5 Reasons PC Gaming Isn’t Dead

5 Reasons PC Gaming Isn’t Dead

When groups of people gather to chatter about video games, a lot of untrue statements get thrown back and forth. It’s nothing new: in the days of the 16-bit console wars, there was always that person who would swear by everything holy that Nintendo and Sega were working on a console together (his uncle, who worked at Nintendo, told him so).

One of the most popular modern misconceptions is, “PC gaming is dead.” That statement isn’t simply untrue: it’s enough to make anyone who knows otherwise grab their hair and grit their teeth. Here are five reasons why:

PCs are a pioneer in digital game distribution — “Of course PC gaming is dead,” scoffs Joe Average. “Walk into a GameStop and tell me how many PC games you see on the shelves.”

A game’s availability at retail has always been a spotty way of determining its popularity (“Want a copy of Deadly Towers? Plenty to go around!”). Nowadays, it’s useless. Though consumers still favor retail as their means of acquiring console games, the digital market is growing rapidly. Meanwhile, PC gamers turned to the online marketplace a long time ago.

Valve launched Steam in 2003, and the service has since grown to became the premier distributor of PC games. Though you can still find PC games sold at retail, it’s simply more convenient to download them if you can spare the bandwidth. Console fans are only beginning to fall thoroughly in love with digital distribution, but PC users were married to the online market years ago.

PC’s have thrived in times when consoles were unpopular, or outright dead — The Video Game Industry Crash of 1983 (or 1984, depending on whom you ask) is a well-known event. What fewer people seem to remember, however, is that computer games remained popular while console games declined. In fact, the rise of the affordable PC was one of the major factors that contributed to the crash: clever advertisers asked parents why they were wasting money on “toys” for their kids when computers could play games and prepare them for college?

In other words, PC gaming has retained steady popularity since its conception, whereas public interest in console gaming has gone through dips and over peaks.

Many PC gamers love having the power to customize their rig — In that vein, it’s important to remember that PC gaming holds a special lure to gamers who enjoy customizing their experience on some level. The PC boom during the industry crash allowed amateur programmers to build their own games. Similarly, modern-day PC’s allow interested parties to essentially build their own computer to suit their performance tastes. Not everyone has the skill to build their own computer, and not everyone enjoys the task, but those who do find it a rewarding, enjoyable project that makes playing games on that PC all the more satisfying.

By contrast, console manufacturers discourage any sort of customization or tampering, and even tend to frown on homebrew games and apps. If you buy a console to play your games, what you take out of the box is essentially what you get. It’s uncomplicated and hassle-free, but that kind of straightforwardness isn’t enjoyed by every gamer.

PC’s are where MMOs live — Massive multiplayer online games–MMOGs–are huge. And the rise of the free-to-play market means they’re only only getting bigger. MMOs are no longer simply limited to medieval multi-player games like World of Warcraft, Ultima Online, and EverQuest. Now there are MMO games to suit every taste and genre, and the vast majority of them are exclusive to the PC. In fact, given the popularity of the free-to-play and social markets, the PC might be considered the most popular game console that’s currently in use.

PC’s are getting cheaper, which makes them serious competition for consoles — Computers, particularly desktop computers, are becoming more affordable with every passing year. Competition from sleek laptops as well as tablets, keeps PC pricing on a downward trend.

There was once a time when consoles were considered the cheap, easy alternative for people who just want to play some cool games, but with console tech becoming more complex and therefore expensive, will game systems continue to look like the more affordable choice when stacked up against a typical gaming PC? We’ll certainly find out in this coming console generation!

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. Name one pc you can buy for 200 bucks. Sorry wrong answer! There isnt one. Name one game you can buy for the pc thats NOT on the console and IS NOT an MMO. Answer – none. Every game thats fun and worth the time is on console. All the items that made pc gaming fun like…online gameplay. The console has now. With the new generations of consoles coming out later this year like the new Wii. The pc is dead. Waaaay dead. The MMO is the only thing that keeps pc’s alive and that generation of games wants to do nothing but clone off wow. But heay if you want to keep wasting hundred on upgrading a pc with only MMO titles to feed it by all means, knock yourself out. Shooting away at enemies on CoD with a mouse is a blast. NOT!!!

  2. Christian Alexander

    @James Guthrie
    Obvious troll is obvious! You even contradict yourself! How can PC gaming be kept alive by MMO´s when the PC is already dead as you claim?

    There are actually tons of Games worth playing that are not on Consoles and none of them are MMO´s!Red Orchestra 1+2, Silent Hunter Series, Arma I+II, Company of Heroes, Men of War, The Witcher 1, Crysis Warhead, Total War series, pretty much all Simulators and many of the Indie Games aswell as most Free2Play and Browser games! Only about 20% of PC players actually play MMO´s so it´s quite safe to say that MMo´s are not even close to keep PC gaming alive!

    Also what people always forget to mention if they talk about the cheap consoles is the much higher value you get from a PC. Try to use Office and Photoshop or other programms on a console or even browse in the internet easily! NOT POSSIBLE! You have to buy additional devices to do so and most of the time you end up paying as much or even more money!

    PC gaming has evolved and boxed sales on PC have declined a lot but over 25 million Steam users prove that by any means it is definately NOT DEAD and everyone who is still claiming that has no idea what he is talking about!

    In fact with Gaikai, Onlive and Smart-TV´s/Apple TV on the horizon the PC might even outlive consoles…but thats a topic for attention seekers who constanlty proclaim the death of something!

  3. Um… Starcraft 2 and any other RTS/strategy game…? Sims? Spore? How is PC dead? Aren’t you using one to type out that comment?

