Goodbye, consoles

For more than a decade, an Xbox console has lived under my television. I started with the original and moved on to the 360, and I have to admit that both offered a great couch-gaming experience in their day. The Xbox One isn’t in my future, though. Instead, I’m going to build myself a new home-theater PC.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-Xbone or even anti-console. The latest generation of Xbox and PlayStation machines has definite appeal. But, for the first time ever, the PC is comfortable enough in the living room that I don’t need a complementary console.

PCs have long worked in the living room, of course. I’ve had one hooked up to my TV forever. For a long time, though, home-theater gaming rigs felt like transplanted desktops. Even when dressed up in spouse-friendly enclosures and filled with quiet hardware, they were always hampered by a Windows operating system that wasn’t designed to be used from the couch.

Steam’s Big Picture UI

Then, along came Steam’s Big Picture GUI. Unlike the Windows desktop, this interface can be navigated comfortably at a distance with little more than a gamepad. The graphics are decent, the layout is reasonably intuitive, and everything feels generally snappy. Big Picture Mode fundamentally changed my living room gaming experience for the better, and it’s the single biggest reason I’m passing on the new generation of consoles.

The supersized Steam UI still has some rough edges. Not all games have controller support, and some of those that do still require a keyboard and mouse to log in to third-party services like Uplay and GFWL. New additions can require a trip to the desktop to install DirectX and other packages. These quirks are annoying, but they reinforce the superiority of the Big Picture UI. When everything works as it should, the interface offers a seamless experience from purchasing to playing.

Big Picture mode is limited to Steam games, but that’s more of a benefit than a detriment. Steam is easily the best game distribution platform around. Downloads are speedy, the DRM restrictions are generally reasonable, community-generated content is encouraged, and the selection of titles is incredibly diverse. Bargains abound, too, making it possible to build an extensive game library on the cheap. I’ve amassed a collection of really excellent indie titles at only a few bucks a pop. Blockbusters aren’t as cheap, but they receive plenty of discounts of their own.

Skyrim for $7.49? Sold.

Thanks to Steam, PC games are generally cheaper than their console counterparts. I wouldn’t go so far as to say PC gaming is cheaper as a whole, but over the long run, the difference is narrower than the console sticker prices suggest.

Up front, there’s no question that buying a gaming PC is more expensive than getting the latest console. Once you factor in the cost of comparable hardware, a decent controller, and a Windows license (sorry, SteamOS just isn’t there yet), it’s hard to come anywhere close to the Xbone’s $500 price tag, let alone the PS4’s $400 sticker. PCs deliver a lot more flexibility—and often a lot more power—but you pay for it.

The thing is, consoles aren’t really as cheap as they seem on the shelf. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both have subscription fees attached to online multiplayer gaming. Microsoft charges $60 for a year of Xbox Live Gold, and Sony demands $50 for its equivalent PlayStation Plus package. Even with the attached freebies and perks, those fees add up to quite a lot over the typical console lifespan.

Well, they do over the typical console life cycle. It’s not uncommon for consoles to die long before their successors are released. I’m on my third Xbox 360 already, and I was never a heavy user. I know folks who have suffered more Xbox failures and some who have been through multiple PS3s. Most of these deaths have occurred after the warranty expired, leaving owners on the hook. Console prices tend to fall over time, so at least replacements are cheaper than the initial units. They still represent an additional cost, though.

PCs fail, too. Unlike with consoles, however, DIY repairs are a breeze. Individual components can be replaced with off-the-shelf hardware—and without special tools or firmware hax0ring. PC parts may not get cheaper like consoles do, but the options at each price point improve over time. For example, low-end graphics cards generally perform similarly to mid-range offerings from a few years prior.

The rapid rate of PC hardware development has definitely lowered the cost of a decent living room rig. Even relatively modest machines can render the latest blockbusters at 1080p resolution without issue. Yet the Xbone and PS4 have to scale some games back to lower resolutions to deliver smooth frame rates. There’s no way to upgrade their guts to get better visuals, either. Equipping a PC for the latest 4K TVs isn’t cheap, but at least it’s an option.

To be honest, cost has never really been a deciding factor for me. My home-theater gaming rigs have largely been cobbled together from old review hardware, so they’ve always been cheap to build. They’ve also had a lot more horsepower than the consoles sitting next to them. But, for more than a decade, I kept using consoles because they provided a smoother, more enjoyable overall gaming experience from the couch.

The Xbone and PS4 are still simpler propositions than a modern gaming PC. However, this latest console generation faces a PC gaming ecosystem that’s much more competent in the living room. The gaming rig under my television no longer feels like a second-class citizen, so I can finally ditch consoles completely. Anyone want to buy a dust-covered Xbox 360?

Comments closed
    • Lightsout565
    • 6 years ago

    I’m a long time console owner and there are a few things make me hesitant about a living room gaming PC:

    1. Initial Cost. The cost of buying all the parts and putting it together is at least several hundred dollars more than a PS4/Xbone.

    2. Playing with Friends. All my friends have consoles. Literally everyone. I’d be playing all my games by myself, no multiplayer with friends, no party chats (BTW does steam even have integrated voice chats).

    3. The Controller Situation. As a long time console player, I really dislike playing games by mouse and keyboard. Not to mention how awkward it would be to play by mouse and keyboard on the couch. You can connect something like a wired 360 controller, but I’m not sure if this is supported by all games. Also, I’d imagine you’d get your butt kicked in FPS multiplayer due to the superior mice/keyboard players.

    While I’m sure that PC gaming is great for some, and the graphics are wildly superior, it’s just not for me. Just my 2 cents. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • Jleosack
      • 6 years ago

      1. [url<]https://techreport.com/review/25743/tr-christmas-2013-system-guide/2[/url<] So, it would be about $150 more than a console. Not quite several hundred dollars. 2. That's a tough one, and would be a deal breaker for me. As far as voice chat skype, teamspeak and ventrillo are great, easy to use and free voip applications. 3. I suppose it's a matter of preference, but I believe it is generally accepted that a keyboard and mouse provide better control in games. I have a tv tray table for the keyboard and mouse to sit.

