PC Gaming Is Expensive and a Hassle, But I’m Lovin’ It

CrysisSo Paul’s latest comparison between PC and console gaming has created quite the firestorm. His financial analysis shows that console gaming is, in fact, cheaper even if plenty of commenters take issue with his assumptions.

But an important piece is missing from his analysis, which swings the vote even more so toward the console side: PC gaming is a huge hassle. This can’t easily be measured in dollars (hence the reason it’s left out of a financial analysis), but here’s my latest ridiculous example:

I play Crysis and think it’s both the most beautiful game I’ve seen plus one of the most fun games I’ve played in the last couple years (well worth the $45). Having said that, it’s still a love/hate relationship. You see, like many PC games, a patch was released a few months after the game was released. I didn’t find out about it until weeks after its release, of course, because no one told me. And I’m not actively browsing gaming sites daily in hopes for a patch release.

But it gets worse. I install the patch since it’s supposed to fix some bugs and better optimize the gaming experience. It seems to do so until about half way through the game. All of a sudden, it starts taking 5 minutes for any game saving (which you can do at anytime and which happens automatically at every checkpoint). The game become unplayable. Even not saving the game manually (just saving at the automatic checkpoints), I was waiting more than playing.

So that got old really fast, and I started browsing online game forums for clues. I found two forums with hundreds of gamers frustrated by this same issue. In fact, one of the forums is an official EA forum (publisher of the game) but has still seen no response by any moderators. After reading through the comments, I did find a solution. Here’s how it works:

The issue I was experiencing apparently had something to do with the new patch. The fix entails uninstalling the game, then reinstalling it, and finally downloading and using someone else’s saved games to pick up in the part of the game you left off. You can’t backup and use your saved games, you see, because they’re corrupted. And, of course, the most important part is that of NOT installing the patch that the publisher recommends for “better performance,” ironically.

So there you have it. A few hours of my life wasted on something that would have never happened with a console game. It’s 2008, why don’t PC games download and install patches automatically (when they become available) from within the game? Why is it acceptable for patches to break the game and the developer to simply ignore it?

At least this time I was able to find a solution to the problem. My previous gaming problem with Gears of War still has me with a $50 gaming paperweight. But I’ll say again what I said the first time around:

PC gaming is more fun for me. I enjoy being on the cutting (bleeding?) edge with the best possible graphics and games. I prefer the precision of the keyboard and mouse to the clunkiness of the console controller. But in terms of price and the “hassle” factor, it’s no wonder PC gaming has seen a decline in popularity recently. PC gaming is for fools, but I’m lovin’ it… when it works, that is.