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Console games will never stay competitive with PC - and here's why

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PC games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have become a dominating force in the world of eSports, helping it explode in popularity and land a time slot on ESPN. What makes this so surprising is that PC games were late to the eSports party. Console games like Halo were the original pioneers. Console gamers would set up huge tournament LAN parties with hundreds or thousands of players coming to tourneys. Those days have dried up like water in the desert, leaving a PC oasis for eSports fans.

What's been hard for people to figure out is why the console competitive scene dried up. They don't seem to realize that console games, especially shooters, were always doomed to fall to the PC scene. Today I want to break down a few reasons why that was inevitable.

Published Jul. 4th 2015
  • Autumn Fish
    Featured Correspondent
    I'd like to make the argument that Nintendo is the most competitive console gaming platform currently on the market. They've been more than dipping their toes into eSports lately. The competitive scene for Super Smash Bros. alone is massive and doesn't seem to be slowing down very quickly at all. And Mario Kart 8's competitive community is still thriving, if a bit torn by the addition of 200cc.. :P If consoles really want to get in on the competitive scene, they need look no further than Nintendo.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    Your title is a tad misleading. The title implies console games are inferior to their PC brethren when instead you are claiming consoles are not a good for the competitive scene (which we are seeing is not the case).
  • Victor Ren
    Columnist
    When you brought up the mechanics change and all that during that Halo slide I just wanted to point out that these devs make changes for the better. We also see this on PC, for example League of Legends can be very different every season.

    Also with Call of Duty and Battlefield, of course those players are gonna move on after the year to the new iteration of the game. If your a competitive player in the COD scene, you can't just stay playing Black Ops forever. We see that with Starcraft too. We can bag on the new games for being the same every year, but as a hardcore or devoted fan, you can't blame them for wanting the play the newer/better game in the series.

    Btw I don't just play console. I play on both, and I also play those games that you mentioned like League of Legends and Battlefield.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    As an equal parts PC and console gamer... there's some sizable holes in your argument:

    1. Yes, you can have superior hardware, but consoles are optimized. A better optimized console game can still run and look better on its specific hardware than on a variety of PC rigs that might be considered "better".

    2. You're describing sequels as if they were patch updates. I'm sorry, but Halo: Reach was a completely different game. We're not talking about them just adding in armor modifications to Halo 3, we're talking about a fundamentally separate experience. You're gonna need a better example.

    Also, only some PC developers support their games like you describe, at about an even rate with support on console. Mass Effect 3 got continual updates and new content for months on both PC and console, for instance. By comparison, some PC-focused games like Max Payne 3 and RAGE had barely any support. Not every game is Team Fortress 2, and neither is every game Dead Space 2. You can't generalize these sorts of things.

    3. The fact I can still find matches in Dead Space 2, Syndicate, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Fuse, and even darkSector, all on PlayStation 3, says otherwise. And I have recorded video to prove it. In fact, it's really the opposite case. PC gamers have access to far more games at far cheaper prices, so they are more inclined to move on once they feel they've had their fill (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, anyone?). Console gamers are rarely as aggressive in acquiring new games, even with recent improvements to sales on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

    4. Esports gaming isn't even really that big a thing for consoles outside of fighting games, really. Most of the console games that are treated as eSports are often limited to one console to compensate for this. I'll give you that that is not a perfect solution, but it hardly impacts the average user in the slightest.

    5. Okay, now you are just re-contextualizing your second point. Decide if this is a topic about eSports or just Consoles Vs. PC. You're leading off into a niche that is actually already being addressed (see: Street Fighter V) through various means. And really, the kind of eSports games you are describing are coming to Xbox One (Smite, Gigantic) and PlayStation 4 (Planetside 2). This is the first generation of games where we're even seeing console games built specifically for eSports, such as Evolve.

    So, as someone happily sitting at his desk with a console and PC, I remain unmoved and unconvinced.
  • Victor Ren
    Columnist
    I agree with a lot of your points but I can really relate with your 5th point. I read it and I couldn't really tell if he meant it as in eSports consoles can never be competitive, or just as a whole PC is better than console.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    The title is misleading and misconstrues the main point he means to address. I am still unsure exactly which one he is aiming for exactly.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    As a fellow console and PCer?, I doubt anyone could convince you otherwise. :P

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