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Is PC a safer purchase than consoles due to the volatility of the console market?

Forums - PC Discussion - Is PC a safer purchase than consoles due to the volatility of the console market?

To explain what I mean, it seems like purchasing a console these days is a big roll of the dice. You get your console, you wait for the games to roll in... you're good. But, what you if got the loser? The console that had the games and features you initially wanted, but after a while, you find yourself doing more arguing on behalf of your chosen platform online than playing games. Uh oh, you're THAT guy now. Where did it go wrong?

Overall, it seems like the console market tends to get extremely volatile. What once was a sure thing last gen ends up sucking pond scum the next, and it creates a tug of war between the development communites on these platforms. Consoles aren't a zero sum game all the time, but there is takeaway, and the effects of the sway in the market can be felt. If you didn't have plans to purchase multiple consoles, you may have to due to the bottom falling out from the system you purchased due to oversights by the platform maker.

With all three current console makers not wanting to lose their place in the industry, they're constantly looking for ways to usurp each other. That's the whole game plan. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it's a perfect storm of the cards falling into place that can make a gaming system a runaway hit. It leaves kind of a chaos in that industry. No one can get comfortable with a single purchase. When I look at PC, it doesn't have that unsurety and unease of a violent market turnaround. Looking at some scenarios this gen...

- PS4 is the market leader by far this time. But, if the Scorpio is priced right, and the Switch ends up being monster hit, then that's an attack on Sony from two opposite angles. Scorpio could be the preferred platform for multis for those with the cash, and the Switch could end up soaking up a lot of Japanese support that PS4 was supposed to see. Sony will have the strength of its first party titles, but would that be good enough to hold the others at bay up until the next platform? PC owners could see themselves being less concerned with buying the platform since they'll see some of the library on PSNow should they want to subscribe.

- Nintendo could have a HUGE hit with the Switch if things are going the way they say, but with major third parties being caught off guard by its massive success, will it get significant content? If third parties find themselves trying to hastily stuff games on the platform trying to ride the wave, they could see their titles being ignored again in favor of the first party offerings. Great development takes time. It could see itself being a horrible port and shovelware haven.

- Microsoft could see themselves reclaiming gamers that jumped off the bandwagon with Scorpio for that group of gamers that wants to have the most powerful console. But, the same issues that plague Xbox now will still be there. Xbox first party games will still be sold day and date with PC, and will they be able to establish enough of an identity again by scoring some great exclusive content? Xbox was seen as a sure thing by gamers who thought MS would throw money around securing deals toward the platform and keep the content flowing in. Well, those deals are a LOT tougher to make when you lose major ground in the industry. 

I just see with PC, there's none of that instability and worry that comes from the unpredictability of going all in on a console. PC will see indies, original titles, Xbox games, third party games, PSNow, emulation etc. The only real issue being sprucing up on your hardware and the occasional bad port.



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Just don't buy new consoles.

I don't know why people do when there's no games, goofy firmware and unreliable hardware.

That being said, Sony is a pretty reliable bet, looking throughout history for a day 1 purchase.



Just avoid the internet...

I don't care if you play on a PC with 3 GTX 1080 TI's or on a Wii. Just have fun and don't be a dick about it



@Sticky: Right... "Don't buy console on day 1" is different thing than "Don't buy console period".

And the OP's claims of volatility seem... weak. Sony's "Disaster" PS3 gen still won the gen over-all.
Likewise Sony winning again with PS4 (bigger, from start this time) was not any surprise at all.
You have to consider that evidence of overall structural brand strength when considering possibility
MS Scorpion "true" 4K (vs well received checkerboard) @ higher price could suddenly reverse sales ratio.
As if game devs would immediately jump ship from Sony's 2:1 install base to dev for new platform.
Realize: PS5 will probably be out by time any new AAA game beginning development now will be released!

And bigger picture, the Big 2 are now so similar to each other (and PC) that x-platform dev is no big deal.
Obviously one or the other will have better res, FPS stability etc, but no different than different PC rigs.
(where NVIDIA/AMD optimizations do have impact on what games play well on what rigs)
So the "volatility" just isn't an issue for x-platforms, and exclusives will be there regardless.
And get real, whatever success Nintendo has with Switch is irrelevant to competition with Big 2.

So if the OP has other reasons they want to focus on PC, great. Otherwise, Sony remains solid bet.
They seem to be putting out great games on PS4/Pro for now, and their next PS5 coming out ~2019.

And regardless your choice, enjoy playing what you want, don't get caught up in platform war hype.
Because even if you "win" in that area, you are wasting your time with internet bickerspam and not gaming.



I don't personally see it as an issue as described here. We already know how successful PS4 and Xbox One are at the very least, and it's not going to change. Switch is another issue, and waiting is the only way to go if you're worried (like I am). Personally I'm more concerned about volatility in backwards compatibility, which is one of the biggest reasons I don't currently like console gaming too much.



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mutantsushi said:

@Sticky: Right... "Don't buy console on day 1" is different thing than "Don't buy console period".

And the OP's claims of volatility seem... weak. Sony's "disaster" PS3 gen still won the gen over-all.
Likewise Sony winning again with PS4 (bigger, from start this time) was not any surprise at all.
You have to consider that evidence of overall structural brand strength when considering possibility
that MS Scorpion could just suddenly overturn Sony's sales ratios "true" 4K higher price platform.
As if game devs would immediately jump ship from Sony's 2:1 install base to dev for new platform.
And get real, whatever success Nintendo has with Switch is irrelevant to competition with Big 2.
So if the OP has other reasons they want to focus on PC, great. Otherwise, Sony remains solid bet.
They seem to be putting out great games on PS4/Pro for now, and their next PS5 coming out ~2019.

