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Years ago, I was fully into gaming on my PC. I owned a PlayStation 2 and barely ever hit the power button to turn the thing on. I just did not see the value in console gaming and I was a PC gaming loyalist to the end. So I thought. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launched with graphics that rivaled mid to upper range PCs and I figured it could not hurt to dabble in console gaming for a little while.
Fast forward a few years and my gaming PC was so weak that it could not even run Diablo 3 at higher than 10 frames per second. I realized I was out of the loop and I needed to get back in the game. The PC gaming world left me behind, and I needed to get back in the swing of things. I hit the Internet and bought a new PC. Nothing too crazy, but it runs almost everything at their max settings at 1080p.
So why did I feel the need to get back into PC gaming?
I will admit that graphics only draw me into a game, but they never keep me playing. Still, at this point in the life cycle of the consoles, the difference in graphical ability between a high-end PC and a console is staggering. A high-end first person shooter running a constant 50-60 frames-per-second on a PC looks absolutely incredible and current consoles are incapable of reproducing that experience.
As I said before, graphics are only a small part of the experience. However, I had forgotten how much a game with incredible visuals increases immersion into the world. A game that looks better makes you forget that you are playing a game. It makes you feel like you are a part of the world. After all, one of the reasons we play games is to be sucked into the world, and better visuals certainly enhance that feeling.
The MMO Factor
I swore I would never go back to World of Warcraft, but here I sit, writing this article while taking a break from adventuring in the world of Azeroth. They have tried to make console MMOs, and none of them have been worth becoming invested in.
It all started with Diablo 3. I played so much Diablo 3 it makes me sad to think about it. Then, I wanted more. Diablo brings similar gameplay mechanics to most MMOs, but it lacks the “other people” part of the experience. Sure, you can play cooperatively, but it is really a single player game.
Diablo made me want a new PC; MMOs will keep me using it for some time. The fact is, the MMO is an experience only available to the PC gamer, and it was enough to bring me back to the dark side.
Steam is an incredible digital distribution platform. They practically have a stranglehold on the digital distribution of PC games, yet they constantly crank out fantastic deals like their recent summer sale. Not having to leave my house and still getting a good deal on games is something unique to the PC gamer, and it was something I was sorely missing on my consoles.
Sure, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo offer games digitally, but they are not usually the newest releases, and they are almost never a good deal. With Steam, you get convenience and value, which are two things that rarely go together.
HDMI Video Cards
My go-to argument for why I switched to console gaming was, “I can sit on the couch and play games on my TV.” Almost every decent video card comes with HDMI out, so you can still enjoy PC games from your giant TV, just as you would a console. I was thinking about MMOs, shooters with a mouse and keyboard and prettier graphics, and they most certainly piqued my interest, but hooking it up to my TV put me over the edge.
Hooking your computer up to your TV with HDMI is awesome for gaming. It is also great for consuming video content. Forget Steam, forget MMOs; playing PC games on my TV in full 1080p is the main reason I went back, and it is something anyway who has turned away from PC gaming should consider.
Do not take this article as an attack against console gaming; I assure you it is not. I still love my consoles, and I will continue to play games on them. I see no reason we cannot all be console gamers and PC gamers (provided it’s in your budget). I had completely turned away from PC gaming, and it feels good to be back. Maybe you should consider dipping your toe into PC gaming again if you have abandoned it.
If you have stopped playing PC games, what would bring you back? Let us know in the comments!