There is a war that runs even deeper than the one waged between consoles each generation. It is a secret war, a hidden war. You all know it, but you assume the victor has already been chosen. Let's reopen those old wounds, shall we? It's time to pit the PS4 and the PC together in an epic battle that will be waged until the end of time.
PC > PS4? The Battle Begins!
Let's examine the PC as a gaming device. First of all, did you watch that video of GTA V on the PC above? Did you see how incredible it looks and plays? That's not an accident, that's the power of a gaming PC that is equipped with technology to run GTA V as it was meant to be played, which brings me to my next point. Nothing is set in stone with a PC as you can upgrade hardware parts to your liking. This might sound a bit complicated for someone who just wants to play games, but after a few years PC gamers are usually thankful that they can get their hands on new technology without having to buy a brand new machine.
Then, there is the competitive edge the PC offers. Still to this day, nothing beats the control and precision of a mouse and keyboard, especially for first-person shooters. The PS3 did support the combo for games like Unreal Tournament 3, but it went absolutely unnoticed and our standard controller won’t be replaced any time soon. Finally, let’s not forget the freedom the PC gives to the user and gamer. When you buy a console, you’re sort of a slave to what the company gives you. On a PC, any user on the web can come to the rescue of a particular problem in and out of your game and program something to fix it. That help can come in the form of brand new mods for your game or system fixes that patch the holes the developers left behind. Oh and let’s not forget that a program like Steam can help make your PC feel a little more like a console if you’re a beginner.
First Blood! Do We Have a Winner?
The benefits of a PC go beyond simple things like graphics and fixes to common problems. The PC is a canvas by which artists who are capable of understanding its language can paint their masterpieces. Many games have mods that add entirely new content for the game, in many cases at no additional cost. Yes, you can pump up the graphics, but you can also rest assured that the game will run at the frame rate and speed it was intended to.
Nothing is more atmosphere shattering than a sudden drop in frame rate. Unfortunately, there were plenty of examples on the PS3 where a game would run poorly compared to the PC version. A perfect example was Batman: Arkham Origins. I played this on the console first and I didn't like it. The other night I booted up the PC version and I was blown away. The graphics were incredible when turned up, the frame rate was buttery smooth, and the whole experience felt polished and optimized.
That's what PC offers, and it's why many times we see game reveals running on a computer instead of a console. The power is there, and the ability to keep pace with the market in terms of technology means you'll never be behind, provided you have the funds to keep up with the growing technology. So yes, there has always been a gap in the technology between consoles and PC as time goes on, but what about now?
The PS4 is more like a PC than any console before it. The system has modern level specs and an architecture that makes it friendly to all levels of developers. Now that the gap is smaller than ever, where do we stand in this ongoing battle?
Then, what does the PS4 offer that the PC doesn’t? Well, peace of mind, first of all. The “plug and play” experience offered by gaming consoles is still unmatched. Everything is supposed to work out of the box and is especially designed for gaming. When technical problems arise on your PC, you need to spend time reformatting, reinstalling, patching, etc. while the worst that can happen with a Playstation console is really having to ship it back to Sony to receive a new one. When you don’t even want to bother with computer lingo and computer repair stores, consoles are totally the way to go.
Or PS4 > PC?
Now let's examine it from the other side of the equation. The PC offers flexibility, top notch graphics and gameplay, and the precision of a mouse of an keyboard. On the downside, if something goes wrong, troubleshooting something that complex is a nightmare. It's also costly to keep up with the modern PC market. With new technology coming down the pipeline constantly, your wallet is going to hate you when it comes time to get that new NVIDIA Titan video card. Installation and building is also complicated, especially if you're not trained in how to do it.
Once you're in though, these things become second nature. It's a good life, the one of a PC gamer, but it's also costly and time consuming. Therefore, it's not for everyone. In the final years of the PS3, I would have ruled the PC the better choice, but with the PS4 now out and over a year old, I'm seeing the divide narrowing between the two. My biggest complaint with consoles last generation was the incredulous difference between the PC and console version of a game, but now the PS4 is showing titles that come extremely close to their PC counterparts, more so than ever.
The differences are subtle, but the performance is there and it looks incredible, and honestly, that's all I ever wanted. Do I want to play GTA V with max settings and at 60 FPS? Of course, who wouldn't, but I could also simply slide the disc into my PS4 and jump right into the game. No setting adjustments, no driver updates, just plug and play. That's where consoles will always have the upper hand. 99% of the time, you will put your game in and you will play it.
On the PC, this is still mostly the case, but too often will I find myself tweaking settings, adjusting files, or troubleshooting a title because it won't launch correctly. The PS4 has shown me that consoles can go toe-to-toe with the PC and bring both performance and convenience in a way that quells the PC Master Race genes in me. Call me a traitor or a turncoat, but I think my days of trying to keep my gigantic CPU tower up to par are coming to an end. For me, it's time to hang up the mouse and keyboard and grab the DualShock 4.
The war still wages on my friends! Where do you stand in this conflict? Do you keep your PC updated and on the forefront of technology? Tell us your thoughts and your specs in the comments below!