Console gaming is dead - everything good is happening on PC right now

Console gaming is dead
Consoles might not be dead, but they're falling further behind the PC

The Xbox One doesn't need a cheaper price tag or new colours to get people interested. It needs some decent games, because let's face it, there are none.

Games, apps, features and functionality - both next gen consoles are still hugely lacking in them all and we're nearly a year in now.

It's not unusual for each generation to start slowly, but against the backdrop of an exciting golden age for PC gaming, games consoles are starting to look looking increasingly... irrelevant.

Why? Because all of the good things in the gaming world right now are happening on PC. All of them.

Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen, DayZ, Witcher III, Arma III, Project Cars to name just a few. Not to mention the big deal that is F2P these days, the promise of Steam Machines, the innovation behind the Nvidia Shield Tablet - and did you hear about the Oculus Rift? I could go on... oh and I will.

For gamers of all types, the PC is the place to be. Which is all the more remarkable when you consider that this is a time when millions of brand new big budget next gen consoles are sitting at home in fast-boot standby mode, desperate for something other than tumbleweed to blow into their empty disc bays.

Isn't PC gaming already dead?

"Current estimates put the total number of PC gamers at around 900 million worldwide"

Did you hear the one about how PC gaming is dying? How about the one where the PC is already dead? It's a joke that has about as much to do with reality as the driving physics in Mario Kart 8. No one believes that crap any more.

Granted, back in 2006 the PC was having a bit of a crisis as the Xbox 360 and PS3 embarked on a period of sales dominance. But how about this for a statistic in 2014: sales of those consoles combined comes to a total of around 160 million. The number of PC gamers currently subscribing to F2P smash hit League of Legends? 130 million. Yeah, and 27 million of them play that one game every single day.

The Last of Us, hailed as the greatest game of the last console generation, has now sold over 6 million copies on PS3. Diablo III on PC sold more than 6 million... in its first week of release.

The usual response from many at this point is that "PCs cost way more" and "you have to upgrade once a year and it's too expensive". And while that was true once, it hasn't been so for a long time and that's super exciting in itself.

"Building a PC capable of throwing the latest games around at the full 1080p resolution of your TV for less than the money you'd spend on a new console seemed beyond the realms of home possibility," says Dave James in the latest edition of PC Format magazine. "But recent PC advances have made it a reality".


Check out PCF and you'll find plenty of options for putting together an excellent gaming PC for less than the price of a PS4 or Xbox One. Barrier to entry? There is no such thing. You can also build a Steam Machine for less than the price of Sony's latest gen console.

Living the dream

Once you're up and running with a PC, things couldn't be more glorious. As an engaged gamer you're in a dreamland of infinite opportunity.

Any PC game ever made? You can play it on your rig. Backwards compatibility is not something PC gamers have to worry about... ever. So while Sony and Microsoft effectively bins its entire customer base with every generation, the PC will always be there. Bought a new PC? It's cool, your games are waiting for you, you don't have to pay for them again - oh and they're a lot prettier than the console versions too.

Want to play downstairs on your TV with a control pad instead of upstairs on your rig? Steam In-Home Streaming is your friend. With home streaming and the forthcoming influx of Steam Machines connected to living room TVs, the PC is not only drawing gamers away from consoles it's about to threaten their very existence. Because while consoles are popular for their all-in-one, plug-and-play convenience - PCs are getting smaller and they're coming to living rooms - believe it.

All the innovation in virtual reality is going to happen on the PC, too, with Oculus and its competitors. I'm sure Project Morpheus will work well with the PS4, but the PC is simply more nimble, flexible and accessible - the perfect staging ground for a VR revolution.

steam summer sale

The Steam Summer Sale has become a big annual event for PC gamers

The price of gaming

"It's time to think about buying a PC rather than a next-gen console"

And if all that isn't enough to convince you, how about the fact that games are also much cheaper on PC?

Choose wisely as a PC gamer, time your purchases and you can pick up brilliant titles for utterly bonkers prices. New games are cheaper on PC anyway, but the Steam Summer sale yields blockbuster games for as little as £2. I bought Tomb Raider for £3.74. At the same time, the Xbox One version cost ten times as much. Ten times.

The cash you'll save by not having to shell out these crazy console prices for big games will more than make up for the price of a GPU upgrade after a couple of years.

And even without the thousands of legacy titles available to play, there are more new titles coming out on PC than any other platform. By far. And they're exciting and they're diverse and originality abounds.

Why? Because games are just infinitely easier to develop for PC these days. Install Steam today and for a small monthly fee you can download a game engine like the CryEngine and start creating immediately.

And that's no crappy indie engine, that's the engine Crysis 3 was built in, the best looking game ever created.

You can easily publish your game through Steam as well, no publishing deal required. And with Early Access you can even make your game playable prior to release and get keen gamers to fund your development. Literally anyone can sit at home, build a game and release it for others to play. It's amazing and has yielded some truly innovative gaming experiences.

And you don't even need to pay for many of the most popular PC games. The F2P model is still evolving but the overwhelming number of PC gamers currently enjoying League of Legends and others like DOTA 2, Planetside 2, Hearthstone, FIFA World - I could go on but I won't - speak for themselves. It's hundreds of millions of people.

This is not to say that I'm against the PS4 or Xbox One. I reviewed both and I liked each on its own terms. And do I really think console gaming is dead? No.

But hardware needs software to breathe, and consoles are so far behind at the moment it's hard to imagine a future world where this will no longer be so.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.