Video game aficionados typically feel they must choose a platform; PC or console. But there is no reason a true gamer can’t appreciate both.
Historically speaking, die-hard video gamers have had to own two of something to get a great spectrum of video gaming. Typically this was a Nintendo console (for Nintendo first party titles) and a more powerful “main” platform like an Xbox, Playstation or PC for “everything else”.
Then you might have to decide what “handheld” gaming system to pick up — Nintendo or Sony (or potentially a mobile device).
The choice of that “main” platform was often determined by what exclusives you couldn’t live without. God of War on Playstation or Halo on Xbox, for example. Neither one of these was going to come to a PC or Nintendo platform — so it was relatively easy to take sides based on what you wanted.
In the good ol’ days, a PC gaming platform was very expensive to not only purchase but also maintain; buying upgrades almost yearly just to keep up with games. Hence, one must be a rich nobleman to be a PC gamer. You also had to deal with mouse and keyboard controls — as most games didn’t work with a controller (and if they did, support sucked).
But the line between console and PC has drastically blurred. Consoles get 40GB day one patches now and PCs are cheaper with excellent control options. In fact, the line has blurred even more between PCs and Xbox with many of the biggest exclusives running on both.
Nintendo has blurred the lines further with the Switch; both console and handheld in one; yet still “crippled” in the manner that it still isn’t suitable for a “main” platform since it doesn’t get all the big AAA titles like Call of Duty or Battlefield (does have Fortnite, though …)
In my own circles, we have elected to largely be “PC + Switch” game players; getting us all the Nintendo exclusives plus the largest variety of games possible — all running as best as our hardware will allow (usually better than either of the other Big Two Consoles).
So why did I just buy an Xbox One S? Why would anyone? Did I just HAVE to have Sea of Thieves or State of Decay 2? I could play those on PC …
Like so many in my peer group, I hailed from the console days of the Xbox 360 and hundreds of hours playing great co-op experiences with my friends; namely in the form of Call of Duty. Playing Modern Warfare until the wee hours of the night, chatting with my friends, perfecting our team style … so damn much fun.
When we moved to PC, we managed to recoup some of that fun with Call of Duty games like Ghosts and Black Ops 3 — and quite frankly, Infinite Warfare ended up being overall my favorite Call of Duty to date (due largely to a remarkably decent campaign and the insane Zombies in Spaceland experience).
When WWII came out, I hopped right on board — ready to go back to COD roots without the thrusting jump boosters and wall running.
But something sucked.
Seems that there was a divide in the world of Call of Duty on PC. Up until now, controller players were offered a perk; aim assist — something that helped level the playing field against insta-turn, deadly accurate mouse and keyboard players. The PC Noblemen made such a stink about it, that Activision removed it from WWII’s multiplayer.
Those such as myself that had spent the last 10+ years honing our controller skills (hey, some of us like to play on the couch) were suddenly out of luck. The ground swelled from the blood of the slaughtered as mouse users obliterated we the controller-loyal.
Fine. I’ll return to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. I was actually holding my own just fine over there. But another problem surfaced.
Everyone was gone.
The PC Noblemen don’t hang around anything for too long. When the next bright and shiny game comes out, the game d’jour is dropped and it is almost impossible to find matches of any kind. This isn’t limited to Call of Duty either. PC players of EA franchises like Battlefront experience similar issues.
Now, one could argue that Infinite Warfare was a rather disappointing appearance and that it was a fluke that there is no one playing on PC (after all, old Black Ops games still have a decent amount of players) — the merits of Infinite Warfare are a discussion for a totally different article — but it made one thing incredibly clear.
Might as well uninstall Infinite Warfare. There was no one left to play with.
A fellow Nobleman peer of mine said that maybe I would be happier playing WWII on a console like Xbox One — since it was exclusively controller players and that the console community tended to stay with games longer (and I do have a theory about that).
We’d had a Playstation 4 in the house earlier on; namely for those said exclusives and to feed my wife’s need for Atelier games in gorgeous HD. But it was apparent that the PS4 wasn’t the best choice for us. It gathered dust and even the insane exclusives couldn’t lure me into playing (I tried hard to love Resogun — I really did — along with Shadow of the Beast … shame Sony owns Psygnosis).
As an old Xbox 360 owner, I turned my attention to Xbox One S. I’d been interested in a UHD movie player as well — plus I had a ton of content I’d purchased on XBox Live I could re-tap on the “Xbone”.
After spending far more research and stammering over what was essentially a $250 purchase, I found the greatest deal (which included both WWII and Infinite Warfare) and jumped in.
It was quite true. Infinite Warfare had tons of players! What’s more, I was no longer at a disadvantage for using my preferred control method.
Surely other games would benefit me from this as well. I could see playing Overwatch on here. Maybe Fortnite. Plus, all the other older Call of Duty titles that were left behind on PC (namely the atrocious Modern Warfare Remastered botched port which is apparently great on Xbone) or other games where mouse users had a distinct advantage.
So we fast forward a few months. My friends are looking at getting Xbox One’s now so we can rekindle the good ol’ days of Call of Duty. Games have dropped in price and Microsoft has introduced a couple of decent things on their platform like cross-play, Play Anywhere and GamePass. Even their Mixer integration is pretty neat.
It does hurt being put back on the pay-to-play subscription leash(es) like Gold and Gamepass (the latter being totally optional, but worth exploring) but this is one of those inevitable changes. Even Nintendo is hopping on board the subscription train.
I’ll have some decisions to make in the future. Do I buy games like Black Ops 4 on PC or Xbone? Maybe I get the game on PC for zombies and later get it cheap and used on Xbone for multiplayer? The audience seems to stick around long enough to make that a great strategy (surely the PC version will be 27% off in the weeks leading up to launch) and I prefer to play zombies on the PC.
Then again, I may be putting too much thought into the whole thing.
After all, I’m playing games — not curing cancer or buying land in Montana.
Who knows? In a few years we may all be streaming the same games to whatever screen we want. Until then? Who is up for some Domination on Infinite Warfare?