    Starcraft 2 is an eSport? Diablo 3 with millions of sales? Quake, with its huge eSport following? And soon to come out – CS:GO? No, PC gaming is far from dead. In fact, I argue the opposite. Console gaming is dying. Games costing 10-20 more on consoles with (especially newer titles) low, low replay value. I’m still playing SC:BW even though SC2 is out. I’m still playing CounterStrike even though BF3 and COD are out. And I’d take my G700 over an analog for aiming any day. Any game on a console? Can be handled by a well-made computer. Doesn’t work the other way around.

    What consoles have going for them are that they are cheaper. But at the end of the day, I’m using my computer for work, entertainment, shopping, and a number of other things. And my PS3, 360, and Wii? They’re sitting there idly until I decide I want to turn them on to play. And an advantage consoles have? They have a controller specifically created for gaming (analogs), which allow for degrees of movement (move speed).

    How to save consoles? Seriously, stop with the low-quality, high-priced games. Socom 4, RE:ORC, FFXIII, Dead Island. The only, and I mean, only console games I’m looking forward to right now are RE:6 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and God only knows when Square will finally release it.

    And programming for consoles is a pain. Seriously. Even though I’m saying those games sucked, a -lot- of work was put into it and I really appreciate that. Just… probably should have hired someone like me to play the game first and make sure it’s playable, fun, balanced, and either has replay value or causes epiphanies. Like MGS:4. Christ, that was a good game. Like, really, -that- was a damn good game and a reason I bought a PS3.

    Oh, and one last thing about console gaming – that b/s about monthly payments to play online… on -top- of a monthly internet bill? No. “But we get better servers and, and, and…” No. I’m not paying monthly for SC2. TF2 and BF3 for PC work fine without subscriptions. No.

    And shooting enemies on CoD, BF3, TF2, CS, GR:FS, and all the FPSes that are on PC? With my G700 or Xai? Very awesome. Feels like “FPS Doug” every time. ;)

    Oh, and JRPGs. That’s another thing I like my consoles for. Go figure though, that market’s dying. =\

  4. I honestly prefer PC gaming over console, I hate joysticks and the graphics on consoles have a limit! PC games don’t have limits. Graphic cards are cutting edge, new processors come out each year. The games just look way better on PC. On top of it all, Multi-player rules on the PC. It just feels better, it has better communication and you can make more friends and feel like you’re part of a crew. While console gaming is just isolating!

    Gaming Author
    Spin Palace

  5. @James: A PC may be more expensive than a console, but it makes up for it by having other uses. Not only can I play games on it, I can also browse the internet, watch TV and Movies, and mod and even MAKE games – among many, many other uses. So that, I think, is well worth a bit of extra scratch – particularly given that if I am choosing between spending 400 dollars 20-50 at a time over five years or spending 200 dollars in one go, the 400 dollar option is still much, much easier on me.

    While most games are available on console, it’s much more convenient for me to get them on PC as well – if I can’t make it to a game retailer, I’m SoL for buying console games. with PC, I pop on steam and get the game of my choice. and if I don’t like the keyboard set up(Which I don’t sometimes, admittedly), I can just plug in a controller. Most games nowadays have compatibility for that.

    Redundancy does not equate to death. that’s why there are three major consoles on the market instead of one. Consoles may be able to do what PC’s can(And not all of it, mind), but that doesn’t mean that PC’s can’t still do it too.

  6. “Name one game you can buy for the pc thats NOT on the console … Answer – none… All the items that made pc gaming fun like…online gameplay. The console has now. With the new generations of consoles coming out later this year like the new Wii. The pc is dead.”

    Not true. This is the sort of statement that comes from those who stand on one side of the field. The thing is console and pc gaming are different, they only seem “alike” when games are adapted for multiple platforms so we see “familiarity” as “similarity”.

    “The Elder Scrolls” (which if you didn’t know includes Skyrim and started in PC thus plays much smoother), the “Diablo” series, “EVE”, “Kingdom of Amalur”(Which was originally intended to be a PC game but was later decided to be outsourced to the home consoles) and not to mention the slurge of indie games you can download from places like “Steam” are just some of the things that set PC gaming apart. Sure many people just see the MMO, but that is not the only thing accesible to the public. PC gaming is a much diverse as console gaming,(if not more)and allows the player more options in terms of customizations and smooth playability.

    The thing is, consoles have a place,I’m not against them,( I own both PC’s equipped for gaming and Multiple consoles from different generations), but sadly the big companies are holding out, stretching the life of outdated consoles which are struggling to keep up to par to the changing demands. I mean sure while tablets and smartphones keep raising the graphics bar its not the same, but the fact that the big industry giants keep stretching out the life of these consoles past their usual expectancy leaves them outdated in comparison to the ever changing availability of pc’s and tablets. I mean theres even going to be a new console competitor, (Ouya). Who is to say that if the major consoles don’t update for the sake of progress they won’t be replaced by some new and more powerful machine made by “Razer” or even (I’m sad to say) “Apple”.

    Consoles (just like PC’s) are excellent machines, which enable both hardcore and casual players to enjoy forms of entertainment. But, if consoles fail to improve among their counterparts (be them competitor of not) they fall behind, waaay behind. This is why console gaming cannot destroy pc gaming, not in its entirety. While console gaming may stay behind a few pegs PC’s offer immediate acces to the innovative. I mean, it’s only been recently that the XBL got Minecraft.

  7. PC gaming will never end, there are to many popular online games, many of which are free to play

Leave a Reply