29 votes

PC gaming is mainstream. Now what?

28 comments

  1. [13]
    SloMoMonday
    Link
    I like this little retrospective but it's always seemed like the logical outcome because of tangential factors. The big one being the devaluation of TV. In my childhood, a bedroom TV was peak...

    I like this little retrospective but it's always seemed like the logical outcome because of tangential factors. The big one being the devaluation of TV. In my childhood, a bedroom TV was peak luxury. Most families had a TV in common spaces and maybe parents room. So the console was part of the entertainment center. Seamlessly flipping between shows, games, sports, music and movies. And outside the states at least, the PS2 was peoples DVD players. My great grandmother even had one.

    Fast forward a few generations and multiple things happen. Multi-player and makes games social and not everyone appreciates a kid yelling on coms in the TV room. So kids would get a cheap screen to play in their rooms with cable as a bonus.

    But cable went to hell and yonger people favored socials, YouTube and then Netflix. Graphical fidelity becomes a bigger marketing point and everyone knows Bigger GPU = More Fun. The unspoken truth was consoles were behind at release but the stability made up for it. But then game stability crashed with bloated development.

    Lot of technical career opportunities would benefit with high powered computing. Streamers/content creators invested heavily in their machines and would rather leverage that than the chaos of capture off a single HDMI out and capture card. And everyone really wanted to be a YouTuber/Streamer. And you can just pile on all the content and quality stuff the writer mentioned.

    But I think somthing a lot of older enthusiasts overlook is the scale of Minecraft as a cultural touchstone. It's on every screen now, but back then it was exclusive to a PC. Kids learned server browsing, modding, social tools and sometimes even server moderation/administration because it was where every kid on earth was. And like they say, PUBG and Fortnight carried that torch forward.

    There's probably plenty of people that are still console fist. Must be a reason why Sony is clinging to their now near monopoly of the console space. But I think it's a poor gamble.

    The only issue I have is the over abundance of RGB on every piece of hardware. I just want to look like an adult and have a PC thats an oversized replica of my first Pantium machine. Blue plastic speakers and all.

    28 votes
    1. [8]
      CptBluebear
      Link Parent
      I've built my PC entirely without RGB. It's still possible. Now I understand you, some computers look like a unicorn barfed a rave, but it's still possible to find the hardware that performs well...

      The only issue I have is the over abundance of RGB on every piece of hardware. I just want to look like an adult and have a PC thats an oversized replica of my first Pantium machine. Blue plastic speakers and all.

      I've built my PC entirely without RGB. It's still possible. Now I understand you, some computers look like a unicorn barfed a rave, but it's still possible to find the hardware that performs well without the lighting.

      Smaller form factors tend to be more neutral, closed off boxes too.

      14 votes
      1. [4]
        Gummy
        Link Parent
        It's not a perfect solution, but the majority of RGB hardware can also have the rgb fully disabled. The only rgb lights on my machine that I'm not sure can be turned off are the case fans, but...

        It's not a perfect solution, but the majority of RGB hardware can also have the rgb fully disabled. The only rgb lights on my machine that I'm not sure can be turned off are the case fans, but there's plenty of those available without lights anyway.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          overbyte
          Link Parent
          Bonus points for running on Linux where it's pretty much OpenRGB doing the heavy lifting and a few other tools if you have specific hardware. I can persistently shut off my ASUS motherboard and...

          Bonus points for running on Linux where it's pretty much OpenRGB doing the heavy lifting and a few other tools if you have specific hardware.

          I can persistently shut off my ASUS motherboard and GPU lights from the BIOS, but I run liquidctl to shut NZXT case lights off on boot since they default to a blinding white after pressing the power button.

          Short of physically disconnecting the case lights I have to shut down the PC in a specific low power state so they don't "forget" their off state, but not too low or down to zero power draw as I'd like.

          3 votes
          1. vord
            Link Parent
            I mean, thats what I always did anyway. Being able to go full 0 is way worth it, especially now that NVME drives have rendered cold booting trivial.

            Short of physically disconnecting the case lights

            I mean, thats what I always did anyway. Being able to go full 0 is way worth it, especially now that NVME drives have rendered cold booting trivial.

