PC Gaming 101 – Everything You Need to Know About PC Gaming

PC Gaming 101 - Everything You Need to Know About PC Gaming

“A console gamer is someone who loves to drive cars, on the other hand, a PC gamer is someone who builds the expensive car himself, and drives it however the mind pleases”, this is one of the analogies that has been used time and again to compare the console gamers, with the PC gamers.

Gaming is something that has been around for more than decades now, and while it just developed as a small experiment, in the modern day and age, it has become a lot more than that. Gaming is now one of the leading industries generating one of the highest revenue in the market.

While gaming is still living, it has managed to bring forth 2 different terms with it; the concept of console gaming, and PC gaming. We all know that console gaming is something that used to be done on consoles like NES, SNES, and Sega Mega Drive. These went extinct and were replaced by Sony’s PlayStation 1.

The modern consoles like PlayStation 4 Pro, and Microsoft’s Xbox One S are taking the charge for the console gamers, however, things are much more uniform at when you look at PC gaming. PC gaming, as the name suggests is something done directly through your PC.

You’re not bound to just having a controller, as the choice of peripherals is nearly limitless, you can even hook up the controllers made for your console on the PC, and enjoy the gaming as you would. It may surprise someone, but PC gaming is something that has expanded so much that it basically formed an entirely different entity.

However, things weren’t so smooth, back in the day of PS1, a good computer would cost a lot, and all this time, the prices of the consoles remained uniform. However, in the modern day and age, you can build a pretty solid computer with the same amount of money you would spend on a console.

However, things don’t stop there; considering how PC gamers have the freedom to do whatever they want with their computers, the sky is the limit, and for the people curious, we are going to talk about them later. As for now, let’s look into pretty much everything you should know about PC gaming.

Minimum Store Presence

Minimum Store Presence

Back in the early days, PC games were dominating the physical stores mainly because the presence was overwhelming, however, in the modern day and age, things have changed by a drastic measure. For those who don’t know, an average physical game shop is now filled with about 80 percent of console games and accessories.

However, do keep in mind that the PC games are still available on disks, but quite a few people actually buy them mainly because of how optical drives are slowly being killed off, and most modern cases don’t even come with optical drive bays.

While the number definitely paints a darker picture for the PC gaming, the truth remains entirely different. While the physical presence of the PC gaming isn’t as colourful as it is for console, the reason behind that is rather simple; digital distributors are at large, and we’ll be looking at them.

Say Hello to Steam, GOG, Origin, and Uplay

Say Hello to Steam, GOG, Origin, and Uplay.

Remember how we talked about the PC gaming having absolutely minimum store presence? Well, that’s because almost the entire library is now digitally available to the gamers. There are several digital distributors that are giving games digitally for the same prices as the hard copies, and in some instances, even less.

The biggest digital distributors for PC games happens to be Steam, the platform is being run by Valve. Steam has a total of about 8,000 games that you can buy at any instance, and play them whenever you want, however you want. Considering how everything is handled digitally, you don’t really have to do a lot more than download the games, and start playing. Another amazing thing about Steam is the sales that go live every year. There are countless sales like holiday sales, summer sales, winters sales, and so many other sales, offering discounts that go as high as 90 percent.

Moving on, you have Origin that is made by EA, and while it was made to compete with Steam, Origin somehow didn’t really manage to defeat it. However, EA has made sure that all the games developed or published by EA are only exclusive to Origin, something a lot of people felt angry with at first, but later got over it. To this day, Origin is still struggling to keep up with Steam despite the numerous changes they have had to make to their eco system in general.

With Origin out of the way, we have Uplay, something made by Ubisoft, however, not to compete with Steam. Ubisoft did something clever though, instead of keeping their games exclusive to Uplay, they made their games available on Steam too, however, in order to play them, you have to buy them on Steam, download through Steam, and then activate the product key on Uplay, making sure the game stays on both accounts, and can’t work without the other account being present.

Last but not the least, we have GOG; one of the most beloved platforms after Steam, this impressive platform boasts a large collection of games that are DRM free, and for those who don’t, DRM means Digital Rights Management, if a game contains some sort of DRM, it would require the crackers to bypass, or get rid of DRM before they can make the game playable for people who’re not willing to buy it.

Modding

PC Modding

When you’re playing a game on a PC, you basically have access to almost all the files there are, there’s nothing hidden, and nothing has been kept away from you. This freedom allows the passionate, and talented people to create modifications to the games, and making them even better.

