I have had my share of consoles over the years, but I can honestly say that since PC’s hit that point past the original PlayStation where they became more powerful gaming platforms console gaming becomes less exciting and thrilling for me lately. Perhaps it is the fact that console games always tend toward more action/platform oriented games and are weak for real time strategy and MMO games which are my most commonly played ones, but it probably is even more that consoles even with more advanced controllers just simply can’t match the array of button options and you get with a keyboard and mouse. You are still limited to a finite number of buttons to set and configure.
Of course, the Wii U may change the game a little here with a tablet controller where you can buttons can literally become on screen finger presses, which may increase the functionality quite a bit, but I don’t really see this being a feature that will sway PC gamers to start playing games on the consoles.
Kinect was something that should have changed the game, as most people hook their consoles up to living room TV’s and therefore the larger amount of space could have made for a more interactive gaming environment, but I have found only a handful of Kinect games worth playing and though I think there is still a ton of potential in this “you are the controller space” it is still taking too long to realize and the Kinect simply does not have the sensitivity for accurate finger motion recognition.
Where console platforms shine is local multiplayer however, I rarely enjoyed playing a two player PC game (if there are any anymore where two people sit side by side on the same PC and play together). Usually to get multiplayer gaming on the PC you need several of them online together. Split screen for the Playstation, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii are still an incredibly fun way to play games. Also platformers as mentioned just are more fun on a console, I played Rayman: Origins on both the Xbox 360 and PC and it was infinitely more fun playing on the Xbox 360 than on the PC.
Demo’s, downloadables and freeware games are still many times more available on the PC vs the consoles and barely exist for the Nintendo Wii at all (hopefully the Wii U will have a much more diverse online shop with more options). Either way now that my Wii has broken (3 times in 3 years) I am not sure if I am going to get the Wii U, or instead wait until a Playstation 4 or Xbox 720 turns up.
If it wasn’t for local multiplayer with my 2 sons, I wouldn’t even need to own a console, but there is one simple reason why I do. If I didn’t own a console and I wanted to play multiplayer games with my kids (not free ones), I would have to buy a copy of the game 3 times. This means to play something like Call of Duty: Black Ops with my kids I would have to spend $160 buying the game 3 times (assuming they each have their own laptop or PC’s capable of playing the game). Whereas on the console, I simply buy the game 1x (or rent it from Gamefly) and can play split screen without spending nearly as much.
Consoles are also cheaper than gaming laptops, though with gaming laptops that “can play most games” falling around the $500 – $600 range there gap is shrinking dramatically. This is in part thanks to AMD making GPU’s more powerful and being integrated with the CPU core in A6 processors.
So which platform is your preferred choice for gaming? Are you a die hard console fan (which is your favorite game type?). Or do you fall in the PC Gamer camp and think consoles can never beat a PC for gaming?
I failed to also mention tablets, I play a lot of mini-games on tablets, but still find the touch screen interface cumbersome and non-intuitive for games other than tower defense, turn based or puzzle games. I tried playing Bard’s Tale on the iOS and the game looked great, but just didn’t enjoy the controls like I did playing on a PC back when I did.