PC Gamers are Propping Up the Declining PC Market

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Ch0plol

I can't even imagine myself switching to console gaming. Ever since I built my first gaming PC at 13 years old it has been no looking back. Maybe once consoles become fully modifiable, tweakable, and have more utility beyond gaming then I'd consider it. However, that would just make them into what a PC already is and has been for years.

Consoles are great for casual gaming, for the kids, and for your average consumer who doesn't know an FSB from a USB; but for those who take the time to learn the ins and outs of PC's there's nothing else that comes close.

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elias21

we like the power and brute like features that come with a gaming pc.

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ApathyCurve

Makes sense to me. I have a self-built PC in the "man cave," and a few steps away are motorcycles and a sports car. And lawn equipment... power tools... (insert Tim Talyor noises) =)

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pastorbob

I'm not a PC Gamer by any stretch of the definition. But I do use applications that benefit from the extra horsepower and graphics capabilities required by most games. And I enjoy the rush I get when I boost that power or build a new system that is several steps above the previous one.

In 30+ years of using PCs I have only purchased two factory built desktops, and those early-on when you could still customize and modify OEMs because they used standard hardware.

I hope the day never comes when I will be forced to buy pre-builts or that my customization options will be limited.

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Cody Gunter

As long as my pc can run valve games, that is all I need.

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Ghost XFX

When you get tired of seeing those consoles laying all over the place, it's then you realize consoles are for kids. As for PC sales, who's still buying those heaps of junk anyways? Build your own, and feel what it's like to kick the man in the tender parts!

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Slugbait

Take Zynga as an example: when they first appeared, the "casual gaming" niche was seen as the Next Big Thing(TM). Tons of companies followed suit, many more companies were created. Simple games, designed for simple devices, played by simple people.

Fast-forward to today: Zynga will shut down omgpop next month, which they purchased a year ago for $200M. Four games are being killed as well. They aren't the only ones who are bleeding, either.

The death knell has been sounded so many times for the PC over the last two decades, first because of consoles, then because of hand-helds, now again because of consoles. But the PC never even begins to fade. Instead, every year we see faster and more powerful CPUs, faster and more powerful GPUs, etc. And an entire third-party ecosystem thrives via various online services, a multitude of specialized input devices, frivolous customization hardware, etc. And the games keep coming.

The resiliency and advancements of the PC has always been because of games.

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Ghok

The first PC Gamer I ever bought was (I believe) 13 years ago. Along with a story about Diablo 2, one the magazine's main articles was about how PC gaming was not dying, and how these new consoles that were coming out were not a threat. It also talked about how PC gaming has always been considered to be dying. It's been dying for years now, apparently.

Funnily enough, the upcoming PC game Halo was one of the main things cited as being something for PC gamers to look forward to.

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jbitzer

Pc gaming's been dying for over 20 years. It hasn't gone anywhere.

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jgottberg

I think I've come to realize that I've outgrown the PC gaming scene. I used to love pouring money into upgrades to get faster FPS and see how hard I could push my machine. Unfortunately, life happens and I have too many responsibilities and way too many hands in my wallet to keep up. I don't have nearly the time I used to for tweaking, modding and fixing. I have a really nice PC for working from home and slogging through tedious chores but ultimately, I game on a console. I don't care if it's the best medium for the masses, but it is for me. I buy a game I see on the shelf and as long as it says PS3, I can play it. No mysteries of having enough RAM, supported video card, latest drivers, troubleshooting random crashes... I just play... for the 30 minutes I have time for on a daily basis.

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Chad727

I can completely understand this point of view after the nightmare I went through coming from my cross-fired 5770's to my new 7950. The catalyst updated drivers would not work and still don't to this day. AMD admitted it wasn't a hardware issue as the generic drivers that Win7 uses work fine. As soon as I install catalyst, the HDMI audio cuts in and out at random intervals across all applications. Headphones and motherboard audio aren't affected, only the HDMI audio via the card is affected. I even RMA'd the first one because of coil whine (that was a weird experience). If I had three kids, pets, and a house to take care of there's probably no way I would have the patience to figure out a work around. Thankfully I can still overclock and monitor via Afterburner. Consoles don't suffer suffer from the issues above. You plug them in, turn them on, and either they work or they don't. That being said, there's no way I'd trade my current system for a console. I enjoy using the machine way too much!

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PubstarHero

If you're really having that many problems, I think that its not PCs being the issue here. I guess that they really aren't for everyone. Seriously though, DX11 cards, 8 GB of RAM, and if you buy ATI, well Steam updates your graphics drivers for you. Its pretty clear cut what is need to run anything from the past year or so onward.

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Chad727

Actually AMD recently fixed the HDMI audio problem and my reference 7950 is running stable at over 1GHz on air. Once AMD fixed Catalyst, things became simple again. Just ran into a stretch of bad luck is all.

