Editorial: My PC is my Next-Gen Console

By Stephen Totilo on December 19, 2012, 4:01 AM

There I was trying to be a PC gamer on Sunday and having a tough time of it. I was feeling stymied yet again. I was having what I now hope are my last doubts, because today I've just about run out of excuses to fear PC gaming. And I'm beginning to wonder what the point of a gaming console is in these modern times of December 2012.

My problem on Sunday was maddeningly simple. I'd plugged my computer — a gaming laptop (yes, yes, I know) — into my surround sound system, which was plugged into my TV. And… the image of my computer's desktop on my TV was cropped. I could barely see Windows' bottom toolbar. In X-Com Enemy Unknown I couldn't read the full names of my troops. In Far Cry 3 my peripheral vision was hemmed in.

This problem shouldn't have existed, I thought.

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User Comments: 30

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1 person liked this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

I did not realize how hard is it for the casual user to get a good gaming experience on the PC.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

As I started reading the first few paragraphs I was winding up to set you straight and then it worked itself out in the end. Well done and remember Google is your friend - Nearly everyone that plugs a PC into a TV using either an AMD or Nvidia card has to adjust the overscan on either the PC or the TV, that's basic 101 stuff and a quick Google search should point you in the right direction. Anyway thanks for the interesting read

I did not realize how hard is it for the casual user to get a good gaming experience on the PC.

Its not, as I suspect you already know. My mates 4 year old son that can't read yet manages to turn their HTPC on and then fire up DiRT 3 for a session

"I suspect I might be blind to the pitfalls ahead of me. I figure that my gaming laptop won't keep pace with seven years' worth of ever-improving games the way my Xbox 360 has."

Why not? Just don't expect to play games a few years down the track using the highest possible settings. It stands to reason that if your laptop is more powerful than the Xbox 360 or even the next Xbox then you should be able to maintain the same visual quality level as the console in future games. For this reason I never understand when console junkies claim that you have to update PCs all the time? :S

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Strange, I didn't have any problem hooking my HTPC (Radeon 5550) to my TV.

Anyway, my Nexus 7 is my next console, my HTPC is my next console, and my Xbox is my next console. Or something like this.

Hmm, I think I'll try to sort it out:

I had an HTPC for a while, and recently bought a Nexus 7 and Xbox + Kinect.

The Nexus 7 is my main gaming machine. I don't have much time to sit down at my PC and can't hog the TV without making some excuse of family entertainment, so the Nexus 7 is the most convenient outlet for gaming. I plan to play mainly adventure games on it, a favourite genre of mine, but possibly also RPG's and other games (like old DOS games).

The HTPC will be used for some family entertainment. It's just that console games cost a lot compared to PC games. I was able to buy LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 for about $2 at Green Man Gaming, and enjoyed playing that a little on my HTPC with my 4 year old daughter. I ordered a cheap converter to use wireless Xbox controllers on the PC, and one I have that it'd be perfect for that game and others like it.

The Xbox is mainly used for Kinect. Happy Action Theater is great, and I will try some other games.

Still, the Nexus 7 will likely see more gaming hours than all my other devices combined.

misor misor said:

"You NOT only CAN'T tell me that my consoles are better than my PC"

what does this double negation means?

= " you can tell me that my consoles are better than my pc"

the article is nice but if it's me, I'll just build a powerful desktop pc, then hook it to a tv for a "console gaming experience"

(at less than the price of a gaming laptop)

1 person liked this | insect said:

Amen! I've been trying to convince younger people of this for years! Even the first Atari was a "PC-in-a-Box". Maybe... just maybe... people will wake up to all that they've missed for the last decade.

Also, like the author, I prefer to not be out-of-date before the device even launches. Xbox 760 - already obsolete. The equivalent of my PC three years ago. But you know what? They will make games for it for the next 10-years and my eyes will scream in pain whenever I go to a friend's house and see them playing Xbox. Of course I love when they come over and wonder how I'm getting super resolution at 70+ FPS... and playing whatever game I feel like, not just the titles I'm limited to.

And then of course there's more than gaming. You can cancel your TV-cable subscription and just use streaming. Want to shop? Go ahead. Maybe a movie, streamed or otherwise? No need for a blu-ray player anymore. The PC replaces everything by the monitor, TV, or projector that you use.

Guest said:

Ridiculous post, all your problems can be fixed just changing the resolution, consoles are using 720p if you are lucky, you for were trying to use 1080p

VitalyT VitalyT said:

The guy buys a car, fails to find ignition and/or petrol tank cap and tweets about it worldwide.

It is only challenging for mentally challenged people.

What a lame and stupid article!

1 person liked this | bielius bielius said:

The guy buys a car, fails to find ignition and/or petrol tank cap and tweets about it worldwide.

It is only challenging for mentally challenged people.

What a lame and stupid article!

I don't know what you have been smoking.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I prefer the PC too, and yes there are more demands for technology knowledge etc. But make some friends! It's usually not too hard to find some sucker who keeps on top of computer technology and can easily answer your questions. I'm that sucker for my friends and family.

