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As we peer into the future of gaming the inevitable thing will happen. New consoles will be released, new consoles will be reviewed and judged by the public and the media and then the new consoles will be compared to the almighty PC. People have said it will be the year of the PC for the past three years from my recollection, but now we have sight that a new console will be released from each of the major companies, probably in Q4 of 2013 and this will possibly announced at the GDC (Games Developers Conference) this year so will we see a decline in PC gaming? Well that is what we're gonna talk about today.
I’m mainly a PC gamer even though I've had most consoles since 1989 and do love a good console game. From all of the releases since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 came around I could literally pick on a hand the amount I had completed. These were staple games like Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto. However I have played dozens of games on PC. This did not happen on purpose, but happened naturally. I found the graphics far superior, the gameplay generally more fluid, and the operating system more exciting to work with. Looking at the hardware inside the Wii, 360, and PS3, it is massively out of date and definitely needs a refresh. This is where the PC will always have ground over consoles that the machine can be upgraded over the years so that it can have enough oomph to always play the top games whenever they’re released.
Whipping out a graphics card is a five minute job and gets you playing games at 60 FPS in about half an hour. This again is where hardware limitations have the PC in favor. PCs can achieve 100+ frames per second if you plan on spending $4000 on a beastly gaming rig where as a console has a FPS limit at 30, sometimes 60 frames. Will we see the frames uncapped or at least capped at a decent frame rate on the new consoles?
Only time will tell but with these new consoles we really need to have some powerful hardware in order to match up with the performance and graphics of a PC gaming machine. Then again, you can pay upwards of $800 for a gaming machine and the consoles will most likely retail for around $400 meaning they are much more affordable for the average gamer and for parents to get for their children. If a console had interchangable parts such as RAM or a graphics card, then I could see the console market becoming a lot more profitable and PC brands such as Nvidia or ATi could make some more cash on their graphics hardware.
You will also find that most games that come out on consoles will most likely get a PC port on launch or at least have it planned. Games like Minecraft in fact have done the reverse in that it is now available on the 360 though initially came out with huge success on the PC. Call of Duty is an example whereby it is available cross platform yet theres something that makes me want to play it more on PC. I find that lag does not exist on my machine, pump the graphics up to full so that it looks sharper and more life like than the console version on my 32” LCD HDTV, and the whole experience just feels more fluid. Crank in some anistropic filtering and anti analysing in games such as Crysis become almost life-like. Maybe it is because I prefer keyboard and mouse to a gamepad, but I find the whole PC gaming experience far more pleasing visually and memorable.
Another thing that could affect sales of the consoles this year is mobile devices. The iPad and netbook style machines have taken the gaming world by storm. Apple just announced over 40 billion apps have been downloaded on their app store. The most sold console game ever was Super Mario Bros. on the NES that hit 40.24 million, the pre packaged Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii has a massive sales figure 79.60 million, and Tetris brings in the lead with 100 million downloads/actual purchases over the years.
This still does not even make a dent of the 40 billion app store downloads, which shows that many consumers do not want to pay for boxed copies of games anymore but would rather purchase their content digitally. This is on top of the Andorid/Windows app stores that also boasts some healthy sales figures. Maybe the new consoles will have download only content and en the era of pre packaged games? People who play the PC tend to download their games, so why not on console? These are questions that will most likely be answered as soon as the new consoles are announced. We’re just gonna have to wait and see for now.