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Ghok

I don't understand posts like this, because I've not had a problem with a PC game in years. I upgrade every few years and I've not had to worry about a game not working. If a console works for you, that's awesome, but I just don't have the same problems you do.

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Renegade Knight

I was a PC gamer. Then console. Then back to PC's. Why? Mods.

I don't have the money to upgrade as often as I'd like but in reality I don't have to. My PC is good enough to game at full settings even if I'm drooling over newer and better. But the mods. They make all the difference. So I give up the upgrade, enjoy the mods and game on.

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Drew7

It's pretty sad that the new consoles are so watered down. In the last generation, it took a while for the PCs to catch-up unless you were willing to plop down primo cash for primo parts. If you were a mid-range fella like myself, those mid-range cards didn't really catch-up for like 2 years. I have an HD 7850 right now, which is MORE powerful than the Xbox One, and slightly less powerful than the PS4 (unless I overclock it). But what really gets me that people don't think about is the CPU power behind these new systems. 1.6 GHZ?! Are you kidding me?! Yeah, lets strap my HD 7850 to an 8 core 1.6 GHZ CPU... Talk about a MAJOR BOTTLENECK. Why would you do that, Sony/Microsoft??? I have a 6 core 1100T juiced to a full 3.7 GHZ on all cores all the time. Lets do some "theoretical math". 3.7 x 6 = 22.2 GHZ (theoretically). 1.6 x 8 = 12.8 GHZ (theoretically). That's almost 10 full gigahertz SLOWER. The physics and AI are gonna take a serious hit, compared to PCs, when games start getting super complex in about 3 years. Think about it. Xbox One and PS4 should have been full blown "Vishera" hybrid APUs at 4.0 GHZ per core. With the size of the consoles, considering they're big enough to fit an optical drive, it could have been done. Stoopid.

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Gikero

Adding up the core clock speeds isn't really a good way to measure power. It is a 8 core part clocked at 1.6Ghz. At least 8 threads. (I haven't heard that these parts are hyperthreaded) Besides, they need to keep power consumption and heat DOWN. Both manufactures don't want systems that RRoD constantly. No one wants a super loud system under their TV and I am willing to bet these won't be silent.

For the people who want a stripped down system that can play games, these will do just fine. From what I've seen, it always takes developers a few years to really show off what a console can do.

If they want something with more power, that is what a good PC is for. I remember being amazed that the 360 had a 3.2Ghz triple core CPU and 512MB of ram. I had a single core with 384MBs of RAM. Computer components have come so far since 2007. Most computers that I work on are still dual core at best. These consoles will outperform those computers easily.

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vrmlbasic

I had a single core computer with 384 MB of RAM once...in 2000/2001 or thereabouts. HP 8575C with a Pentium III 550 Mhz. 384 MB of RAM was all it supported. I haven't had less than a gig of RAM in a machine in the better part of a decade.

Are you implying that you had only 384 MB of RAM in a computer in 2007?! How much RAM did your GPU have? I get the impression that you were using vastly outdated machines then, making your comparison to the consoles rather wonky, like comparing the Concorde jet when it debuted to the Wright Bros airplane. What makes this even more astonishing, I guess you could say, is that the Xbox 360 came out in 2005. IMHO its specs weren't that impressive then: 512 MB of RAM to share between the video card, CPU and peripherals was much too low.

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Gikero

Yes, in 2007 that was my system. 2.4Ghz P4, 384MB RAM (stock was 256MB) and 32MB GPU. It was all I could afford. I thought the 360 was impressive because the highest end system I had seen (at the time) had a whopping 1GB of RAM and a hyperthreaded P4. Still hadn't seen a Athlon X2 or Pentium D and was only aware of them.

But, looking at it now I agree with your opinion of my comparison. Not really 1 to 1. I thought 512MB, in 2005 and in a $400 console seemed pretty generous. I remember MS touting it being GDDR3 assumed that meant it was faster.

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Drew7

That is why I said "theoretical math"... I know it's not an accurate measurement. But it's still a good base for getting my point across, that point being that AMD is strapping a weak CPU to a "decent" GPU. Lets not forget that AMD cores are already weak compared to Intel, and no... These cores are not "Hyperthreaded". That's 8 cores, 8 threads. That's like strapping my HD 7850 to a mobile CPU. Again... Why would you do that??? And even though my "theoretical math" isn't 100% accurate in me saying that the Jaguar CPU is about 10 GHZ slower than my 1100T... I repeat, "even if that is NOT accurate"... It's still "accurate enough" to show a strong performance difference. Even if you cut that number in HALF (5 GHZ slower), that's still a huge gap. And go ahead and cut THAT in half (2.5 GHZ slower), again... a decent gap. Point is, AMD should have made a TRUE "proprietary" APU for these systems. I think you bring-up a good point with your inquiry in regards to the notion of Hyperthreading (although this is an Intel trademark, you get the idea). If the Jaguar is only going to be 1.6 GHZ per core, instead of only 8 threads, it should be pumping 16. And instead of a GPU that just barely passes the HD 7850 mark, AMD should have juiced that 1.82 TFLOP chip to about 2.5 TFLOPS. a 16 thread CPU with a 2.5 TFLOP GPU would actually be "competitive" against PCs for the next 3-5 years. And if that raised the cost of the unit, so what... Console hardware always takes a loss, and makes-up for it with the games in the long run. This next generation of consoles lack ambition. Especially since Sony and Microsoft essentially just copied each other, in regards to architecture... What is that?! The glory days of consoles is over, with this generation. Watered down bunk.