For those who don’t know, the much loved Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was released back in 2011, however, it is still one of the most played game till this very day. Why, you ask? That’s mainly because the modders are creating some of the best content for the game you can possibly imagine.

Everything ranging from graphical overhaul, to changing the entire game, and making a brand new story out of it, this is some of the things that go on daily in the life of a PC gamer, and it doesn’t seem to stop just here.

Games like GTA V, Witcher 3, and Fallout 4 are clearly among the favourites, and keep receiving some sort of medication

Denuvo and War on Piracy

Denuvo and War on Piracy

A lot of people used to game on PCs mainly because the environment was piracy friendly, games would get leaked and cracked way before their official release date, and people would play, and exploit them as they please. However, things started to change back in 2014.

In 2014, an anti-tamper technology and DRM scheme named Denuvo was launched, the purpose of this technology was to prevent the cracking groups to bypass the actual DRM protecting the game from being exploited, and accessed. The first game to feature Denuvo was FIFA 15, and while it seemed like it won’t last a long, the trend continued.

Almost all the modern AAA games are no now Denuvo protected, and while the crackers are trying their level best to exploit the concept, many games like Just Cause 3, Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, FIFA 17, and several other remain without any available cracks.

This clearly saw a revolt in the PC gaming community, especially by people who never bothered paying for the games, however, nothing changed for people who were paying for the games prior to 2014. However, the surprising thing is that the sales of legal games didn’t go up because of Denuvo, it was something entirely different.

In May 2015, Polish developer CDPR released the final, and much awaited The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the game went on to break records, and won the most amount of Game of the Year awards in the last 7 years, surprisingly, the game was DRM free, and while the people pirated the game unlike any other, they later went on and purchased the game in full, thus deciding to leave the piracy behind.

As of now, piracy in the PC industry is still surviving, and thriving, however, a lot has changed thanks to Denuvo, and with the company constantly improving their technology, it would be safe to say that the pirated days of PC gamers are numbered to say the least.

Buying or Building

Buying or Building

Moving on to the hardware side of things, while most people can go to a hardware shop, and buy a pre-built PC just for the sake of gaming on it, there are some caveats that come along with that. Most pre-built systems from companies like MSI, Asus, Acer, and a few other come with some sort of proprietary component in them, something that kills the name of upgrading, and building it your own way.

However, with some basic knowledge, you can build your own PC, just the way you want with matching colour schemes, and beef up the specifications as much as you want without really facing any issues. However, do keep in mind that building computers can be overwhelming for some people, especially if it’s your recent venture in the PC gaming industry.

However, the good thing is that there are a lot of tutorials available on the internet, and even if you read the manuals that are provided to you, the process becomes a lot simpler, and fun to do.

As of now, custom build PCs are the trend, and while the manufacturers are trying their best to match the custom building industry, a people still adhere to it mainly because of the freedom that’s provided by them.

However, thanks to companies like Cyber Power PC, Origin, and Digital Storm, even the pre-built systems are catching up. These companies build your computers for you, according to your own specifications, and budget.

You just have to choose the parts, and place the order. They may charge a slight premium over what you’ll be paying, but for someone who’s new to PC gaming, buying a pre-built computer from these companies can be a lot better, because the upgrade route here is as simple as it gets, thanks to the exclusion of anything proprietary.

Different Configurations

Different Configurations

While the freedom is definitely something to enjoy and boast about, it also leaves a lot of people in dismay, especially when they realise that they may have to upgrade for any upcoming game. The thing is, the games that are made for consoles are supposed to run on only one hardware configuration, so the developers don’t really have to determine any specific requirement or configuration.

However, with computers, things are different; you can build a PC starting from $400, and go as far as your budget allows, and while this is something we admire, it can become a curse when a recently released game doesn’t run as good as the person expected it to be.

This creates a lot of dismay, and possible upgrade cycles, and for those who don’t know, this is one of the things that make people say that PC gaming is more of a luxury than a utility, because not many people can build computers able to run pretty much every game on maxed out settings.

Your PC, the Way You Want It

Your PC, the Way You Want It

Yes, you can customize your console by putting a DBrand skin on it, or just buying a special edition console that looks the different, but nothing will actually give you the true freedom of building your own PC, the way you want it.