Also, remember, that the XBOX 360 and PS3 are really old.. 2005 was forever ago in technology. You may prefer consoles much more in the next generation... 2012/2013 is when console's are going to look the worst next to the PC more than anytime probably between 2005 and 2017 or so.

Guest said:

Back in the day, I had an Atari 2600 and loved it. I had a case full of game cartridges which I really enjoyed. Computers at that time were not that great for games (TRS-80) compared to Atari. I realized when I bought my first computer that I had spent a ton of money on those game cartridges and they couldn't be upgraded or used in other systems. I figure putting money into a computer I can play all my games and get all the services of a computer (documents, songs, pictures, bbs/internet, etc) for the same final cost was a better investment. These days I can even VM my old systems and play old games that may not work on a newer system. So no more throwing money into a console system that is guaranteed to be obsolete soon. The PC can be upgraded, tweaked, modified, converted to a VM, run a different OS, etc. That's an investment that I think is worth it.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

This was a painful article to read and hard to follow. I'm still not sure if the author likes PC gaming or not.

However, he does have a good point ... most non-techies find PC gaming scary. If the technical among us want to call them "stupid" or wants to tell them to just "Google it," I'm going to suggest you do the same thing the next time you arrive at the garage to have your car serviced. I'm sure the mechanic can solve your problem easily, ergo - you must be "stupid" if you can't figure out how to do it on your own.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have drifted away from console gaming mostly because I haven't found any must play console only games really since the PS3 came out. I played the hell outa my PS & PS2 mostly on JRPG's and fighting games. Sadly I haven't found any JRPG's for the PS3 that really hold my attention. So my PS3 is hooked up, but mostly gathers dust....

1 person liked this | fteumer said:

I never understood why PC gaming was feared by consolers but now I understand. the consumers of consoles are technologically impaired such that they can't figure out if they set their geometry to ultra and it takes down their fps, they shouldn't probably have it that high. being a PC gamer does not mean you need to be a rocket scientist. you have to take 15mins when you first start playing the game to get the resolution and settings that make it run how you want it to run. why is that such a hard concept for some people? I will never understand..

Guest said:

I TV is just a Monitor.. they don't multi-sync. The problem here stemed from ignorance and nothing more. Operator error...

Just like forgetting to hit the switch for you Atari 2600.. now, u have a remote.

Scrub206 said:

Thank you! This has been what I've been saying for years. Yes, it is a little bit more expensive than console gaming, and you MAY not have the mobility you do with a console(unless you buy a gaming laptop or build a LAN box), but I feel you get access to DLC and Games easier and quicker. Also visually most games look infinitely better on the PC. If you don't like the good old mouse and keyboard, you can get a USB adapter for most controllers.

This article was an excellent read! Thank you!

Guest said:

If you have a samgsung tv you have to rename your hdmi port to PC. This will eliminate overscanning and enable 1:1 pixel mapping. There is a huge difference.

Guest said:

Realy? it took you that long to discover the pc... For me it was right away the fact that every normal pc is stronger then any console did it for me

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Welcome back to the world!

Guest said:

For someone who plays games regularly then yes a pc is better, but for most people who just want to veg out twice a week - not really - a decent gaming rig costs $1200 (au). a ps3 now costs $300ish. why would you pay $900 extra if you only play twice a week to experience constant driver updates, game patches, OS patches, hardware failures, virus's, (windows 8 LOL) & general glitches. Personally I own both, but I understand why people still run from pc gaming.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

For someone who plays games regularly then yes a pc is better, but for most people who just want to veg out twice a week - not really - a decent gaming rig costs $1200 (au). a ps3 now costs $300ish. why would you pay $900 extra if you only play twice a week.
You sound as if you don't have a need in owning a PC if you don't plan on gaming. From my perspective; why spend an extra $300 on a console, if you already have a PC in the house?

Guest said:

I have honestly not played any consoles and probably never will. They look clunky in every way to me. I have been gaming on a PC since I built my first one in 1983 and I continue you build them. Opps, now the new games coming out require yadayadayada video specs. I was thinking ahead and purchased 2 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti cards running in SLI mode. When I built this one 5 years ago. Runs Far Cry 3 with no issues with everything set to max.

2-23" monitors.

3.40 gigahertz Intel Core i5-3570K OC to 3.91.

16 GB RAM

I have yet to see graphics on any console look better than what I have on my PC.

Guest said:

There are no absolutes. It really depends on the title and personal taste.

The PC can be a great platform but there are some issues.

Steam is great but there are regions of the world where Internet access is horribly expensive which makes Steam impractical.

PC games can not be sold on or even given away. Developer support is not that great on the PC either - so if your buy a "broken" title you are pretty much stuck with it for at least a couple of months. Most PC owners steal their games so I don't blame the devs for skimping on PC versions of their titles.

PC games do look better but the extra frames and eye candy is just not worth the effort in most cases. Some of the best titles are simply not available on the PC.

