Come in, take a seat
Like the best parties that ply you with free booze and have top-notch bands on the billing, the PC is the place to be.
Sure, the cost of entry is more than the PS4 or Xbox One, but once you're through the door you only have to pay for top-ups - or components, if we're breaking away from the party analogy - which often outperform consoles' for the same cost (or less). Throw in Steam sales and you soon start to claw your money back. As a man with a guitar once said: that's entertainment.
Of course, there are a ton more reasons why the PC is worth your hard-earned cash more than Sony's and Microsoft's next-generation machines. Using arguments presenting during TechRadar's recent PC Gaming Week, we delve into some of the best.
1. Games are simply better played on the PC
Multi-format games simply look better on the PC due to the platform's advanced hardware, which you can swap for the latest and greatest every year or so. The Xbox One and PS4 will never be able to handle 4K, or even 2K; the Xbox One struggles to hit 1080p half of the time. If you want to almost smell the grass while traversing Skyrim's snow-topped mountains or see the bullets crack the windscreen of the getaway car you're driving in GTA V, the PC is the only way to go. Then there's user-created mods, texture packs, skin packs and, of course, maps — which are often provided for free rather than in the form of pricey DLC.
2. There are so many good titles coming up
The format wars is fought on the quality of games, and the PC has plenty of promising titles on the horizon. First off, it has the most ambitious game project in development right now on any platform in Star Citizen. Second, reboots of a number of classic FPS franchises including Doom and Unreal Tournament, in addition to potentially upcoming titles such as Portal 3, Left4Dead 3 and Half-Life 3, means there's plenty for shooter fans to get excited about.
3. You have an audience of millions
OK - so the PS4 has Share Play and the Xbox One has Upload, but neither come close to the flexibility, ease and sheer reach of PC-based streaming services. (Steam broke its record in March when a whopping 9 million users logged on concurrently.) Aside from beaming your gameplay clips to scores of internet users, you can also edit videos and participate in voice or video chats without the need for a separate device. Just install the right software, hit record and away you go.
Public streaming aside, services like Steam's In-Home Streaming and Nvidia GameStream let you stream hundreds of thousands of titles to other devices around the house in a snap. The PS4 can do this using PS4 TV, but it's severely lacking in streaming apps and content, and it remains to be seen how good Windows 10 and the Xbox One will handle in-home streaming.
4. PCs are more flexible and cheaper than ever
The term PC is usually associated with big humming boxes, but the Raspberry Pi 2 (Model B) proved that capable computers can come in small (and cheap) packages too. Thanks to its faster CPU and double RAM (compared to its predecessor), the Pi 2 is much more capable of doing things like acting as a retro games consoles to let you play Playstation, SNES and N64 (to name a few) classics.
5. Your gaming laptop has a longer lifespan
When it comes to PC gaming, desktops get most of the attention because of the powerful components you can fit inside of them, but exciting developments are happening in the world of laptops too. Thanks to companies like Alienware, MSI and Origin, portable frag tanks are becoming more upgradable than ever before. Additionally, graphics amplifiers are allowing laptop owners to take advantage of meaty desktop-grade GPUs, bridging the performance gap between gaming laptops and PCs. Why be rooted to the spot with a console when your laptop is portable and much more powerful?
6. The PC is the natural home of VR
What's that? The PS4 has Project Morpheus? Good one. Let's hope you're not planning on doing anything too immersive in that, because it's going to struggle reaching the high resolutions and frame rates that are essential for VR headsets to convincingly beam you into virtual worlds. On the other hand, the Oculus Rift is shaping up to offer the most convincing VR experience by taking advantage of the PC's greater graphical and processing power. The Oculus will have stiffer competition too, from headasets such as HTC's Vive and Razr's OSVR, which will ramp up the quality.
7. Two words: Star Citizen
The hype around Star Citizen, an FPS game that lets players dive into spacecrafts, has been building to the point of where gamers are starting to think that it's all too good to be true. Exclusive to the PC, it's entirely possible that the game will crumble under the weight of its own expectations. On the other hand, if Star Citizen matches (or even exceeds) its vast ambitions, it could turn out to be a game that rewrites the rules of space exploration and combat. With insanely detailed graphics, dynamic combat elements and living, breathing worlds, Star Citizen is shaping up to be the game console owners wish were heading their way.