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No, PCs don't have fewer exclusive games than consoles

Brad Chacos | Dec. 9, 2015
The dark days for PC gaming are behind us, but people still keep saying that consoles have more exclusives than PCs. They're wrong.

gaming pc
Credit: Flavio Ensiki

Another day, another misguided rant about the viability of the PC as a gaming platform.

In a Slashgear post that heralds Valve’s Steam Machines as being in a “quest to save PC gaming,” J.C. Torres says the following:

“Once the king of computer gaming, the PC has been steadily experiencing a decline, especially with the combine onslaught of major consoles. The new trend of mobile gaming hasn’t helped either. There just aren’t as many high quality, triple A titles for PCs as there are for PlayStations, Xboxes, and even Wiis…”

Whew. Okay. First off, PC gaming revenues surpassed consoles over a year ago while pushing more than twice as much hardware revenue than consoles, while Ubisoft’s recent PC game sales rival the PS4’s (and far outshine the Xbox One).

But there’s a more insidious point I want to focus on. While I agree with Torres’ core point that Steam Machines and the rise of Linux gaming is nothing but a good thing for PC gaming in general, this idea that PCs are too complicated to develop for and lack the strong base of exclusives that consoles supposedly enjoy has been gaining steam in various articles and social media channels in recent months. And it’s wrong.

Let’s pick apart why.

PCs and consoles share the same bones

Here’s Slashgear again:

“PCs, especially gaming rigs, more often than not vary wildly when it comes to specs and components. Gamers are free to plug in any CPU, video card, RAM, storage type, and even display resolution on the dream gaming PC. Making sure your game works on as many possible combinations of hardware is a logistic impossibility. In contrast, there’s only one standard spec for a PlayStation 4, give or take a few variants. Same with an Xbox One. It is ultimately less stressful for a game developer to target a console, leading to poorly done ports or complete absence on PCs.”

There’s no debating that potential PC configurations vastly outnumber console setups, but at a hardware level, modern-day consoles are basically just low- to mid-end PCs with specialized operating systems designed around Sony and Microsoft’s ecosystems. I’m not saying that to stoke the fanboy fires of which gaming setup is superior; it’s a simple fact. While the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 utilized far more custom hardware designs, all modern consoles rock AMD APUs with Radeon graphics and the traditional x86 processor architecture.


The Xbox One and PlayStation 4: PCs in console clothing.

 

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