Console gaming started with the Atari way back in 1972 and quickly evolved into what we know today. We went from simple black and white pixels to freaking 1080p HD realistic video games that run at 240 frames per second – that is nuts! Games are looking better than ever these days; while searching for photos for Video Game Cars In Real Life, I almost picked up a few in-game pics as they looked so real that they fooled me. Now we even have VR to contend with which, even though it’s still in its early stages, is going to go as far as console gaming has in the future.
While all this progress is stunning, we do have to take a moment to acknowledge that game consoles (and gaming in general) are not perfect. From inefficient controllers to ridiculous prices to suspicious business practices, console gaming could still use some improvement.
Before we begin, I want to let you know that I’m not here to stir up the drama between PC gamers and console gamers. I personally play games on PC, Xbox One, PS4, 3DS, and Switch. My favorite games are a mixture of PC and console games. I’m just here to point out some facts that bother me about various consoles and I’m sure you may have issues with some of them too. With that out of the way, I don’t want to hear any fighting or accusations of stirring up the ancient beef between plebs and elites.
It is no secret that console games have weaker graphics than most. The Switch came under fire for its comparatively lackluster performance compared to other consoles, let alone PCs. A defensive argument laid out by console fans is that money and effort go towards high-quality consoles or, in the case of the Switch, the unique handheld ability. This makes sense and I can understand why that would be; some games just don’t require high graphics, but the Switch has ones that would certainly benefit.
So cross-platform play has been an issue for a long time. Only within the last few months has the power of Fortnite granted us Xbox/PlayStation play and that would not have happened if Fortnite weren't so popular. If this is possible, surely we can get PC to console crossplay going on somehow. I’m sure the reason is to do with server issues and trying to fit everything together. I have a few more suspicions about why not, but I’ll discuss some of those later.
Watching the Overwatch League made me realize just how awesome 360 scopes and flicks are. Playing Overwatch myself has taught me how hard those are to pull off on PC.
Playing it on console taught me that it’s even harder to pull it off with a controller.
It feels cumbersome to try to manipulate the controls to make it happen, whereas it’s flashier on PC since it’s over in an instant. The setup to a console one-shot is clumsy and, frankly, looks dumb if you look at your character in the third person.
Continuing from the previous entry, aiming is a pain on a console. Also, PC is better for certain games because it has a lot of keys you can bind abilities to and makes it so much easier; this is particularly relevant to games like World of Warcraft where you have a lot of abilities to manage and use at once. Overwatch is another example of a game that feels better to play on PC, but I will elaborate on that in a bit.
Skyrim is notorious for relying heavily on its modding community to survive in today’s climate rather than actually update itself to compete with its contemporaries. These mods are easy to access on PC, but it is possible to get a few on a console. On Xbox, for example, you can access some mods like the Live Another Life mod which allows you to skip the classic opening and jumpstart a life you want. Skyrim is a special case, however, and other games don’t have the same wide selection or get the same treatment.
This is more of a small personal gripe, but maybe you can relate. On PC, you can easily move from one task to the other, often switching from browsing the web, to Spotify, to playing a game with little to no issue. Consoles, however, have a hard time allowing you to do more than one thing at once. Maybe it’s the interface, maybe the design, maybe the fact it’s on a TV and not a monitor, but either way this could use improvement.
Take your mind way back to the depths of 2011 try to think past the hopeful optimism, the planking, and the terrible fashion choices. In April of 2011, the PlayStation Network was hacked for 23 days and 77 million users accounts were breached.
Not only was this the biggest hack PlayStation had ever seen, but it was the biggest hack ever pulled off to date.
No credit card info was taken, but a lot of changes were made both internally and in PlayStation’s terms and conditions, which we’ll look at in a moment.
I have actually read through PlayStation’s entire terms and conditions for September 2018 so you do not have to – I know, it’s surprising – and I found some juicy statements from PlayStation. ‘We are not responsible for monitoring or recording any activity on PSN Services, including communications, although we reserve the right to do so.’ Which means if the cops need them to, they will. The long statement on class action waivers stinks of hurt over the legal issues stemming from the 2011 hack.
Buying physical copies of games still has its perks. You can display the case and grow your games library to show off, you can get cool extras like manuals and, if the game is not for you, you can simply return the game to the store. Online, however, it seems to be a bit harder to return things. Steam will not accept returns at all. This is a problem considering it has issues with ‘games’ in its marketplace that don’t even have .exe files, but hey, they’re still Good Guy Valve, right?
Being an Overwatch player on both console and PC, I noticed this one right away. Patches for new heroes or new maps take forever to get off the PTR, then PC players get to hog all the cool new stuff while console players have to sit and wait for days, sometimes weeks to get their teeth into them. I don’t know why that is, in all honesty, but it doesn’t make sense to me. If someone knows what’s up, let me know.
When I said Fortnite was doing good things for gaming, I wasn’t kidding. Thanks to the game being the hottest thing at the time of writing, Epic Games managed to make Xbox and PlayStation work together to create a crossplay experience for their players. Up until now, this has been impossible for console and PC games to achieve. Now this seemingly insurmountable barrier has been broken, I’m sure we can expect crossplay to become standard in the future.
