For years, people have been asking if PC gaming is dying. There’s a valid, but misguided reasons for the question. Complete PC sales are down. Component sales are down – though Pascal and Polaris helped pick things up a bit. Brand new game sales on PC are general down too – lower than the numbers you’d find on the consoles.
I don’t, however, think PC gaming is dying, or anything even close to it. I do, however, think it’s perhaps becoming less appealing. Many of its advantages are being whittled away for whatever reasons. While it’s true that there are many more PC gamers, it seems that most of them are playing just a handful of games; Counter Strike: Go, Dota 2, League of Legends, Warframe and World of Warcraft. While PC gaming is earning more money overall than consoles, it’s largely confined to that handful of games. The PC is also a much more active home for indie gaming.
It makes a little sense then, that so many PC ports of new “AAA” games aren’t given the focus and attention they deserve. Just about every new blockbuster AAA game that hits PC is crippled or broken in some way. Then there’s the pricing argument. Where PC gaming was once cheaper overall, pricing is very quickly catching up – and brand new games on PC cost just about as much as they do on console. New games are regularly selling for in excess of R1000. Steam sales aren’t nearly as appealing as they used to be, and consoles now offer sales that also give away games at great pricing.
Consoles now – thanks to the release of the PS 4 Pro – are capable of higher end visuals too, with some games (like The Last of Us and Skyrim: Special Edition) even rendering natively at 4K, though most use clever upscaling techniques to keep things running smoothly (but still looking great). Consoles now support mods, so one of the PC’s best features is also diminishing.
On the flipside, consoles are becoming more and more like PC’s – which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how you like to play your games. Of course there’s the question of control; PC gamers will always favour using office equipment for their movement and aiming. But you know what? They don’t have Bloodborne or Uncharted 4.
While we could debate about the merits of each over the other for all eternity, the real question is – with pricing parity, poor ports and great console exclusives, is PC gaming losing its appeal?
Last Updated: November 11, 2016