Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why the Existence of Consoles is Good for Everyone

From time to time (meaning every day), you will come across an article at internet about all the console vs PC situation. There is no usefulness in those discussions, as how others play their games have little effect on how you play yours. But one argument used very much by the PC crowd is how the 'weaker' consoles are holding back PC games for them, since they see developers not taking full advantage of the 'most powerful' hardware most PC gamers have.

There is various reasons for that, but that is not what I want to talk about. It is the fact that by restricting development, consoles are making better games for everyone. No, I am not crazy (ok, I am, but listen to me). It is the fact that necessity is mother of invention.

By creating a problem that need to be solved, it forces people to be more creative. Because consoles have less RAM, it forces the developers to use smarter methods of memory management. When this methods are used in the PCs, that have way more memory, it makes the games even more dynamic. Because consoles don't have all the processing power that PC have, it forces developers to create routines that are faster and create better result, all of that creating a better looking game when used on better machines.

It also force developers to be creative in other ways. Consoles don't show ultra-realistic graphics? Let's use an innovative art style. They don't have the precision of mouse and keyboard? Make a game where accuracy is not the center of the gameplay. Use exploration and interaction as core mechanics.

And in other hand, the fact that consoles 'hold back' games, it make more games available to PC gamers. Yes, because by avoiding having to use all the power that the hardcore PC gamer have, more people, the ones who don't have $400 graphic cards, can run their games in their machines.

In the end, what PC games can really do that consoles can't? Mostly better and more detailed graphics, with more dynamic elements and more players in multiplayer. That is it. When the next generation starts, probably consoles will be as good or better then top PCs, but for now, by 'holding back' games for the PC, consoles are helping to develop better games in the future. 

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