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Gikero

Should have taken "theoretically" into more account instead of ranting. You make a good point.

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jgottberg

+1

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Blackheart-1220

PC über alles!!

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wolfing

Luckily for my wallet I stopped liking games that require high end graphics, so my 1.5 year old Zotac GTX 560 I bought for $165 should still be good for another 1.5 years. Also lucky that EQ Next announcement totally killed my expectations for the game (a Minecraft/Golden Axe hybrid? no thanks), so nothing on my radar will make me have to upgrade anything... Long live turn based games!

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vrmlbasic

Why is Golden Axe besmirching itself by melding with Minecraft, the ultimate in hipster gaming?

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jgottberg

.

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thedo114

I had the choice beetween spending 400-500$ on a new console or upgrade my PC. I spend that money on my pc with a new msi gtx 760 and an 250GB samsung 840 ssd and I have no regrets because my PC is already above the next gen console. The console that are comming out will already have old hardware by the time they are out and microsoft is reporting they expect the xbox-one to last 10 years before making a new console, so much for next-gen graphics/gaming. I also don't have the ability to play the 50 something xbox 360 games that I own and that is a major turn-off for me because I spent literraly thousands of dollars buying those games and all those controllers over the years and now it's just gonna be sitting there because my 360 just broke. So yeah I'll stick to PC for at least the next 10 years. Sorry for my english.

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stradric

I just spent about $800 on a brand new PC upgrade. At only $300 more than an Xbone, it's considerably more powerful, and I will easily recoup that cost over 2 or 3 years through Steam sales and not having to buy any new peripherals (like $60 controllers) or pay yearly membership fees (xbox live). PC gaming may carry a higher upfront cost, but has a much lower total cost of ownership -- especially when you factor in that the utility of a PC is far greater than that of a game console.

I also feel like building a custom PC is a lot like building a custom automobile (or at least a custom bicycle). It comes with a great sense of pride of ownership. I know all the components are hand-selected quality parts that were installed with great care by me.

I don't dislike consoles (I own a 360 and have had great enjoyment with it), but I do feel like many console owners are ignorant to the many hidden costs of the console ecosystem. This new console generation essentially abandons all the previous generation games, hardware and peripherals. That's a large cash investment that is essentially gone. Console gamers don't even take that cost into consideration, but it's very real. It all boils down to the fact that the industry loves consoles because console gamers are easily exploited. They pay full price for games. The buy proprietary peripherals and hardware. They pay yearly service charges. And the industry has got them by the balls.

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jbitzer

I'm not even moderately excited about the new crop of consoles. I have a PS4 on preorder, but it'll be basically a glorified appletv that I play singstar on.

I can't get enough time to game at my PC though.

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StonedMagician99

I fear the day when tablets and smartphones replace the desktop PC completely. There simply aren't enough PC gamers to compete for too long. I mean, will AAA PC game development simply disappear, leaving only notebooks, handhelds, and home consoles?

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John Pombrio

God knows I have supported my share of upgraded desktops. I have PCs all over the house, in relative's houses, and friends houses.
There is also a direct correlation between how good the desktop is and how much it is used in all of these places. Even folks who own laptop Macs or tablets use their Win7 desktops way more than their Macs. Big screens, great keyboards, snappy response, and tons of programs that get things done in a hurry. Funny thing is that only one or two of them play games with them even with high end graphics cards inside.
They also get spoiled. Once you have a great PC, it's hard to use a tablet or laptop while in the house and they relegate their usage of these devices to only when they are on the road or away from home.

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edchombeau

Retired--We like hi quality graphics and displays for photo/artwork . When traveling just take good laptops, and don't need Smartphones; just dumb cell phones. PC's made two years ago work fine. Upgrades are not needed as often. When these nice 24" monitors go I will look at a top end 30". I'm sure I will look forward to SSD's when my console craps out. What's really important in the PC is the processor and internet speed; wireless when traveling, and from my cable provider at home. So with very fast internet and fast SSD's , and Intel Broadwell's (2015)---looking at that time frame to replace my PC's---may get a touch tablet or 24" all in in one convertable for traveling?.

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elven1assasin

I agree with you john, the portability of a tablet is nice, but the speed and graphic demand that my gaming pc delivers will never be replaced by a tablet. I always come running back to my baby.