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Why don't more people play on PC?


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My biggest problem with current PC gaming is the lack of ownership - the platform is far too DRM-heavy for my tastes. I like to collect games and replay them. Today's PC gaming doesn't really allow for that.

But for indie gaming I've been considering the PC platform more and more lately. Whenever an indie game is made available on consoles, I always check to see if it is also available DRM-free on PC before I consider a purchase. I purchased Shovel Knight on Wii U because I know I can find it DRM-free on PC whenever my Wii U dies, for example. (This was well before the physical release was announced.) I prefer console gaming but I'm thinking it's about time to find a good PC controller and take the plunge with Indie Box, GOG.com, etc.

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  • Retromags Curator

Because f*ck DRM, Steam, Origin, monthly fees, buying a new graphics card every few months, digital activation, single-use installation codes, always-on connection requirements, developers who can't even port a game properly (hello, Arkham Knight, surprised to see you here), and people who don't use the Oxford comma. That's why. ;)

*huggles*
Areala

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Because f*ck DRM, Steam, Origin, monthly fees, buying a new graphics card every few months, digital activation, single-use installation codes, always-on connection requirements, developers who can't even port a game properly (hello, Arkham Knight, surprised to see you here), and people who don't use the Oxford comma. That's why. ;)

*huggles*

Areala

DRM - And consoles are any better? Not that I can tell if you look at GOG.com for example.

Steam - great collection of older and current games quite often for excellent prices when you factor in their sales etc

Origin - not as good as Steam but the only way to play EA games. You can include UBIPlay in this too .....

The above really aren't all that different to the console environments like Xbox Live which means there's no disadvantage there

Digital Activation - I'll give you this one although really, the consoles have esoteric disc formats which form the basis of protection along with mandatory accounts anyway, so I'm not sure how PC's requiring activation hurts when you factor in copy protection formats like Safedisc have been rendered obsolete by the latest Windows 7/8/10 updates. Disabling protection on the disc in favor of activation in theory allows for software backups once again.

Always on connection requirements - Depends what you want to play I guess .....

Console Ports Gone Bad - Why on earth would anyone want a console port on a PC in the first place? They're generally fairly crap games with poor file saving and linear game-play in the majority of cases. Ugh!!!! As far as I can tell with Batman: Arkham Knight it sounds like they bit off more than they can chew touting features like 4K gaming etc. With the consoles pretty ordinary specs they had to dumb it down to get them running properly in the first place so either they overloaded the PC version or they simply have crap coders. I think it's a case of both scenarios on this one.

Buying a new video card - at least you can actually do that for a PC. Try that on any other platform. Nope ...

The whole point is that PC's are indeed upgradable unlike any other platform. Logic dictates that if a company codes for a given specification then in theory, every upgrade from that point on results in better performance. I know the counter argument is that software developers don't have a defined standard to code to but but as long as they define what specs they have set as a minimum criteria then it's up to the consumer to make a decision on whether they need an upgrade or not.

Forgetting all the above for a second, there's one undeniable reason for PC gaming..... Emulation. Nothing can touch a PC for emulating older gaming systems. Trying to keep consoles like the Dreamcast going when Sega has abandoned production of GD-R drives etc mean the PC represents the only way of retaining your ability to play it. Factor in the ability to use all manner of controllers (you can even use Wii controllers and Nunchucks for example) along with emulators for pretty much every older system ever created and that alone is worth it in my books.

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  • Retromags Curator

Consoles actually are better about DRM, if only slightly. Skyrim on PC requires a Steam account in order to install it. It's not terribly intrusive, you only have to authenticate it once and then you're done, but once you've authenticated that key, that's it. That's your copy of the game, and you can do nothing else with it. Lend it to a friend? Sell it to someone else? Give it to your sister to play while you take a holiday? Nope, nope, and nope.

Skyrim on consoles: insert disc, install game, start playing. No internet connection necessary. You can re-sell the game if you decide you no longer want it, you can lend it to a friend to check out, play it on multiple systems with no strings attached.

I love GOG, and I support them in their mission to release DRM-free software, especially older games patched to work on newer systems. I've bought a number of games through them, including the Atomic Edition of Duke Nukem 3D. Great service. Pity they don't carry Bethesda, Valve, EA, or UbiSoft products.

