In reality, often times you can get into a game FASTER on PC than on console. Consoles generally boot faster since they have a barebones operating system, although a PC with Windows 10 installed on a solid state drive negates that. On modern consoles and on PC, after turning on the system you have to log in: on consoles you log into Playstation Network or XBOX Live, on PC you log into Steam or Origin. It's the same thing, and both have automatic login. Once you're logged in, you can start a game. The differences here are the boot times between systems, and also updates. If your console has an update, you can't do anything while it updates and the updates normally take up to a half hour to download and install. The same goes for game updates on consoles which are also highly inconvenient. On PC, there is no waiting. Updates download/install in the background and won't bog down a modern system. This is discussed more in the next question.
6. Do PC games auto-update like on consoles?
- Yes and no. If you buy your games digitally from Steam or someplace similar, they auto-update. If you use a disc, there is no way for them to auto-update but typically they have an in-game feature to check for updates. Installing patches is not difficult at all. Go to the website with the patch, download it, run the installer, let it install, and then you're finished.
- On Steam, auto-updating is much less of a headache than on console. Remember all the times when you fire up your console, launch a game, and then you get a menu telling you it needs to download an update? And then it proceeds with a very long download (30 minutes) and you can't do anything during this time. On Steam, this is all done in the background so it won't take up any of your valuable gaming time.
- PC games have a benefit when it comes to patches - they get them weeks or months earlier. For consoles, Sony and Microsoft have to do some certifications before letting these patches be released on consoles. Some patches even bring more content to PC games, due to this content not being possible to run on consoles. A good example of this is the Skyrim 1.5 update - it adds grass shadows to PC but not to consoles since consoles cannot run simple grass shadows in Skyrim without a bad frame rate.
7. Are PC games less stable?
- No, this is typical malarkey invented by anti-PC gamers who usually never even tried PC games. Multiplatform games are just as stable on PC, if not more stable in some ways. Skyrim on consoles gets occasional stutter and frame rate dips, which is a form of stability. This doesn't happen on my PC. Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty games crash my PS3 (not even just crashed to the Home menu, but actually froze the PS3 which is a new model), while they never crash on my PC.
- There are a number of unstable PC exclusives, though this isn't common and they tend to be older games.
- Bad console ports may have performance issues or even stability issues on PC, but thankfully this isn't too common.
8. What about exclusives?
- This goes both ways, but mostly in favor of PC. Console exclusives are mostly limited to sports games, family games (Nintendo consoles in particular), and Japanese games (Japanese hack and slash usually, JRPGs to a lesser extent). XBOX has generic shooters like Gears of War and Halo, which don't bring anything new to the table. The same applies to Sony to a lesser extent; the Killzone series clearly exceeds the multiplatform Battlefield and Call of Duty series in many ways, but lack the strategic complexity and gameplay diversity of PC games like Natural Selection 2.
- Uncharted and The Last of Us are some of the highly praised console single player titles, but they aren't really unique. They follow the simple formula of "generic linear action sequence -> cutscene -> generic linear action sequence". You can get the same type of entertainment and much more on all platforms.
- On the other hand, PC has exclusives such as RTS, RTT, TBS, TBT, racing simulators, flight simulators, even military squad simulators (ArmA series), and other games that are too massive and/or have too many features such that they wouldn't run on consoles. The Horror and Survival genres are essentially dead on consoles, but alive on PC. MMOs, MOBAs, superior stealth games, adventure games of all kinds (whereas consoles just have action adventure), and essentially any type of strategy or competitive game is exclusive to PC. Most importantly, the great wRPGs are mostly exclusive to PC. PC also has a unique selection of sidescrollers. You'll find much more unique, creative, innovative, and artistic exclusives on PC, since such games wouldn't attract a big enough audience on console.
- Some multiplatform games might as well be PC exclusives, due to mods that completely change and improve many aspects of the game, as well as adding a ton of unique content.
- Multiplayer is so greatly superior on PC since you get customizable dedicated servers usually, and far better online services than PSN and XBOX Live not to mention they're all free on PC (services like Steam, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, etc). Once you play multiplayer on PC, you'll see the difference and never go back. Especially since PC actually has competitive and strategic multiplayer games, which are no longer existent on consoles.
- You can play console exclusives on PC. This is accomplished via emulators, but this is a hit or miss. Emulated console games are better than playing on console! You get to play at larger resolutions, with higher frame rates, and you can mod the games. It takes a few years for the latest console to get emulated well, but it usually happens.