      • f0d
      • 6 years ago

      initial cost isnt too far off a console and it all comes down to choices – how much more powerful than a console do you want your living room pc? (what games do you plan on playing on it?)

      friends just depends on what your friends use – me personally i dont even know anyone with a console let alone have any friends with one (i used to have a ps3 to use as a bluray player but i dumped that for a HTPC)
      as far as voice chat goes steam has its own built in chat system that you can connect to friends with, its got awesome quality – there are also loads of external programs you can use like mumble and teamspeak

      there are plenty of games that use a controller – you do have to pick and choose what games you want to play on the HTPC because of this as *usually* a kb/m isnt the most ideal for a couch, that said if the HTPC is your only gaming system then there are gameboards like the nostromo you could use with a mouse and have them on a board on your lap
      i prefer to do my kb/m gaming on my main pc though and use my htpc for *light* gaming or for racing games

      • CoWBoY
      • 6 years ago

      Absolutely agree with you, though I still game on the PC…it’s just limited these days. The only game that has my attention for PC this year is, Tom Clancy’s The Division. That is the ONLY game that would make me want to transition back to PC, however those duties are likely to be moving towards the PS4.

      The main reason I do not PC game in the living room with my 92″ DLP is text chat. My eyes aren’t as good as they use to be, so in game text chat is a chore to deal with unless up close with a monitor. What a pain in the *** it is to get someone to setup a teamspeak server and such just to be able to talk to another player. I really hate that. Also hate hearing a bunch of whinny kids on Xbox Live, though the chat system is universal and super easy to get started on, something I wish PC developers could’ve standardized.

      I began transitioning to consoles primarily around Call of Duty 2.

      You are also absolutely correct, with regards to the awkwardness of a keyboard and mouse, even a keyboard with integrated touch pad, while gaming from the couch. To use a game controller over a mouse and keyboard for PC gaming? What’s the point of that? Better graphics? Nah, the console graphics these days are not bad at all. They aren’t as great as PC, though it does not take away from the game play or experience enough to write them off and you would be a fool to not treat yourself to both PC and console gaming if you really enjoy, gaming.

    • thebeastie
    • 6 years ago

    I been a PC gamer from the couch for the last 6 years now.
    Ever since I moved into an apartment I decided to give up on a dedicated Desktop setup and have my PC plugged into a 52 LCD Samsung TV.

    I have had a great gaming experience pretty much. I have proper home theater surround Jamo speakers on a Sony HT amp.

    I mostly use a Razor Mamba mouse and a Razor lycosa keyboard. I had to chuck my Logitech gamer keyboard because it is in fact SIGNIFICANTLY more comfortable to have a light Razor keyboard on your lap then something heavy that pushes into your stomach.

    For mouse pad constensy I use a $3 chopping board thats acrylic? with a gaming mouse pad on top.

    One stylish quality USB hub on the coffee table for the keyboard, the rest sorts it self.

    I spent a very long time looking at HTPC cases but decided to just have a very nice looking all black PC case sitting next to my TV. I think people who believe they need a HTPC are looking too much inside the box, of course unless there living room is going to be pictured in lifestye magazines maybe should think that way.

    I think once most people have a good run on a setup like this they will never go back.

    The only real upgrade I have been thinking is that for the best 1080p experience I believe a TV of around 70inches is ideal for being able to easily reading text on a screen at such high resolution.

    • firagabird
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve sworn myself to only invest in upgrading my PC for anything (and therefore finding excuses to have a better gaming rig, heh) but the PS3 exclusives in particular are constantly tempting me to drop my money into it. The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Catherine, and particularly the upcoming Persona 5… curse you, excellent first-party developers.

    • NeelyCam
    • 6 years ago

    Are you PC gaming losers [i<]still[/i<] unable to play GTA5? Consoles dead my a$$. Maybe you guys should consider buying a refurb PS3 so you could play the best game of the year..?

      • pandemonium
      • 6 years ago

      Best game of the year according to popularity of consolers? That’s a fair assessment. Sounds like Fox News: context removal ignored and accepted as fact.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      I want to play my games in HD, not sub-720p resolutions upscaled to fool the ignorant and obviously blind.

      So yeah, I’ll wait for the PC version and play it with next gen performance. 😉 It’s not like I don’t have a Steam backlog the size of Texas.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        IF they make a pc one. Every enjoy red dead redemption? Nope. consoles only, and it was damn good.

      • crabjokeman
      • 6 years ago

      2 or 3 people managed to outtroll you in this topic alone. You’re losing your touch.

        • NeelyCam
        • 6 years ago

        I know.. Holidays keep me too busy; I don’t have time to try hard enough

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 6 years ago

        It would really be cool if all this low quality banter that comes from the same few places would stay in those few places. I enjoy the shit talking and being silly as much as the next guy, but I don’t want it to extend to every single website i visit and that become the only “discussion” that exists about this stuff. I still detest the use of “troll” nowadays, as its become a synonym for too many different meanings.

        If you’re a forum mod, and can’t take care of your forums, just blanket report and put your warning/ban reason as “trolling”. If you get called out for being an idiot “I was just trolling”. If someone is harassing you “trolling”. Trying to be witty? “troll”. Someone refuting everything you say with facts? “Stop trolling asshole, blah blah”.

    • Kingcarcas
    • 6 years ago

    The Last Guardian and a few exclusives like that are the only real reason to have a Playstation for me, maybe if they ever dropped to $100 like the Ps2 did but i have a feeling those days are gone……..

    • ET3D
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve never had a problem with the Windows UI on the TV. I use a mouse to start the game I want, and then I play it with either mouse or controller, depending on the game. I don’t particularly like the 360’s UI. I can launch a game more quickly with a mouse than selecting it with a controller, and I don’t have to go through mandatory warnings and some such (Wii has plenty of them, but Xbox also has non-skippable stuff), so it’s not like Windows has ever been inferior to the consoles to me.

