This is a subject that has been dissected to the hilt and yet it is still worth discussing. Analysts worldwide believe that consoles and tablets will eventually replace PCs in terms of gaming. And these statistics are based on the growing sales and market share of the said two platforms. And while I agree that it is true from a multitasking perspective, it just doesn’t hold much weight when it comes to hardcore gaming.
First, let’s talk about Tablets. As good as they become on the specs front, it would be naïve to say that they can replace a PC when it comes to gaming. Tablet is a hybrid which performs all the basic computing processes very well but when you are talking about games, a gaming PC will eat it up for breakfast! The only way it can ever compete will be if manufacturers can somehow figure out a way to cram high-end GPUs under a bite-sized screen which isn’t happening anytime soon. At best, it is an easy to use device for casual gaming.
That brings us to console. The battle might not be that lop-sided in this comparison but it is significant enough from an enthusiast point of view. These consoles are easy to setup and fun to play with friends over or even your family, but it is again just that. A console isn’t customizable except maybe adding memory and thus it lacks the flexibility a CPU might give you.
The sad thing is that companies and even developers will work according to consumer demand. And with a fair few adopting consoles, the major game titles are first released for PS3 and Xbox 360 with the PC version following later.
AND NOW THE PC
Maybe an example like this is a bit too harsh but it will let you in on what exactly I have in my mind. Consider buying a Toyota Prius and a classic Ford Mustang: one is a hybrid and in-vogue while the other one is pure American muscle. The Prius will do the job and do it very well indeed but it will eventually come to an end. On the other hand, a Mustang will demand your care, attention and eye for maintenance and will be the more likely option in which you will be willing to spend a few quids to retune the engine or make some mods because it is going to be there for a long time.
On similar lines, Tablets and consoles have that shelf life and expendable nature about them from the word go as you can be sure of the fact that the same manufacturer would come up with something better very soon. To a certain extent, the same can be said about CPUs as there will be a constant need to upgrade components like GPU, RAM, SSD but the core of the system will remain intact. To put it forth in a simpler way, preference for a gaming PC is driven by passion while that for consoles and Tablets is driven by consumerism.
It certainly helps that game titles for PC are much more affordable as compared to other platforms. And as per JPR’s senior gaming analyst Ted Pollak, “The effect that key titles have on hardware sales is phenomenal. Enthusiast PC Gamers embrace content creation and modding, so when titles like Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA 3 are in the pipeline, we start to see anticipatory hardware sales. In fact, we are estimating over $800 million of PC builds influenced primarily by this title. A major component of this situation is that many games are placing increasing demands on the CPU. The result is that swapping out the graphics add-in board is not enough this time around and gamers are building (and ordering) overclocked PC’s from the ground up.”
JPR believes that nothing can compete with PCs on the high-end spectrum with their capability to run ultra high resolution graphics better than any other platform. And moreover, a console’s limited couch based input can never compete with the precision and power of a PC.
Need I say more?!