9. What about DLC?
- For multiplatform games, consoles sometimes get DLC a week or two earlier. Then again, the PC versions get patches several weeks or even over a month earlier. I don't mind waiting a week or two for extra content, vs waiting a month for annoying bugs to be addressed.
10. Are PC graphics really that much better?
- PC graphics are much better than console games. The difference was far greater before the PS4 and XBOX One came out; before the latest consoles, the best looking console games were trounced by a modded 2004 PC game called Half Life 2, and an unmodded 2007 game called Crysis. Now, console games such as Metal Gear Solid 5 still look worse than many 2013 PC games such as ArmA 3, Crysis 3, and Metro: Last Light (the last two being multiplatform games in fact).
- The biggest factor first and foremost is resolution. PS4 games are limited to 1920 x 1080, and most XBOX One games are typically even less than that. PS4 Pro and XBOX One S upscale to 4k or run games with dated graphics at native 4k. The aforementioned upscaling is letterbox upscaling using a 2x2 checkerboard method (2x 1080p upscaled to 4k, similar quality to native 1440p).
- Many PC gamers such as myself game at 2560 x 1440 or larger—this resolution has roughly 78% more pixels than 1080p, so it's nearly twice as clear. Plenty of PC gamers game at 4k/UHD which is 3840 x 2160. Others game on triple monitor surround setups at resolutions such as 5760 x 1080 or 7680 x 1440.
- 1920 x 1080 looks very low resolution on big TVs due to low pixel density. 50" screens and the like really need a larger resolution especially for gaming, at least to compete with the clarity of a 27" 2560 x 1440 screen and the like.
- The best looking console games as of 2016 do decent, don't get us wrong. But they are still behind so many PC games and they take very obvious shortcuts (that is, obvious to a trained eye).
- With some tweaking, graphics can be improved in every PC game. Driver tweaking, especially NVIDIA, can work wonders, as shown here. ReShade is a shader injector that works in almost every game, and allows you to completely alter the color grading and style of the game, and potentially improve graphics considerably depending on the game in question.
11. What about frame rate?
- Due to newer and more powerful hardware, you can get much better frame rate on PC than on console. Higher frames per second means a much more smooth game. On PS4 there are a number of 60 FPS games, but also some 30 FPS ones. Expect the best looking games to run at 30 FPS, like Uncharted 4, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter port, and others.
- Those of us with powerful PCs and monitors with a high native fresh rate can sustain frame rates much higher than 60 FPS. Also, console games use V-Sync to lower tearing, which has input lag and stuttering issues. V-Sync is not mandatory on PC and we have two (and a half?) technologies that are better than V-Sync in every single way; VESA AdaptiveSync (AMD has their own version of this called FreeSync) and NVIDIA G-SYNC. For example, I have an Acer XB270HU monitor which has a 144 Hz native refresh rate and G-SYNC technology. This means I can run games at 144 FPS and actually see the difference; higher than 144 FPS won't be displayed due to the 144 Hz native refresh rate. In addition I use G-SYNC which causes the monitor's refresh rate to sync to my frame rate, removing all tearing, lowering stuttering, and adding no input lag.
- TLDR version: Frame rates affect smoothness. The smoothest gaming is possible only on PC due to higher refresh rates and thus higher frame rates, and AdaptiveSync/FreeSync and G-SYNC.
12. What about 3D?
- I have no experience with console games in 3D, but the reception for console gaming in 3D is rather cold. It doesn't get rave reviews and hardly anyone cares for it. On the other hand, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 has gained almost only positive comments and reviews. It's a more complicated technology requiring two specific features in a monitor: at least 120 hz refresh rate, and "ULMB", combined with NVIDIA's own 3D glasses. It's expensive, but it's an option.
- PC also has Virtual Reality support with technologies like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and more. Some people are trying to push this technology onto consoles, but it will always be two or three steps behind PC.
13. Are PC monitors any good?
- While the best computer monitors are worse than the best TVs for picture quality, greater responsiveness can be found on top of the line TN and IPS monitors than TVs, making them arguably better for gaming. Even bigger differences come from PC gaming oriented technologies in computer monitors such as high native refresh rates (120 Hz, 144 Hz, most TVs that claim 120 Hz aren't native 120 Hz and just use some kind of backlight strobing method or frame doubling to reduce motion blur), as well as VESA AdaptiveSync/AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-SYNC (syncs monitor refresh rate to game frame rate, more effective than V-Sync with none of the downsides and seriously improves gaming).
- Lets not forget surround gaming, something exclusive to PC. If you have serious cash, then you can set up three or more monitors and immerse yourself even more.