    The HTPC lives alongside my 360 and Wii, and is just an alternate gaming machine. I’ve never seen the point in ditching old devices for new ones, unless the new ones are a direct replacement. The 360 still offers gaming experiences than the PC doesn’t, and the Wii also offers games that neither other system has.

    • ptsant
    • 6 years ago

    To be comparable, PCs will have to be pre-assembled, pre-configured and pre-installed and at a decent price. I can’t see the console crowd building mini-ITX boxes… Let’s see what the Steam machines bring to the table.

    • LSDX
    • 6 years ago

    I suppose the challenge of booting Windows or SteamOS/Linux on Xbone or PS4 will be quickly accepted since this time we have full PC in their boxes. I know it was the same with the original Xbox, but it’s 733Mhz CPU was a bit outdated to start with. So maybe you don’t need a second PC in your living room.

    • --k
    • 6 years ago

    2 things that might change during this generation of consoles.

    1) Dedicated gaming machines are dying breed. I have friends that work in prominent game companies, and what I’m hearing is that portable gaming profits trumps console games for games that aren’t blockbusters.

    2) DLC and streaming content is where the money is at, not the original games. Movies, music, content provider deals etc. That’s why MS is looking outside of just gaming and looking at the living room experience. Likewise GameSpot and its ilk are panicking, because their number one source of revenue, selling 2nd hand games, is beginning to be encroached by the threat of DRM rules put into place by MS/Sony. GameSpot will probably cease to exist within a few years, as online services take over, similar to what happened to video/music stores as MP3 and Netflix started to take off.

    As someone who is outgrowing the target demographic for consoles, this generation took too long to come out. They should be priced around $200 and be refreshed every 4 years or so. Components get exponentially better over time, and the xbox one is probably 16x the power of 360 (just a guess), but it’s already outdated. It’s running on hw that is close to Radeon 7790, and that’s the low end of the PC spectrum and barely scratches what could be considered a gaming PC.

    PC to console hw comparison:
    [url<]http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/162612-ps4-vs-xbox-one-performance-compared-using-representative-pc-hardware[/url<]

    • odizzido
    • 6 years ago

    Consoles have pretty much gotten to the point where they are just regular computers with a different OS I think.

    Too bad their OS is so restrictive….and the hardware specs so terrible.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      It’s a small miracle that the new consoles actually have 8 GB’s of RAM. I was sure they’d put 4 GB’s in there and call it a day. Based on the word from Sony, they almost did that before “developers” convinced them to do otherwise. When I say, “developers,” I mean that’s what Sony says, but the reality is their spies told them Microsoft was putting 8 GB’s in their system and they couldn’t let themselves be short on memory this go-round, so they matched it.

      Still, it’s a good thing. Maybe our PC ports of games will includes LARGE levels this generation instead of the “tiny slices” of levels we’ve had this past gen. Compare Hitman Blood Money to Hitman Absolution for the differences in level size. It’s ridiculous.

    • TwoEars
    • 6 years ago

    Consoles are not dead…

    However – the point of a console is that it’s simple. You buy it, buy a few games, you plug it in and it works. You don’t have to know anything about computer hardware, IP addresses, windows installation and so on. You buy it at your local store and 1h later you’re playing Forza or Gran Turismo.

    But the more complicated and unreliable the consoles get (online requirement, online accounts, bricked units etc)…. and the simpler PCs get (intel nuc, hdmi connection, easy interfaces, windows with lots of drivers already installed etc)…. the more sense it makes for tech savvy people to lean towards the PC side of things.

      • DarkUltra
      • 6 years ago

      Especially when they discover 4k, g-sync, backlight strobing, 3d or 120hz. Truly something to upgrade from a console to PC. Well except from gsync but I think you can get the rest with a big screen TV. But not all at once. Yet.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Especially if they can get the early Steam Machines near the cost of an Xbox One. Suddenly, you’ve got people choosing between a gaming system or a full-on PC for similar price points.

        Gaming PC’s and their hardware continues to sell well. The slowing of PC sales has more to do with the low-end bargain laptop crap and the high end overpriced laptop ripoffs than it does the custom or gaming scene. SteamOS might well reverse the trend if their systems are considered PC’s by the market analysts.

        People might finally have a pre-built PC worth buying again.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    I thought someone said PC gaming is dead?

      • shaq_mobile
      • 6 years ago

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-8VI3URI1I[/url<]

        • oldog
        • 6 years ago

        Not to sound snotty but were you even around in the 70’s?

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 6 years ago

    Onwards and upwards for the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race!

      • squeeb
      • 6 years ago

      yes!

      • WaltC
      • 6 years ago

      As the Superior Life Form on Planet Earth, I can state with authority that The Only Good Console is a Dead Console.

      • CB5000
      • 6 years ago

      only console i have is the playstation 2 that collects dust.
      on the other hand i have 5 computers in the living room. two gaming machines, a laptop, a htpc, and a offline only computer.

      pc master race.!!

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    I never cared for consoles as they were more of a pain than anything else. been hooking up the pc to the tv from the 1990’s when my creative 3d blaster nvidia riva tnt2 had svideo out to the big boy 32 inch tv with a non-working tuner. the text was very hard to read off the screen due to the resolution, but it looked great otherwise and played back all my dvds and whatever divx videos i could muster up. i also had my first pci tv-tuner from AverMedia that was no longer supported later on, so there was no driver updates for winxp, which meant that i had to use Dscaler and my good ol fashioned serial based creative IR blaster which i was able to program with Girder to use on my sony universal remote.

    Long gone are these days, with all my peripherals being wireless, and my 42″ monitor being easily readable at a crystal clear 1080p. the fact is, that a couch is far more comfortable than sitting in a chair when using my htpc, and that was originally my main goal. sitting two hours on a wooden chair, watching a dvd on your tiny monitor is anything but comfortable.

    • jessterman21
    • 6 years ago

    Couldn’t agree more, Geoff. As soon as Big Picture Mode came out, I bought a long HDMI cable and an X360 controller and I’ve been happy as a clam gaming from my couch. I do still need a wireless mouse nearby to click through some of the launchers, but it’s a great experience overall. And that $7.50 Skyrim purchase has eaten all my free time for the last month. Can’t wait to try that Steam controller!

