PC gaming has always had a reputation for being a less accessible way to enjoy video games. The average person used to have to engage in a decision-making process that involved understanding computer components and how they interact with each other to create an optimal machine.
Nowadays, though, PC gaming has become a lot more democratized, leading to more and more people making the switch to using computers for their digital hobby. So, is it hard to play games on PC?
Let’s find out.
Is Gaming Hard on a Computer?
Gaming on a computer has become a lot easier for the average person. Thanks to a wider variety of components and the broader array of computer vendors, it has never been easier to become a PC gamer.
What also contributes to the recent accessibility of PC gaming is that the development of games has become more standardized and streamlined. Modern development tools enable studios to build games that can be run on a wider spectrum of hardware power. This means that the average gaming PC will last for at least 5-6 years before an upgrade is needed.
Finally, actually installing and running PC games has also become an easy affair. For one, digital storefronts like Steam and Epic Games make the downloading and installation process as simple as pressing a single button. Such platforms also enable the hassle-free management of your library. With tools like Can You Run It it’s also a breeze to figure out which games your machine can run.
Is It Easier to Play Console or PC?
Consoles have always been known for their “plug-and-play” nature. Operating them is as simple as popping in a disc or downloading a title you want and you’re off to the races. There’s seldom any doubt that your games console will run the latest releases, so long as they are made for your device.
However, PC games have come closer to that same experience in recent years. Developers have become more adept at making their games detect your hardware strength so they can determine the most optimal settings. Some tweaking may occasionally still be required but these cases are becoming more and more fringe.
With the advent of portable gaming PCs, like the Steam Deck, the PC gaming space’s accessibility has shot through the roof. The devices are not only designed to run as many modern games as possible, including AAA titles, but also encourage developers to improve their games’ compatibility.
Are PC Gamers at a Disadvantage During Cross-play?
Cross-play is a contentious matter between PC and console gamers, particularly those of the competitive persuasion. The main point is whether PC gamers have a disadvantage when playing against those on other devices due to the controllers they use. This is more prominent with first-person shooters.
On the one hand, PC gamers are said to have an advantage due to their ability to use mouses and keyboards. This control archetype grants FPS players a more accurate and faster aim. For players on controllers, the process of moving the crosshair is slightly slower and prone to being less precise.
To compensate for this, developers add a system called Aim Assist to their games. This feature attempts to balance the scales by helping controller players land their shots more accurately. Players still need to move their reticles to their target but as long as they place it within a reasonable distance, the Aim Assist will help by correcting its placement slightly.
This feature has recently been placed at the center of a debate on whether controller players actually have an advantage over their keyboard and mouse counterparts. It’s been particularly prominent within the Apex Legends community. There has been a noticeable increase in pro players switching to controllers during high-stakes tournaments.
However, this appears to mostly be an issue that arises at the highest levels of play. The FPS landscape is massive and contains millions of players. This means that there are far more average players whose skill level is unaffected by minute details such as controller choice. If anything else, how well an average player does on a given control scheme will depend mostly on how experienced they are with it.
In other words, cross-play doesn’t have any noticeable disadvantages for PC gamers at the low-to-mid level of play.
Do PC Gamers Use Controllers?
Yes. The lion’s share of PC games can be played with controllers. This means that there are PC gamers who use gamepads and other controller types to play different titles. The choice boils down to the games themselves. The majority of arcade-style games and sports titles are more comfortable to play on a controller. Fighting game players will generally avoid using a keyboard and lean towards using fightsticks or gamepads.
What Games Can PC Not Play?
One of the biggest advantages of playing games on a PC is that you can choose from a humongous pool of options, both in terms of titles and platforms. Especially since consoles started being built on PC hardware, more and more titles have become cross-platform and are ported to computers, reducing the number of console exclusives. Even Sony is now making its PlayStation exclusives available on PC. And, to top it off, PCs can also run emulators that play retro games from past console generations.
Where PC finds its limits is with the few games that remain exclusive to their devices. Nintendo remains steadfast in its tradition of making its first-party games only for its own consoles. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an official Mario or Zelda game that runs on PC with the Big N’s blessing. Sony is also refraining from making its more recent exclusives available on PC as they still want to encourage console sales.
Should I Switch to PC for Gaming?
PC gaming affords many advantages and has become an even more accessible option for budding and veteran gamers alike. Computers still tend to have slightly larger libraries of games, particularly due to certain genres that don’t play well on a controller. You’ll also find that acquiring or building a new gaming PC is not as expensive or complicated as it used to be. Finally, online play remains free on all PC platforms, except for subscription-based titles such as World of Warcraft.
However, consoles still have the upper hand when it comes to convenience. These devices are perfect centerpieces for any living room setup and make local multiplayer a breeze. On top of that, your games will run near flawlessly right out of the box, with no tweaking required. The advent of subscription services like Game Pass is also further enhancing the level of convenience game consoles afford.
If you still want to game on a PC, you can partially get that same console-like experience by also picking up a portable PC, like the Steam Deck. The experience is a lot closer to plug-and-play and by docking them to your TV, you can still play on a big screen and engage in some couch co-op and multiplayer.