Titanfall Beta Xbox One First Impressions

It’s a term that you may have come across during your journeys on the Internet. In short, the “PC gaming master race” or simply “PC master race” for short is a label meant to express the superiority of gaming on a personal computer compared to playing games on a console. Connections to Nazi Germany aside, I strongly feel that this kind of labeling needs to be discarded for the greater good.

PCs Will Always Be More Powerful

Let’s start with a simple fact. If you have the money to spend on high-end graphics cards and the rest of it, it is positively undeniable that a powerful gaming PC will always have more horsepower than a comparatively modest Xbox or PlayStation. A console will always be based on “older” technology and it will only get more dated in the years following its launch. I’m not quite as convinced that a $400 gaming PC will offer the same kind of experience as a $400 Xbox One or PlayStation 4, so I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Those who will settle for nothing less than the absolute best graphics, sound, and physics will likely gravitate toward PCs. Consoles simply don’t have that kind of power.

Show Me the Money

But it’s not just about raw horsepower. It’s not just about how some people say that gaming on a keyboard and mouse is vastly superior to a controller either. It’s also about the money involved. You may have heard how the upcoming DOTA 2 championships will have a $10 million prize pot. A lot of that was crowdsourced by Valve and it means that someone who finishes in one of the top spots can expect quite the impressive payday.

By comparison, the prize pot for Ultra Street Fighter IV (which will be available for PC, but is generally perceived as a console game) at the upcoming EVO championship is less than $30,000 with the winner taking home almost $18,000. That’s a huge improvement over the estimated $4,000 that Xian got for winning Street Fighter last year, but it pales in comparison to the eight-figure prize pot for DOTA 2 on the PC.

As it stands, even though console games are popular among the general population, the competitive gaming world is still very much about PCs.

PAX Prime 2013

Better Graphics Do Not a Better Game Make

To me, however, none of that really matters all that much. I’ve written before about why I prefer console games over PC games. I talked about how the experience is much more “plug and play” and how I am far more comfortable lounging on my couch than I am sitting in front of my computer. The psychology of the situation really has an impact.

And when you talk to people who proclaim they are members of the “PC gaming master race,” one of the key aspects that they will inevitably bring up is graphical superiority. The visuals on well-coded PC games will outperform their console counterparts. However, as nice as the better eye candy may be, none of that matters if the underlying game doesn’t appeal to me. To this day, some of my favorite games are also among the simplest: Tetris, Divekick and even Minesweeper.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Healthy competition can be a good thing, but the very nature of a “PC master race” lends itself to too much of an “us against them” mentality. In reality, PC gamers and console gamers have a lot more in common than they have different. It’s not “us against them” as much as it is an “us and some more us” kind of situation. By helping to lift gaming culture as a whole, we can all benefit. Console gamers can earn some more respect in the community and PC gamers can get more attention from game developers to create even more immersive experiences.

And this is why I feel events like GottaCon and PAX Prime are so brilliant in their inclusiveness. Whether you play on a 3DS, an Xbox, or a high-end gaming PC, you are welcome there. If you like tabletop or trading card games, you’re welcome too. And with the more PC-like architecture of the Xbox One and PS4, plus the (eventual) launch of the Steam Machines, the lines in the sand will only get more muddled. Let’s drop those borders and just have fun.