The Difference Between Video Game Consoles and PC
For the longest time there has been a distinct difference between PC games and console games. The thought of the 2 merging together was blasphemy to some and ludicrous to others.
As time passed however, the gap between the two has merged closer together with each passing console generation.
In past generations we have been blessed to have an abundant amount of games that varied across both PC and consoles. PC was more focussed towards FPS, RTS and MMO. Consoles were more towards platformers, fighters, JRPG and adventure games.
It was enough to warrant the purchase of a PC and a console if one wanted to experience all that was available. Best of all it pushed PC development in a different direction to console development. While PC devs were working on Half Life 2 console devs were working on Gran Theft Auto. For the gamer this presented an expensive problem, especially if one couldn't afford to buy a PC and a console.
The big difference between PC and consoles is obviously hardware. PC could upgrade its hardware continually, consoles not so. Even without upgrades PC hardware is far superior when compared to console hardware. Games that come out on console and PC, generally, look better on PC thanks to their superior CPU and GPU.
But this doesn't always mean that better games will come out on PC. If one were to look at the PC market it is flooded with shooters. Yes RTS and MMORPG are also abundant, but the staple of the PC gamer is definitely FPS. Some are beautiful to look at, but somewhat lacking in gameplay.
This is where the consoles lack of power comes at an advantage. Yes the devs will make the game as attractive as possible, but the focus is now pushed elsewhere. One only needs to look at Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 to see what a great dev can do with limited hardware. What MGS lacked in graphics it more than made up for in gameplay.
For me, Suikoden 2 was a classic example of graphics over gameplay. The graphics were terrible even for a PS1 game, but the gameplay was phenomenally fun. Even to this day I still play it for hours.
There were many other console games that amazed us with their gameplay. Who can forget classics like Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy 7, Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro ? While it is true that some of these titles made their way to PC, they were not designed with PC in mind.
They were developed for consoles and this gave them a distinct flavor, much different to the PC offerings. It's great that console games get ported over to PC, because some of these games are just too good for gamers to ignore.
As time moved on consoles got more powerful and games were far more attractive than the pixelated games of the PS1/N64 era. PS2 had great games that came out that still felt like they belonged on a console. Games like Gran Theft Auto 3, Dark Cloud 2, Shadow Of The Colossus, ICO, God Of War 1 and 2, Devil May Cry, Gran Turismo 3, Tekken 5, Soul Calibur 2 and Final Fantasy 12 are but a few of them. Of course fighting games came out on arcade first, but we never had to wait long for the console port. Fighting games play exceptionally well on consoles.
There were a lot of distinctive console games for sure. However, focus started to shift games more toward PC territory. Microsoft's Xbox was released with an almost PC like CPU and GPU. In terms of raw horse power it bought a lot more to the table than the PS2 and GameCube. The Xbox also offered console gamers Halo which, even now, is a fantastic FPS title.
Sure there were other FPS titles that came out on consoles, but they were generally considered a joke by the PC gaming community.FPS was generally regarded as PC only territory, but Halo proved that FPS can and does work on a console. They even ported it over to the PC, which alone speaks volumes to the greatness of Halo.
Consoles today resemble a PC more than ever before. As time progressed, console manufacturers mimicked the PC architecture in order to gain more power. The Xbox 360 has been praised by devs because it's PC like architecture is easy to work with. Even the Playstation 3 comes with a built in hard drive that can be upgraded. Now the line between the two seems to be almost faded away.
Having PC games ported over is a good thing, no question about it. Having the option to play these games on a console raises revenue and gives console gamers the chance to enjoy some awesome games.
Unfortunately there seems to be more PC style games being developed specifically for consoles than ever before. This doesn't hurt the gaming industry one bit, people will always buy games. It's the consumer that gets the short end of the stick. Consoles pushed games that were of a different nature to their PC counterparts. Now they are pushing games the equivalent of their PC counterparts.
It's not all doom and gloom on the horizon though; we have Sony's 1st Party studios offering a fair bit of variety with their upcoming releases. This is fantastic because, with the exception of Killzone 2, all the games presented thus far seem to look and play like a console game should.
The more devs we have working on "true" console games the better off gamers of both console and PC will be. PC gamers will get a far greater amount of ports that will offer them something different than the current staple diet of FPS, RTS and MMO. We will have a far greater variety of games to play than the ever before.
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I agree, but one thing.
You seem to have missed that the PS3 is basically a computer, it can have linux installed on it, and also linux can have either windows or OSX emulated. So basically here you only have a few upgrades available for this console, but it comes with so much.
Games should be developed for PC then ported to console, this way the PC gamers get great graphics and the console gamers get a slightly dumbed down version of the same game, the issue's with developing for console then porting to PC can be seen with pretty much every game that this was done to just take a look at Saints Row 2, wheras if they're developed on PC first everyone wins, look at GTA 3 & Vice City from the last generation developed on PC then ported for PS2 and they turned out great.
But if you're planning on going multiplatform at all, then programmers must develop for all the target platforms at the same time. Doing anything else leads to terrible, terrible problems down the road. As we say in the biz, "If you haven't ported your code, it isn't portable." Otherwise you get massive delays later on when you have to rework the guts of the game because they don't work on X platform and you never tested it until the end.
That does not mean you can't take advantage of special features of the platforms you're targeting, but there's no such thing as an 'easy port', unless you're porting from the start.
Now, this may not be the best thing for the consumer - very often, it's tempting to write for the lowest common denominator - but for the developer it's critical.
Umm, I actually remember seeing GTA in a PS2 and a few months later on PC... Here in Chile games arrive by platform with a delay of at least one month between each other... And the pc version, on all stores, appeared 2 months later than expected...
Hope it helps with the discussion.
P.S: I'm more of a MMO pc gamer, and a Sport Console Gamer.
FPS and RTS games on consoles is kind of a wtf but so far fps has worked. I actually prefer console gaming because it is cheaper and more convenient and i think these will result in it completely dominating PC gaming. If you think about it, the PC is accessed with a mouse and keyboard with letters and symbols for typing, what u are actually doing is using a make-shift gaming machine.
Besides the always troublesome 360, consoles also offer stability. Parts created to function as one by the makers instead of various pc parts from various manufacturers that might fail at different times and there is the cost of being up to date in graphics.
My PC just crapped on me and i am now a self proclaimed console gamer. I cannot be bothered with buying new parts for the damn thing.
Migration fromConsole to PC back to Console
It is indeed true that in the 90's PC's ruled the gaming world for myself and most others. It was the transition from 2D graphics on your SNES to 3D games like Doom. PC's couldn't be touched by the consoles at that time.
I loved playing games such as Rainbow Six Rogue spear and counterstrike with the mouse and keyboard. I couldn't imagine a better setup at the time! Also, we could do "LAN parties" and include many people at once. Something consoles hadn't introduced.
The xbox was the first of the consoles to get me off of my PC and back onto my sofa with a controller in hand. Halo brought me back. Multiplayer, great graphics and the controls were superb. No more fumbling the keys on my keyboard it was all right there in the palm of my hands. At this point I can't see myself going back to PC gaming. I couldn't afford constantly upgrading my PC to keep up with the latest and greatest PC titles. I love turning on the console and getting directly into the action even if it does mean sacrificing a few frames per second and lacks some of the intense graphics PC's provide.
There are a handful of PC titles that still play better on the PC such as MMOs. There is so much going on that a simple controller can't quite cut it. But once keyboards and mice are included with consoles what much else is needed? i forsee the next gen blowing us all away and will find the PC going to the back burner perhaps for good! ...except for with the hardcore PC guys.