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.”