And regardless your choice, enjoy playing what you want, don't get caught up in platform war hype.
Because even if you "win" in that area, you are wasting your time with internet bickerspam and not gaming.

The point of this isn't "don't buy consoles", since I'm a happy PS4 and PC owner, it's just about how PC doesn't see that same uncertainty as consoles, so it tends to be in a better position. About your AMD/Nvidia statement, that really comes down to what you choose to go with, but in the end, they're two methods to using the same platform, so that's not really in the same ballpark. 

And nothing is a sure thing with consoles. Companies that take this attitude tend to eat it hard. Like MS when they assumed they had enough control over the market with 360 to where they could make a follow up with DRM and forced Kinect. That made Sony think they could be okay debuting a $600 console. Or made Nintendo... well, I don't even know about Nintendo, since the market grows randomly hot and cold on them... it's become an anomaly in of itself. Honestly, kind of the reason I even made this thread. Everyone predicted a Wii U repeat with Switch but it's looking to shatter that. There's a bit of chaos here.

Sure, everyone can buy what they enjoy, but there is a clear result of falling in the rear. If you were a Wii U owner, you saw that for sure. Even the Xbox slate got slimmer. There is a cause and effect.



mutantsushi said:

@Sticky: Right... "Don't buy console on day 1" is different thing than "Don't buy console period".

And the OP's claims of volatility seem... weak. Sony's "Disaster" PS3 gen still won the gen over-all.
Likewise Sony winning again with PS4 (bigger, from start this time) was not any surprise at all.
You have to consider that evidence of overall structural brand strength when considering possibility
MS Scorpion "true" 4K (vs well received checkerboard) @ higher price could suddenly reverse sales ratio.
As if game devs would immediately jump ship from Sony's 2:1 install base to dev for new platform.
Realize: PS5 will probably be out by time any new AAA game beginning development now will be released!

And bigger picture, the Big 2 are now so similar to each other (and PC) that x-platform dev is no big deal.
Obviously one or the other will have better res, FPS stability etc, but no different than different PC rigs.
(where NVIDIA/AMD optimizations do have impact on what games play well on what rigs)
So the "volatility" just isn't an issue for x-platforms, and exclusives will be there regardless.
And get real, whatever success Nintendo has with Switch is irrelevant to competition with Big 2.

So if the OP has other reasons they want to focus on PC, great. Otherwise, Sony remains solid bet.
They seem to be putting out great games on PS4/Pro for now, and their next PS5 coming out ~2019.

And regardless your choice, enjoy playing what you want, don't get caught up in platform war hype.
Because even if you "win" in that area, you are wasting your time with internet bickerspam and not gaming.

Wii won last gen if you like it or not. PS3 is my prefered system of last gen and PS4 is this gen but Wii beat both PS3 and 360 pretty easily.



RJ_Sizzle said:

The point of this isn't "don't buy consoles", since I'm a happy PS4 and PC owner, it's just about how PC doesn't see that same uncertainty as consoles, so it tends to be in a better position. About your AMD/Nvidia statement, that really comes down to what you choose to go with, but in the end, they're two methods to using the same platform, so that's not really in the same ballpark. 

Well, I edited my post just to remain more concise and on topic, but since you saw it...

I mentioned AMD/NVIDIA optimization resulting in different games having significant performance deltas depending on GPU.
As being akin to reality of x-platform games on MS/Sony, with a given game running higher spec on any given platform.
(AMD/NVIDIA divide just complicating things beyond generic performance differences which exist between PC rigs)
But reality is both Big 2 are so close together now, and both using AMD, there is little real impediment to x-platform games.
Doesn't matter if MS "loses" 1:2 or worse, they still get the same x-platform games. That's the "big roll of dice" when they "lose".
If the tables were turned, Sony would still be getting those x-platform games all the same. So I just don't see the volatility here.

So what remains is exclusives which would be attraction of (Sony) console regardless, and reason to buy the 2nd console
even if you already had other console or PC (an approach many do take, including PC gamers who like console exclusives too).
Anyways, your premise of "huge volatility" further isn't borne out by Sony's "disaster" gen still managing to win an over-all lead.
Clearly that is the safer console bet, and with MS abandoning console/PC exclusivity, Sony is only console that matters if you play PC.

To be honest, if addressing PC vs Console decision is not your intent, I'm not sure of purpose of asking "Is PC a safer purchase?"
That is the typical intent when people ask "Is a Toyota a safer purchase than a Ford?". People wanting to buy both don't ask that.
What purpose is served by making a comparison of "safer purchase" when one is not contemplating a choice between options?



SegataSanshiro said:

Wii won last gen if you like it or not. PS3 is my prefered system of last gen and PS4 is this gen but Wii beat both PS3 and 360 pretty easily.

You can only win if you are having a competition.
As I wrote, Nintendo is irrelevant to Big 2 competition. Same with smartphone gaming.
When Nintendo is so problematic in basic categorization of which "gen" it belongs to, that is strong indication.
On topic,
I don't think there is any demographic who stays up late at night pondering to dedicate themself to Nintendo or to PC gaming.



If your concern is getting the most amount of games on your platform as possible to maximize your choice then yes PC is by far the best choice. But not everyone has that same value system.

For example, if I really like playing Halo on my couch in my living room and my wife forbids me from having a PC there, then by default the Xbox becomes my safest choice because I don't want to sleep outside.

tl;dr depends what you're looking for