PC vs. Consoles (in Debates)

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 19 2009 7:24 PM EDT

Which, do you believe, is better for gaming? (Also include a mouse/keyboard vs. control pad discussion).

Sickone October 19 2009 8:05 PM EDT

Conclusion first, justification later:

Consoles are better for "semi-casual" gaming, PCs are better for "casual" and "serious" gaming.

1. Why are PCs better for casual gaming ?

You don't have to get up from work to take a break and play something, you just minimize your windows, start the game, play a few minutes, then go back to work.
There are plenty of games (CarnageBlender being a prime example, and just about everything else played in a browser including most importantly flash games) that don't take a long time to play "per sitting", making them perfect casual gaming targets.

2. Why are consoles better for semi-casual gaming ?

First off, the control method means game controls have to be pretty simplistic. Console lovers can say all they want, but a game controller can never measure up to the accuracy and speed of a mouse/keyboard combo.

You will NEVER see a serious RTS on a console, or if you would, in order to make it truly workable, the console version would have to be radically different interface-wise from the PC version. A PC player of equal skill and experience will almost always beat a console player of the same game simply because the input method is severely restricting on the console.
Oh, and try getting a game like WoW or EVE-Online on a colsole... good luck with that. Sometimes even the keyboard+mouse feels like "not enough" for MMOs.
Also, let's look at FPSs... shooters that do have PC/console crossover servers (Halo 2 and Shadowrun are the only two that easily come to mind) are completely dominated by PC players wherever the two intersect. Console players would have to be given a pretty hefty handicap compared to PC players if you want them to compete on even footing (unless the console version makes use of USB keyboard/mouse input peripherials, in which case the discussion would be moot... but HOW MANY people with consoles do you know that actually have a keyboard/mouse for their console ? yeah, thought so).

Because of those limitations, console games are usually designed with plenty of "helping crutches" in mind, anything from limited to full auto-aim or aim assist mechanics, weaker enemies (either in reaction time or movement speed), less "clutter" (less enemies, less obstacles, etc) or any other number of things that compensate for the clumsiness of the control method.

At the same time, this "simplicity" in the control methods also translates to a simplicity in game design, with a lot of options which would be quite common in a PC game restricted or removed, which translates into a more fluid/cinematic gaming experience, which has its appeal, I won't deny that.
Heck, look at games like Mass Effect or The Last Remnant, which were designed with consoles in mind, then later ported to the PC.
Ok, the PC versions weren't straight ports, they were an improvement, with several bugfixes and enhancements... but in both cases, everybody that bothered playing both console and PC versions ended up deciding that the PC versions were noticeably better than their initial console issues.

3. So, why is the PC the thing to have for "serious" gaming ?

Well, most of the things that support that reasoning were touched upon above... the control method mainly (far less restrictive for the PC), the ensuing game design "paradigm" (leading to simpler, more streamlined games or game versions for consoles, and more in-depth ones for the PC).
On top of that, you have customisability of both PC hardware and software, which leads to something strange : while able to provide a much better gaming experience, the PC manages to do that only at significantly higher cost, while for low-cost hardware investments, the consoles are usually the clear winners, even a full console generation down the road (no wonder then that the hardware of the consoles are actually LOSS LEADERS for the parent companies, and they recoup that in game sales).
It used to also far easier to deliver game content, although latest console generations are catching up there.
However, on the PC, you can ship games with far more detail (and I don't mean just gameplay content, I mean larger texture size, more polygons per model, etc) and game types that would be nearly impossible to pull off on consoles (again, MMOs come to mind primarily).
Oh... and DON'T get me started on user-generated content, mods and so on and so forth... it's a pain in the posterior to do any of that properly on a console, and on a console alone, but it's quite trivial on a PC.

