Buying hardware for a console player is a different experience than hardware shopping for a PC player. For most console players, the choice of hardware is narrowed down to two options. The announcement of the Xbox One S, Scorpio, and Neo has complicated this question but, simplified, a console player really just needs to select Xbox or Playstation. A PC gamer always has the option to buy a rebuilt rig but that can be expensive. For the cheapest and most customizable option, PC Gamers build their own rigs. This includes choosing parts, checking compatibility, as well as making sure everything fits. But, this allows gamers to choose where they want to put their money. Consoles could go the same style but it would take a complete overall of the way console developers build their brand.
Consoles are basically dedicated PC’s for gaming. The only difference is that consoles have very standardized hardware and software. Instead of selling console gamers an entire box, allow third parties to sell hardware parts. To simplify the consoles, companies could break down the consoles into 4 parts: The CPU, the graphic cards, the motherboard + memory, and the case. AMD already supplies the Xbox One and PlayStation with CPUs. The next iteration of consoles could be designed to use PC graphic cards. Microsoft and Sony would sell rights to companies for creating hardware. Rather than buying a new console every few years, allowing players to upgrade individual parts when they become outdated makes the transition to better technologies smoother and cheaper for the user. Consoles would be able to keep up with PC performance, rather than the console becoming more obsolete as the years pass between iteration.
Console makers would then focus have to give more attention to the operating system. Similar to how Windows and MacOS compete with one another. By focusing on the OS of the box, resources that were previously spent on hardware would now be free to add better features to the operating system. Console exclusives would instead become OS exclusives. Console makers would of course still sell pre-built consoles. Because the idea of plug and play never gets old and PC gaming is hard.
Would would you like to see changed in the console ecosystem? Leave a comment!
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For the past year Virtual Reality, or VR for short, has been a very hot topic within the gaming community. It has been an especially popular topic for PC hardware providers such as AMD and Nvidia. VR headsets have to hit a frame rate of 90 frames per second minimum or the user can suffer from motion sickness and no one wants that. Great graphics at that frame rate can require serious hardware. A year ago, a VR computer could cost around $1000, not counting the six hundred to eight hundred dollar headset. In the past 3 months AMD and Nvidia have both released VR ready graphics cards that were cheap and promised high end card performance. AMD released the RX 480 that promised performance rivalling the R9 series but for only $200 dollars.
In the community of VR, hardware is a topic that comes up often and is one of the bigger prerequisites for VR. However, the argument of this post is that VR will stay in the realm of enthusiasts until it is embraced by major studios. Steam has a section dedicated to VR games full of games that look like tons of fun. A majority of these games are small and based around the HTC Vive, which requires the player to move around a space. For VR to elevate from enthusiasts to a serious video game platform major studio needs to make their games compatible with VR. However, HTC Vive-”move around the room” style VR will not be the VR that takes off for the masses.
At E3 this year, Bethesda showed off Fallout 4 in VR. But these open world games would shine with an Oculus Rift-sit down style VR because they have large open world environments, walking around/teleporting around would get old and can be clunky for larger environments. Now would also be a good moment to mention that, like myself, not everyone has a 15ft by 15ft room laying around for a VR experience. VR is still a new technology for gamers and the stand up and move around experience is the most exciting for us right now, but the sit down VR is what will break into the main-stream for gamers.
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Tagged AMD, Gaming, News, Nvidia, PC Gaming, podcast, Steam, The College Gamers Podcast, Video Games, Virtual Reality, VR, VR Ready