Disclaimer: I don’t consider my self in any way a ‘fanboy’. I dislike fanboys. Although I do have a few favorite or preferred ‘brands’, I tend to look at all brands equally.
Mid last year I wrote about how I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to make the leap to a next gen console, the main reason being the amount of releases (or lack thereof) scheduled for the future. While we’ve seen that improve over the last 12 months, many would argue the quality of console releases has been a rather mixed bag. Hyped titles such as Titanfall and Destiny have left players slightly underwhelmed, while other games such as The Evil Within have been massive successes. I also find the trend of ‘remastering’ recent last gen hits to be a tad lazy on the publishers part – while it will be interesting to see Grand Theft Auto 5 get a next gen upgrade, on the other hand I feel as if the publishers/developers are just ‘padding’ – trying to buy some time from the consumer, as if they weren’t quite ready for a Next Gen world. And when Sony and Microsoft hit ‘go’, it was like being left on live TV without a cue card, and what resulted is the equivalent of the Publishers/Developers filling their pants.
As far as a new console goes, I also managed to pick up a Wii U a few months back, and overall it’s been quite impressive. Games such as Mario Kart 8, Wind Waker HD and Earthbound on the Virtual Console have given some awesome gaming experiences. However, while upcoming games such as Smash Brothers Wii U and, of course, Zelda U look promising, I am at the moment slightly miffed with Nintendo at the moment. This is due to their handling of one of my favorite survival horror series, Fatal Frame, and Nintendo’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge that it has a decent fanbase in the west, thus denying it an English release.
My qualms with Nintendo aside, nearly 18 months on from the release of the two other big consoles, I’m still finding myself struggling to justify the purchase of a next-gen/current-gen console.
I originally did have a PS4 purchase in mind. This was due to two major titles – Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 – however these don’t look to be released until well late in 2015, possibly even 2016. Also, for the sake of balance, a few of the releases on the Xbox One front look equally intriguing, having dabbled in the Halo franchise in the past the Halo Master Chief Collection looks interesting, as well as Sunset Overdrive (which admittedly is on the 360 anyway.)
The thing is, lately I’ve found myself being persuaded into the PC master race camp. Most of the big ‘Next Gen’ releases are also getting a PC release, although at first I was finding it difficult trying to justify a (possibly) complete Intel i7 upgrade against the (relatively) more inexpensive PS4 console, and kept delegating a PC upgrade to the ‘too hard’ basket. “After all” I thought, “while my current PC has seen better days, it’s doing fine at the moment. What with it’s rattling fan, bursting HDD’s and increasingly outdating CPU…” – If you close your eyes and listen closely you can probably hear my PC wheezing again.
All the same, it was a spark that grew gradually over time. Just as I was trying to move away from the idea of throwing cash into the big black hole that is PC Tech, I found myself more and more on websites such as PC Partpicker, starting to piece together what CPU would fit into what Motherboard, and what PSU would be enough to power the entire population of Adelaide. Looking at different YouTube channels such as TekSyndicate and LinusTechTips probably didn’t help to squash the bug (also lucky I don’t have a wife…wait, that’s not a good thing…) who, amongst providing some great advice and demonstrations, often provided videos on building a ‘console killer’ PC, and making some pretty convincing cases as to why PC gaming would be the way to go, and why goatees are totally not a hipster thing.
It’s not like I’ve never been a PC gamer though. Although I have been predominantly a console player, I have managed to gather a growing steam library, as well as a good handful of physical PC games. While the majority of these probably get filed away and forgotten, I do find myself undertaking a decent PC marathon whenever I have family staying (I do talk to them. For at least 5 minutes.) I’m also rather proud to say that every computer I’ve personally owned I’ve assembled and put together myself. So it’s not as though I’ve shunned PC gaming, more rather I’ve been a console person first and foremost, whilst dabbling in the deep pool of the PC Master Race here and there. Such has been the pattern for every console generation in my adult life.
This time has been rather different though. Traditionally for a PC upgrade I usually follow the pattern of hastily researching the cheapest parts, possibly being ripped off at the dodgiest computer market (you know – the ones that are stuck in an age where they’re preparing you for Y2K,) or even (for my last effort) driving to a suburb of Sydney that I’ve never been too (and haven’t since) for the cheapest part, banging together a trailer park excuse for a PC, and then promptly forgetting any and all tech trends that precede or follow my poor excuse of a rig.
This time, I’ve found myself taking the time to research things. Utilizing the power of YouTube, I’ve been re-learning the tech from the ground up, just like some Pro-golfers go back to basics before a tour season. I’ve also found myself getting into it more, joining tech forums, observing the brutality of the AMD vs Intel war, and drooling over PC Builds like they were the latest Playboy pictorial. Heck, lately I’ve even been looking at water cooling.
I think the point where I decided to commit my self to the PC Master Race was at EB Expo, when a 5 minute session in front of a gaming PC resulted in the discovery that a decent PC will restart to the windows screen faster than the lifespan of a Dim Sim in Clive Palmer’s lunch. It was at that particular moment I decided to make the commitment to build a decent PC from the ground up.
There are other factors, of course. Twitch is a big thing – building a decent Twitch channel would be great to compliment both this blog, and my own YouTube channel, which is also another big reason to put the effort into doing a decent build. Plus my day job as a Audio Producer might call for somewhat of a decent system to handle the many pies I have my finger in.
Plus, after seeing stuff like this at PAX Australia, it’s hard not to get a tad inspired.
So I guess the final question is – am I done with Console Gaming?
I think, at this moment in time, my lounge is just fine without a brand spanking new PS4 or Xbox One on the shelf. That may change in the future as prices come down and we see more of what ‘Next Gen’ has to offer without the aid of a last gen hit or PC being offered as the other option.
I should add as a final note – I’m still collecting for Playstation on a semi-regular basis, including PS1, PS2 and PS3, which is proving both easy and expensive at the same time. While the current crop of PS3 titles look to be a cheap price for the time being, there are still some rare gems across the Playstation brand that, if I’m interested, will more than likely demand a higher price tag. I guess at the moment the collecting may have to go on hold, until the PC project is completed.
So that’s my take on the whole ‘Next Gen Console vs PC’ debate. I think as time goes on I plan to have a few more ‘PC/Tech’ based posts on here, including updates on building the new ‘Big Rig’. I also hope soon to integrate my YouTube channel with the blog a bit more, providing video content to accompany articles and vice versa. Stay tuned…