So, for serious and in-depth gaming, I don't see the PC being dethroned by any console any time soon. The only contender (and just vaguely) would be a PS3 + USB keyboard/mouse and games designed for the PS3 (and PS3 alone) that actually make use of both mouse and keyboard fully. Basically, turning the PS3 in a PC... not really a console anymore.

Demigod October 19 2009 8:38 PM EDT

I'm in a rush, so I don't have time to read SickOne's post, but I did catch a bit of what he's saying.

Console: Sports, Racing, RPG, Action
PC: Shooters, Flash games, RTS

IndependenZ October 20 2009 2:31 PM EDT

I'd like to add:


As for which one is better, I have to agree it depends on the game. Right now I prefer PC because I can do so many things at once.

Sickone October 20 2009 6:03 PM EDT

Well, that was a short one ("debate", I mean) :)

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] October 20 2009 6:10 PM EDT

PCs are better for short and long term games.

Consoles are good for non-technically oriented and at parties.

PCs have game mods, which allow all kinds of amazing things in games, all of which would be completely impossible in a console environment.

Consoles require almost everything be centralized on a single server somewhere to be "networked" to other players. Many PC games allow direct connections to other users to play (although some might argue this trend is changing).

Save games on PC's are portable and can be moved into almost any other medium, even emailed to other players. Consoles do not yet have this kind of portability by-and-large.

Most PC's let you upgrade the hardware without buying a whole new system. Console hardware can't be upgraded, but does always 'just work' (until the hardware fails)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 20 2009 6:11 PM EDT

With consoles having access to the internet, patches, mod, etc. There's become little distinction between using a console or a PC for gaming.

You can use all the same peripherals (game pad on a PC, or mouse and Keyboard on a Consle).

The only real distinctions are you can't part upgrade the inner workings of consoles, and consoles tend to be limited on the games released for thier platform.

The trade off is games can be designed to the consoles exact specification, and not designed to work over a hodge-podge of boxes with a multitude of varying components. Usually eaking out better performance.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 20 2009 6:13 PM EDT

"all of which would be completely impossible in a console environment."

Not so. ;)

"Consoles require almost everything be centralized on a single server somewhere to be "networked" to other players. Many PC games allow direct connections to other users to play (although some might argue this trend is changing)."

It's changing. ;) you can host games on consoles.

"Save games on PC's are portable and can be moved into almost any other medium, even emailed to other players. Consoles do not yet have this kind of portability by-and-large."

Yes they do! They had it easier in memory cards to PCs Floppy Disks. ;)

Brakke Bres [Ow man] October 20 2009 6:16 PM EDT

PC gamers are more hardcore. One you need to spend a good deal of money if you want to play the latest games. Think DX10 machines that can run Crysis and GTA4.

And what other people said, PC is far better to game on since the combo keyboard/mouse is far better. Even the pc mouse can be adjusted to your settings!

And with the option to have the 360 controller run on a pc makes its great for any game. Including Races games since you can actually hook up a HDTV via HDMI and actually run the game at full HD instead of 720p or HD ready. PC is fully customizable, console is not. You can run anything on it. You can't on a console.

PC rocks, does take money.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] October 20 2009 6:17 PM EDT

Wrong, consoles might have access to the internet, but this doesn't mean that they have access to game mods, patches, etc. In fact, there are many examples of games that can be patched on the PC but on the console they cannot be.

This is largely due to the fact that most all games on all consoles are still used in the same fashion as they always have been, as in, you put game in, you turn on console, then play it. I can't think of any games "off-hand" on the console that you need to install to be able to play. Mods, patches and all that is impossible when the primary medium a game is played through on a console is on a unchanging disc.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] October 20 2009 6:19 PM EDT

This is another reason why Xbox sucks: http://majornelson.com/archive/2009/10/16/unauthorized-xbox-360-storage-devices.aspx

Yup MS wants to make another few dollars out of "authorized" USB storage devices.