            2 votes
        2. whs
          Link Parent
          Last year I built a new PC, and now my 1080 annoys me in a Fractal North more than it did in the acrylic window in the last case. OpenRGB doesn't support it, so in the end I had to reverse...

          Last year I built a new PC, and now my 1080 annoys me in a Fractal North more than it did in the acrylic window in the last case. OpenRGB doesn't support it, so in the end I had to reverse engineer the Windows driver and submitted a patch to OpenRGB.

          Now I bought some cheap speaker (since I already have an audiophile headphone setup) and the RGB is permanently on even when the PC is off. Perhaps one day I'll open it up and physically remove the LED.

          3 votes
      2. NPC
        Link Parent
        I find that I generally detest the over-saturation of RGB peripherals, except for one very specific use that I find very helpful. Whenever at all possible, I set up all of the RGB on my system to...

        I find that I generally detest the over-saturation of RGB peripherals, except for one very specific use that I find very helpful. Whenever at all possible, I set up all of the RGB on my system to sync to the same green-yellow-red spectrum based on my CPU temperatures. It gives me a quick eyeball look at how my system is performing with whatever new game I'm playing, and has alerted me to some problems that could have becoming major issues had I ignored them.

        Otherwise, I just turn it off.

        9 votes
      3. [2]
        SloMoMonday
        Link Parent
        My company has a giant 1997 DOS box running critical systems and its not long for this world. After it comes crashing down I'm pretty sure I could jerry rig some air flow and cram an AMD build...

        My company has a giant 1997 DOS box running critical systems and its not long for this world. After it comes crashing down I'm pretty sure I could jerry rig some air flow and cram an AMD build inside.

        But regardless of my personal tastes, I don't actually mind flamboyant design. The issue isn't that PCs have personalities, but rather that they all have the same generic "Gamer" personality, complete with bucket seat and matching mood lighting. Like I'd prefer some anime wifeu theme or high concept art piece because it says somthing. Instead it's mostly the generic techno rave in a glass box.

        5 votes
        1. CptBluebear
          Link Parent
          Is that so? I mean yeah the most common ones are the Gamer™ styled aesthetics, but there's plenty of boxes that have the clean white aesthetic and I've seen my fair share of waifu boxes on the...

          Is that so? I mean yeah the most common ones are the Gamer™ styled aesthetics, but there's plenty of boxes that have the clean white aesthetic and I've seen my fair share of waifu boxes on the internet as well.

          I think customization is the PCs strong suit, to tie it a bit into the article, and you see that reflected in some really interesting builds. But those parts are most likely custom or uncommon and usually more expensive because of that (White parts are flat out more expensive than their black or RGB counterparts, by a lot too). Custom wrapping your custom painted hot-pink side panel with your custom ecchi commissioned fan art is just expensive.
          What ends up happening is that you can get 0 customization or RGB customization for little to no added cost and people gravitate to that automatically.

          It's not that they all have the same Gamer™ personality, it's that the Gamer™ personality is the most accessible. And as a sidenote, I think some of them are still really cool if it's not overdone.

          3 votes
    2. [2]
      Sassanix
      Link Parent
      The new cases are stunning, designed to be showcased and admired. A PC gamer's evolution begins with some RGB lighting, progresses to a lot of RGB everywhere, then moves towards a minimalist...

      The new cases are stunning, designed to be showcased and admired.

      A PC gamer's evolution begins with some RGB lighting, progresses to a lot of RGB everywhere, then moves towards a minimalist approach with no RGB, and the end game is in a sffpc.

      4 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        I kind of miss the days of shuttle barebone mini-systems being popular. I liked their small form factor and their simple but elegant designs. I guess they're still selling stuff with the same...

        I kind of miss the days of shuttle barebone mini-systems being popular. I liked their small form factor and their simple but elegant designs.

        I guess they're still selling stuff with the same basic design language, though.

        4 votes
    3. [2]
      Perryapsis
      Link Parent
      This is one of the things putting me off from PC gaming. I don't have the skills to build my own (and I can't risk the cost of breaking something trying), so I need to buy a pre-built PC from a...

      The only issue I have is the over abundance of RGB on every piece of hardware. I just want to look like an adult...

