In my experience, I’ve noticed that video game enthusiasts have split themselves into two general categories of players. You have console gamers, which entertain themselves with products such as Xbox 360, PS3, and the Wii. Then on the other side of the spectrum is PC gamers that cannot break away from the trusty keyboard/mouse combo that started it all. Of course there other branches of gamers (family gaming, FPS’s, RPG’s, MMO’s, casual, competitive) but they all fall under these two types which really only tell what type of machine you use. Each group of gamers all want the same thing. To enjoy a great afternoon of escaping reality and making the impossible, possible. Fly through the air, jack a car without any repercussions, to fall into the middle a galactic battle beyond our realm and save a distant planet. Just another day for us guys. So if all of this technology gives us the same gratification and has the same purpose then why must they have this silent war between each other that you can find happening on so many video game blogs and conversations amongst friends?
Some “experts” say that it’s how skilled you are and all comes down to weather your dexterity is high enough to use a full key board and mouse together or if you can only handle a mere 15 or buttons that are held in the palm of your hands. As a console connoisseur myself, I will admit that the site of 104 buttons plus a wired handheld optical pointer is a bit intimidating. Other gamers speculate that this split also has to do with the type of games you are into. PC games are known for there fully emmersive MMORPG’s with the most familiar being World of Warcraft. Now it is true that consoles have the same type of idea with xbox live, Wii speak, and PS3 online, but it is much more limited. Games become much more linear and can you only do specific tasks or actions previously programmed in by the makers unlike many PC games where it is an open world and the only limit is your imagination.
Another contribution to the segregation of the gaming community is the actual hardware used. Desktop computers can quickly become extremely expensive. With the case, LCD screen, fans, state of the art graphics card, gaming keyboard (which has much more than the standard 104 keys), mouse, motherboard, ram, and hard drive, you can look upward to $1000 to truly appreciate the quality of gaming that you can achieve from a PC. True that there is a plethora of accessories you may purchase for a console but is not needed to jump right into the fun but everything listed for the PC is a necessity. And with the console lacking in so many wires and connectivity, it becomes much more portable so that if you wanted to take it to a friends house all that needs to be done is wrap up the power cord, unplug form the TV and your off. No huge tower to lug around with a monitor under your arm while a mouse is dangled around your neck and balancing a keyboard on your head.
But to give credit to the PC when looking at this, when it comes to customization, it wins by far. When you buy a preconstructed machine, you always have the option to open up the case and take out or put in any parts you’d like. Graphics card not strong enough for that brand new game that just came out? Just purchase a new one and replace the already existing one. With consoles, this is impossible. You are stuck with the hardware you have and you have no choice but to wait 5 or 6 years until the next generation consoles are released. True some expert computer whizzes have figured out a way to hack into these consoles and make them better but it is quite illegal and a whole other story.
Who really knows how long these two “empires” of gaming will keep feuding amongst each other. Maybe it will always be that way. Everyone has his or her preferences. Some like to have fun playing a game in their living room with a couple of buddies and a controller on their hand. Others will be drawn to the limitless world of computer gaming where they are the masters in control and the only limit is…. the size of your bank account. I personally have always wondered why this shouting match commences when people from each side come together in a forum and insist that one way of gaming is better than the other. When it all comes down to it, were all doing the same thing.
We picked up this hobby to escape this world and become what we most want to be. We keep playing because of the addictiveness of it. Its hard to stop playing when you know all you need is one thousand more experience points to the next level. We do it to meet new friends. It can be lined up next Myspace and Facebook when it comes to social networking. For example, I have a brother that is in the military and we don’t use the internet to keep in touch. We play video games and talk through a microphone on Xbox live. We do it to feel a sense of accomplishment. Whether its making it to the one-hundredth level, beating a final boss, or finding every hidden item, it may look like minor achievement to others but for us, life couldn’t be better. So if the console world and PC universe are so much alike, why can’t we put these petty differences aside and just get along?