Always-on verification does indeed depend on what you want to play. Millions of people would have LOVED to play the new incarnation of SimCity when it came out, but despite buying physical copies at their local store, they found only overloaded servers, extended wait times, and frustration when they installed their $50 game. Similar thing happened to Diablo III. EA is notorious for requiring online activation for certain games and DLC, then disabling those servers in the future, rendering PC versions of their games broken or completely unplayable (older sports titles, The Saboteur, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, etc...). These were AAA titles with dedicated single-player modes, not games like World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic which require a persistent connection to provide the multi-player only experience they promised, and you cannot play them now because of this ignorant practice.

Diablo III on PS3: Put in the disc, install the game, no internet verification required, no overloaded servers preventing you from playing a game you legitimately purchased the day you bring it home. Where's the down-side to this, again? :)

One might want a port of a console game if said gamer only owned a PC and was interested in playing any of the triple-A titles released by the likes of Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed), Bethesda (Fallout/Elder Scrolls) or Rocksteady (Batman: Arkham series). Game development anymore is aimed at consoles first, with the PC being a port instead of the other way around. Unless the game was developed exclusively for the PC at first, like Half-Life 2 or Crysis, there's a better than average chance it was coded for a Microsoft or Sony console and then ported to the PC. :)

Emulators: Absolutely, 100% agree with you there. But what are you doing with most emulators? Playing console games. Why play console games on your PC? Because they weren't released on the computer in the first place, so you've no other choice if you don't have the console. ;)

But you concede my point about the Oxford comma, so all is forgiven. <3

*huggles*
Areala

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Hehe .... I wasn't going to go there :-)

Seriously though, I like consoles and have owned just about every popular one over the years. My biggest console love was for the Dreamcast of which I owned five of them over the years but the GD-R drives kept clapping out. The last unit I replaced the drive twice but then SEGA discontinued making them completely, moving Naomi to pure flash RAM and I decided to end my love affair with said console. The PC has given me a way to continue playing software greats like Soul Calibur and many hours have been spent with my nephew thrashing each other on that along with a myriad other games.

Then there's my three screen gaming with NFS: Hot Pursuit. No chance of accomplishing that with a console.

About the only thing I use my Xbox One for is as a Plex client in the lounge and I'm toying with replacing it with an Intel NUC (I already have one setup in the bedroom) or going to the new Apple TV.

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  • Retromags Curator

Prior to 2005, my platform of choice was also the PC. But as soon as DRM-heavy games started showing up en masse, and publishers began deciding when, how, and if I was allowed to play the games I had legally purchased, I made the choice to abandon PC gaming all together. I don't play multi-player games hardly at all, so why should I be forced to connect to a server anywhere to be allowed to play the single-player campaign? In Blizzard's case, a problem with one game can knock all of their games off-line. World of Warcraft players were punished because Diablo III knocked out the Battle.net servers: a game they were not wanting to play right then prevented them from playing a game that they did. Can you imagine how frustrating that had to be? I don't even play WoW and it irritates me.

EA, Ubisoft, and others have all faced the same problem: legit copies of games purchased by willing buyers are rendered unplayable because of overloaded verification systems, server maintenance, or the gamer's internet connection being temporarily down when all they wanted to do was build some more of their city in SimCity or sneak through a factory killing terrorists in Splinter Cell. Why do gamers continue to put up with, much less make up excuses for, such obvious bullshit? :)

*huggles*
Areala

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I'm not a fan of DRM either, and it took me forever to join up with Steam. Thankfully, GOG.com offers DRM free games, as well as HumbleBundle.com Also, the DRM is getting heavy handed with consoles too. It's always been there, since Nintendo began fighting against emulators and ROMs, to the severe DRM on any console online storefront. I'm not defending it at all, but it's on any platform you game on anymore.

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At least we have GOG and can still run pretty much every program ever written for a PC thanks to the likes of DOSbox, let alone almost every console prior to the Xbox generation .....

Truthfully, the current generation of Xbox and PS4 are really just a PC anyway so technically there's not much preventing Microsoft or Sony from running PC software (especially with Windows 10 about to drop onto Xbox One's any day now) which would likely make PC buyers think about a console purchase rather than a dedicated PC but in reality it's unlikely to happen as they don't want to ruin the sale of native software or have their consoles proven to be less capable than a "real" PC.

