PC gaming will dominate the PS4 and Xbox 720, and here's why
I've always been a huge supporter of consoles. Whenever my friends would buy a PC version of a game, I'd laugh as they sat through installation, tweaking their graphics settings, hooking up their controllers because they realized the keyboard and mouse setup wasn't working well enough for that game. I was already on the second level, playing on my console.
It made sense, really; the console experience took that barrier away. I didn't have to worry about installation, since popping in my PS2 game allowed me to immediately start gaming -- no hassles. I never had to worry about upgrading my hardware every now and then, since all the games were built to run on my console. The only thing I had to worry about was that in 10 years or so, I'd be upgrading to a newer model with better graphics and repeating this whole process again.
I was always ready for it, too. I wasn't a fanboy. I wanted every console. My loyalties sided with the games, not any specific console. I didn't care that I had to spend an upward of $400 to $500, because I knew I was getting an ever better version of what I had before, complete with improved graphics.
We're at the eve of a new console generation, with the PlayStation 4 being released later this year and information slowly leaking about the the new Xbox. Unfortunately, most of this info is upsetting a lot of people.
It took me a while, but with each and every new announcement/leak, I'm actually growing more and more wary of a new console. In fact, I'm so pro PC that I've come up with five reasons why I'm most likely going to stay away from next-gen consoles.
Backwards compatibility is a breeze
For many users, backwards compatibility isn't that huge of a deal. Some argue that they might not ever want to play their old games again once they already beat them. I'm the type of gamer that enjoys playing an older game or a classic from time to time. If I want to play the original Halo, I should be able to do that on my Xbox 360. I shouldn't be expected to dig my original Xbox out of my closet and hook it up just to replay that game.
I also understand that the PS3 originally didn't have backwards compatibility and the Xbox 360 didn't support every Xbox game originally. However, Sony realized the importance of this and released a PS3 with the ability to play PS2 games. Likewise, Microsoft ramped up their backwards compatibility support to include a lot of popular games.
I shouldn't be expected to keep my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 alongside both new consoles, only to keep playing my favorite current-gen games.
I can easily play this gem on my spec'd out PC, NBD
The PC doesn't really have those limitations. If I want to play Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, I'll just download DOSbox. If I want to play the original Halo Combat Evolved, I don't need any special emulation services. The fact of the matter is, the PC is able to play (almost) any old game. And thanks to sites like GOG.com, I'm actually able to play a majority of these, DRM-free for dirt cheap.
No constant internet connection required
The new Xbox is rumored to need constant internet connection just to be able to play a game. That means if I want to play the single-player Story mode from the next Halo game, I'm going to be required to be connected online. If my connection dips for more than three minutes, the game will become unplayable.
While these are just rumors right now, it is a scary thought. Given that Microsoft isn't jumping in to disprove these rumors further worries me that all of them might be true.
Aside from a few obvious games like MMORPGs and the new SimCity, I don't have to rely on a constant internet connection to play my games. Sure, Steam requires you to log in, but it has a dedicated offline mode that lets you play any installed game without the need of internet. I might need an internet connection to actually buy said games from amazing services like Steam and GOG.com, but after they're all installed, my internet could be out for weeks and I could still enjoy the beauty of playing these games without relying on it.
The graphics will (most likely) be better on PC
We've seen some impressive looking games coming to next-gen consoles. Most notably, the Battlefield 4 trailer impressed us more with its visuals, than with its -- now rather generic -- run-and-gun gameplay. It featured everything from amazing facial expressions to stunning environment design.
Guess what, though? Battlefield 4 is also coming out on PC. Which means that it will look just as stunning, if not more so, on my computer. Just take a look at current-gen games and their PC counterparts. In every instance, it always looks better on PC.
It might require some upgrading of your current computer, but in the end, it'll cost you the same amount that it would buying an entirely new console. Except with a PC, you still have access to that amazing library of games you've been building up over the years.
Keep using that amazing Xbox 360 controller
While I'm not partial to any one console, I love the Xbox 360 controller. Its size, build and button placement combine for perfection. As a bonus, each wireless controller has also worked flawlessly with a PC. So much so, that PC titles even included HUD layouts that corresponded with the buttons on the controller, rather than keyboard controls. Seeing 'Press X to open door' instead of 'Press F to open door,' showed PC developers also knew that playing with the 360 controller was preferred.
The epitome of 'perfect'
We've seen the new PlayStation 4 controller already, though it probably won't work on a PC out of the box. We're not sure what Microsoft has up their sleeve as far as their next controller, but I'm worried that whatever the next controller is, it won't be as perfect as the current one.
Chances are that in the coming years, games on the PC will continue to support the 360 controller layout, and for those that like to actually play with a gamepad rather than a keyboard and mouse setup, the 360 controller is the way to go.
Games will always be cheaper on the PC
I realize that this is quite a bold claim. I'm not clairvoyant, and I can't see the future, but if current PC trends are telling at all, it's that PC games have some incredibly amazing sales on a regular basis.
Look at these prices. JUST LOOK AT THESE LOW PRICES!!
Steam is the perfect example of this. A few times a year, Steam has amazing sales that discount a plethora of games down to a few bucks. Outside of these massive sales, Steam has weekly deals on games, as well. Sites like GreenManGaming and Amazon offer some crazy low prices on games that are instantly redeemable on Steam. Even Origin, a service I'm not a huge fan of, has some good sales, as well.
It's tough to say whether games will still be $60 on next-gen consoles, or if their price will go up. However, given the rumors that used games will no longer be playable, getting games on the cheap will be damn near impossible.
Are you ready to take the plunge into next-gen consoles? Or are you perhaps swayed to stick to PC gaming? Let me know in the comments, as for me I'm just going to #SticktoPCGaming. You can follow my barely updated Twitter @Michael_GZ