Do We Really Need Game Consoles Anymore?

Following a disappointing console showing at E3 2012, commenter DocSeuss believes now is the best time to throw off our proprietary shackles and make the PC plunge. Who's with him?

Do we really need consoles anymore? After seeing E3, I'm not really that sure. I mean, we all know that PC games dominated E3 because developers are tired of being held back by console limitations.

Sunday night, I played Arkham City on my television through my laptop (and no, it wasn't an ultra-expensive Alienware). Recently, I've helped two siblings build computers for both every day use and gaming (both were needing to replace their current computers), and we came up with machines that perform well and cost below a thousand dollars. Most of the console games I have, I only have because they're exclusive to consoles.

As someone with a small income, I can't tell you how much money I've saved by gaming on the PC. Why spend $US25 on a game I can pick up for $US5 or $US10 on the PC, you know?

So, I mean, I can play on my comfy couch and I can do it cheap — sure, the initial cost is higher than the initial cost of a console (unless lol launch PS3), but through the life of the platform (where the real money is spent), I've saved a lot more on PC. I get the additional benefits of things like better visuals, better sound, in-game web browsing, and... dare I say it?

Better games.

Look at all the Day Z coverage Kotaku's had! It's amazing stuff. Day Z sounds like an incredible game experience, and, as a mod, it's simply not possible on other platforms. It's not just mods, though. My recent purchases have been games like Swedish Post-Apocalyptic RPG Krater and 4X strategy game Endless Space (which I've sunk like 20 hours into with no sign of stopping).

At E3, we saw countless bloody, ultraviolent sequels. The most-applauded game at the show was, what, the only AAA game reveal that we didn't have any idea about? That doesn't really bode well.

Consoles are platforms that, because of their simplicity, appeal to the lowest common denominator. All these unimaginative sequels are the fault of the people who buy and sell console games, to be honest. It's those little whiny thirteen year-old kids on PSN who buy nothing but Call of Duty and those grognards who refuse to play anything that isn't a first-person Nintendo game that are holding the industry back. Their support for the unimaginative and ultraviolent is at odds with the evolution of the industry.

In a market where publishers need to maximise profits, there's no room for the challenging, the unique, or the inventive, so, well... we get an E3 that doesn't really set anyone on fire.

People lament the lack of the new and original. I'm glad to say that I don't share their pain (because who would want to partake in an industry without anything new or original?), because, well, I game on my PC. I can play anything, from the familiar to the new, from the pretentious to the innovative, from the bad to the good.

And that's awesome.

I have two consoles, but I'm kind of wondering why.

I've got a PC. What more do I need?

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Comments

    I quite happy play excusively on PC, but there's a lot of life left in the console market.

    Families expecially find great value in gaming on consoles. A lot of parents I know have a policy of kids only using the a computer in public areas of the house so they can keep an eye on them, but have no problem leaving kids and their friends alone in the play room with a console and a bunch of kids games.

    Then there are the party games like Rock Band that are only on consoles. A few years ago my parents got themselves a PS2 just so they could play Sing Star when they had dinner parties.

    - I have absolutely no interest in building and maintaining a 'rig'.
    - Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, Kirby, LittleBigPlanet, Infamous, StarFox, etc.

    I never thought I'd see a Pro-PC article on Kotaku. The world must really be ending in 2012.

    Dedicated home consoles will last for a while yet. Nothing is good enough to replace that gaming experience.

    But I imagine this as the future console: An iPhone-like device, that you can dock in front of your home theatre system. It's intelligent camera and microphone face toward you and provide a kinect-like experience, whilst it's wireless technology allow the connection of one or many standardised Xbox-like console controllers. It streams its video and audio to your home theatre, and has graphics that surpass the quality of the 7th generation of consoles (some high-end phones already do). It has an Xbox-live like online experience, and lots of developer support with a big online marketplace of games. To maintain a store presence to garner more popularity for the platform it should sell boxed copies of games that contain the digital redemption code and perhaps a bonus or two but no disc. Games will allow for some casual play features that use the phone's screen on the go, similar in a way to the dreamcasts VMU or the pokemon walker.

    It will be like gamers can take their Xbox or PS3 with them (as well as their game collection, profile and game saves) wherever they have their phone with them (provided they bring their controller or borrow a friend's).

    The problem is, people usually buy consoles because they think they are cheaper, and if they ever release a console with high end specs, even at a loss to the company you'd have to pay about 1.5k for it to be any good.

    My opinion is console graphics will never be as good as PC for the sole reason of price.
    Pre-built computers cost more than consoles too, unless you know a good computer store who builds them or know how to build a PC yourself.
    That's the other reason people buy consoles because they think they are cheaper.

    To the OP: I find your "lowest common denominator" comment ignorant and offensive, and your false sense of superiority - because you game on a PC - really quite pathetic.