- Let's not forget that you can use your awesome HDTV for PC gaming if you so desire. Plus you'll get even better image quality due to better looking PC games.
14. Are sound cards really helpful for gaming?
- For those who don't know, sound cards are addon expansion devices for computers. They are aftermarket products that are installed onto a motherboard, using PCI or PCI-E slots (though there are external ones too). They are meant to not only improve general sound quality, but also improve game performance through game-specific features. Creative and ASUS are the only real players in the sound card industry today.
- The answer to this question, as you may have expected, isn't a simple yes or no. It's yes and no. It depends on the games you play, and also on user preference since everyone has different ears. You can learn more about sound cards by clicking this link and reading the section called "A note about hardware accelerated sound and 3D audio in gaming".
- But to give a short answer, sound cards aren't necessary for modern games. Razer Surround is a free virtual surround software, which is a major reason as to why people buy sound cards in the first place (namely headphone users but even stereo/2.1 speaker users). Virtual surround is aimed to give headphone users a fake surround effect, by downmixing multichannel audio to stereo. Some of the major virtual surround solutions are Razer Surround (free software), Dolby Headphone (ASUS sound cards have this), Creative SBX Surround (Creative Z series and Recon3D sound cards offer this), and Creative X-Fi CMSS-3D (X-Fi sound cards have this). Virtual surround is 100% software based.
- Virtual surround doesn't exist on consoles as an open software solution. It's only provided by the few compatible gaming headsets that provide this functionality, like Astro's headsets, which have poor sound quality and a very small soundstage so it's much worse than virtual surround on PC with good open headphones such as my Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro. It's very effective at emulating surround sound for headphone/stereo speaker users. Those of us without multi-channel surround setups benefit greatly from this on PC.
- For older PC exclusive games, released during Windows Vista's reign and earlier, Creative X-Fi sound cards are absolutely worth it. Why? Because these older PC exclusive titles (and some multiplatform ones actually) support hardware accelerated sound. They use the resources built onto Creative X-Fi processors, in tandem with their advanced DirectSound3D or OpenAL API, in order to provide true 3D binaural sound. This is much more realistic than virtual surround, since it replicates how hearing actually works. You may have seen/heard the virtual barber shop (if not then click here), which is a famous example of binaural sound. These older games replicate this with the help of X-Fi sound cards. It is so useful for competitive and immersive gaming. It really tricks your brain into thinking sounds are coming from all around you, from outside your headphones, from the real world.
- 3D/binaural sound is completely absent from consoles. A Creative sound card is only needed to convert DirectSound3D games (meaning games developed for Windows XP and earlier) to OpenAL because DirectSound3D doesn't exist on modern operating systems. You can enable 3D/binaural sound in OpenAL games without a sound card by following these instructions (completely software based).
15. Are mods really worth it?
- Mods are one of my main reasons as to why I prefer PC gaming. There are mods that make needed fixes for games, improve graphics, improve sound, add cool features to games, or act as a total conversion for a game bringing totally new gameplay. Mods can improve the replay value of a game considerably, adding all sorts of new content to a game. They are a big deal. Take a look at games with massive modding communities, namely ArmA series, Crysis, Half-Life and Half-Life 2, modern Fallout series, The Elder Scrolls series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, Killing Floor, Medieval II: Total War, Men of War: Assault Squad 2, and so on. Or just look at what the modding-maniacs do in Garry's Mod. You'll be amazed. It is not difficult to install mods at all - some have an installer, but usually you just have to drop a folder into another folder.
16. What about cheaters in multiplayer gaming?
- Cheating can be a problem in PC games. Anti-cheat exists, but the most common ones (PunkBuster and VAC) don't stop some cheaters. Both of these are constantly updated however, but some dedicated cheaters and hackers constantly update their cheats. It isn't a huge problem, but it is annoying when encountered if no admin is present.
- Steamworks and Origin multiplayer games are very "hacker proof", since a ban from VAC or PB bans their account. Battlefield 3 is an Origin game, Call of Duty uses Steamworks, Counter Strike games use Steamworks, and more importantly, the active best PvP games use Steamworks: Natural Selection 2, Red Orchestra 2, and Rising Storm. Of all my playtime in the last three games, I've never seen any cheaters.
- PC does have a lot of perks to multiplayer gaming. You can use modded content in some games to totally change up gameplay, and play on new levels thanks to SDKs given by certain developers. Automatic mod and level downloaders make it so you don't even have to install these mods, as seen in many Unreal Engine MP games. Most PC MP games also make use of dedicated servers, which reduce lag considerably and gives the server owner the option to customize the server. Without dedicated servers, MP gaming is a lagfest, therefore consoles are not the best platform for MP games.
