Sometimes, zealous PC gamers like to pretend that PC gaming is one of the simplest, most accessible forms of gaming out there. Anyone who can’t get into it is just a console peasant. That’s just not true. There are barriers to starting your PC gaming journey and even for those who have been gaming for decades on desktop after desktop. However, those barriers are worth climbing. As the console exclusives of yesterday give way to more and more ports, there are more reasons than ever to make the PC your primary gaming system. But how do you get past the daunting climb that seems to loom constantly over the idea?
Picking it apart
One of the most major issues with starting to game on the PC, to begin with, is getting a system that can actually run the games you want to play. There’s no doubt that buying a PC as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One can be a lot cheaper. But a lot of people aren’t willing to take the leap of buying individual components and putting them together. It’s true that there are sites that allow you to test whether components work together before you try to build them, but the effort can be daunting. But the market for award-winning custom gaming computers is growing, and people are able to design their perfect machine without having to do all the work. As time goes on, you don’t have to switch to an entirely new PC, either. It’s a lot cheaper to simply replace a few components and enjoy the significant upgrade to fidelity and performance.
Can you even play it?
Even still, how do you know that a game is going to run on the PC before you buy it? In the past, it was all about reading the requirements carefully and hoping that you fit somewhere within them. Nowadays, it’s become much more convenient with automatic system requirements checkers able to inspect individual game titles and, with the help of a quick download, getting the fully skinny on your system to tell you whether you can run a game and how well you can expect it to run.
The PC ecosystem
The PlayStation Network Store and Xbox Live have some of the most instantly accessible approaches to getting games digitally. Either that or you can just pick them up in the store. However, consoles are starting to lose a touch of their competitive edge to PC in terms of delivering a simple approach to getting your games. No longer can you just put in the disc and start running, not with day one patches and download installation times often keeping gamers waiting for hours. Meanwhile, on the PC, platforms like GOG and Steam are making it easier and easier to get all your games from one place. Even new users will find these platforms easy enough to navigate, but there are plenty of guides on how to use Steam for newcomers to help along, too.
Those little extras add up
Yes, you can get a high-end PC for the same price as a PS4 but with the ability to run better. We’re not going to ignore the extra peripherals such as gaming keyboards, gaming mice, headphones, speakers, extra controllers, and so-on. These devices all add to the initial install price of the PC and often come with drivers that need to be installed and the occasional compatibility problem. When buying a PC, make sure you factor into your budget any extras you need to go with it.
All the fiddly stuff
Even if your PC is high-spec enough to run a game, that’s no guarantee it will run or run as well as it should. Individual system problems with games aren’t uncommon, and to a newcomer, they can be both frustrating and impossible to diagnose. However, there are communities like the PC gaming tech support group on Reddit that have a very active base of PC experts working to help one another with the little bugs, framerate drops, and installation errors that many games old and new tend to have. Sometimes it might take a little longer to get the gaming experience you paid for, but with a little help, you can get there.
The much broader range of games than consoles offer, the modding potential and customization of your own gaming experience, and the thriving communities all make it clear that PC is more and more becoming the place to be for gamers. Hopefully, the tips above make it a lot easier to get into it.