A Little on the Arrogance of PC Gamers

Matthew Torino February 17, 2011 0

The gaming media has been declaring PC gaming dying for the last decade ever since the advent of the PS2/Xbox generation. They declared that the computers couldn't possibly keep up. But the machines have raged on, arguably having as good graphics as the consoles. But those aren't the games that PC gamers play which is strange in and of itself. But when you combine this genre of games with the persevering against all odds machine and the sort of people that play them, you get a lethal combination.


Nearly every person I know who plays PC games will not play console games unless they are remarkably similar to something they'd play on their computer. The namesake of this website may be the exception in this story but not the rule. Most of the rest of them will only approach an Xbox 360 if there's a shooter involved simply because that sort of game was essentially ported to the consoles from PCs.

First person shooters were believed to only be at their best when used with a mouse and keyboard. They were ported with varying degrees of success to consoles but were met with apathy, especially when games like Half-Life came out that took the PC shooting genre to the next level. But then Xbox came out.

The Xbox's slightly differently designed controller combined with Halo ushered the golden age of first person shooting on consoles. The masterpieces exclusive to PC have been essentially nonexistent since then as every game of that ilk is coming out at least for consoles at the same time save Half-Life 2 which later came out for consoles in the form of the very successful Orange Box which contained more content than the PC version.

Patches were their other saving grace. PC gamers believed that their form would always live on as developers could only continually update their PC titles after release to fix glitches and the like. Well this obviously isn't the case as nearly every game worth its salt has multiple patches available after release and with the addition of features such as 2K Share in sports games that allow for immediate downloads of "mods" for sports games for example, that gap has essentially closed.

So what do these gamers have left? One of their hallmark genres was hijacked by consoles and their arguably greatest and most unique feature was as well. So what's left? A niche that's what. They just have real time strategy games. That's it.

PC gamers will claim that this is a very sizable market but aside from the occasional releases of AAA titles like Starcraft 2, PC gaming has been unable to make any kind of mark in the media landscape. Nobody pays any amount of their attention to this genre anymore whether they like it or not. And this has had an unanticipated effect.

People who play PC games have basically walled themselves off from any other kinds of games, deeming them as inferior and only sticking to titles that are made exclusively for that format like World of Warcraft and Starcraft. Unfortunately, these games aren't exactly the most up to date versions of the industry and technology out there. But don't tell that to a PC nerd; they're essentially the hipsters of video games.

They'll just play games like those that nobody else will play because they want something exciting. That's why games like Madden and Call of Duty and Halo are so popular: non-stop action. PC games are the exact opposite. You either kill small animals to level up in WOW or play the same game over and over again in painfully slow, only subtly different variables. Not exactly the most exciting for the casual gamer there.

Which makes it almost painful when they claim that their brand of games is the most popular out there. League of Legends allegedly has over a million downloads. This evidence is frequently cited in their defense, conveniently not mentioning that the game is FREE and only real time strategy nerds play the games.

One PC gamer I talked to honestly thought that strategy games were a big part of the video game market share. I chalked it up at about 5% at most; he estimated around 40%. Now I know something stupid when I hear it and the fact of the matter is that console games are far surpassing sales of PC games and there are no successful strategy games on consoles save Halo Wars and even that's debatable.

They essentially become militant when you accuse their titles of being the nerd genre (which is true whether you accept it or not). There aren't any cool people who play Starcraft for example. They all major in biology or computer science when they're in college (nerds) or just sit at home all day and get fat. They read science fiction and worship Isaac Asimov. These people see no subtlety and need everything thrown directly at them. The rest of us, albeit not all, who play other genres can see shades of gray.

From my experience this transfers over into other areas of media as well. Any TV show with any subtlety is too "dumb" and not well written enough for them (even if said show is the Wire). Everything needs to be put directly in their face at the expense of subtlety and shades of gray. They all dislike the best made TV, books and movies.

My experience may be a little skewed just because the PC gamers I deal with happen to be very condescending and this arrogance I speak of may not be true of the majority of PC gamers out there. There are certainly exceptions to all of these rules but from what I have seen they remain few and far between.

PC gamers, I have a message for you: Your genre hasn't died because of mods, patches and exclusive genres, not because they're better. Far from it actually. Your games don't reach far and remain within their niches in Korea and Japan and nerddom in the U.S.. But don't go around saying that your games are better than the rest of us just because we rightly criticize yours. Maybe if you had any legitimate criticism, we could talk.

Maybe this can be construed as arrogance from the non-PC side, but I've got evidence and trends on my side. You've got League of Legends. I win.

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