    • ShadowEyez
    • 6 years ago

    If it can’t do blu-rays it’s still not viable IMHO

      • mnemonick
      • 6 years ago

      Install a Blu-Ray drive and the appropriate software and a PC can not only play Blu-Ray discs, it can rip them to the hard drive if you like. 🙂

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        Or just buy a $50 standalone Bluray player.

          • superjawes
          • 6 years ago

          It would be nice having it included in whatever package you are using (PC, PS3, etc.), but otherwise this does just make it easier. I get most of my media through streaming anyway.

      • maxxcool
      • 6 years ago

      ? who ‘buys’ a bluray.. ? rent it, stream it, netflix, hulu .. or other ways..

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        He never mentioned “buys”. Just playback. Streaming, netflix, and hulu also have a considerable quality loss when compared to Bluray. How many streaming services, for example, offer lossless 7.1 audio and video bitrates over 10 mbit?

          • sweatshopking
          • 6 years ago

          How many people can actually tell the difference between a decent mkv, high quality Netflix, and a blue ray? Not that many. You probably can, but my parents sure can’t.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            Anybody that has the capability of doing both. HQ Netflix is OK but it is a far cry from the capabilities and presentation of a Bluray presentation. Your argument reeks of “128k mp3 is good enough”. It’s not that they can’t tell, it’s what they are going to be satisfied with. ShadowEyez is obviously one such person that can tell the difference.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            Anyone can tell? No. People have different visual abilities, and things are learned. For the VAST majority 128 is enough, lol. My dad don’t care, neither do my sisters. I do, but they don’t.

            • paulWTAMU
            • 6 years ago

            depends on the screen. On a crappy old tube tv, no. On my plasma 50″ 1080p TV? Yes.

            • mesyn191
            • 6 years ago

            Depends on how close they sit and if they actually use HDMI. You’d be surprised how many people have their BluRay player connected to their TV with analog composite cabling.

            Even on a 50″ TV properly hooked up you might be hard pressed to the see the difference between a BR 1080p video and a Netflix “1080p” compressed video at a distance of 12-15′ or so which is the distance most people sit from their TV’s. Really you need a 60″ or larger TV to start seeing the difference clearly at those seating distances.

            • NeelyCam
            • 6 years ago

            There is very little difference in Netflix’s “Super HD” stream and a bluray. I can’t really see the difference on my 100″ screen and I supposedly sit way too close to it

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      “Hello, Netflix?”

      “…Just use the disc drive.”

      “Discs. …how quaint.”

    • hubick
    • 6 years ago

    PC’s aren’t a viable option in the living room due to controllers.

    When playing Battlefield on the PC, I needed a keyboard, a joystick, and a suitably sized mousing surface.

    There is no good way to use a mouse on the sofa. I used a trackball for years, but it’s just not competitive against mouse users while gaming. Even with a smaller gaming keypad instead of managing a full keyboard, I still ended up covered in cables. Good luck getting up for a bathroom break. I tried putting all the stuff on a laptop table that would slide up to me, but it couldn’t really get things close enough while I was sitting back, and having it bunking up my living room, stuck between the sofa and the coffee table was just a big PITA. Sure, you can plug in a console controller, but then it’s not a level playing field and you’ll get totally owned by everyone playing with a mouse.

    If the Steam Box forces everyone to use their controller to level the playing field, then it might have a chance of success, otherwise, it will fail.

    I was an ardent PC gamer for years, but I grew tired of spending my life at a desk, and now I’m totally in love with gaming from my sofa in the living room. Console controllers aren’t as accurate as a mouse, but they are small and convenient, and their limitations don’t matter one bit when everyone is using the same thing.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Get a laptop board for your keyboard and mouse. Problem solved.

        • hubick
        • 6 years ago

        I think it’s just too awkward.

      • mcnabney
      • 6 years ago

      I have been gaming on my sofa for 6 years. Maybe you have a leather sofa, because neither of the fabric sofas I have had presented a problem as a mousing surface.
      I also have a steering wheel/pwdals , HOTAS, and a wireless controller.

      • travbrad
      • 6 years ago

      I agree that’s still a major problem with PC gaming on the couch. A lot of the best PC games can’t really be played well with a controller (multiplayer FPSs, RTSs, Simulators, some RPGs, etc).

      A controller actually works better for some games though, like racing games, platformers, or sports games (not that there are many on the PC).

      [quote<]Console controllers aren't as accurate as a mouse, but they are small and convenient, and their limitations don't matter one bit when everyone is using the same thing.[/quote<] The limitations of controllers in a multiplayer context aren't even the biggest problem for me. It's the limitations imposed on the game design that is the bigger problem IMO. I can't imagine trying to make a controller work with Kerbal Space Program, Starcraft 2, FTL, ARMA3, etc

      • Chrispy_
      • 6 years ago

      I’ve been wireless mousing on the couch for over a decade.

      It’s not as good as a desk and mousemat for competitive multiplayer FPS, but it’s waaaaaaaaay better than a controller even using the leg of your pants as a mousing surface.

      • albundy
      • 6 years ago

      geez, where have u been? that must have been a long hibernation under that rock. over a decade ago, we were introduced to wireless mice, keyboards and gamepads.

      • Bensam123
      • 6 years ago

      So I hear you can use console gamepads in windows…

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        LIES!!! You can’t plug in that XBone controller into the DB15 port of your Soundblaster Pro!!! LIES I TELL YOU!!!

          • travbrad
          • 6 years ago

          You just need to push harder.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!

            • Pwnstar
            • 6 years ago

            This comment thread is epic!

      • Ashbringer
      • 6 years ago

      Using a mouse and keyboard on my HTPC right now, so I don’t see what the problem is. The mouse sits on the arm rest of my couch, while the keyboard is on my lap. No wires or anything. The mouse I use is called the logitech Anywhere mouse, which even works on glass. I tested it on my glass coffee table. Drains battery power like crazy.