      This is one of the things putting me off from PC gaming. I don't have the skills to build my own (and I can't risk the cost of breaking something trying), so I need to buy a pre-built PC from a place like Best Buy. My current computer was about 70th percentile of the models available when I got it in 2019, so it can't run anything recent at an acceptable level. But anything about that 70th percentile specs in stores these days is something I would be embarrassed to be seen using. Why can't I get a computer with reasonable specs that looks like this anywhere? Replace the floppy drive with some USB ports and I'm sold.

      My other gripe, which isn't necessarily on-topic here, is that I have a hard time understanding the differences between graphics cards besides "bigger number better." So it's hard for a noob like me to make an informed decision on whether the 4xyz model is worth 400 bucks more than the 3xyz model.

      3 votes
      1. SloMoMonday
        Link Parent
        If building from scratch or modding a case is a pain (and it can be), the easiest option would be to find out if the pre-built has tools to manage the RGB lights and turn them off. If that's not...

        If building from scratch or modding a case is a pain (and it can be), the easiest option would be to find out if the pre-built has tools to manage the RGB lights and turn them off. If that's not possible, some RGB parts (mostly case fans) have a wire just for the lights and its easy enough to just disconnect them.

        But if you have a spesific look in mind, try to hunt down the case at clean-up sales or e-waste recycling and take it to a well reviewed local computer store. Give them a list of your requirements/budget and they'll let you know if its possible and the costs involved. There may be issues with air flow so expect some hand cutting to be done. Will also be a fair bit more expensive but it feels like the troubleshooting time is worth it.

        I'll post a good "New PC Ref" sheet if I find it but this video explains GPU Hardware quite well, this one is for card configs and this explains the graphic options . But honestly I don't really care much for the silicone wars and optimal performance per $ anymore. I'm mostly playing retro/Steam Deck these days and with newer games, I'm happy with good frame-rates at a low-moderate fidelity. I just drop my machine off at a buddies place every few years and he gives me a price and some parts.

        4 votes
  2. [7]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Android and Chromebooks made Linux more popular than Windows and MacOS combined. The Steam Deck made PC gaming (and Linux gaming) significantly more popular. Technically. That is not what most...

    Android and Chromebooks made Linux more popular than Windows and MacOS combined. The Steam Deck made PC gaming (and Linux gaming) significantly more popular. Technically. That is not what most people have in mind when they use the expressions "Linux" and "PC gaming".

    9 votes
    1. [6]
      SirNut
      Link Parent
      I'm not so sure about your steam deck comment. You need a PC to play the steam deck, right? Personally I know only a handful of Steam Deck users, and they were all PC enthusiasts beforehand. I...

      I'm not so sure about your steam deck comment. You need a PC to play the steam deck, right? Personally I know only a handful of Steam Deck users, and they were all PC enthusiasts beforehand. I don't know of anyone that got into PC gaming because of the Steam Deck, but correct me if I'm wrong

      1. [5]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        No, unless you mean in the vacuous way that a steam deck is a PC so if you have a steam deck you have a PC.

        You need a PC to play the steam deck, right?

        No, unless you mean in the vacuous way that a steam deck is a PC so if you have a steam deck you have a PC.

        22 votes
        1. [4]
          SirNut
          Link Parent
          Well I'll be damned. This whole time I thought it was more like the Nvidia Shield I've never had an interest in giving up mouse/keyboard, so I never really looked into the Deck. I take back my...

          Well I'll be damned. This whole time I thought it was more like the Nvidia Shield

          I've never had an interest in giving up mouse/keyboard, so I never really looked into the Deck. I take back my comment then about it having minimal impact on PC gaming interest

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            skullkid2424
            Link Parent
            I believe you're thinking of the Steam Link - which plugged into your TV and streamed games that were running on your PC (regardless of OS). The Steam Deck is much more analogous to a Nintendo...

            I believe you're thinking of the Steam Link - which plugged into your TV and streamed games that were running on your PC (regardless of OS).

            The Steam Deck is much more analogous to a Nintendo Switch - its a fully-capable handheld device.

