With the Xbox One selling 909,132 units in its first 9 days, it became the fastest selling console in the US, astounding many. Some folks thought that the reign of consoles had been going down for many reasons: bad economy, the popularity of mobile gaming, and its biggest rival, the PC. Yet, why do so many people flock to the PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox brands over the computer? For how inferior the console is, it does, in some regards, offer a more exceptional experience.
For instance, reliability is an area that consoles outshine PC's. Just plop a game into the disc tray and it just works. Try that with a PC, whether through disc or download, and most people in the back of their minds will be crossing their fingers and scrunching their nose in hopes that it works. But, hey, I get it. There is a multitude of different configuration in the PC world that developers have to account for, like components from: AMD, Intel, Nvidia and so on. Yet somehow mega developers like Blizzard and Valve and the small indie devs behind Braid and Super Meat Boy get their titles to work on most systems. What does this seem to suggest? That some developers are not taking the time they need to make sure their creations are working on most PCs.
This leads me to my next point, the cost of owning a gaming rig. Many out there like to parade the fact that owning a PC isn't that much more expensive than owning a console. Often sighting, "You can build a PC for only $500 bucks! That's the same price as a Xbox One." And they are right, you can do that. But why? Why would you want to do that? The PC will run most games only marginally better than the Xbox One, which, to me, is not what owning a gaming PC is all about. That's like saying you can buy a Dodge Viper for the same price as a Mini Cooper, except that the Dodge Viper's engine has been replaced by a much slower one, but hey, it's still a Dodge Viper right? I say nay, tis not true. Most people get into PC gaming to see pretty graphics or physics. Those pretty textures need higher end computer parts to pull it off. In order to do this, the price will shoot up.
To negate even more cost, lots of PC enthusiast go the route of building the PC themselves, rather than pay someone to do it. Most builds like this can easily hit anywhere from $900-$1200 respectively. Some who want to go crazier than this can add thousands of dollars more through SLIing or Crossfiring graphics cards, buying more SSDs, or getting high end processors.
For discussion's sake, imagine you spend about $900 (the least amount of money to get a a good rig in my opinion) to run a high end game. The high end game is also on the consoles but you naturally want it on your PC because it will look better. You then check the specs that are required and find you meet them with ease. You download the game to your computer and...
It doesn't work.
You just spent all that money for nothing, and now you can't return it. I know this can be deeply frustrating because this has happened to me and I'm sure others out there. Of course, this is just a hypothetical situation, if this was to happen to the reader, things may be different, but you get my point.
Moving on, most of the user interfaces on the online distributors lack some of the unity that is on consoles. For instance, cross game voice chat is still a calamity for Origin and Uplay. For how powerful the PC is, why isn't this implemented across the board? Consoles, which are still inferior to high end PC's when it comes to graphic processing, etc., have largely adopted cross game voice chat. What gives?
Not only is this an issue, but inviting friends to your game through Steam, Origin, or Uplay can be a hassle. Often times one will have to go through the game's own invite service to get results. Consoles tend to be innovators in this area. When Xbox Live came out in 2002 it was rough around the edges, yes, but soon catapulted online gaming in the right direction by offering a centralized hub that allowed others to join your game. This was thought out all the way back then! And most PC sales companies are still not utilizing this idea.
All in all, some consumers just don't want to have issues with reliability, pay almost double for their machinery, or lack communication with friends, for those people, consoles are the better choice. This is not to say that I despise PC's, actually I prefer them over their console counter parts. The problems I've listed can, at times, be quite big, but with everything the PC has to offer in the way of video editing, super graphics and over all performance, tends to outweigh the negative. Does this excuse the headaches? No. PCs need a transformation. And the vanguard of change is undoubtedly Steam with their yet to be released Steam Machine. With beta testing underway, Steam Machines adds the perks of hardware upgradability and sheer power from PCs and the ease of use and small form factor of consoles. Is this a match made in Valhalla? We'll have to wait and see.