      If you need a gamepad then just get a PS3 controller and bluetooth it. That’s also what I do with my HTPC. If you want the Xbox 360 controller, then you’ll need a special adapter to connect it wireless.

      There’s no excuse not to be gaming on your TV. Mind you I don’t, cause my HTPC is constantly in use by my family. I have a much better setup for gaming. Mouse is wired, and not wireless. Glass mouse pad for ultra smoothness. I also just like gaming on my desk more then my TV, but that’s just me.

      But if you’re one of those guys that prefers the TV over a desk, then a gaming PC is just as good as any console, but with Steam sales. I’ve played FPS shooters on my HTPC to show off games I have for my family, just not competitively. Also they don’t care, and want their Netflix and YouTube.

      • pandemonium
      • 6 years ago

      TV tray on lap. You can even affix the keyboard and mouse-pad to the tray, either permanently or with some simple 3M double-sided tape.

      Problem solved.

        • --k
        • 6 years ago

        I use one of these stands:

        [url<]http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40242177/[/url<]

      • Delphis
      • 6 years ago

      I’m sure eventually we’ll get ‘controllers’ that just allow us to slump back on the couch and twitch sporadically.

      Sounds like most of the gripes you have could have been eliminated by wireless kb/mouse and a lap-desk.

    • jdaven
    • 6 years ago

    I think the way Valve is approaching the gaming market is the most competitive and lucrative. You have an unlimited number of hardware OEMs in addition to DIYers. You have an unlimited number of game developers from large corporate publishers to individual indie programmers. No one needs to develop a costly OS to tie it all together. Instead you get a free, relatively open-source OS (SteamOS) that enables it all with the LEAST amount of control by the authoring company (Valve).

    The console market has three major players with locked down hardware and large usage fees. The PC/Mac market is not specialized/optimized enough for gaming. The smartphone/tablet market doesn’t work well with a large living room TV.

    I have high hopes for Valve and the Steam initiatives. I really do hope gaming goes big in this way in the near future.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 6 years ago

    PS4 controller is a dream, thankfully it plugs right into my PC and works out of the box for most games (and a simple program needs to be ran for translating it to 360 controller only games). Once I bother getting a bluetooth dongle I’ll have the full experience.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    The thing is, most of us have a Windows license. I’d argue a lot of people who are looking to buy into a console have a Windows license they could co-opt for the purpose. They might have to call Microsoft to get the license attached to a new motherboard/CPU/memory/hard drive combo, but it can be done.

    Then factor in the other costs:

    Intel Haswell Dual core, 3.5ghz, hyperthreading ($124) – [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116945[/url<] ASRock Z87 ($94)- [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157370[/url<] Team Vulcan 9-9-9-24 DDR3 8 GB ($58) - [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313355[/url<] Rosewill Case Blackhawk ($89) - [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147192[/url<] Corsair 650W PSU ($89 with MIR $10) - [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020&ignorebbr=1[/url<] Seagate Hybrid 2TB ($139) - [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178380[/url<] Xbox 360 Controller for Windows Wired - $20-25 used from Gamestop $618, pre-GPU You could get a cheaper hard drive without flash. You could get less RAM. You could get a smaller and/or cheaper case and PSU that wasn't modular. If you wanted more cores with less performance per core, you could go AMD for the CPU. Everyone should have a keyboard and mouse that would be considering something like this, I'd imagine. Later down the road, you might want to buy wireless peripherals, but certainly they don't have to be included in the initial cost for a system for gaming via controller. I separate GPU because that largely determines what kind of gaming experience (and games) you will be enjoying (or enduring depending on the game and the GPU you're trying to run it on). So let's say they go with a $200 GPU with the above system. That's $818. Wow, that's a lot more than an Xbox One for $499, right? Well, let's say they buy a few games. $59.99 for each and every one. Maybe $49.99 if they're buying an amazing deal right now. $54.99 if they buy used from Gamestop. Equivalent games cost... $5-20, maybe $30 in a few limited cases. That's half the price per game. No $50-60 per year subscription. Controllers that cost $60+. When they get around to letting you buy into an Xbox One with an upgraded hard drive, they're going to charge you full console cost to get the larger sizes. Or you can buy an external hard drive if they ever get around to adding that support they promised pre-launch. External hard drives are, of course, supported by PC, too. $818 - (499.99+59.99) = $259.01 How many games are you going to buy at $59.99 before you've completely ate away that price difference? How many years of Xbox Live Gold just to run Netflix will you spend? It's worth noting that Windows 8 includes a fantastic Netflix client and one of the very few good uses of Windows 8 Metro UI is as a Media Center desktop. Yeah. I think the cost argument can be made. I didn't go with low end parts and I didn't factor in that most people already may have systems with acceptable PSU's, memory, storage, or other components. If I had, the pricing would have swayed toward making the Xbox One look ridiculous. The only game that is truly amazing right now for Xbox One is one that has yet to come (ie., Titanfall) and it's coming to PC. It's worth noting it won't be on Steam, though. It will be on Origin and how long do you think before EA makes its own take on Big Picture mode? They copied everything else from Steam. Used to be, Uplay was a unique pain to PC's, but now they have people enduring Uplay the same if you "enjoy" it on PC, Xbox One, or PS4. So no difference there. Really, the only reason to buy an Xbox One right now is if you love Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, and/or Ryse. If you love all three, then you probably already own an Xbox One. The cost argument rapidly turns against the Xbox One and an argument can be made against the PS4, too. The Wii U is a joke not even worth mentioning at its current price of $300. If it were $200 or less, maybe it would have a place as a second console for Nintendo-only games, but currently it's up in the big leagues of pricing with less than enough games imo. Meanwhile, PC's always have games. Tons of games. Tons and tons of games. Indie games start on PC more often than not. High end games always look better on PC if your spec is up to the task. And running games at 1080p (most HDTV's) is really rather easy for most PC's unless you start amping up tons of AA, which the consoles are already sacrificing. Right now, spending tons of money on the next gen instead of buying the next-next gen in the form of PC's makes little sense unless there's a particular game you must own that is only on consoles and increasingly those are few and far between.