35 bucks for 512 megs. Damn

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 20 2009 6:24 PM EDT

But now we're getting examples (I'd have to go google to get a specific, please don't make me! :P) of console games being patched, and mods being released for them.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] October 20 2009 6:25 PM EDT

That's what this debate is all about, sources and proofs ;)

Plus, I've never heard of console games with mods or any of that.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 20 2009 6:27 PM EDT

"something relating to the Gears of War 2 patch caught my eye. Mind you, I don't own Gears of War 2 (yet), but I felt some need to click on it regardless. What I found was nothing short of shocking, in nearly every sense of the word. Before I go into detail, I'll let you take a look at the list for yourself, and you can build your opinion before I reveal my own.

Gears of War 2 Title Update 2 Detailed Release Notes

The following fixes and improvements are included in Title Update 2.

Exploit Fixes

Title Update 2 fixes these possible exploits, where under certain circumstances:

A player could melee or grenade tag through certain walls.
A player could equip a shield and a two-handed weapon simultaneously.
A player could make their shield invisible.
A player could become invisible.
A player could do a "super" mantle or "kung fu flip," flying high into the air.
A player could gain unlimited ammo with the Lancer Assault Rifle.
A player could fire while roadie running (also known as "crabwalking").
A player could pick up a weapon while sliding into cover.
A player could walk forward while firing a deployed mortar.
A player could force an opponent to be stuck in the down but not out (DBNO) position.
A player could prevent other players from picking up a heavy weapon.
A player could pick up a dropped meatflag without having to knock him down.
A ragdolled player could be killed without ever going DBNO.
A player could roadie run while firing the Scorcher Flamethrower.
A player could get stuck while evading, though they could continue shooting in any direction.
A player could concuss themselves under the stairs on the River map.
General Fixes

Title Update 2 fixes these other issues as well:

An issue with client-side hit detection of the Gnasher Shotgun. The fix makes the shotgun more reliable in high-latency situations.
An issue where players could have shotgun or Boomshot rounds fire into the ground when shooting from the hip.
A split-screen issue where one player transitioning to the death battle camera disrupted input from the other player.
An issue that could cause players' Look sensitivity to be changed to their Zoom sensitivity while zooming in, zooming out, and firing.
An issue that could cause players to get stuck if they tried to pick up a heavy weapon while firing the shotgun at the same time.
An issue where players could become stuck if they kicked over a shield while ragdolled from a smoke grenade.
An issue where bots were unable to kick over a shield that was planted backward.
An issue where players who quit during voting didn't show up in the end game stats, which meant other players couldn't easily provide negative feedback on them.
An issue where players couldn't chainsaw enemy meatshields if the meatshields were already damaged.
An issue where some players would not see the animation of a meatshield being chainsawed.
An issue where players could not chainsaw an opposing team meatshield in a game type that doesn't allow respawns (for example, Warzone and Execution).
An issue where a player partway through the act of raising or lowering the chainsaw did not transition into a duel when attacked from the front with a chainsaw.
An issue where occasionally a player waiting to respawn could not respawn when repeatedly hitting the left trigger to switch cameras.
An issue where some teammates couldn't communicate between rounds in games type that don't allow respawns, because dead team members were left in the dead radio channel until the next round started.
An issue where a DBNO player could be seen as standing if knocked DBNO while reloading the mortar.
An issue where a player joining a Private Xbox LIVE game in progress from another specific type of game could potentially lose HUD functionality.
An issue on the Flood map where a player's dying from Imulsion did not trigger a death message or penalize the player as other environmental deaths did.
An issue with Guardian games where if the leader is the last player killed on a team, the round may not end, due to the respawn timer.
A campaign issue where the gamer picture would not be awarded when the game is completed on Insane.
An issue where a player would continue to fire the flamethrower and damage other players if that player was knocked DBNO while firing it.
An issue that could cause a player to get stuck while moving and quickly attempting to aim the mortar at the same time.
An issue with Horde games where clients didn't receive the "waiting for host" message after they failed a wave.
A Horde split-screen issue that could cause a team to get ヨ2 billion in score, which when posted to the leaderboards looked like +2 billion.
An issue where dead players may not show up in the metadata for multiplayer photos.
A system link issue where if a multiplayer match and a co-op game were hosted at the same time on the same LAN, neither could be joined.
Additional miscellaneous bug fixes.