            16 votes
            1. SirNut
              Link Parent
              I think you're right. When the Deck came out, I thought it was the next iteration of Steam Link

              I think you're right. When the Deck came out, I thought it was the next iteration of Steam Link

              1 vote
          2. CptBluebear
            Link Parent
            No that thing is a fully functional handheld PC running a custom Linux OS (SteamOS). You can drop out of Steam Big Mode and navigate the OS like you would on a desktop computer. It's also the...

            No that thing is a fully functional handheld PC running a custom Linux OS (SteamOS). You can drop out of Steam Big Mode and navigate the OS like you would on a desktop computer. It's also the reason why it's so popular to emulate on. It'll just run emulators without issue.

            There's a USB-C port you can connect stuff to, but there's also a dock you can hard connect USB peripherals to, and you have Bluetooth to connect any KBM peripherals. Although it will never replace a real KBM, the built in controls for mouse and keyboard are really solid too.

            It's why this thing is so damned popular because for ~$350-500 you have all of that.

            8 votes
  3. [3]
    Tuaam
    (edited )
    Link
    Huh? I thought it was always mainstream since the late 90s? I never understood when people said PC was 'becoming mainstream', wasn't it mainstream when windows 9x and 3d gaming (glide, directX)...

    Huh? I thought it was always mainstream since the late 90s? I never understood when people said PC was 'becoming mainstream', wasn't it mainstream when windows 9x and 3d gaming (glide, directX) took off? Maybe that's not as mainstream as console gaming, but it's sizeable enough where it permeates the mainstream pop-culture zeitgeist.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Minori
      Link Parent
      I'd give the article a read. They make a reasonable argument that PC gaming has ebbed and flowed (particularly with consoles and Games for Windows Live).

      I'd give the article a read. They make a reasonable argument that PC gaming has ebbed and flowed (particularly with consoles and Games for Windows Live).

      9 votes
      1. Tuaam
        Link Parent
        Definitely, I did read the article and it mentions many of the things I was thinking about - certainly the dark ages and golden ages.

        Definitely, I did read the article and it mentions many of the things I was thinking about - certainly the dark ages and golden ages.

        1 vote
  4. [3]
    ebonGavia
    Link
    HD2 sold more copies on Steam than PS5? As someone from the older generation who had to spend years and years hearing the talking heads saying PC gaming was dead, this is pretty awesome.

    HD2 sold more copies on Steam than PS5? As someone from the older generation who had to spend years and years hearing the talking heads saying PC gaming was dead, this is pretty awesome.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I wonder how much of those comments were coming from people who were upset about how many high-profile games were developed entirely for console with no consideration for PC players. I.e. no...

      I wonder how much of those comments were coming from people who were upset about how many high-profile games were developed entirely for console with no consideration for PC players. I.e. no mouse/kb controls, no graphics options, the dreaded Games for Windows Live integration, etc.

      4 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        I think the real shift happened with the PS4 going x86. That was the turning point where all future Sony/MS consoles were just a PC with a standardized build and alternative OS. That extra long...

        I think the real shift happened with the PS4 going x86. That was the turning point where all future Sony/MS consoles were just a PC with a standardized build and alternative OS.

        That extra long console cycle held PC gaming back a bit, but it also showed the cracks in the old 'one platform' method which enabled better PC ports.

        10 votes
  5. Tlon_Uqbar
    Link
    I think about it like this: in the 2000s the stereotypical image of a "gamer" would be a group of bros playing Halo/CoD on a couch. Now the stereotypical image of a "gamer" is someone playing at a...

    I think about it like this: in the 2000s the stereotypical image of a "gamer" would be a group of bros playing Halo/CoD on a couch. Now the stereotypical image of a "gamer" is someone playing at a desk with a headset and all RGB'd out.

    I think the popularity of Twitch had a massive impact on getting PC gaming (back) into the mainstream.

    6 votes
  6. Rocket_Man
    Link
    I don't think PC gaming is 'mainstream' quite yet. The average person doesn't really understand what it is. Where as console gaming is widely understood and respected as a thing to do by most folks.

    I don't think PC gaming is 'mainstream' quite yet. The average person doesn't really understand what it is. Where as console gaming is widely understood and respected as a thing to do by most folks.

    5 votes