So, there are plenty of reasons why you might decide to ditch the consoles and become a PC gamer. Likewise there are tons of reasons why consoles trump PCs for gaming. For me though, the reason I choose not to have a console, and instead use my laptop (also known as my DVD player, work station and more) for gaming is mainly down to cost. The student in me that remains post-graduation, and probably will stay with me for a long time to come, longs to save costs any way he can. So PC gaming for me is a great way to cut costs.
Of course it must be said that not buying games at all would save a lot more costs than simply playing them on PC, but I find this to be a happy medium.
Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, cost benefits of PC gaming. So for this cost-saving technique to be successful, I’ve learnt that you need to meet two conditions. First off, you need to have a half decent laptop or PC that can play most of the games you’d otherwise play on a console. Fortunately, whilst my 3 and a half year old Dell isn’t the most advanced of machines, it can achieve this feat. Secondly, you need patience. Buying games on the cheap comes easier for PC gamers, as naturally PC games are released a little cheaper than on Xbox 360 or PS3. However if you really want to cut down on costs whilst enjoying new games, you need to wait a couple of years before buying them – giving plenty of time for prices to come down. I’ve noticed that by maintaining this standard, I’m pretty much living a couple of years behind in the gaming world. But to be honest it’s working just fine.
I’m a big RPG fan, and I’ve just finished playing Mass Effect 2. I haven’t checked the facts, but I think this game was released in 2010. And I bought it maybe 6 months ago for around £4 from Amazon, new. Pretty good, I thought. And it was worth the wait – the Mass Effect series is fantastic (well, I’ve only played the first two, but they’ve been excellent). It’s things like getting 20+ hours of great and immersive gameplay out of £4 that make being a ‘late to the party’ PC gamer worthwhile. And then there are the Steam Christmas sales, which are full of great titles for less than a fiver – need I say more?
But of course there are obvious drawbacks to this. For example, I have to wait patiently for prices to come down before being able to enjoy highly anticipated games, and as someone who doesn’t own either an Xbox 360 or PS3, I don’t get to play great titles such as the new Halo games, the Uncharted series or next year’s release ‘The Last of Us’. Plus PC versions of games sometimes get badly ported from their console equivalents, which worsens the experience for me. But, when you’re paying such cheap prices, and you have a Windows Xbox 360 controller to avoid the horrible mouse and keyboard combo (in my opinion – at least for third person games), you can live with it.
As a money-saving technique, living a couple of years behind the rest (or in the case of Skyrim, one year behind – but for an usually high price of £16 – I was pushing the boat out a bit) has worked pretty well, and I have to say I’d far rather do that then pay in excess of £40 for each new title as they come out. But that’s just my humble opinion. Needless to say I’m currently waiting in anticipation for Mass Effect 3 to come down in price a bit more before I splash out again.
So, gaming in the cheap. What do you guys think? Willing to give it go?