17. What about reliability?
- As far as I know, the XBOX 360 had a higher failure rate than most other electronic components in recent years. Although its reliability improved, it is common to have a console die on you in several years, especially current gen and last gen. I had one PS3 and one XBOX 360 die on me, my PS2 and Gamecube have trouble playing games, although oddly enough my older systems work fine. I guess those were tanks. But acknowledge the fact that consoles are mass-produced systems so their quality is bound to be worse. When my PS3 failed, I opened it up to try and repair it. Upon looking at its hardware, it became obvious how poor the quality and craftmanship is. Bad soldering all around, lower quality electronic components, consoles are just cheap and unreliable systems. Consoles also get really hot, while on PC you can get all sorts of cooling methods (simple fans do more than fine). Get yourself some moderately powerful or enthusiast PC parts, and your PC will last a long time. Far longer than a console.
18. PC games don't have achievements like consoles do, right?
- Wrong. Steam games have dozens of achievements, although it is rare to come across a non-Steam game with achievements.
19. I don't like digital copies for games, I want hard copies.
- Then buy hard copies on PC. They're still around... for now. Sony and Microsoft are pushing digital retail for next gen consoles too. But why avoid digital copies? It's really better, as long as you get them from a good place like Steam, but Desura is a good last resort. Steam DRM is not restrictive, you get the game earlier (compared to buying from an online store), no need to fiddle with or worry about scratching/losing disks, and disk games have DRM too. Steam is a lot more convenient.
20. What about easy transport? PCs are bigger
- The average PC is indeed bigger than consoles, but you can build a very powerful PC (far more powerful than any console) in ITX form factor. ITX is tiny, console-sized, and you can build such a PC with an Intel Core i7 6700k processor running beyond 4 GHz and a NVIDIA GeForce Titan X graphics card. Yes, you read correctly.
- Several larger cases have handles making them easy enough to transport, making only its size a concern. But like I said, if you're a LAN gamer pick up a chassis designed for LAN usage. The Silverstone FT03 is one of the most impressive ones I've seen, it can hold even an enthusiast CPU cooler if you want to overclock, as well as pretty much any desktop GPU. Also check out the Cooler Master HAF-XB. There are HTPCs that can hold enthusiast hardware too. Easily portable Skylake and GTX 980 Ti PC? Can be done.
21. What about the social aspect? Like connecting with friends on XBOX Live or PSN. What does PC offer in this regard?
PC offers much more and much better options. Pretty much every PC gamer uses Steam: in fact, more people have Steam accounts than they do XBOX Live accounts. Check out the Steam website, install it, and see what it's like. It has everything XBOX Live and PSN do plus much more.
You can easily add people to your friends list, block people, talk to people, use Steam to join people in-progress, use Steam to join servers from outside a game, find or create clans on Steam, text chat during games, voice chat during games, Steam has achievements for lots of games, there's a market on Steam, it has advanced game sharing and trading, great deals, the list is endless.
In addition, it's easier to find a clan if that's what you're into. In multiplayer games you'll find dedicated servers run by clans, with clan information within the server. All you have to do is follow said information to their website or Steam page, and send someone a friend request or apply for the clan.
PC is a much better social gaming platform than consoles, and Steam, the ideal platform on PC, doesn't force this aspect in your face like Battlelog does. And contrary to popular belief, many PC multiplayer games do have a lot of players. The best multiplayer shooters in the world today, like ArmA 3, PAYDAY 2, No More Room in Hell, Killing Floor, Rising Storm, and Natural Selection 2, all have a ton of players and full servers. Any more players like what console offers is unnecessary; it would add nothing to these games.
22. Break it down for me, why should I try PC gaming?
- Exclusives - Innovation and ambition is very hard to find in console games, yet you can find it on PC. wRPGs, horror games, survival games, racing simulators, flight simulators, military squad simulators, RTS, TBS, and MMO/MOBA are all mostly exclusive to PC.
- Mods that can seriously renovate a game into something much more, or tailor a game to your liking. Mods can range from subtle changes and fixes to huge and necessary overhauls. Quite a few mods even amount to standalone games, and many actually become such. Games like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout are almost unplayable without mods, due to how vastly superior mods make them.
- Dedicated servers to reduce lag in MP games. Once you play on good dedicated servers, you'll probably refuse to play on anything else.
