March 14, 2013
No Point In The New Piston Console
For as long as personal computers have flooded the market with elitists and the like, price still poses the major threat to gamers. Price, which has a lot to do with status and social ambiguity among individuals, also does a wonderful job of dividing the crowds of Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii U fans alike. The irony in this situation is that no matter their real difference in hardware or software, these consoles shouldn’t have the elitist fan boy crowds that they each possess.
However, because of their design and the goals of the company, they are still somehow different. Desktop computers have no true difference between each other besides customizable parts. Their difference in the gaming industry, when held in comparison to consoles, is immense because of higher quality parts. In essence, the modern PC gamer and console gamer are two different forms of consumers simply because of the amount of money that each is willing to spend; a bit like the difference between rich and poor men.
Alas, the bright light of hope
Luckily, Valve and Xi3 Corporation have recognized this disparity (as if it was difficult to notice) and moved to connect the PC and console owner in the same setting with the Steam Box and cloud based GRID system. Not only this, but even Nvidia has revealed Project Shield, a handheld PC gaming console aimed at bringing party games and living room connectivity to the PC experience. But do people truly understand the point in releasing PC hardware in this caliber so late in the console life cycle?
My instincts tell me no, but I believe that with some observation we can better bridge the gap. With respect, consoles are the greatest thing to happen in terms of gaming for the middle class population in any country. For one, they provide mind numbing graphics and game play for an affordable price by a majority of consumers. Secondly, they have an extensive amount of support from both games publishers and game developers, effectively ensuring that they’ll still be important in five years.
So why buy a PC?
We could argue back and forward for years on which experience has more benefits, but ultimately the decision comes down to whomsoever is buying the machine. That decision is made according to certain financial aspects. Will buying a PC really mean a better gaming experience?
Elitists might like to think so, but they can’t speak for the entire populace.
A more affordable PC is the answer to a decision for any gamer to make a switch to the platform. However, price does not simply drop because we want it to; stronger hardware and new benefits cost money. In theory, the move itself is beneficial; but reality demands that we truly examine our financial situation.
A more affordable world
So, here we are at an impasse. Either the gamer dishes out extra cash for what could be better, or stay the course of budgeting and settle with a lesser, yet still incredible, experience.
Valve and Xi3 advertise PC’s that give the player a computer-based gaming experience while staying beneath a certain budget. They promised aspiring gamers who wanted a gaming rig that the possibility of having a PC console would be much friendlier; however the prices say otherwise. The problem here is that these machines are already running at a price range of $1,000 to $1,750. Pardon my short sightedness (if there is any), but what exactly is the point?
Custom built rigs will always have the benefit of price on their side; it’s much more beneficial if the consumer orders parts from websites such as Newegg and Micro Center so that they can reap the greatness of a cheaper build with great power. The concern with most consumers pertains to how they can pay someone to build them a machine that is still cheap and able to provide the experience that they so desire.
It’s not possible. Stronger hardware means more expensive parts.
This is the irony behind Valve’s Steam Box or Xi3’s Piston box. We can create PC consoles for consumers that plug into HDTV’s, but we can’t make them less than $750 with the same system specs. The underlying point to all of this is that, alongside budgeting, building your own PC is still the best possible result for a cheap yet strong machine.
Vote with your dollars, after all.
Image Credit: Xi3 Corporation