“Oh you game on a console? Enjoy 720p, 60Hz gaming, you n00b!”– Random PC gamer, 1990-Present.
PC gamers definitely have a reputation for being elitist, but is it well-deserved?
When we look at gaming across both PC and consoles, it quickly becomes apparent that elitism and toxicity is not exclusive to PC gaming. There are definitely elements of PC gaming that are uniquely elitist, but they certainly don’t define the entirety of gaming on a computer. This becomes especially true when we look at the fact that a lot of people who game on a PC also own, and game, on a console.
If you’ve ever wondered if PC gamers are more elitist than console games, we’ve got just the article for you!
Light-hearted Examples of PC Elitism
Now, there are some examples of PC elitism and toxicity that we should look at. However, we’re going to keep this light-hearted and skip over a lot of the more serious issues that circle around PC gaming.
You can find examples of serious toxicity in every gaming community from Pokemon to PC. So, let’s look at some silly examples.
PC gamers have a bad reputation of treating console gamers as if they were a younger audience. Console gamers often come from a wide variety of backgrounds including adults who just don’t have the time or money to put together their own gaming PC. It’s not inherently more adults to game on a PC than it is on a console.
PC Gamers love to talk about the power of their gaming rigs. Some of the most elitist elements in the PC gaming scene seem to love better performance benchmarks than the games themselves – and scoff at people who ‘only’ spend $400 on a graphics card.
Some PC gamers also think of themselves as renegades outside the system. While this might be true for something, buying a AAA title off of Steam isn’t a big rejection of the system when console gamers are buying the same game off of the PlayStation Store. Despite our cyberpunk daydreams, the money still goes to corpo suits.
Are PC Gamers Really So Bad?
With all of this said, we have to ask ourselves are PC Gamers really so bad?
By and large, it doesn’t seem that PC gamers are all that much worse than console gamers. You can find the same, or similar, elements of toxicity in any community of gamers. Whether it’s PS5 fans doxing YouTubers or mass bullying claims in Fortnite, console gamers clearly experience issues too.
It’s also worth highlighting that a lot of PC gamers are also console gamers. It’s not like the toxicity gets toggled off when they switch from PC to console.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of people enjoying video games and some of them are more elitist than others. The tech that they’re gaming on doesn’t define how they treat other people who are enjoying a lot of the same games.
Advantages of PC Gaming
There’s a good reason why PC Gamers feel so good about this hobby. There are a lot of advantages that PC gaming has over console gaming and we need to give this a quick overview.
Cost—No Really, Trust Us!
PC gaming can be much more affordable than console gaming. This might come as a surprise, but you can put together a gaming PC that can play new AAA releases for less than the cost of a brand new Playstation or Xbox.
This is especially true considering that many PC components are coming down in price (especially graphics cards), whereas the PS5 has recently undergone price hikes.
These days, the latest consoles get sniped and picked up by scalpers quicker than the average gamer can get to them. This drives the cost of console gaming up while you can build a custom PC for just a few hundred dollars.
The cost of console games is another consideration. PC games are sold on more platforms and are available with more sales and discounts (even though they have started to become more expensive). Even now that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all have online shops with their consoles, they still don’t have as many sales – there is less competition and sales, leading to higher console prices (in general).
These savings are especially true if your main gaming interests are AAA action titles.
Another big advantage of PC gaming is the fact that you’re going to have access to way more games than any console has.
Not only are you going to be able to play the majority of modern, AAA releases, but you also have access to an entire history of PC gaming. With the right workarounds, you can even play some of the oldest home video games that were made for PC.
Backwards compatibility simply isn’t an issue for PC gamers. Well, at least nowhere near as big of an issue as it is for console gamers that often can’t play games from the previous generation.
You also have access to emulators. Emulators allow you to play titles that are console exclusives, but typically titles from several years ago and retro games.
PC Gamers have another strong advantage when it comes to the long-term stability of their gaming.
When you’re gaming on a console, you’re fairly beholden to what Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft want to do with your technology. They could remove features, change things around, or even remove games from their market as was the case for Sony titles like PT.
