Gaming Costs

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Unfortunately I’ve been a bit neglectful of the blog of late. This isn’t due to lack of desire or ideas, just the complete lack of time in the face of a hundred other tasks that are demanding my attention lately.

On the other hand, when I read a comment over at Shamus’ blog the other day, I got rather irritated to the point that I had to vent.

What people don’t consider is playability (over restrictive DRM measures inhibit this) and graphics (yes, you’re game looks great and all, but unfortunately I won’t buy it because I can’t run it!) I love the PC as a platform, it allows for so many possibilities, but when I could shell out $400 for a console and some games, or $1500 for a decent mid-range computer that might play the games I want, I think I’ll go for the console.

A good gaming machine that will run all current games (and the generation after), not to mention most past-generation games (“backwards compatability”) will run you about $1000 these days. Considering that the comment was probably written and posted to Shamus’ blog from a computer, which, lets be generous, probably cost a few hundred dollars itself — Where exactly are these big savings with consoles coming in?

For me this is pretty much a no-brainer comparison. I can purchase a high quality machine for work and personal use, plus add on the additional expenses of a console, the restrictions of a console, and ridiculous expenses like XBox Live, or I can purchase a marginally higher quality machine and also play games on it when so inclined.

I suppose for Joe Consumer who uses his Dell or other branded computer for nothing more than checking email and looking at porn, it might be a good deal to buy a $400 gaming machine. For those of us who actually use our computers for work, which I assume should include most of Shamus’ readership, having a computer that doubles as a gaming platform is almost certainly the cheaper option. Particularly for people who do not own televisions, a niche group surely, but a growing one especially among reasonably intelligent people.

The only caveat here is that you can’t simply walk into Best Buy and say, “Give me your best $1000 gaming computer.” All of the retailers selling gaming computers do so at 100% or more markup, so you have to be willing to build it yourself. I know I personally hate dealing with hardware, as I prefer to have my computers just work, but when you’re talking about getting superior computer using experience in general — Yeah, I’m willing to put in a little bit of work for that. Obviously most people are reluctant to do this because they have no knowledge of hardware and are technophobic. We all have to start somewhere.

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