An upsetting realization

Posted on November 9, 2010

I’ve been building my own computers for at least the past twelve years. Every time I do a new build, I add in a discrete graphics card. Way back when I was playing (what at the time were) graphics heavy games, I would splurge a bit and get a really good card so I could keep playing. So now I’m looking into doing another build for myself, and I came to a rather upsetting realization: that I perhaps don’t need a discrete graphics card as I once did.

it’s not you, it’s me.

This realization is easily attributable to the fact that nearly all games I play now are console-based. I played Oblivion on my computer, and also got some Unreal Tournament 4 later on, but that was several years ago. These days I take full advantage of my PS3 and 360 not out of ease of use (though console gaming is a much easier way to play games) but because the major game releases these days are on consoles. With the exceptions of MMOs and RTSes, at least, that statement is true. From a developer’s perspective I can understand how it came to be that way: building games to work on a relatively standardized platform and hardware is way easier than having to deal with the quirks of various graphics cards, drivers, operating systems, and so on. Right now there’s a similar battle going on between developers of mobile apps, and whether they want to build for the iPhone or Android.

I guess I’m saddened by the change of PC gaming to console. Maybe part of it is out of nostalgia from when I was growing up (though I did play a lot of console games then too) but a good part of it could just be a change in my lifestyle. Either way, it’s a bit disheartening.

One response to “An upsetting realization”

  1. Chris says:

    It’s alright, Greg. I went through the same thing after college. The cost/benefit ratio of maintaining a gaming rig just doesn’t make sense for most people. That’s the other reason the developers look at consoles — they don’t have to worry about a userbase that is limited by the amount of money normal sane people are willing to spend on a gaming system. $350 for a gaming system that’ll last 5+ years, or $350 just for a videocard that will obsolete in 2 years?

    I got a pretty beastly gaming rig back in 2003 and was really excited to use it, until I realized I basically had no time for it back in college. By the time I could, it was already a dinosaur. It had gotten to the point that I really only played 1 or 2 console games a year and not really any PC games. What’s the point of maintaining a competent system you’re not actually going to use? Turn those graphics card dollars into camera lenses, or console games, or maybe just rice pudding.

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