Gaming is big business. The industry is worth billions worldwide and much of this is spent on the console market. With the release of the next-generation consoles from PlayStation and Xbox just around the corner, this trend looks set to continue. Sales of the Nintendo 3DS are also up, with the company gaining market share over recent months.
Despite the rise of console gaming, PC gaming retains a large fan base, even though increasing numbers of us are shunning laptops and desktop computers in favour of tablets.
It’s all too easy to forget where the industry began. These days games development is big business, with thousands of people working as programmers, sound engineers, writers and in other related fields. Just over 25 years ago, the industry was driven by enthusiasts, tapping away in their homes. Today games have million-dollar budgets and can take years to complete.
PC or Console?
20 years ago it was PC gaming that took centre stage, but these days the vast majority of retail space is dedicated to console games and accessories. High-street stores have seen a huge decrease in the sales of PC games. It’s not surprising when you can download PC games so easily. This saves you from lugging software around and gives access to automatic updates and social communities.
Gaming PCs are often built as a labour of love, from a collection of specially sourced parts, which is fine if you have a passion for technology but daunting for the average person. However, there is lots of information on the internet and building a PC might be simpler than you think.
For the less adventurous, pre-built machines can be purchased to satisfy the needs of the most committed gamer. However, there is no doubt that a console is cheaper. But most of us need a PC anyway, so you’ll have other uses for it besides gaming.
So is it worth investing in a PC for gaming? Ultimately, it’s down to personal preference. You’ll find it hard to beat the satisfaction of building your own PC from scratch and a PC will always be at the forefront in terms of processing power, owing to the ability to upgrade the hardware. One issue to be aware of is that PC games are also more prone to bugs, as it is difficult for developers to test their software on every possible PC configuration.
This processing power enables a PC to run games with powerful graphics and audio capabilities — something which might push a console to its very limits. A mouse and keyboard can also offer far more control than a game pad. A gaming PC is highly useful if you share a household with TV addicts.
If you want easy-to-access gaming with reliable software, a console is probably your best option. But if you’re looking for superior graphics and audio and the chance to turn gaming into a satisfying hobby, PC gaming could be the way forward.