The gaming war between the console and PC platform has been waging on for some time now. While some claim that next-gen consoles have provided players with a more well-rounded entertainment experience than ever before, others point to the vast content of PC titles and upgradeable hardware. It is a battle that has fierce competition on either side.
In terms of commercial success, PC gaming definitely holds the edge. Recent research by DFC Intelligence found that PC games have overtaken console games globally. This is due to consumers in emerging European and Asian markets, where take up of consoles have been low but gaming on PCs has been widely adopted. This universal adoption is likely to see worldwide gamer spend on PCs and Macs grow to over $24 billion by 2017, according to the IDC.
“The PC is a fairly universal item that is used for work and education but also as a way to play all kinds of games, while console systems are a luxury item used mainly for entertainment,” said David Cole, the boss of DFC Intelligence. “Well to do markets like the UK and US can afford luxury items like video game consoles. However, much of the world cannot afford such a luxury, so the PC becomes the de facto game system.”
However, this isn’t the story in every country. Cole added that this is “absolutely not true for the UK where console gaming is still dominant by a large margin.” In the UK market, console gaming continues to generate more than twice the revenue that the PC platform does. While Nintendo and Microsoft have experienced disappointing sales on their next-gen releases, the console market is still strong in developed territories. This is due to the fact that serious players can purchase and enjoy AAA titles and franchises much more affordably on consoles. The majority of high quality games require very expensive PC devices to run smoothly and produce no lag. Therefore, many players prefer the console experience when it comes to their wallets.
Despite the high initial costs though, PC gamers argue that computer hardware can be upgradeable. Consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have a shorter lifespan due to the fact that they cannot be internally upgraded in any way. This means that a large investment in a quality PC is ultimately worthwhile, as it has the potential to operate for a player’s lifetime. Hardware such as Valve’s Steam Machines and various external controllers and gamepads are also allowing PC players to achieve a console like experience in their living room. While adoption of these devices has yet to reach the same volume of home consoles, a huge selling point is the mass library of online content, both on services such as Steam and online at sites like www.europalace.com.
But while the PC market may be catching up to consoles in terms of player interaction, they could soon be left dragging behind. Devices such as the Kinect and Wii give players the option to become the controller, delivering an experience that PC has yet to rival. In addition to this, with Facebook acquiring Oculus VR, Sony now seems to be the favourite to pioneer virtual reality gaming with Project Morpheus on the PlayStation 4.
It appears to have come to an arms race between the two gaming goliaths. As players pledge their alliance to a platform based on pricing or hardware lifespan, it is the technology and content that will determine the future victor.