PC and Console Gaming Dissected

When most people think about gaming, their thoughts don't seem to automatically turn to the PC. Why is that? Maybe it's a marketing problem or maybe the fact that the

industry of gaming really didn't start on the PC (even though it kind of did) in most people's minds. But maybe it's because it is just so damn expensive / complicated for

most people to get involved in.

My question isn't about whether or not the PC is better than a console. My question is this: why does it seem that there are more console gamers than PC and what truly is the

difference between the two?

I, after gaming on my PC since 1994, just recently bought an Xbox 360. I have had many consoles in the past and have also spent countless hours on my old N64. But this time

is different for me. This time I am putting my PC gaming aside for a while. For most (and I mean all), the statement I just made really doesn't mean much. But to my

friends, that statement could make hearts stop.

I have done countless hours of mind numbing grinding in MMOs (like swg, wow, vanguard, etc.), built a website about PC gaming (LanGameReviews/LGRNexus), been in more PC gaming

clans than I can count on two hands, and used my PC as my main source of entertainment for all of high school and almost all of college. This is why me switching to a console

is a shocker to me and my friends.

So why did I finally make the switch? Why DID I buy the 360? My final decision making factor was the want to do something with gaming and my friends that didn't A. require

the Internet all the time, B. require my friends and I to lug around heavy computes to set up a LAN, and C. require everyone to have a decent machine to play the games we

wanted to play. Consoles really do fulfill all of the above listed wants. Whether it be a Wii, PS3, or an Xbox, consoles are social machines. Yes, they can be played as

singleplayer units, but that doesn't stop them from you having people over and gathering around the TV for a little gaming.

Being alone is one problem I have noticed with computers. PCs, to me at least, are singleplayer machines. Not in the sense that you can't log on the Internet and play with

your friends. But in the sense that if you have people over, you really don't crowd around your PC monitor and watch one person play COD4. That was yet another thing that

finally sold me on consoles. I went to my buddy's house, sat down to watch him play COD4 on his pretty HDTV, and didn't get back up until three hours later.

So what makes a TV different than a monitor? Monitors can do 1080whatever and be just as big. Hell, you can even use your TV as your monitor. But I think some factors come

into play here that really set the console aside from the PC.

1. Location: The console is set up in the living room, where you socialize with people when they come over for the most part. Your monitor is usually in your office, where

some of you socialize ALL the time no matter what, but usually a TV is where the friends tend to flock.
2. Space: Offices tend to be cramped. Living rooms aren't. Big screen HDTVs also tend to fit better and be more practical in living rooms.
3. Ease/Comfy-ness: couches mean places to sit for you and company. Office chairs do not.

I know there are a lot of other factors, but those are just the top three that come to mind. I also know that there are a ton of factors for why you would want your TV in

your office as your monitor (one being porn). I have hated consoles for a long time, so I know the other side of this argument. But I truly want to stay away from bashing

one thing or the other in this article. Again, I am not trying to say which is better.

Something else consoles offer is a controller. This little thing is usually the biggest thing that either makes or breaks a decision on whether or not to get a console. The

Wii has its fancy Wiimote, the Xbox has its vibrating uber controller, and the PS3 has its light weight (soon to be vibrating) controller.

So what is so cool about a controller? Noob sticks is what I used to call them. But now I look at them differently. The keyboard and mouse, yet very accurate and practical

on a lot of games, just doesn't provide the immersion that a controller does. Controllers provide interactivity and that is exactly what sells the Wii (and the fact that just

about anyone can pick one up and start playing it). Yes, I know that a keyboard provides keys galore to map things on, but actually pulling a trigger or aiming a controller

at the TV just provides my senses with a little bit more video game arousal than a mouse ever could.

What I think I am trying to say is that if you are alone a lot, don't have friends over for anything but a LAN party, and love spending your days grinding away on the

Internet, then a consoles isn't necessarily for you. Though a console can satisfy those needs as well, I think a PC provides that little extra 'umph' that consoles

don't...meaning the ability to do 10,000 other things than just play games...like make pretty gaming websites.

I think the biggest thing that draws people to the consoles, rather than the PC, is how easy it is to just pick up a controller and start playing. There is relatively no

patching, no installing, and no hastle for the most part. It is kind of like the Windows idea of 'plug and play'. This is yet another thing that makes the Wii sell and sell

and sell. It is pretty damn hard to not be able to figure out how to use a console.

Now don't get me wrong. I know that there is a lot of ease on the PC. PCs now have clients that auto-patch for you, clients that find game servers for you, and clients that

connect you to just about anyone in your gaming circle. But guess what? So do consoles.

The argument of PC vs. Console really isn't an argument at all. It is a matter of lifestyle. Consoles are built to be social machines and if you are around people a lot then

that is going to greatly satisfy that need. PCs are built for a ton of other reasons that would take way to long to list. But gaming is one of those reasons, and while it is

a large market for the PC, it isn't why people are buying them. This is pretty obvious in the fact that I can't go anywhere on my campus with out seeing a mac laptop. And

PS, I know that you can use consoles for your sole entertainment, but I never found it very fun playing Mario party by myself.

I will end by saying that for me, at this point in my life, social features on any machine are ok in my book. If it allows me to sit down with my friends, parents, or

girlfriend and play a game without having to have another expensive unit or teach someone about WASD + mouse, that works for me. Consoles and PCs are highly subjective

subjects and I will not say that one is better than the other. But for the mass population who can't figure out how to install an anti-virus, consoles will keep dominating

the gaming market. Quick, easy, and fun. Isn't that what America is all about?

Side Note: For all of you who read this article and decide that you are going to try and fight me on whether or not you think a PC is better than a console, save it. I don't care, we don't care, and no body else cares. I stated many times this article was not about proving or disproving that point. I would also like to say that if I didn't play the devil's advocate on every point, it doesn't mean that I don't know the other side of the argument. I am not writing this as a thesis paper, so chill out. Thanks.

- Tyler Sanders (Chiko)

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