- In MP games, admins can kick or ban cheaters/boosters/teamkillers/any other people who deserve it.
- Versatility - You can keep playing on your couch and with your big TV, or set up a mouse and keyboard combo with one or several monitors and enjoy an amazing gaming experience.
- Customization - If you build your own PC, you can make it so that it has the colors/lights of your choice, noise level of your choice, and even size of your choice. People like to say PCs are massive and hard to bring around, but you can build a very powerful PC in a tiny form factor chassis, avoiding these issues. Even larger computers can be easy enough to transport, as long as they have handles.
- Convenience - Modern consoles tend to install games just like a PC, but due to their small little hard drives, you may end up uninstalling and installing games quite often which is time consuming especially on consoles. With a PC, you can get a large hard drive or solid state drive, or several in a RAID setup if you wish, and just keep all of your games installed.
- Multitasking - PCs are good not just for gaming, but you can watch TV/movies on it, use the internet (in-game if you use Steam), Microsoft Office, photo/video editing, anything.
- Game Support - PC games cost less. Just about every console game is $60. Most PC games are $30-$50. Only Bethesda, Activision, and EA games are $60. Let's not forget older titles that disappear off the shelves. On Steam, you can find a number of very old titles and download them. There won't be shortages, since most PC games are released digitally.
- Lower Game Prices - PC gaming is mostly digital these days. No more going to a store and waiting in line, or waiting for shelves to restock. Steam is the main PC gaming hub, and it's a million times more convenient than anything else. And some places offer ridiculous deals, such as Steam's summer and Christmas sales (for example, I got the entire GTA franchise and all DLC for $12.50 on Steam), Greenmangaming is equally good when it comes to sales, and Humble Bundle can be even more impressive (for example, I just purchased a Humble Bundle for $5 that included Saints Row 2, Saints Row 3: Full Package, Dead Island GOTY edition, Sacred 2 Gold, Risen 2). So keep an eye on Steam sales, GreenManGaming, Humble Bundle, Amazon digital sales, and GOG.
- Upgradable hardware to keep up with new technology that may appear in games.
- Much better graphics and better frame rate made possible thanks to newer hardware.
- PCs are more reliable, higher quality systems.
- Play PC exclusives with the ability to play some console exclusives via emulators.
- Mouse and keyboard offer greater capability in games, thanks to the precision of a mouse (for aiming and platforming), sheer number of keys, and macro scripts on mice and keyboards.
- Potential to use multiple displays, higher quality displays and/or 3D vision. Yes, you can do 3D vision across three displays (called 3D Surround).
- Potential to use better audio hardware. Many top quality headphones don't work with consoles.
- PC gives you the option of abandoning the use of discs, which can be scratched/damaged and lost. Digital retailers such as Steam also offer a ton of features not seen or poorly done on consoles, such as in-game instant messaging, web browsing, news updates, joining in progress, favorited servers, mod workshop (instant mod installation and updating, so far for only a few games but this will change), etc.
- You can take screenshots in any PC game.
- Much easier video capture.
- Level and mission designing and creating, in games with an SDK.
- PC usually gets patches weeks or months earlier.
- There are probably more reasons.
22. Be honest, what are the downsides of PC gaming?
- Overpriced pre-built systems. This can be avoided if you're willing to learn how to build a PC.
- Building a PC is time consuming and can go very wrong for an inexperienced person.
- Cheaters still get around anti-cheat in MP games occasionally, and there may not be an admin around to kick/ban them.
- Admins abusing their power in MP games.
- Consoles sometimes get DLC earlier.
- Console exclusives are console exclusives. Emulators can be unreliable.
- No used game market.
What's this budget hardware you spoke of?
Assuming you have a TV/monitor, speakers or headphones and an input device already:
- $50-$60 NZXT case.
- Sub $100 Intel LGA 1151 motherboard.
- Intel Core i3 Skylake processor (6000 series)
- G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 or AMD Radeon RX 460 video card
- Seasonic S12II Bronze 520W
Or if you want to really save on money, check out EVGA B-stock or something similar. These are repaired items with a one year warranty, and there are always amazing deals.
Throw in a $20 optical drive if you need one and a cheap hard drive, and you're looking at under $600. Building a PC saves costs a lot compared to pre-builts, and gets you a better system as well.
Have a look at this gallery, showing off "old" games with mods that will blow your mind. Also see this thread.
This article will be kept up to date, mainly with information on new affordable hardware but also with any new questions that arrive. If you're looking to make the switch to PC gaming, this is information you should know.