For a long time, GIGA editor Daniel was firmly convinced that the PC as a gaming platform was vastly superior to all others. But this view seems to be turning out to be a relic of the past. In addition, current developments are increasingly creating frustration for him instead of carefree fun – time for an intervention.
PC gaming: from the fragmentation of a platform
So what exactly has changed in terms of PC gaming over the past few years? In addition to numerous technical innovations, distribution has also changed. Hardly anyone buys games these days in the form of a physical data carrier – if they do: OK, Boomer. Instead, most of them go to their trusted online shop and buy the games in digital form. So far so good. Unfortunately, the reality looks a bit more complicated.
It starts with the fact that there is now a significant oversupply of different PC platforms there: Steam, Epic Games, EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Bethesda, Rockstar, Microsoft, GOG and many more. Basically, competition is not necessarily something negative, as it is well known that it stimulates business. Rather, the problem is the numerous launchers that are directly linked to the respective shops. From the company’s point of view, this form of distribution and the associated platform connection is absolutely understandable. Nowadays everything revolves around increasing user numbers and data that can be collected about them. Digital capitalism has long since found its way into the video game world, whether you want to admit it or not.
However, if you look at the side of the consumer, the downsides quickly become apparent. Many of the aforementioned launchers are still limited in their range of functions to an absolute minimum. Especially when you compare it with the industry leader Steam. Nevertheless, publishers always compete for exclusive deals with game studios so that they can impose their platform on users. For us gamers this means creating additional accounts and installing unnecessary launchers. Who else should keep track of things?
GOG Galaxy stirs up a little hope in this regard: The basic idea is to offer a superordinate launcher with which all of your other accounts can be linked. However, the project can only really succeed if enough publishers agree to officially integrate their launchers into the application. So far, the number of cooperating publishers has been limited. Most of the time you have to install the other launcher anyway – so it doesn’t work without it.
PC hardware: when chips are in short supply
No, we are certainly not talking about the crispy delicacy that you usually stuff into your mouth as if there was no tomorrow. Indeed, this is a good keyword, because this is roughly how the current market situation for gaming hardware can be described. Anyone who is currently planning to build a gaming PC with a new RTX 3000 graphics card or something comparable from AMD will be immediately disappointed. Either the market has been completely emptied or the prices are so outrageously high that a purchase is simply not worthwhile. Real Talk: That is one of the reasons why the articles on processors or graphics cards have not yet been updated by me. So if you want to indulge in the past for a short moment or prepare yourself in advance for assembling your future computer, I can still warmly recommend the following reading:
This problem hits console gamers, or rather those who want to become one, but at least as hard. Since the release of the new generation of consoles in the form of the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S, these have been completely sold out within a few seconds. The main cause of the current deficiency is relatively simple: The entire industry is currently lacking important small componentswhich is ultimately due to a fatal miscalculation on the part of the manufacturer. The current pandemic and the boom in cryptocurrencies are both also doing their part. Our editor Robert, as a die-hard PC gamer, was really looking forward to the new consoles.
Cloud gaming and game subscriptions as the solution?
So will I stop gambling now? Certainly not, especially as luckily there are also positive developments. Yes, the hardware shortage is annoying, as is the unnecessary launcher chaos or brazen exclusive deals. At the same time, there is an ever-increasing range of game subscriptions, especially the Xbox Gamepass, which is increasingly becoming a favorite of many gamers. There have never been so many top-class games for relatively little money! So it is hardly surprising that others are now taking this as a model and are increasingly integrating the products of the competition into their own platforms – Steam and EA Play are a good example here. In the age of Netflix, Spotify and Co., it was only a matter of time before the gaming industry adapts such a marketing strategy.
The next glimmer of hope in the midst of this almost tragic situation: cloud gaming. So at least if you have a correspondingly potent internet connection. As you know, broadband expansion is still uncharted territory in Germany. However, anyone who has been blessed with an above-average download speed can theoretically completely bypass the problem of the major hardware problem.
You just have to be a child again:
In my case, however, I have to admit that I am more and more interested in consoles like the PS5. Not least because of the ease of use and the fact that I only have to buy one device and not each component individually. In addition, the past has taught me that thinking outside the box is definitely worthwhile. Ultimately, we all long – be it on the PC, the console or the smartphone – but only after the youthful lightheartedness of yesteryear. Play carefree and forget everything around us, even if only for a brief moment. Do you currently have similar experiences or do you have a completely different opinion? Let me know in the comments.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the position of the entire GIGA editorial team.