    You are not even considering a large portion of the market that are casual gamers. People who play maybe one or two times a week, if that. People who have lives outside of gaming and who just want to chuck on the console and play, or get their mates around for beers and play a few sports games against each other on the big screen.

    I know I don't want to have to check specifications and then compare it to my PC hardware every time I buy a new game, then possibly have to upgrade, then install new drivers and tweek graphic setting just so I can get a good playing experience. Some people dig this and like tweeking their setups, and that's cool, but most people don't. They just want something that works straight out of the box, and these people make up a large portion of gaming consumers, and the big brands know this.

      I don't really see how it is offensive, consoles are marketted for the 'lowest common denominator'. 'Casual Gamers', as you yourself said are the largest part of the console market, ARE the 'lowest common denominator'. They don't care about E3, or developments in video game technology, or sequels to long awaited franchises, or new games from prominent directors, all they care about is playing angry birds or MADDEN for a couple of hours a week. Hence - lowest common denominator. It's an apt description

    I think Console gaming does play a role. A very simple role that is. It makes gaming affordable for those who can't afford to spend 12-18months saving up to build/buy their own gaming/pc or laptop. I live in Australia and I've looked both online and in physical retailers and found if I want to buy/build myself a gaming pc that will run today's games happily at medium-high graphics for the next 2-3 years its going to cost me in excess of $2000AUD. Where as if I buy a console here that will cost be about $400-$500 dollars here, which as shown will last for 5-7 years depending on what console you buy. Sure I lose that high end graphics, but I still maintain the medium texture graphics. Which in today's day and age, means I get a SLIGHTLY lower quality explosions and and skin details. Besides there are the wonderful exclusives developed for the consoles, games like Infamous, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted. These alone for the PS3. I guess the point I'm making here is, console gaming makes it affordable for all people to get into it. Whether they be Hardcore gamers or spare time players, it makes no difference.

    Very well said!

    I think what is becoming the turning point for PC gaming is that components are coming out at such a rapid rate that buying a mid-level system has become increasingly affordable. I put together a high-end system for just shy of $1000, but that's with all the bells and whistles (SSD, 16gig ram, sandybridge CPU), but it would be quite possible to throw together a system for around $600 that would preform much better than your PS3 or Xbox 360.

    Not to mention the ease of upgrading. It's very easy to buy a new graphics card if your PC is lacking power, with a console, you have to wait for a new generation.

      Personally, I own a 360 and a Wii, and they have literarlly been collecting dust for the last year. I haven't even turned my wii on since Zelda: Skyward Sword (which I played for about ten minutes and then quit) and my Xbox only occasionally gets used at LAN parties for rock band.

      I can't play singleplayer games on a console. It makes me feel so alone. What I love about playing PC games is I can alt tab in to facebook, or reddit, or kotaku, or whatever while I am playing if I get bored. I can also talk to my friends and jump into online modes if I want (i refuse to pay for xbox live because a. I don't belive there should be a charge in the fist place and b. i don't use it enough to justify it, and of course the wii's online modes are super shit as we all know).

      I think the main problem with consoles is that they used to all be about the local multiplayer (Street fighter on SNES? Smash bros on n64? HALO on Xbox 1?) but these days they are just trying to make 'PC-lite' games with a focus on singleplayer and online MP. Why would I ever play 'PC-lite' games when I have a perfectly good PC>

        But that's the thing in some countries it isn't becoming increasingly affordable, if I bought a mid range system would last me maybe 2-3 years as a PC before I had to possibly fork out another 100-200 dollars which at times some people just don't have, and it's not like you can buy a secondhand one for cheap either.

    Very well said!

    I think what is becoming the turning point for PC gaming is that components are coming out at such a rapid rate that buying a mid-level system has become increasingly affordable. I put together a high-end system for just shy of $1000, but that's with all the bells and whistles (SSD, 16gig ram, sandybridge CPU), but it would be quite possible to throw together a system for around $600 that would preform much better than your PS3 or Xbox 360.

    Not to mention the ease of upgrading. It's very easy to buy a new graphics card if your PC is lacking power, with a console, you have to wait for a new generation.

    Hey dude,
    No disrespect but I am a 20 year old girl who loves playing games on my xbox 360. I love all the games that come on it and I personally do not think they are boring or unimaginative.... tbh, most of the games you play on your console you can play on the computer anyway, yes the computer has better features etc, but what about human interaction? What ever happened to that? What consoles allow people to do is come together and spend time and laugh (in person) rather than over the internet where you may not have ever met who you are playing with - not that thats a bad thing, just that maybe we should think about spending more time with the family and our friends who we know in "real life"?
    If you dont want your consoles, hey, I 'll buy them off you? More fun for me and all my friends who might I add are also 20 yo girls ;)
    PS: Computer gaming may be way better in every concept compared to consoles but they sure cant replace the human contact and interaction you get with consoles ^^

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