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  • Retromags Curator

I shouldn't say I made the choice to completely abandon PC gaming, because I didn't. What I did abandon were any new PC games that required some form of DRM with which I did not agree. Sure, you can always buy the game legit, then download a patch to remove the Steam authentication bits or whatever, but with most things I'd want to play on the PC also available on consoles, I say cut out the middle man.

I still play tons of stuff on my PC: older adventure titles, DOS-era games, updates to first-person shooters like the Brutal Doom mod, etc... I just don't do modern stuff on it any longer. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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The main reason I never liked playing on PC was the comfort level. I like to sit on a couch or lay down while playing. I also feel annoyed having a windows interface to navigate to launch a game, it just feels kind of weird. I can't explain it. It's just one of those things that always bothered me.

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Hehe .... I wasn't going to go there :-)

Seriously though, I like consoles and have owned just about every popular one over the years. My biggest console love was for the Dreamcast of which I owned five of them over the years but the GD-R drives kept clapping out. The last unit I replaced the drive twice but then SEGA discontinued making them completely, moving Naomi to pure flash RAM and I decided to end my love affair with said console. The PC has given me a way to continue playing software greats like Soul Calibur and many hours have been spent with my nephew thrashing each other on that along with a myriad other games.

Then there's my three screen gaming with NFS: Hot Pursuit. No chance of accomplishing that with a console.

About the only thing I use my Xbox One for is as a Plex client in the lounge and I'm toying with replacing it with an Intel NUC (I already have one setup in the bedroom) or going to the new Apple TV.

You should check out the new USB GDROM cards they are selling now for Dreamcast. It's a board that you swap out with your GDROM drive that allows you to load games off of s USB hard drive or thumb stick. I think this is going to be the way to go for Dreamcast. I just got my card but haven't had the time to install it it yet. I'll be sure to post when I do. Sure you can download ISO disks,mount if you want you can rip your own game disks to use with it. Saves wear and tear and protects you collection from disc rot. Eventually all DC games will have disk rot so if you want to play on real hardware this is going to be the way to do it.

As far as computer gaming. I like it it. I love Steam. I'm not a fan of sitting in front of a computer to play games. I may pick up a steam box at some point. My gaming PC is still fairly robust though. For multiplayer games I much prefer PC because of mouse keyboard controls, game mods, and custom servers that are not run by game company's. I tend to stay away from PC for single player games. Except Valve games like Half Life and Portal, due to the PC versions being generally superior to console.

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If you already have a competent gaming PC, I would skip the Steam Machine in favor of a Steam Link and an AC router. Steam controller is decent after you learn to use it, but I would go with the Logitech F710 controller, maybe Steam Controller as a second controller.

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PC gaming is still a different medium to consoles.
I prefer rts, sim, mmo's and fps games with a mouse and keyboard sat firmly on a desk.
Action, sports, jrpg's and platform games, i like on console while chilling on the couch.
Some types of games are fine on either system eg. racing games, as long as you have a controller. Games like Tiger Woods Golf is actually a completely different experience with a mouse, it's really up to personal preference.

One thing I have to say is in response to ownership, I have had a steam account since Half Life 2 forced me to get one (2004 i think?).
For years I didn't like the idea of this, but as the last console generation started to fizzle out with the end of the Wii, I realized that Steam actually lets me keep my games forever, consoles do not.

Since online activation became the norm for pc's, there is really no DRM other than activating a unique key to your account. At a time though, DRM was a serious issue for me as well, especially from 2005-2009ish with starforce mallware and securom that only allowed me 5 installations of a purchased game. This however I resolved for 90% of the discs I got, as when Origin launched and EA were the main cullprits using securom, I (painstakingly) demanded my games back and luckily got all of them. A few games like Alone in the Dark and Riddick remakes I unfortunately lost. So I understand completety that probably many PC users were lost to this idiotic business practice.

