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The Great Migration: Why We’re Seeing More And More PC Gamers

There’s no denying it, now. The Console War is over. The winner? Surprisingly, no-one, really. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are instead having to come to terms with playing on the same field as the gaming platform that has always sat distant, undisturbed, and insulated from their back-and-forth victories and losses.

PC gaming has come back in a big way, in particular in the last couple generations. More and more people are starting move from consoles to PCs or at least no longer exclusively sticking to their joypads and opting for mouse and keyboards. Why is it happening, and why should you consider making the leap if you haven’t, already?

Photo by Liam Wheelden

Let’s be honest, it’s all thanks to Valve

We’re not going to be keeping any credit from where it’s due. There are some other great PC gaming platforms like GOG and some, er, other platforms like EA’s Origin. But Valve made PC gaming a lot more accessible with the click of their fingers and a puff of smoke. Or rather a puff of Steam. Steam has become the most impressive storefront in all of PC gaming, being the hub for almost every release, with gamers now able to explore, buy, review, and seek support on titles all from one place. In the past, you had to buy from lots of different sources, leave reviews in entirely different places, and seek support from scattered forums across the internet. Steam changed the PC gaming marketplace in enough ways to justify its own article.

An indisputable greater range of games

Console exclusivity is how the war once used to be fought, but that’s looking like it’s slowly falling by the wayside. Consoles no longer have the range of killer apps they once did, except perhaps for Nintendo. The amount of developers realizing just how big the PC gaming market is might be part of the reason. Beyond the greater range of ports rounding out the PC’s lineup, the platform is simply better for certain kinds of games. Halo Wars 2 fans experienced this when they got the chance to play their favorite franchise’s RTS on a mouse and keyboard compared to the clunky controller schemes.

Pic by Anti Virus 777

Have it how you like it

Not only do you get a greater range of games on the PC, but you get a much greater range of experiences even within the same game. The ability to mod games to allow for just about anything the community creates has been one of the biggest strength of PC gaming for a long. Take Mount & Blade, for instance. The first-person medieval combat RPG has seen some of the broadest ranges of mods, taking players to whole new settings and including whole new mechanics, including the ability to play in the Westeros of Game Of Thrones, feudal Japan with roaming samurai, or the muskets and gunpowder smoke of Napoleonic Europe. That’s only one of the more impressive examples of how mods can ultimately change the games we play.

The community

Who makes those mods? The community. We’ve already mentioned modding and support, which is one of the best functions of the PC gaming community. But there are a lot more. Yes, PC gamers can be more than a little annoying with their constant praise of the platform. But they’re also the most likely to help you find information on a game, be more informed on game bugs and issues to keep you up-to-date on a game’s performance, and so on. One example of a community that really gets the most out of their games are the fans at the Paradox Plaza.

Pic by Daniel Benavides

It’s simply better

It doesn’t cost a lot to get a PC that runs games better than a PS4 or Xbox One. If you’re willing to buy in the range of performance-tuned gaming computers, you are getting a piece of hardware that’s going to not only be outclassing the current generation of consoles, but most likely the next one, and still probably competing with the generation that comes after that. There’s also the fact that consoles are starting to lose some of the features that kept them competitive. Day one patches and constant update downloads are all part of the PC gaming experience but are starting to rankle console players, too. Nowadays, many see consoles as little more than PCs with inferior specs.

PC gaming is going nowhere fast. As more people start moving communities, more companies start releasing games on the platform that they never would have, and as consoles lose the initial value that had them compare favorably, the PC market and user base will continue to grow. A lot of people think that’s a wonderful thing.

 

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