      • Pwnstar
      • 6 years ago

      Well said, sir.

      • Bensam123
      • 6 years ago
      • tesmar
      • 6 years ago

      The Wii argument depends on how hardcore of a gamer you are. If you like the social/family games, Mario and Zelda and do not like hardcore games, Nintendo is the way to go.

      Also the argument for the game pricing doesn’t make much sense. PC prices are pretty similar to console once they are released. If you wait 2 years you can get most titles for $10 on Steam during a sale but by that time the used console price at GameStop is down to $10-15 anyway.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 6 years ago

        Years? How about months, and the fact that pc users have an instant review network. Yeah, BL2 is on sale now, but I bought it for $30 back when it was released. You can’t tell me it takes years for pc games to go on sale.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      There are ways to save on older games on consoles too. PS+ is worth $50/yr just in free stuff. Gaming on the cheap is possible on any platform, other than Neo Geo.

        • evernessince
        • 6 years ago

        It’s great that you are arguing that you can save on console games but it’s noting compared to what can be achieved on PC.

        On release I am able to get most games for $30 on green man gaming or amazon.

        I can get 10 indie games for about 4 dollars on humble bundle

        I just picked up max payne 3, borderlands 2 GOTY, and sleeping dogs for $20 bucks.

        I’ve also been to gamestop to buy for my little brother. You can get a second hand game for up to $10 dollars off the retail of a console game. During holidays more.

        The frequency and size of discounts available on consoles are meager compared to the PC.

          • sweatshopking
          • 6 years ago

          You cant share them, lend them, or trade them. You’re not “buying” games from steam. You’re not quite on a console either, but its closer.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          My point is that HDO conveniently used Steam sale prices for PC vs. full price on console. You don’t have to save as much since the hardware is so much less. Plus, it’s hard to get cheaper than free.

    • trek205
    • 6 years ago

    so 3 morons vote me down? can some of you really not comprehend that a pc may be great but it can’t play some games since aren’t availble on that platform?

      • dragosmp
      • 6 years ago

      I’ve been called worse, but still that’s not nice

      • NeoForever
      • 6 years ago

      Just take pride in the fact that you annoyed the crap out of them 😀

      • f0d
      • 6 years ago

      of course the pc cant play some game but unless you own EVERY console then there will also be games that “some” console players wont be able to play either

      if you HAVE to have every exclusive title then its just too expensive
      i cant imagine having a
      x360
      xbone
      ps3
      ps4
      wii
      wiiu
      psvita
      ouya

      just to have all the exclusive games – so of course there will be games that most gamers will miss out on because i cant think of any gamer that has every console that is out now just to play every exclusive title
      and if you do own all them then you truly are a dedicated gamer (and a rich one)

        • Voldenuit
        • 6 years ago

        There’s quite a big middle ground between wanting to play some exclusives and having to be able to play ALL exclusives.

          • f0d
          • 6 years ago

          but that was kind of my point
          there will always be exclusives that you wont be able to play be it pc or consoles so the fact that the pc cant play exclusives isnt really a big deal as no matter what you do there will always be exclusives you cant play

          the exclusives argument against the pc (which i have read about many times) isnt really fair as it applys to consoles also

            • Benetanegia
            • 6 years ago

            It’s always the same. Those who bring that up are probably console players that just came to PC gaming (if at all) and are hooked to those franchises. I’ve played many of those franchises on friends consoles and I’ve never thought I was missing anything, but if Halo is the best fps you’ve had access to for a long time, or Forza or Gran Turismo (poor boy), I guess the next one is something you’d be waiting for. We know better, but can’t blame them, I guess.

            If they had played the PC exclusives instead, which are so much better and more, orders of magnitudes more, they wouldn’t bring that argment over and over.

          • Shambles
          • 6 years ago

          Yes, and that middle ground where you get the best quality and variety of titles is called the PC. Why waste your time on anything else unless you are Doctor Who and have 13 lives to spend playing every single game that has ever been made.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    Big Picture isn’t limited to Steam games. In regular mode if you add a shortcut to a non Steam game, it’s available in Big Picture as well. The icon is a generic Steam icon but you can launch anything you like.

      • puppetworx
      • 6 years ago

      You can add your own picture as an icon too.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        Didn’t realize that until you posted so. Looked up how and tried it, and if your picture is decent, it looks like a “native” Steam game. +1

    • trek205
    • 6 years ago

    Doesn’t matter how great the PC is if it can’t play the exclusive console games.

      • dragosmp
      • 6 years ago

      The reverse is also true, as well as *ahem* an Xbone can’t play PS4 games or the other way around

      You know the interesting bit? A 2014 PC can play a 2012 game. Can a PS4 play PS3 games?

      EDIT: That said, I almost pulled the trigger on PS3 only to play GT5. I just wanted to buy a SH PS3, play GT5, then sell on the console; I never have, but there’s time.

        • jessterman21
        • 6 years ago

        You can also play a 2002, 1992, and even 1982 game on a 2014 PC. Not to mention all Nintendo games through 2012, PSx titles with some finagling, and at higher resolutions and framerates.

        Also, there’s a good or better replacement for each console-exclusive on the PC, IMO.

          • alienstorexxx
          • 6 years ago

          i don’t agree on the “better replacement” part. there are some console exclusives that will never (and can’t) happen on pc.
          most times console first parties haven’t that rush that PC AAA/ third party games have, that’s why is too difficult to see well polished games on pc, and get repeated gameplay frustations.

          don’t get me wrong, i’m a pc gamer, i love the indie/modding comunity and the tweak possibilities that the pc gaves us, and i hate the 30fps lock (among other things) about consoles, but they tend to tempt me in that way. and it’s not just to talk, or a hype from a trailer, sometimes i have the time to play those first parties, and they feel so good to play.

          • mesyn191
          • 6 years ago

          DOSbox+ emulation go a long way here.

