Writer Ben Croshaw coined the phrase “PC Gaming Master Race” in 2008 after growing frustrated with the elitist attitude that prevailed among community. PC gamers had complained about the potential of the console version of The Witcher to negatively impact upon the PC release of the eagerly anticipated game, and Croshaw went to extreme lengths to skewer them.
Hardcore PC gamers may have taken umbrage with being likened to Nazis. However, they decided to go on the front foot and ended up reappropriating Croshaw’s slur. It is now generally used as an expression of pride among PC gamers when referring to the superior hardware, performance, mod support and freedom of input it offers over consoles. But does PC gaming really deserve its exalted status?
The Case for the PC
The meteoric rise of esports is arguably the most exciting development in the video gaming sector over the past few years. Hundreds of millions of fans across the world watch on as these superstar gamers battle for huge prize pools on Summoner’s Rift, Nuke or Horizon Lunar Colony. You will note that the vast majority of them use a PC, mouse and keyboard.
A high-spec PC allows for far greater power and graphical detail than any console, while the mouse provides much greater precision and accuracy. For pro gamers, it really is no contest. They need to invest in the best kit and that means going for a top PC, which can be regularly updated and customised.
A few esports are played on the console, such as Call of Duty and FIFA, as that is where the majority of sales are made. Yet the major esports like League of Legends and Dota 2 are exclusive to the PC, because the developers feel you cannot replicate the gaming experience on a console. When gamers have the choice of a mouse or a controller, the mouse invariably wins.
It was actually a huge surprise when Wolfiez was able to finish second in the doubles event at the Fortnite World Cup while using a controller, as it is generally accepted that the mouse and keyboard combo is vastly superior. Check out the esports odds at Unikrn and you will see the leading games dominated by PC users.
Anyone hoping to strike it rich as a competitive gamer will need to invest heavily, but what about casual gamers? Well, PC gaming actually works out in the long run. You can build a PC for the price of a console and it will run faster. The upgrade path is much easier on a PC and you end up saving money after the initial investment. You may well need a PC for work too, as this versatility adds value.
You get a higher FPS, improved graphics, the luxury of installing mods, full backwards compatibility, a huge range of free-to-play games, more games sold at discounted rates sales, and far greater control over your hardware. There are also a number of PC exclusives, whereas the days of console exclusives are numbered.
The Case for Consoles
Consoles are often easier to use and more convenient for casual gamers. There is no installation process. You just stick the disc in or download the game and start playing. There is no need to check the specs. You do not need to keep upgrading your console.
You can play less up front when buying a console, particularly if you wait for the price to drop. The hardware is also cheaper. They are compatible with TVs and can be brought into the living room with greater ease. They can be easier to play with friends who are in the same room.
Despite the days of console exclusives seemingly coming to an end, you are still presented with a greater selection of AAA games on a console. You can also choose from weird and wonderful games from Japanese studios, whose focus is largely trained on the console arena.
Both the PC and the console have a place in the modern gaming arena, although the PC would appear to have a healthier future ahead of it. Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to release their next-gen consoles in the next 12 months or so, but that will surely be the final generation for their ilk.
The future lies in cloud gaming, following the path trodden by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The PC is better placed to flourish in this brave new world.
One challenge is the inexorable rise of mobile gaming, but you can never replicate the PC experience on a small, handheld device. It will be a long time before they can compete with the power and graphics available on a PC. It will continue to thrive in tandem with the rise of esports, which will only grow more popular in the years ahead, to the point where it mounts a genuine challenge to traditional sports.
Right now the PC deserves its exalted status at the top of the gaming food chain. The console is more convenient in a number of ways, but they are extremely limited compared to PCs. The memes focusing on the “master race” are unsavoury, but there is no denying that the PC allows you to unleash the full potential of gaming and enjoy it to the maximum.