I love games irrespective of platform and I’ve never once classed myself as a PC or console gamer. That being said I have definitely spent more time on one platform at some time or another. Thinking about it the PC has been my ‘main’ platform since 2012. And this isn’t the first time. In 1996 I purchased my first PC and through the late nighties and early millennium definitely played PC games more than any other format.
However I will probably spend more time on consoles moving forward. Why? Simply put, PC gaming is getting more and more expensive. Or at least buying and maintaining a reasonable high-end setup is getting much more expensive. Even more so if you live in the UK due to the fall in value of Sterling versus the US Dollar ($) or Euro (€) since 2016.
Whilst owning PCs has never been a cheap hobby, there is a definite and undeniable shift upwards in prices. And it isn’t all driven by supply constrained components. As shown by Apple’s recent iPhone X driven success, selling less at more, can be more profitable. High-end GPUs, RAM, monitors and storage are all very expensive at the moment. Nvidia created a new price tier with their £1,000+ Titan GPU years ago. But even mainstream high-end AMD or Nvidia GPUs are commonly over £700. And at this point the Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 series is over two years old. Fairly ancient in technology terms. When the time comes replacing or upgrading my 2015 i7 5930k CPU, 32GB Ram, Nvidia GeForce 1080 GPU and 144hz IPS monitor setup isn’t going to be cheap.
But crucially is it worth the cost just for gaming. Subjectivity aside for me there is a growing sense of maybe not. In this age of largely multiplatform games, how important is the extra frames or eye-candy? I have to be honest, apart from running above 30fps, I struggle sometimes to notice the benefits of better PC graphics when comparing games I own on both PC and console. What’s more noticeable is the control method or where my friends might be playing. And in some cases 4K and HDR on consoles has impressed me more than recent PC specific enhancements.
Also with the shift to incremental console upgrades, the perceived gap between console and PC is becoming less. Certainly compared to the last generation of consoles where really limited 30fps@sub-720p resolutions tended to be the norm. And new (probably) AMD Zen-based CPUs are going to make a big difference when it comes to the new consoles in 2020.
So I think it’s time to embrace the change. I don’t want to give up on PC gaming for good as the library of unique games is simply too great. But if I ‘main’ on consoles then I just dont need as expensive a PC setup anymore. So perhaps a good chance to ditch the big, space consuming desktop and go with a relatively inexpensive gaming laptop. Either way I don’t need to do anything just yet. I can still get a few years out of my current PC. And just think about replacing things if they break down.
To be honest my mindset is already changing. I purchased an Xbox One X earlier this year with a Samsung UHD LCD TV. And my latest purchase has been a Creative SoundBlaster X7 to drive sound for all my PC and consoles. Replacing my Creative SoundBlaster ZxR that I had in my PC since 2013. A fairly future proof setup irrespective of whether I buy a desktop or laptop PC next.
So as Nvidia prepare to unveil their latest series of PC GPUs, I think I’ll just sit back and await the inevitable outcry about the prices on places like Overclockers UK forums. Feeling fairly chuffed in my choices and happy not to feel compelled to be caught up in the PC hardware rat race. Vive la différence.