Consoles also depreciate much faster than PCs. You could use the same gaming PC for years without worrying about upgrading or getting outdated. You can easily get away with using your gaming PC for nearly a decade without having to scale back performance too much.
While AMD, NVIDIA and Intel like to claim massive gains each year, the reality is that a cutting edge GPU from 7-10 years ago will still handle 1080p and maybe 1440p gaming with relative ease.
Gaming PCs can also keep on ticking well beyond that date if you lower the graphics quality or use them as work PCs while you upgrade your gaming rig.
Once consoles update, you’re a little stuck having to get the new one if you want to keep playing new games.
What About Console Gaming?
We’re on the topic of PC gaming elitism which means we need to give consoles a fair shake. There’s a lot of good in the world of console gaming and plenty of PC gamers also have their favorite consoles.
The biggest advantage that comes to console gaming are the exclusive titles.
If you want to play Pokemon or Super Mario, you better cozy up to the Nintendo Switch. Sony has their exclusives and Xbox has exclusive titles as well. These exclusive titles not only drive sales of the console, they mean that a lot of PC Gamers also have a console in addition to their gaming PC.
Nintendo probably has the most console exclusives out of any other gaming company. They’ve built a library of strong and house titles over the years and they’ve been reluctant to move any of their action to the PC market.
Ease of Use
Consoles are also much easier to use than a gaming PC.
All you really need to do is plug and play and your gaming console will be up and running. They update themselves and you really have to worry about doing your own troubleshooting.
Gaming consoles have a single form factor, list of hardware, and software that they run. This means they’re much more uniform when it comes to the problems they face and the solutions that fix them.
Setting up a gaming PC often means putting together your components yourself and dealing with the ins-and-outs of PC performance like overclocking and optimizing. Then when you are ready to play a game, a massive Steam update hits you out of nowhere!
There’s also a nostalgic experience to console gaming.
Some people just really love the look and feel of consoles. Whether it’s the UI of the menu system, the graphic and sound design, or just the feel of the console, these are qualities that are hard to replicate on PC.
Again, Nintendo has a big niche carved out here. They have cornered the market on portable gaming as well as harnessing gaming nostalgia. Where else can you pop a physical gaming cartridge into your portable console to play co-op with your friends?
Some Unique Problems that PC Gamers Face
If you’re a PC gamer and you’re worried about the reputation of elitism and toxicity among other PC gamers. There are some things that you can do to help fight against this negative image and some things to keep in mind when it comes to PC gaming elitism.
Overcoming Knowledge Gaps
Individuals making the jump from console gaming to PC gaming are often faced with a pretty sizable knowledge gap. Their plug-and-play consoles are about to be replaced with a computer that often requires them to manage a lot more settings than they might expect.
You can help get more people into PC gaming by helping out when someone gets stuck getting their favorite games running on their PC.
Whether you’re helping out on a forum or getting a friend set up with their first gaming PC, recognizing that it takes a lot of specialized knowledge to get the most out of a gaming PC will help fight against this elitist image.
Cost—Okay, Now for the Bad Part
Okay, while it is technically true that you could put together a gaming PC that can run AAA titles for less than the cost of a modern gaming console, the word “technically” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. While I don’t just use it for gaming, my Ryzen 5900X set me back over £400 ($450):
A high-end gaming PC is going to easily cost double or triple what you would pay for even the most decked out gaming console. Even though the price of key PC components like graphics cards has gone down in the last few years, it still costs a lot to get into PC gaming.
This is especially true if you’re looking to get great metrics on your benchmarks. If you’re concerned that this perception of a high-cost is scaring away potential PC gamers, it helps to keep in mind that a 10 year old gaming PC is still going to be able to run most of today’s demanding AAA titles.
Compatibility and Build Issues
Another thing we have to consider is that it’s complicated to build a gaming PC.
Consoles just work. You don’t have to worry about setting anything up or looking at compatibility, you just plug in your controller and start playing your games.
PCs have compatibility issues. Certain games might not like running on certain hardware and even certain pieces of Hardware might not be 100% compatible with each other.
We’ve all accidentally bought a component that didn’t fit in our case or tried to install a game that we didn’t have the right tech to run. This happens to everyone and should be something we keep in mind before we start getting too elitist.
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