      • Milo Burke
      • 6 years ago

      There are a lot more PC exclusives than console exclusives. By several orders of magnitude.

        • superjawes
        • 6 years ago

        Bingo.

        Also, I believe many of those exclusive games on consoles would be less exclusive if the market shifted. If gamers migrate to PC, games will follow.

        • NeoForever
        • 6 years ago

        Well he’s not saying to ditch the PC is he?
        He’s just saying there’s a reason to not ditch the console.

        (I’ve never owned a console)

        • trek205
        • 6 years ago

        And? The point is Gaming is about the games you want to play so if those games happened to be on the console only then it does no good to only just have a PC. I was not saying to pick one over the other. If I could only buy one thing and one thing only to play games of course it would be the PC. But there are just too many games that were PlayStation 3 exclusive so I had to cave.

          • travbrad
          • 6 years ago

          Yep it depends on the games you are interested in. There is basically only 1 console exclusive game I have any interest in (Gran Turismo) though, and it isn’t even coming out for PS4/XBone. Meanwhile half of my Steam library is PC exclusives.

          If it wasn’t for PC games I would barely even play any games, because I feel like 90% of the fresh and unique games are coming out for PC. Most console games seem to be huge blockbuster sequels or poorly done clones of those blockbusters.

            • Milo Burke
            • 6 years ago

            Not only did you sum up perfectly this discussion, but you mirrored my sentiments about the quality of games on the market, and my assessment of where the good ones are going. And you also mentioned the only console exclusive I have any interest in!

            Edit: You’re not me from a parallel universe, are you?

            • travbrad
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]Edit: You're not me from a parallel universe, are you?[/quote<] *quickly shaves off goatee and mustache* Who me?

            • End User
            • 6 years ago

            I bought my Xbox 360 just for Forza.

      • Meadows
      • 6 years ago

      What if I don’t *want* to play those?

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Doesn't matter how great the PC is if it can't play the exclusive console games.[/quote<] You shouldn't be downvoted simply for stating a valid opinion (although calling ppl who downvoted you 'morons' is hardly productive). I don't have a home console, but I do have a PS Vita, and my gaming time is split ~ 60/40 in favor of the vita at the moment. Part of that due to our home desktop sharing duties as our 'TV/stream box', so I feel bad monopolizing it if the wife wants to watch TV. But part of it is also due to the gorgeous screen on the vita, the ease of picking it up and playing whenever I feel like, and yes, the exclusives. Don't get me wrong, I play plenty of games that are PC exclusives, too, but there are just some games that I can't play without an appropriate console (Dragon's Crown, Tearaway, Persona 4 Golden, Wipeout 2048, Gravity Rush, Cytus Lambda). I did play Hotline Miami on PC despite having it on both systems because the dual analog controls were far inferior to the precision of the keyboard and mouse, though. I'm seriously considering getting a PS3 to play some platform exclusives (GT6, Ico and SOTC HD, TLOU, Uncharted 3, Infamous series), but money's tight right now so I'll probably put it off for the foreseeable future.

        • trek205
        • 6 years ago

        but its not an opinion, it is a fact. it does not matter which platform people think is best as its the games that will determine what you play on. I would rather not have a console at all but I am glad I did get a ps3 and xbox360 for the games I would otherwise have missed out on by limiting myself to pc only.

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          Your opinion is wrong. Console gaming is wrong. You should hate yourself for owning PS3 and Xbox 360.

          You deserve all the thumbdowns from disgruntled PC gamers who can’t play GTA5

      • pandemonium
      • 6 years ago

      Read as: “all of my friends play COD on Playstation or Xbox, and peer pressure demands I get one to be cool”.

    • ClickClick5
    • 6 years ago

    This steam box idea to me is this:

    1) I can HDMI to the TV from my PC for far cheaper.
    2) The steam box is pretty much a console.
    3) Currently, the OS is Nvidia only.
    4) Meh.

    I mean it is a nice alternative, but I don’t see it becoming a massive thing. It will rocket out through its niche market, then stall. No 14 year old will be asking for a SteamBox for Christmas or a birthday present.

    I’m just not feeling it.

      • dashbarron
      • 6 years ago

      I’m with my bike buddy on this. SteamOS seems to have the jollies of the Valve fans up in a roar but otherwise…it’s not a suitable Windows replacement and there are better media center alternatives.

      Overall in respond to Geoff, I was a console enthusiast 4 generations ago before I finally let them go. The cost ratio to performance didn’t make sense with the rapid rise in PC power. Plus the fact that one can emulate all the console games they want within a year without having to be shoe-horned to a costly and quickly-“outdated” console purchase.

      The only excuse I do understand is ease. Easy for parents to buy their kid’s a gaming device, easy for non-techies to have a lot of the same toys without the hassle of matching requirements to the game or fiddling with settings.

        • ClickClick5
        • 6 years ago

        All the down votes haha

      • Sunburn74
      • 6 years ago

      Honestly I’d be more interested in a way to wirelessly stream over a home network a steam PC game to a HDMI monitor within the home.

      For example, it’d be amazing if I could load a PC game on my desktop, and use my google chromecast adapter to stream the game in realtime to my HDMI big screen TV in my living room where I could play it with say a wireless gamepad or something.

        • dreamsss
        • 6 years ago

        Thats exactly what the nvidia shield is being offered for . not only that but nvidia seems to be planning to have a service that will render games on their Servers (grid)

        nvidia added a beta version with 8games. and aldo ppl will have the option to fully utilize their gaming pcs and remote play on the shield instad of having to spend on a console (nvidia was doing 4k out)

        Shield has console mode with a minihdma port and a beefy processor so it makes it a all ariund gaming system

        Joysticks are a slught problem. Will likely use a steam controller instead. This is not meant to replace a mouse/gsync/lightboost setup
        But compliments it well

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Well, I expect you’ll get what you’re looking for eventually. I think the Steam Android app will get that kind of functionality. It’s not that they’d be against putting it on iOS, too, but somehow I doubt Apple will approve the app after they didn’t approve similar functionality for OnLive.

