A new generation is starting in a few weeks, and more than ever before, I see "opinions" on PC gaming sprouting up that range from laughable to inherently disingenuous.
Be it the "exorbitant" start-up costs, general apprehension at having to deal with drivers, dismay at the sheer number of choices and options, you name it, there's always some barrier or excuse used as to why it's bad or stupid or stupidly expensive.
I'd like to take a moment to perhaps help some of our lesser informed brethren understand a few things about PC gaming, and why it's really not as scary as it's been proposed.
[Example: Sure, PC gaming is nice, but what if I don't have $3,000 to spend on a good rig?]
Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly used, albeit, idiotic reasons for avoiding PC gaming and unfortunately, many poor souls are caught by this deceptive hyperbole.
Let's face it, You can't build a PC that will run games at Playstation 4 spec for exactly $400 and that makes it a very attractive sale for a vast swath of gamers. Is it a bad move? Nope. The Playstation brand is a strong one with a stable of notable and talented first party studios and IPs, a Playstation has always been a good gaming investment.
BUT! You are being fooled by a low barrier of entry and led blissfully into a ballooning long-term cost, and that has never been more true than now, with both MS and Sony charging you for multiplayer. Allow me to demonstrate this cost over a fixed 5 year period. (Warning: These are strictly baseline figures, your mileage will inevitably vary)
(Ed note: I'm using the PS4 because it has the lowest cost entry into next-gen)
A Playstation 4 will cost you $400 on day one. Assuming you don't have PS Plus already (We're going to make this assumption) and you buy a subscription, that will run you $50 for a year.
This does not account for accessories. On to games. Assuming you buy all of your games new (Renting, Sales, Borrowing from Friends all not accounted for), let's assume that over 5 years, you purchase a modest sum of 30 retail games (Digital also unaccounted for) at $60 a pop.
Thus, by the end of year 5 and start of year 6, you would have spent a total of $400 for your console, $250 for PS Plus, and a whopping $1800 on games, accessories and digital purchases unaccounted for. For safety, we will round up to $2500. (Note: this is for just 5 years. Should this upcoming gen stretch like the last ...)
That is, without a doubt, a considerable amount of money, made less significant by the fact that you did not pay it up front, but rather over time, which is easier to handle.
This sum of money here, represents the biggest hurdle for PC gaming adopters to overcome: the Upfront Cost or Start-Up Cost.
A good gaming PC will not cost you $2500. Not unless you are starting completely from scratch, without even a monitor and KB/M or buying high-level enthusiast parts.
One of the greatest things about building your own PC now is that thanks to boom of electronic sales via online retailing, you don't have to buy all your components at once. Piece-mealing (as long as it's not spread out over too long a period) a build is completely practical. Frequent sales on sites like NewEgg, NCIX, and Amazon make purchases range from bearable to outright steals (depending on how quick or attentive you are).
Enthusiast websites like Tom'sHardware and AnandTech offer the latest news on PC technology and reviews on various and diverse hardware and software to aid you in your decision making.
Setting up an OS is no longer anywhere are complicated as it was a decade ago (and it was pretty easy then too!) and the answer to almost any PC related problem is simply a google search away. You can now even use your phone or tablet to watch a video on youtube with step-by-step instructions on how to assemble all the parts of your PC.
The truth of the matter is, a solid, reliable PC can cost your anywhere between $650-1200 dollars, depending on who you use for CPU/GPU (Dat Intel/Nvidia brand tax tho), what your other intentions are for the PC, budget, etc.
On top of that, you may not even need to buy all of these parts completely new. Yes, I realize that might be a bit disconcerting, but thanks to Reddit's HardwareSwap and Ebay (Always buy from sellers with solid feedback!), buying used PC parts for a build has NEVER been easier. I bought a great, reliable GTX 470 card from a HardwareSwapper on Reddit for $70, and there are PLENTY of great deals out there provided you're willing to haggle and fight for what you want.
It has literally NEVER been easier to game on PC.
Now, please don't see this as me trying to convert you to PC gaming. Yes, the Master Race is indeed glorious. Yes, the sun shines longer on us, and we breathe cleaner air. Yes, our bodies are nourished by the will of Gaben, we're better lovers, and we have no natural enemies. None of that should dissuade you from being a filth- err, remaining a console only gamer.
However, if you've held notions that PC gaming was this intensely expensive and complicated affair, you should know. It's not.
TO BE CONTINUED ...