Console Vs. PC
Title pretty much explains it. The biggest controversial topic on the forums would be Console Vs. PC
However I really feel that I have a somewhat different point of view that might bring a little more clarity to this topic. It will probably be a lot to read so please bare with me and refrain from commenting unless you read my entire post.
After playing Gears of War on console since 2006 with their first title debuting on Xbox 360 I never pictured myself or the community branching off to a different platform (PC). Although Gears of War was released on PC during its first installment into the franchise it wasn’t near as popular as on Xbox. This left the PC community high and dry with lack luster updates and an almost dead community upon release. But to be fair Microsoft was persuaded by Epic studios to increase the Xbox 360’s hardware for the sole purpose to have Gears of War run better on their newly developed console. Later on the rest of the titles were exclusive to Xbox up until their current release (Gears 4). Former head studios developer Cliff Belizinki was against releasing Gears of War on PC due to pirating reasons; he kept a close arm around Xbox with his game. Needless to say Gears of War has been babied by Xbox up until now.
Since Their most recent title being released on Console and PC with Xbox pushing their new Cross-Play system Gears 4 is able to connect both platforms together. This struck a massive polarization within the community. Even some tribalism behavior has risen from this newly adopted way to play. As someone who loves the franchise through thick and thin I would much rather put this to rest and truly see if Console Vs. PC was a bad decision.
Playing Gears on Console since 2006 using a controller feels more than natural. However times change and I wanted more out of gaming in general so I built my first gaming PC not too far around the release of Gears 4 (2016). Gears 4 being available on PC for the first time in a decade had no influence on my decision to switch platforms. In fact I played Gears a lot less since I became a PC gamer. It wasn’t until around a full year in its life cycle did I start playing Gears again. I was heavily disappointed with its almost full cross-play feature. Given that Competitive play was strictly on a platform basis along with the ability to turn cross-play off in all other areas left an already dead PC player base basically washed up. In all honesty it’s not that bad but still very disappointing.
Meanwhile my skills as a Gears player went down heavily. Gears felt the most foreign when switching to PC gaming than any other game I played. It truly felt like it was made around an Xbox controller. That’s not to suggest a M/KB isn’t adequate to play fiercely because it most definitely is, but there is something about using a controller that just feels right. Whereas M/KB feels more forced. After a solid year and lots of time adjusting I felt very comfortable playing Gears on PC. The increased resolution and frame-rate makes going back to Xbox impossible until it does…
Having to match-make for upwards of 10, 20, and even 30 minutes to find a ranked match was far too grueling. And more often than not Competitive play was impossible. Fortunately during prime hours of the day there were enough Console Players who still have their cross-play feature turned on (Bless their hearts). Out of curiosity I dusted off my old Xbox and booted up Gears to see how instant match-making felt. I wasn’t disappointed at all. However, despite my joy I was left with a horrible taste in my mouth. Playing at 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) was very bothersome. I also felt as if my input had some sort of slight delay as I would actuate buttons on my controller. It was strange because I never felt this before…ever.
I easily felt comfortable using a controller but the system settings just weren’t right. The low frame-rate, input lag, and overall fidelity wasn’t great. I switched back to PC and it immediately felt normal. Well, by normal I mean God-Like. But in all fairness Gears looks fantastic on the Xbox-X. It’s mostly the slight delay in response that bothered me the most. I actually enjoyed playing Gears on controller again. I almost even prefer it. The joy-sticks made the movement feel much more fluid than M/KB. After a while I started to cave in and understand why Console Players choose to leave cross-play off. Who would want to play with other people who don’t suffer from these arguably insufferable differences. At first my opinion remained strong that PC gaming granted a slight advantage over console players mainly because if input lag-response time, however way you want to refer to it. Some other arguable difference like FOV sliders and M/KB accuracy I found to be more than negligible when it comes to “advantages”. Call it anecdotal but I simply didn’t find myself performing any better playing with my FOV slider. More nauseating than anything to be honest. My controller skills were more than fine. Rotation speed wasn’t an issue. Accuracy wasn’t an issue. The game favors movement over anything else. When it comes to frame-rate it was more of an eye candy than an “advantage” I replicated 60 FPS on PC and as long as V-sync was turned off the response was as fast as I would ever need it to be which made 60FPS a lot better to game at. Which leaves me one last headache I had to face. That damn input delay. The only solid concern I had while gaming on Xbox was narrowed down to input lag. Once I replicated my xbox’s graphical settings on PC everything became totally fine once V-sync was off. After this I had some sympathy for console users and didn’t intervene against the ones who preferred to play with cross-play off.
I just want to be clear that most of this is on a very competitive and technical level. I can easily see a casual gamer not being affected by this at all. And even with this annoying input lag it wasn’t the end of the world and the game was most certainly playable. Fast forward a few months and due to hardware issues my PC was out of commission which left me to play my games on Xbox. And this is where my experience gets interesting. Of course I felt plagued by low hardware capabilities but after a few days of playing I started to notice the game seemingly coming together. As if my brain was adjusting differently. The lower resolution and frame-rate began to look normal. It was as if my head forgot what I was used to playing at and adjusted to something different. A short week went by and I didn’t even notice that input delay. This sort of made sense because while I was exclusively gaming on console I never noticed it before. Only when I switched to PC and then back to console was it apparent. But all this means nothing to me if I can’t play as well. That’s all I cared about. Surprisingly I was playing just as well on console as I do on PC.
During this experience I played with numerous PC and Consoles players and never found a repeatable mark or some sort of trend that would distinguish PC gamers from Console gamers. In fact, the best Gears players were not only on console but there were many more of them on console as well. This would make sense being a mainly console dominated game. Just like how high schools with a larger student count generally have better sport records due to the increased selection of students. I also failed to update my game through windows store and was left to match-make against only PC players and I was annoyed by how terrible they were. Not just a few bad lobbies but for numerous days.
So my personal conclusion suggests that PC gaming has many features and benefits but I never found many of them to actually boost my skills in gaming (Strictly referring to Gears). I did have some input lag concerns but that miraculously fixed itself. My only guess would be that my reflexes must have compensated to any sort of delay I was noticing. On top of all that I never became a better or worse player on either platform. Given that most of the better or best Gears players cream PC players I found it really hard to say that PC players have advantages and or Cross-Play shouldn’t be implemented. To be honest my feelings were pretty conclusive. I really wanted cross-play to be mandated. This would make Gears on PC so much more alive and with the newly founded assurance that PC players are more likely to get spanked by console players I never felt like I didn’t deserve a kill or a win that I owned.
I understand that most of this could be reflected by personal experience but this was years in the making. I truly believe that when it comes down to it, Skill will always beat platform. And this was my sole experience.