For those who don’t know, hardcore PC enthusiasts love to build their computers the way they want it, just go to Reddit, and see the dedication that is available in this side. From custom made cables to match the components, to custom water cooling loops, and custom painted chassis, and even components.

The PC gaming industry is moving on a break neck speed, and working in synergy with PC building community. The latest trend in this industry is the implementation of RGB LEDs; something you’ll find on keyboards, mice, headsets, motherboards, power supplies, and even cases.

In addition to that, chassis made out of tempered glass are also trending worldwide, and doesn’t seem to stop.

Use Any Peripheral You Want

Use Any Peripheral You Want

Gaming on PC is not limited to the type of peripheral you want to use, while most gamers prefer the comfort of keyboard, and mouse, for those who want to play fighting games, sport games, or racing games, the options of using controllers are available too.

You can use pretty much any controller you want, and go on about it without really facing any difficulties. As of now, both Sony and Microsoft have official support for their console controllers to work perfectly on PCs.

In addition to that, even the traditional mouse and keyboard combos have seen such an evolution, starting from something as basic as membrane keyboards, and going all the way to mechanical switches. As for mice, we have seen several changes, something that started from mice using tracking balls to navigate, to optical sensors, and then the laser sensors.

The community, along with the industry is constantly evolving.

Unlocked Everything

Unlocked Everything

Gaming on console is very simple, every PS4 or Xbox One owner must adhere to what they’re provided with, however, with PCs, there isn’t anything. The gaming on PC is very customizable. Don’t like the resolution? Change it as you will. While the console gamers are still struggling for a proper 1080p experience, PC gamers don’t even remember what gaming on 1080p feels like.

1440p, 4K, and ultra wide are the things that PC gamers are more comfortable with, and that’s not all, the fact that you can tweak the game however you want with a plethora of graphic option makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

Last but not the least, the biggest advantage of PC gaming over the console gaming is the unlocked framerate; console gamers are still looking to hit the 60 frames per second mark, however, PC gamers are now moving on to something as high as 240 frames per second, but do keep in mind that you need a pretty powerful computer to drive so many frames in just a second. The good thing, though, is that it is happening very, very fast.

Sky is the Limit

Sky is the Limit.

While the consoles are priced between $250 – $450, there’s no particular limit for PC gamers. Yes, you can build a computer in the same price as a console, and it will perform somewhat better. However, do keep in mind that there’s no end for the PC gaming community when it comes to the amount of money you can spend on it, and make it better.

For instance, the PC that was used to write down this article costs around $2,600 when you add in the peripherals, and everything else. However, do keep in mind that people who really want to splurge money can go as high as $10,000, and even beyond.

That’s the beauty of PC gaming, and the PC building industry that both are working in a synergy, and while people think that there’s a certain divide between both communities, and while that’s true to some extent, there’s no possible way of denying that PC gaming community is something that will forever stay alive, and will forever evolve into something better, and better.

Yes, it costs us a lot of money to build something as powerful as we want, but do keep in mind, that at the same time, these computers are allowing us to game at settings, and resolutions that aren’t even available to console gamers in the first place.

With that out of the way, we would like to make it clear that we have nothing against the console community, the community is actually a lot understandable than some of the PC elitists that we see every now and then, but the fact that PC gaming is turning into something entirely different can’t be ignored.

Final Words

PC gaming, along with the tightly knit communities have come a long way, and there’s a long way to travel. While there’s a lot of divide in the community itself, the fact that community is still thriving, surviving, and evolving on a daily basis is something that we can’t deny.

However, do keep in mind that PC gaming is also something that is not for the faint of heart, it isn’t something for the casual gamer who just wants to spend $60 and play a game without really facing any issues.

There is a need for constant upgrades, as well as several compatibility issues that are required to be taken care of. Needless to say, there’s no way that PC gaming is perfect, but then again, no community is perfect to begin with.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the preference of the people, and while you certainly can’t achieve the same amount of gaming galore on consoles, one should never forget that to achieve the same amount of high end galore on computers, one requires an awful lot of money.

With that out of the way, for people who are looking to build new computers, we have listed some of the main components below, these components have been handpicked by the PC enthusiasts of our community, and will help you determine the best possible build.

The components are differently priced, so even if you’re not looking for something extremely high end, the good thing is that there’s plenty for you to choose from. For those wondering about the list of components, we have covered everything ranging from mice, keyboards, headsets, and going all the way up to the processors, graphic cards, motherboards, coolers, and even power supplies.

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