And this brings me to the scourge that's annoying me with consoles now and making me wonder to drop modern console gaming all together.
If I want to play 8-bit games on the Wii-U, that I allready bought for the 2nd time on the Wii, I have to buy them for a 3rd time unless Im happy with AV signal on a HDTV. So I'm gonna have to buy them again on the NX?
Consoles have a nasty habit of making me buy old stuff I love again, even though I have the original cart. Im not saying I want the game because I bought it 30 years ago, but buying it once now on a single account that transfer between console generations should be enough.

With the quality of emulators on the PC, (at least up to and including the PS1) I am finding it harder and harder to validate a purchase of old games on new consoles.

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With the quality of emulators on the PC, (at least up to and including the PS1) I am finding it harder and harder to validate a purchase of old games on new consoles.

I think that should read up to and including Dreamcast, Gamecube/Wii as if you have tried those you'll find they are getting pretty darned close to 100% as well :)

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Might as well throw PS2 in that lot too. To be honest, the only console of that gen that isn't emulated well is the original X-Box, which is actually the closest to a PC a console was during that era.

Recently got reminded why I stick to PC. Just picked up Fallout 4, Metal Gear 5, and Grand Theft Auto 5 for a grand total of 120 dollars.

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Might as well throw PS2 in that lot too. To be honest, the only console of that gen that isn't emulated well is the original X-Box, which is actually the closest to a PC a console was during that era.

One thing I don't understand, if it was so close to a PC, why is it so hard to emulate? Shouldn't it have been the easiest to emulate?

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Hardware doesn't equal easy to emulate. It's all down to additional factors such as encryption, the underlying OS coding etc.

Take Sega's Lindbergh arcade for example. It's a Pentium P4 based PC with an additional AES encryption module. It's taken a significant period of time to crack, finally, but now the people who cracked it are making money by hacking it to allow multi-game setups by the sound of it so no sign of an emulator appearing when the hackers are making money off their work.

I'm guessing that the Xbox is in a similar situation with encryption given Microsoft even applied an encryption hardware chip on the consoles DVD drive so you couldn't use any other drive other than the official unit. With that type of issue it really becomes just as difficult as anything else to emulate.

There have been breakthroughs however so if they do crack it she should be fairly easy to get full speed emulation going. The Taito X/X2 arcade units are, again, a PC system using a custom Linux OS. This has been cracked and there are emulators capable of running their games full speed on a PC which I can attest to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And if you are considering playing older games the PC absolutely rules for retro-gaming :)

There are some great emulators available for Android. The really good ones aren't free but you get what you pay for. I have purchased emulators for the NES, SNES and Genesis and they are almost flawless. Even better if you spring for a good bluetooth control pad!

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  • 2 weeks later...

For example I figured a way to play on PC and enjoy. As much as retro fan, I'm owning XB360,PS4,Nintendo Wii (old one). So for my PC play I have this low budget 14' laptop for all my GOG.COM needs. I plugged HDMI from my laptop to my TV and vuolia - I'm playing good old Deus Ex, System Shock, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Might and Magic VI,VII,VIII and even Heroes of Might and Magic III and Stronghold Crusader on the Big Screen and DRM free.

Bottom line - PS4 for new generation DRM Free games, PC - for ultimate classics :)

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Yeah, agree with the comfort factor of hitting the power button on my controller and dropping back into my couch to play a game on my Xbox One or Wii U. The consoles are path of least resistance. Plus, I sit in front of a computer screen at a desk all day and often in the evening working on school work so I look forward to a game on the weekend with a console.

Having stated the above, I do prefer certain gaming moments on PC so I like to do a little gaming on whatever the mood calls for :-). Also, I will plug the Nvidia Shield tablet for pinball (fantastic fun with Pinball Arcade) and also for emulation. I have a Shield controller and will say that emulating older consoles on this device is really close to playing them on the real thing, plus I can take tons of classic games with me anywhere! Though the experience isn't nearly as good when I hook the Shield tablet up via HDMI to my large screen LED TV. It introduces lag and pixelates everything. I prefer to play with the tablet propped up on the 7" tablet screen as the games are not pixelated and look like I remember them on older CRT's, plus no lag so old Turbografx shooters like Blazing Lazers, Soldier Blade, R-Type and the like are a blast to play. Emulators I use are; NES.emu, PCE.emu, MD.emu, SuperRetro16, and Mupen64. ROMs stored and run from a 16GB microSD memory card.

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