Title Update 2 makes these balancing changes:

Made planted proximity grenade mines much easier to shoot off the surface they're planted on, by giving them 50 percent less health.
Set grenades to respawn less frequently. When a player picks up grenades from a spawned location, a new set of grenades does not respawn until the previous grenades have been used.
Increased the penalty to rank for players who quit Public Xbox LIVE matches early.
Buffed the flamethrower to have stopping power (to slow a charging enemy) and to cause a chainsaw interrupt (to force the opponent to lower a revved chainsaw).
Removed the ability to instantly shoot coming out of a roadie run.
Added additional spawn protection to prevent proximity grenade mines and chainsaws from killing a player within 5 seconds after spawning.
Balanced grenade spawn cycling on the Hail map so that both teams have equal access to both types of grenades.
We continue to test internally and monitor online gameplay to determine what else may need adjusting.

Title Update 2 makes these new improvements:

Changed Annex games to use execution rules, to prevent players from leaving DBNO opponents on the ground to bleed out.
Made Horde waves count toward the "Party Like It's 1999" achievement. Each wave is counted as one round.
Added the ability, during Submission games, to see the flag's final destination by using Tac/Com.
Increased the frequency of most of the toasts for in-game achievement progression.
Added achievement progression numbers to the War Journal.
Added 7 new DLC-based achievements worth 175 points (progress toward them starts after Title Update 2 is applied):
"Skeletons in Your Closet" (20 points): Complete waves 1 through 10 on all Flashback Map Pack maps in Horde (any difficulty).
"Trial by, and on, Fire" (20 points): Complete waves 1 through 10 on all Combustible Map Pack maps in Horde (any difficulty).
"More Mystery, Less History" (15 points): Win a multiplayer match on each of the 5 Flashback Map Pack maps (any mode except Wingman).
"The Roof! The Roof! The Roofナ" (15 points): Win a multiplayer match on each of the 3 Combustible Map Pack maps (any mode except Wingman).
"Bound by a Shared Past" (15 points): Win a Wingman match on each of the 5 Flashback Map Pack maps.
"Forged in the Fire" (15 points): Win a Wingman match on each of the 3 Combustible Map Pack maps.
"Annex: Now with Execution Rules" (75 points): Win an Annex match on each of the Flashback and Combustible Map Pack maps (Public only)

Immediately after reading every point in that list, I began to nod my head in approval. Never have I seen such a long and diverse patch list in a single update, let alone for a console game."


I can find Mods if you want as well. ;) I know they exist.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] October 20 2009 6:28 PM EDT

Yeah I heard about games being patched for consoles. But I never ever heard about mods for consoles. Reason why you ask? Simple, no server of microsoft or sony will run it. And no everything you set up as a game on a console runs through a central server of the manufacturer.

QBJohnnywas October 21 2009 8:07 AM EDT

Funnily enough, apart from CB, I much prefer console play. There's something about having a game on a machine that does lots of other things that puts me off. It's a state of mind thing, but the act of switching on the console, putting in the game and playing has always seemed to me to create a more complete gaming environment and experience.

Computers have always smelled of work to me, whereas sitting on the sofa in front of the TV is a much nicer experience.

I know, you can work it both ways these days, but in the old days, when I first got immersed in games console was in the front room under the TV and the computer was tucked away in a dark corner out back with uncomfortable chairs.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] October 21 2009 8:24 AM EDT

Then you are not a hardcore gamer my friend, ah the smell of an overclocked GPU and CPU in the morning. Ow wait thats not good.
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