This is my response to a ZDNET blog post. While the author brings up a few interesting discussion points, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a fair assessment. Here’s why.
When the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 first released, their real street price was nowhere near as low as they are today. Were you really out the door for $399? Once you accessorize and get the larger hard drives, you’re left with a device that, for what it’s capable of, is priced comparably to a PC -- maybe even a tad higher.
For example: If a console (PS3, in my case) was scaled in terms of cost for a comparably priced PC with 4 GB of system memory (versus 512 MB), how much more would it have cost? The Blu-ray player more than offsets this, but I digress, and I think you get the point. PCs simply have a ton more packed inside of them.
Also, it seems to me that the operating system (OS) cost puts PC OEMs at a huge disadvantage against consoles, which effectively are giving their OS away for free.
Easy to Use
Let’s look at the OS again. When a game is easy to access, install and launch, this is a credit to the OS and the developer tuning the game for that environment. I see no logical reason why we couldn’t have that same ease-of-use story for PC gaming (Mac or Windows). If something is broken on the OS side, who is responsible for addressing it? (Who is responsible for tending and stewarding their own ecosystem? This also applies to drivers and updates.) If something is broken on the game side, only the developer is capable of providing that fix.
Grab a Bootleg Version?
Really? Did you really say that? First, you can’t do that with a free-to-play game. Second, I don’t know about you, but instead of a grabbing a bootleg, the console industry saved a ton of people the trouble of pirating by simply being able to loan games back and forth. I have more than $300 worth of console games on loan to me right now. No bootlegging required!
The best part about this blog was the survey. After submitting my vote, these were the results.
As you can see, for all of the supposed detractors of PC gaming, it still comes out first, even if the consoles were all added up in one lump bucket. Had the survey listed everything out separately, it probably would have shown the percentages to be more like this, or thereabouts:
PC: 57 percent
Wii: 17 percent
Xbox 360: 10 percent
PS3: 10 percent
What would happen if the PC enhanced and optimized its ease-of-use story for PC gaming? I would say this is already starting to slowly happen. One of the cool things taking place is that the platform story has now shifted. It’s no longer about the device (PC, Wii, PS3, 360, iPhone, Android, iPad, slate and more); it’s about the cloud and accompanying services. The new platform is the cloud.
Oh, and for the record, I love my gaming laptop! It beats the value proposition of any console, hands down. It was very affordable (barely $700) does 100 times more and allows me the mobility and freedom to play my games wherever and whenever I want: living room, den, bedroom, airports, hotels … you name it!
Matt Ployhar focuses on graphics, multimedia and gaming in Intel’s visual computing software division [disclosure: Intel is the sponsor of this website]. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft for more than 12 years. His passions are graphics and gaming, and he also enjoys the great outdoors and reading. He is a frequent contributor to Digital Innovation Gazette.