This is common sense to everyone since you’re already using a keyboard while on PC but on a console you only have your controller. Sure, it can be quicker to just say what you want to out loud while playing, but sometimes jokes are funnily typed and hearing a bunch of voices can be confusing or hard to understand. I can’t think of a reasonable way to make text chat a thing during online play, but it would be great if someone figured that out.
Speaking of voice chat, the newest console from Nintendo is not exempt from my list. Nintendo has always had trouble figuring out how the Internet works and this translates into every online service they have ever provided. Voice chat is key to online play for console gamers and Fortnite has voice chat integrated into the game; clearly, it should be possible to do without the app, so either get all games that need it to include voice chat or just include Discord.
A classic complaint, but still a relevant one. Like sure, you can play Fortnite on the Switch without Nintendo Online, but that was probably hard-lined by Epic Games alongside voice chat. You still have to pay for Nintendo Online, Xbox Live, and others, which is ridiculous. It feels so primitive to have to pay for online play when you have an internet connection and have the game. Fortnite has proven it can be done, so let’s make it happen as standard.
Console libraries, in general, are smaller in number than the massive selection of applications available for PC; you only have to take a peek into Steam’s store to see what’s up. It is just a fact that there are more online options for PC gamers, whereas console gamers have to kind of accept what they have and hope for more than just ports. Here’s to hoping, I guess. We’ll see what comes up in the future.
Now, I’m not a programmer or dev, so I have no idea why this is a thing. It seems that consoles systems simply cannot support the sheer amount of games available to PCs.
This would explain the limited by comparison libraries and a small number of exclusives.
Perhaps increasing the amount of storage will help? It is a shame but hopefully, future versions of consoles will expand their selections and close the gap, even if it is just a bit.
Sometimes the default key bindings just don’t feel as nice as they should, which is why being able to adjust and reset them is important. However, console again can’t keep up with the sheer amount of adjustments you can make on PC. Sure, they can both change in-game audio, whether copyrighted music should be turned off, and switch bindings around, but the PC has more buttons to attach things to whereas on console there are only so many buttons.
You would think that paying a decent amount of money for online play means that the service you get would be excellent, but that’s not true either. While Xbox customer support is great at helping out, explaining why they take certain actions and responding quickly, others can’t seem to follow suit. PlayStation and Steam are the worst offenders in their lack of action; both sites are a hotbed for hate groups due to poor filters and lackluster rule enforcement.
In a time when most controllers have a USB charger, it feels really strange that Xbox controllers use batteries. It feels outdated, harking back to the times when everything needed batteries – and the batteries weren’t included. Xbox consoles may be a toy to some (particularly to those people who just throw controllers across the room when they get tilted) but they are an expensive, high-end product and their controllers should reflect that as well. Times have changed and Xbox really needs to catch up.
When PlayStation 4’s controllers were revealed, people were intrigued by its touchpad. Meant to bring a little more interactivity and creativity to gameplay, it quickly became a swiping gimmick as shown in Until Dawn. Nowadays, it has become a map or menu button, like in Marvel’s Spider-Man, at best and just a forgotten feature at worst. Detroit: Become Human tried to bring more creativity to the table by going for gesture-based controls rather than traditional gameplay controls to simulate the actions the player wanted to perform but produced mixed results.
We live in an era of simulation. Watching other people play games and react to them is a popular trend that can provide entertainment or help you decide if you think the game is worth buying. However, those providing this type of service need their gaming equipment to be up to scratch and some consoles don’t cut it. Many games like Breath of the Wild or Overwatch need to be captured at high quality but certain consoles like PlayStation make it a pain to capture your gaming footage and share it online.
Some would argue that consoles are a waste of space but to be honest they could take up more space in the storage department.
Even the Switch is doing a better job in a lot of ways than its contemporaries.
Also, while we’re on the subject, what is the deal with buying a physical copy of a game and then having to download stuff when you put the disk in for the first time? Shouldn’t everything just be on the disk already except for future updates?
Consoles, like any machine, will wear down and need cleaning or maintenance from time to time. Bearing this in mind, how many people do you know who actually clean their consoles? It is difficult and a pain in the behind to do and often companies don’t tell you how to clean them and the ones that do aren’t clear on it. There are YouTube tutorials to help you out, but an instructional cleaning manual or video should be provided as standard.
In bringing us those rumbles and light up features, controllers pay the price with their lives. Controllers with fancy features do perish quicker than you would expect because their energy goes to making those features work rather than just existing to control the game. It is just a fact and it makes sense when you think about it. This is a shame and is an area we can improve upon, especially since controllers can be expensive.
Last night, while playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Xbox, I decided I got bored with the epic soundtrack and just wanted to play some of my own music while slaying bandits. To play the music, I used Spotify on my phone; why?
Because the music integration on consoles is clumsy at best and impossible at worst.
It’s just easier to open an app and press play instead of messing around for ages.
This is another small gripe, but I still gotta say it. We all have phones, PCs, or tablets to check our socials and emails whenever we need to and that is great. The problem is that consoles are trying to get in on the action with their own net surfing apps built in. I hate surfing the web on consoles for the same reason I don’t like the music integration systems; they aren’t pleasant to use and need some work to improve ease of usability..
PC players, especially those who built their own systems, know the value in upgrading parts. Upgrading PC parts is often cheaper than just throwing the thing out and getting a new one and can help keep that custom design alive for longer. The same does not apply to consoles. There is little to no point in upgrading the system because, by the time you need to do that, the next generation of consoles is about to be released.