Console Gaming: From the PC Gamer Perspective

About a month ago, I ordered an Xbox 360. My reasoning for not having one has revolved around the fact that I have plenty to keep me busy (in a good way) with PC games. But then came the announcement that pushed me to purchase: Netflix would soon be available via the Xbox 360. The irony here, though, is that I haven’t even experienced that combination (coming in the fall) but now wouldn’t give up my Xbox 360 even if the Netflix deal didn’t work out. Here’s why:

Comfortable Couch

Though my office chair is comfy enough, it’s not the same as our ultra-comfy couches. While I’ve traditionally favored the precision of a mouse and keyboard, they kind of force you more into a lean-forward position. You can play console games practically laying down (if you feel like it), something not very doable with PC games.

Game Demos

I had no idea this existed, but you can download/install/play a demo of practically any game available for the Xbox 360. It’s such an effortless process that it makes doing the same thing on a computer look like rocket science. I’ve always been a fan of game demos but hate the clunky process on the PC.

First, you have to find the right file to download, then you have to find a site that lets you download it without waiting in line first. Next comes the install which often asks you to install/update drivers. Then, if you’re lucky, it might just work without you having to tweak some settings or repeat some of the process above. With the Xbox 360, there is no install process, and the system works flawlessly every time (browse titles using an excellent user interface, download quickly with one button push, and play within a matter of minutes).

Streamlined Online Experience

Here is yet another area where the Xbox 360 shines and the PC has issues. If I want to play a game online with a friend, it’s often a nightmare on the PC. You have to adjust/tweak/disable hardware and software firewalls on both ends. Unless you want your computer to be openly available on the Internet, this process it different for every game. What else is different for every game on the PC? Voice chat.

But on the Xbox 360, there’s a platform built-in and easy to use (and the same) for every game. Playing games and chatting with friends is a couple button pushes away, every time! Pardon the excitement, it’s just that it’s such a new concept for a PC gamer. Also, I’m a fan of the gamertag and “achievement” points. Basically, every Xbox 360 gamer has a profile that shows which games he/she has played and what points he/she has achieved throughout all these games. In short, I love the features that come from the whole gaming experience being housed in a controlled environment.

Big Screen, Big Sound

We have a 46″ HD TV with speakers much nicer sounding than the set on our PC… enough said.

Media Extender

Previously, looking at our pictures (or other media) on the big screen consisted of plugging in a laptop. It’s easy enough but annoying enough that I don’t do it that often. But who knew it was so easy to link up your Xbox 360 with your PC? And then there’s the nifty ability to listen to any of our music (streamed from our PC) in the background while playing whatever game.

Fighting Games

I’m a huge fan of Dead or Alive 4 and the recently released Soul Calibur IV even if, in the past, I resorted to playing these types of games only when hanging out at someone’s place where they were available. But it’s fun to indulge in a genre that is practically non-existent on the PC (yeah, yeah, it’s there, and so is RTS on the console… but we know which platform was meant for each of these genres).

Conclusion

And there you have it: a gaming experience unlike any other. I’m not saying that overall it’s better necessarily, just different (well, it is better in some ways but the reverse is true too). And different in this case is also great.

As for PC gaming… I still stand by my previous posts “PC Gaming Is For Fools, But I Still Love It” and “PC Gaming Is Expensive and a Hassle, But I’m Lovin’ It.”

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  • Jerry

    Or, use your HDTV as your PC monitor and buy a wireless kb/mouse. Problem solved :)

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Not a bad idea, but then, where would the keyboard and mouse be located? The keyboard could be on my lap, I suppose, but what surface do I use for the mouse while sitting on my couch? Maybe I'll make a custom TV-dinner tray or something that works as a stable place for both keyboard and mouse…

    But that's not even the biggest problem… which I think is that computers/desks in the front room right next to your TV only work for single people (unless you're really cramped for space). :-) It takes a lot of work (and money) to make a computer NOT stick out like a sore thumb in a front room. Plus, for a lot of people (including me), you just put two things together that have the potential to get in each other's way. Having them separated makes them easier to share / avoids conflict. :-)

  • Kekrops

    1. You do realize you can get a gamepad for pcs? and that they existed before consoles?
    2. That depends on where you look for demos, for example PC demos are also available in magazines dvds, and the good websites that contain up to date demos dont have 40mins waiting for download either(like fileplanet).
    3. The same service available for Xbox has been made available for windows for quite some time (Games for Windows Live!). Hardware issues are non-existent if you buy vista certified hardware, and non-existent if you have windows xp.
    As far as firewalls are concerned, Xbox has one built-in that doesnt bug you with permissions because everything you can access from the Xbox has already been approved on their firewall exception list.
    4. You can hook up that TV to the PC, providing your video card is not more than 2-3years old. For the full HD experience on the PC you're gonna need max 1year old card. You can hook up those speakers to a 5year old Creative Sound card and they will sound better then on the setup you have now.
    5. Yah emm just start winamp and minimize it while you play a game? Tech Degree required.
    6. Again you can buy a gamepad for your PC and the game plays exactly the same, I dont see what other differences there may be.
    7. Conclusion is that you dont know what you're talking about.

  • Hi

    Wrong! SUKKA!!!!!

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Kekrops, I'm very aware that I can mimic the experiences I listed above in a PC gaming environment. But the point is more that the console gaming experience is designed to work flawlessly out-of-the-box.

    Hearing that all I have to do is get demos from magazines, buy only certain games, use a particular OS, move my office computer, buy extra hardware (gamepad), etc. and presto! the same experience… I'm sure there's no hassle or room for issues to arise. Yeah, right.

  • orakga

    Sounds pretty fair to me. I think, the more experienced you are, and assuming you can afford them, all consoles fulfill a different set a needs for a gamer. I'm glad you were able to experience the console end of the benefits.

    Now you just need to try the PS3 at some point. Pretty much the same experience, really, but different set of games.

  • oops

    should have got a ps3

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Are the games that different? I am interested in MGS4 (played through and beat Halo 3 but think I might like MGS4 more). But otherwise, Soul Calibur IV and COD4 are on both consoles (two games I really like). And I've heard nowadays there's less and less exclusive content for one console or the other.

  • vinny

    Yes xbox live is great microsoft really took control over the gaming industry when they launched xbox live i am an avid player on xbox live and on playstation online and there is no comparison between the two xbox has playstation beat by a long shot. As far as pc games i really never got into it because there was to much involved especially how fast computers outdate and games become more advanced you cant run them on your computer so i stayed away from the pc gaming

  • http://www.globalracingschools.com Racing Schools

    Using a HDTV is really a cool idea, why didn't I think of that.

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    I have yet to experience playing XBox on a HDTV but it's definitely worth a try.

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    I have already given up my xbox360 for Wii. It has been a rather different experience playing Wii all this while.
    Rif Chia

  • http://www.howtomakekefir.com Whereisaron

    PC gaming is dynamic, it always improve. You can use your HDTV, Huge speakers for PC, etc. But if anyone felt it so hard to customize when we play online for instance, well that is the art of PC. :)

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    I think it depends on the purpose. If you like to play a game only, then console is the option. But if you want to work and and you want to play a game or for others multimedia, then PC is your best option.

  • http://www.angularcheilitistreatments.com Angular Cheilitis Cure

    I think it depends on the purpose. If you like to play a game only, then console is the option. But if you want to work and and you want to play a game or for others multimedia, then PC is your best option.

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