        Bay Trail may end up being able to put such functionality on low-power, low-cost computers, too, if you run Windows or Linux with Steam as the front end streaming from a gaming computer, too.

        So yeah, I think you’re wanting something that’s probably a year or two out, but not much more. Maybe less.

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      Steam Machines are a lot like consoles, but the newest consoles are a lot like PCs as well. I don’t think many readers here are going to get a Steam Machines because we are already on the PC bandwagon, but for someone starting to convert from a console to a more capable platform, SteamOS/Steam Machines make a great stepping stone.

      Also, SteamOS just went into beta. I think a lot of PC gamers are looking at SteamOS as if it is supposed to be a 1:1 Windows replacement already, but that is wrong. The OS is being built more a console replacement. What PC gamers should be interested in is how SteamOS evolves with more iterations. It is starting off small, but if it becomes more capable, it was built on a PC OS (Linux), so it [i<]could[/i<] becomes a Windows replacement, at least for gaming machines. Lastly, I don't believe the OS is Nvidia exclusive. I think that's just the absence of capable Linux drivers from AMD. (and Intel?)

        • Milo Burke
        • 6 years ago

        I don’t expect Steam OS to replace Windows for me in the foreseeable future. But I could see it becoming my primary gaming OS within a year or two. I’ll dual-boot to Windows for emailing, word processing, music playing, movie streaming, and audio production.

          • Deanjo
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]I'll dual-boot to Windows for emailing, word processing, music playing, movie streaming, and audio production.[/quote<] Those are weird reasons to dual boot considering Linux can do those all very well.

            • Milo Burke
            • 6 years ago

            Linux doesn’t have Pro Tools. =]

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            I can forgive for booting into Windows for Pro Tools (if you don’t want to learn LMMS or Ardour etc) but the rest Linux is just as capable of handling easily.

            • Milo Burke
            • 6 years ago

            Last time I tried Linux was approximately 2004. I’m embarrassed, because even though people profile me as a “computer guy”, I couldn’t figure out how to connect to a network, open a browser, and navigate to a webpage in Linux! Haha.

            At that point, I formed the opinion that Linux is only free if your time has no value. And comics like this one aren’t helping my opinion: [url<]http://xkcd.com/619/[/url<] (In jest.) I suspect that Linux could handle most of my needs today, partially from my increased experience with technology of all kinds, and mostly because it has probably gotten much more user friendly since 2004. =] But I do have two levels of certification in Pro Tools, and I want my sessions to be transferable. I need reliable drivers between Pro Tools and my interface. And I do have an investment in AAX plugins. I suspect it's in my interest to stick with Pro Tools for the foreseeable future. Stupid question: can Steam OS do all that Linux does? Or is it much more locked down to simply run Steam games?

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]Stupid question: can Steam OS do all that Linux does? Or is it much more locked down to simply run Steam games?[/quote<] Yes it can do as much as any other distro out there. It may not have everything pre-installed but they are easily installed when needed.

            • slowriot
            • 6 years ago

            I find this going at the problem backwards. Why take this approach when you can take Debian (or your other favorite distro of choice) and install the Steam for Linux client?

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 6 years ago

            Both work. I think linux mint would be the best option at this point in time. It’ll take a while for steamos to catch up.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            Not really, the advantage of going the SteamOS route is that there are a ton of tweaks being done to SteamOS to minimize items like latency. You could apply those many patches yourself if you felt like patching and recompiling Mint’s kernel if you wanted to go through the trouble, but I would think just doing an apt get <desired software> would be easier since it can use the Debian repos right out of the box.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 6 years ago

            Sorry, but there really isn’t that much difference right now, according to the Phoronix review, and mint could always include those tweaks, not to mention they’re using a more up to date kernel.

            I doubt steam is adding optimizations to an outdated kernel, as that’s counter productive. Maybe a tweaked config, and up to date drivers. Real kernel changes should theoretically get back ported to other distros.

            Steam OS might be preferable for a console, but mint is currently a better choice as a desktop/distro, especially now while steam is super beta.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]I doubt steam is adding optimizations to an outdated kernel, as that's counter productive.[/quote<] 300+ patches to the kernel alone. Huge patching to the compositor as well. It isn't counter productive as well. For a console (or any consumer device or server) it is common practice to choose a kernel and backport patches to it. This is done for stability and to avoid the common changes that may effect how items are initialized or interfaced with. Take a look at the graphic card blobs. Many times there are changes to the kernel where the drivers have to be updated to maintain compatibility. Nvidia is pretty good at keeping up to those changes however vendors like AMD tend to drag their efforts. Such a thing would be disastrous if a consumer purchased their hardware for SteamOS gaming but found out that his new video card wouldn't be supported for months. SteamOS doesn't want to be a rolling release, it wants to provide a stable OS with stable API and ABI to ease development. For features that they are wanting to incorporate such as possibly game streaming, even a switch to a init system could render that capability being disabled. This is also why they decided to use sysvinit as it is stable, tested and proven.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            I THOUGHT YOU DIDN’T NEED THE COMMAND LINE IN LINUX?!?!!! APT GET??! WTF WHY?!?!?!? CAN’T YOU JUST USE THE PACKAGE MANAGER?!?!!??

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            You can use the GUI as well if you wish or the run dialog (just like windows!)

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            My point is that you Linux nerds love cli so much, you’re so used to it, you don’t even notice. Nobody on windows thinks like that. Its a totally different mentality, and its why Linux is still, after all these years, less user friendly.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            You are delusional. I merely pointed out that it could easily be done. You clearly seem to be oblivious to the fact that SteamOS is geared towards a 10 foot interface, that being said, the mechanisms are in place to make it a full blown desktop if you wish either through cli or through a gui if your heart desires. Much like windows if you desire the Big Screen UI as default.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            The steam client is just part of the OS. There are many tweaks and optimizations however to the kernel and libraries to optimize it to gaming. There maybe also distro specific services that will require running official SteamOS such as Netfix (similar situation as ChromeOS having a netflix plugin but not available mainstream linux or a home brewed ChromeOS variation).

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