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PC Gaming: Come, Let Us Reason Together (Part One)

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.


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slapedurmomsace1753d ago

Good blog. I can appreciate you trying to bring more gamers into the world of PC games. Only 2 things caught my attention as maybe a little off. You say that after 5 yrs you'd be at about $1800 or so. Rounding that up an additional $700 is incredibly confusing/overkill. You have to remember there are a ton of gamers who literally only buy COD and Madden. That's it. Also I have never met one single gamer that pays full price for all of there games. Outta 30 games, most might pay full price for $10 of them. Used will always be cheaper, as will waiting for price drops. <--obviously

As for the gamers that do pay full price and will spend $2500 plus on console gaming, these are the same people that will need the best in their rigs. They aren't gonna want a PC that's on par with the next gen consoles, they already have that. Now they could save some money by buying AMD but even than, after you throw in the OS blah blah blah, it'll be $1200 minimum.

I agree though PC gaming is only going to get better and cheaper and of course you don't have to worry if you can play your older games, and can emulate older console games as well. I do agree however there is no better time to get into PC gaming though.

Agent-861753d ago (Edited 1753d ago )

"You say that after 5 yrs you'd be at about $1800 or so. Rounding that up an additional $700 is incredibly confusing/overkill." You are forgetting the $400 for the PS4 console plus $250 for five years of PS+ in the author's calculation. $1800 was his estimate for only the games (30 games over 5 years at $60 each) and $2500 was his total with the PS4 and PS+.

memots1753d ago

And that is witouth an extra controller or any accessories

slapedurmomsace1753d ago (Edited 1753d ago )

you are absolutely right. He's basically adding $50 for safety. My bad, reading comprehension..sometimes you have it, sometimes you're me. lol

cpayne931752d ago

It's hard for me to imagine that someone would buy every single game they own at full price on release. I mean, the only game I've payed full price for this gen was the last of us. For just about everything else I got for 30 or less. Also, and there is also an unpredictable variable this article didn't mention, and that's the free games with ps+. Hopefully the service will be just as good on ps4 as it was on ps3. It was awesome on Vita, made the entire purchase worth it. Gravity Rush, Uncharted, Wipeout, Zero Escape, Mutant Blobs, gta, rayman, and now soul sacrifice and oddworld. Easily payed off the 180 I spent for the system on black friday.

TopDudeMan1752d ago (Edited 1752d ago )

Most PC games open for retail at $50 or $40- depending on the game. So let's take 50 to be on the safe side. So on PC you'd be saving roughly $300 (1800 minus 1500) on games alone for those 5 years. So add that to the PS plus and that's a $550 difference over 5 years.

The only other thing to take into account is PS Plus's instant game collection and whether or not you'd use it- which actually kinda evens it out if you do. Only problem I have with that is not getting to choose the game you get for free. You're getting whatever they give you, pretty much.

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Are_The_MaDNess1753d ago

funny and great read!
agree with you. its not as hard or as bad as it was just a few years ago.
PC gaming is better.

+now adays you find better free to play games than normal games >___<

got over 500 games on my steam and i still just play Dota 2, CS GO and Skyrim still.......

the bane of having a steam backlog of unplayed games :D

thorstein1753d ago

Good blog. And, as you said, the consoles do have games that you can't play on PC and PC has games you can't play on consoles.

I would also like to add that there are places you can go to virtually "build" a PC, and I am not talking Alienware or Dell. Add that you really only need to get a PC (the box) as you can find the monitor, speakers, mouse, and keyboard for pennies through other retailers, these "build your own" PC websites are perfect.

You can also do a ton of research on components and get what you want. I personally like Tom's Hardware for this, but there are many reputable (make sure they are) sites that review hardware.

Again, nice blog. I am definitely in the PS3/4 PC gamer category.

zero_gamer1753d ago

Good blog, but unfortunately there's nothing you can do to reason with willful ignorance. I've tried doing that for years, but now there's more of it than ever before.

lex-10201753d ago (Edited 1753d ago )

Interesting blog. I play PC as well as other consoles so I feel the need to say that your blog is a bit misleading mostly because you gave numbers at how expensive console gaming is without giving equivalent numbers for PC.

Let's take your "cheapest" pc. $650 as you said + the same 30 games over 5 years. A lot of times PC games are $10 cheaper but a good portion are still $60 so we'll round this to $55 a game. That means you're spending about $1650 for games, $650 for a PC = $2300 which comes out to $150 cheaper than what the Actual price of the math you presented above would be ($2450). That's for a baseline PC.

Now let's take the cheapest you could build a computer that will run everything on Ultra. I built mine to run everything ultra at as cheap as possible. Now replacing the parts I purchased with their new price and doing a 10% depreciation to cover technology going down in price we're looking at around $800. With that math $800+$1650 for games you actually reach the exact price of what you estimated for consoles $2450.

I only wrote all this because it will help to strengthen your blog to provide numbers for the PC as well as the current consoles.

Convas1752d ago

Games are the next part of my blog, I plan to address the cost issue there.

I guarantee you, with sites like GreenManGaming around, they literally make it difficult for you to even buy games at $50 any more, they throw so many sales and vouchers at you.

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