Cost is another factor. A gaming PC is not exactly power efficient and will drive up your electricity bill if you like it or not.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Recently I bought the newest non-retina MacBook pro, i7 2.6ghz. Bootcamping Win7 its a gaming beast running Fifa 13, Borderlands 2 and X-Com at 1080p on max settings on my mates 50" HDTV. I plug a 360 Pc gamepad in and I wonder if I will ever use my 360 console again

Guest said:

Woot Woot! Ding ding ding! Another consolite sees the light! Consoles and PC gaming don't have to be mutually exclusive either. I don't understand why people have to think that. I am an avid PC gamer, have been since the mid 1980's (yes I'm old). Part of the fun for me at the time was the tinkering, going with the latest "upgrade", etc. But now that I'm a parent, I can understand the desire to not want to fuss with that not to mention expense.

That being said, I agree 100% that PC gaming has been streamlined in the last 5-6 years, mostly thanks to Steam. And don't belittle yourself over a "gaming laptop", I've been going this route for the last 7 years or more. I also have a desktop, but for 99% of gaming, it runs great on my laptop and higher end hardware should last a solid 3 years of gaming. Even if you just go the desktop route, it is quite inexpensive. I've had the same case for nearly 10 years, and have swapped out components every couple of years to keep things reasonably up to date. My current desktop has Intel Sandy Bridge i5 quad core, 8GB DDR3, GTX 460, so it's not screaming fast, but it manages pretty much every game perfectly fine.

Consoles do have their place, I own an Xbox and Wii, but they get maybe 5% of my play time, everything else is on the PC.

Gamesinner said:

I think both platforms have their pluses and minuses. Consoles definitely are geared more towards ease of use. I also have often wondered if the game makers were in cahoots with the video card makers because you always seam have an out dated video card with each new game release.

lipe123 said:

Who connects a PC to a TV for gaming in the first place?

And a laptop for gaming is just a giant waste of good money.

A PC gamer should use a proper monitor with a decent resolution thats much better and clearer than a TV.

Guest said:

This was painful to read.

ikesmasher said:

Who connects a PC to a TV for gaming in the first place?

And a laptop for gaming is just a giant waste of good money.

A PC gamer should use a proper monitor with a decent resolution thats much better and clearer than a TV.

laptops for gaming are not a waste of money. You dont get the price/performance of a desktop but you get mobility and thats what some people need. I survived with doing all my gaming off a liano laptop for months before I got this desktop (which is an older desktop I was given).

As for TVs, the only real issue with hooking a PC up to one is refresh rate I believe, its idiotic to think 1080p monitors have a clearer resolution then 1080p televisions..And many televisions are just as clear color wise as monitors.still not ideal because of possible input lag, but your other points arent really correct.

Oh the common stereotypes.

Codacious said:

Haters going to hate... but this is an good article.

I would expect it to gain more favorable comments in the console section as most readers here have a "smarter then you" attitude when it comes to PC gaming, no matter what there actual tech level is.

I recall Nvidia stepped up with their driver support when I hooked my HTPC to my TV last year when the instructions came onscreen with the TV model # and what to do to get the best picture/resolution. It is small things like this that have me recommend their cards to friends building HTPC's for the first time. I hope ATI also has included this by now. It truly is the device that Microsoft and Sony have wanted to sell you as an all-in-one media center device.

BTW... I almost had a moment of youthful bliss when you said " I rediscovered my 3DS". I thought you where going to say " I rediscovered my 3D0" :)

EnigmaBabylon EnigmaBabylon said:

Consoles persist because people are too stupid/lazy to learn how to buy and maintain a computer. However, as consoles increasingly become shitty, poorly constructed computers, this advantage is disappearing (google "Skyrim Save file" for one of the many examples of architecture and coding fail on consoles). I can see the advantage of a console like the N64 where you pop in a game and BAM it's playable. But the modern console isn't that, it's a shitty computer; complete with outrageous loading times, constant software bugs and hardware failure.

Massively modable deep-content games are absolutely the ONLY GAMES I could give a remote damn about playing. They're also completely unplayable on consoles, and usually not even available (Romance of the Three Kingdoms is an exception, and it's still 50x better on PC).

I need to be able to get new content, scenarios, countries, models, skins, weapons, etc. or I don't give a shit. I need to be able to mod it myself, and get user content, without the mediating hand of shitty architecture and stupid assholes at Sony freaking out because someone might hack their overpriced paperweight.

Fighting games, JapRPGs, shooters, MMOs, etc. put me to sleep. I would literally rather do nothing than play them, and this is exactly what happens whenever my friends start playing console games. I want single player/coop games with intense depth like Hearts of Iron 3, Witcher 2 or Minecraft. Anything else is less interesting than mowing the lawn.

I also don't own a television, because televisions have shitty resolution (a CRT from 10 years ago looks better than your 1000 dollar TV), and anyway, only ****** watch TV.

Also, my computer doesn't browse the internet like a retarded kid on the phone book, it doesn't freeze every ten minutes on Youtube, and it's capable of connecting to the wireless internet at more than 1/10th potential speed.

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