Over the last several weeks much deliberation occurred over the announcement and release of Nvidia’s brand new GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards. Boasting second generation RTX architecture named Ampere, Nvidia promises to bring a whole new generation of computing and graphical intensity. Most shocking is how this technology was available as soon as yesterday. As excited as I am for this technological advancement, many others are still fighting over the more trivial concepts. This has broken into a mass of hyperbole, utter nonsense, and it is about time someone sets the record straight.
Computer gaming has always been a staple in the community. Its popularity has grown at an exponential rate, especially within the last several years. Titles like Overwatch, Fortnite, and Call of Duty have turned many console gamers into PC gamers. When you glance at the monster that is PC gaming, it is easy to lock eyes and become enthralled by its gaze. You want to walk towards it, becoming one with accelerated loading times, proper multitasking, and Steam sales. But then the price tag stops you instantly. It shakes you out of the allure, snapping you back into a reality that is currently dealing with the breakdown of consumer markets.
It is easy to look at the world scenario and feel like technology as a whole, or perhaps, our entire hobby has reached a level of discontent. We have been slammed with multiple delays of some big name titles and the discourse surrounding consumerism has lost all meaning. Only recently did we get next gen console prices and dates accompanied by an awful pre-order debacle from Sony and accompanying retailers. It’s incredibly apparent that console gamers have been dealing with the disheartening downswing of the industry. So it’s only understandable that people become immensely perturbed when a graphics card developer announces new hardware with dates and prices. It’s understandable if you feel like you have been disrespected.
After all, we have put a lot of time and effort into identifying with the Microsoft and Sony brands. We can go as far as saying our lives have been influenced by both of these companies in one way or another. The characters they create whether it be Master Chief or Nathan Drake mean something to us. By extension, we have begun to root for these companies as if they are sports teams. Right now you can see arguments still underway about what is more powerful versus what will have the better games. These are passionate people who have an undying love for their brands, but they feel lost, betrayed even. I might be dramatizing the debates, but there are people who clearly feel this way, and until it causes actual physical damage then it is not that big of a deal. Let them fight. You do not have to partake.
We are experiencing something that we have never witnessed before in gaming history. Never have we witnessed two companies involve themselves in a stand-off akin to the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, where no matter whose side you’re on, someone is getting metaphorically shot. I just don’t think anyone really cares about the outcome anymore, until prices are announced at least. Then the discourse starts up all over again.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I haven’t really had to say much about Nvidia. Their presentation was the textbook example when it comes to the core concept behind these events. Nvidia took the benefits of owning this particular card and put it towards the front of the event. We were shown the power and provided apt examples of its use. Nvidia took it a step further and showed us several models, telling us their advantages. They gave us a price and a date to expect them. All information has been gathered. We don’t have to wait another four weeks to see more about their graphics cards. They made clear cut statements with defined terms, which made PC gamers excited, and even made many console owners consider going to PC.
The fact that others took this moment as a stepping stone to bring others down to their level of animosity and jealousy speaks volumes about the community. You might be upset that Sony is still supporting PlayStation 4 for several more years as opposed to immediately jumping ship, or that Xbox hasn’t revealed a launch line-up. On the other hand, PC gaming culture is not a welcoming one. A single round of League of Legends will tell you that. Despite the rampant toxicity, it doesn’t excuse raining on one’s parade because yours is still waiting for the musicians.
That being said, there are many elements that depict PC gaming as a club filled with elitist snobs, scoffing from their RGB palaces, dropping bytes of crumbs onto the console peasants below. Entry into this rather lavish lifestyle is knowledge and financial accessibility. To many traditional console gamers, the prices of these graphics cards might seem insane; but to the dedicated PC crowd this is just a Wednesday. There is a dividing line between the two types of gamers and for some reason people don’t understand the rationality of choosing one form factor over the other. It’s not a single sided issue either, it’s a rampant aspect that plagues both sides of this line.
PC gamers do not understand the reason why people rather play on consoles. Consoles have always made gaming simple and accessible for literally millions of people. They cost less and you know that the games will work on the console (whether the game itself is or isn’t a technological hellscape is not up for debate). Most of all, they seem to influence the PC gaming software market. For example, Diablo 4 will feature dodge rolling mechanic, which was prevalent in the console versions of Diablo 3.
Console players don’t understand why PC gamers would spend an amount equal to a launch PlayStation 3 for a single piece of a build. They don’t understand that there are people who are willing to read up on chipsets, look at charts showing benchmark specs, and finely tune their rig to provide them the best experience that money could buy. To the average gamer, most of this seems like a chore, and I once thought that myself. Until I built my own PC.
Building a computer is a skill, like everything else out there. It takes time and research, but you learn as you do it. You begin to understand sockets, and arrangements. The terminology starts to feel less like a foreign language to you. Eventually, it begins to click. This is all because you put in the effort to learn, and when you are done with your build, you can respect the build because it was a journey to get to that very point. It’s a moment of pride that you take in, and makes you a member of that club that you thought was filled with elitists. Turns out, it’s not a club based on domineering self righteousness. Building a PC is seen as a rite of passage, whether it was alone or guided by a friend. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of malevolent people out there whose sole purpose is to cause chaos. But there are plenty of amazing people that elevate positivity within the community.
As gamers we need to understand that being mad at each other solves nothing. It doesn’t promote any sort of goodwill between each other, and ultimately ends in that divide becoming wider. We are left with very little even ground bringing us back together. We need to sink into the reality that PC gaming is going to be a much more expensive experience. Alas, it is well warranted for what the users get in return. Consoles are just more cost effective and simpler for millions of people around the world.
The bottom line, we all work towards obtaining our own little slice of happiness through the use of hard earned technology. We spend a lot of hours drudging through the workday, dreaming of coming home and indulging in our hobby. Sometimes accompanied by our favorite beverage of choice. As long as we respect each other’s platform of choice, then we might be able to actually get along for once. We might be able to learn something. Better yet, we might be able to get these companies to stop dragging us along with pretentious announcements. I know it’s a long shot, but if we can get EA to make a single player game free of micro-transactions, then I do believe anything is possible.