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PC vs Console: Why PC Exclusives Are Good, and Console Exclusives Are Bad

The PC vs Console debate is a very interesting one for me.

I understand why some would deem it childish, but there’s a conversation to be had that goes beyond people shouting their frame rates at each other. A particularly interesting topic within this framework is the matter of platform exclusives. Hailed by some as the number one reason to buy a platform, demonized by others for being the number one reason to AVOID buying a platform, I want to approach this topic through the lens of a dastardly PC elitist.

I say: PC exclusives can exist for good reasons, console exclusives always exist for bad ones.

What good reasons could a PC developer have to restrict their game to the PC? There are a lot of them. Their game might only be properly playable with mouse and keyboard, making a console port unfeasible. They may want to achieve a game of epic scope that is not restricted by console limitations; Skyrim, Witcher 3 and Fallout: New Vegas immediately come to mind when talking about games that were held back by their console versions.

Or, chances are, the developer sees no market for their game on consoles, as console gamer tastes (no insult intended) are much narrower than PC gamer tastes; on consoles, due to the nature of their input devices, action titles reign supreme.

Of course, developers can benefit from console releases financially, and the production of certain titles may even be impossible without porting one’s game to consoles, but from a creative and technical perspective there is no question that PC gamers will always be the ones suffering from a dev going multiplatform; therefore, there are good reasons for the consumer for PC exclusives to exist.

Console exclusives are a completely different beast; they exist to drum up artificial demand for hardware that could otherwise not stand on its own two feet.

Modern consoles, contrary to their ancestors, are feature-restricted, upgrade-restricted, proprietary PCs. Pre-made as well as customized PCs can easily be used as couch-playing devices. The only reason modern consoles exist as a business model is to lock gamers into an eco-system that allows the platform owner to charge them extra for services that are free on the PC and to be able to sell games at inflated prices. To achieve that, gamers have to be lured into playing on their hardware; that’s where exclusives come in.

Apart from Nintendo consoles that often feature unique input devices, there are no technical reasons to restrict console exclusives to their respective platforms.

There is no gameplay reason.

There is no scope reason.

There is no reason other than to remove their software from the open marketplace and its inherent pressures, in order to sell their hardware which in turn works as physical DRM and as a consumer lock-in device after the moment of purchase.

Summarized, there are creative and technical reasons why a PC developer might opt for PC exclusivity, which ultimately results in better games. Console exclusives, on the other hand, are not designed to be beneficial to the consumer; they are designed to benefit the console manufacturer, and no one else.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

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  1. BrigandBoy on April 16, 2019 at 6:13 pm said

    I’m finding it hard to argue with you here. I mean, a high end flight sim, for instance, wouldn’t work on consoles at all, just off the top of my head.

    • Flight SIms? can exist in consoles, too… however, we’d have to pony up for more expensive peripherals just to be able them on consoles… and even then, like the article piece mentions, it’d have to be dialled down to the capabilities and limitations of the consoles.

      On PC, the cost for the extra peripherals would be more practical as there are far more titles to consume compared to console. And then there’s the customisability of said peripherals.

      On a side note, I wish Nintendo would improve upon the Project Aces game controles they implemented on Nintendo Wii (Sky Crawlers), and make it much more feasible for any Flight Sim game to release in Nintendo Switch… They have Nintendo Labo peripherals so the possibility does exist.

  2. Read headline, started to get heated. Read Article, was pleasantly surprised.

  3. Well, one reason for the existence of console exclusive is to push hardware – thus they have a business reason to exist. The Big 3 publish those titles and give them financial backing the developers in question otherwise wouldn’t get. One advantage console exclusives have is that they are optimised for the system, which means they usually perform better than the average 3rd party game. This also means that they can take advantage of unique hardware options like the Switch.

    I can also argue that there is a scope reason – developing for uniform hardware means that you know exactly the capabilities of the machine your game will be running on. When it comes to PC this is not the case since you want it to run on as many configurations as possible, which means that you’d limit the scope or target just the high end market. With consoles you can try and push the hardware to its limit.

    • >developing for uniform hardware means that you know exactly the capabilities of the machine your game will be running on
      Well the gap between powerful wop-notch PCs and consoles is so vast that it’s not an advantage. Though thanks to consoles my friend plays on 10yr old PC on mid-high graphics. Yeah, he doesn’t get lush FPS and usually he tones down modern 3d effects, but it’s playable.

  4. “The only reason modern consoles exist as a business model is to lock gamers into an eco-system that allows the platform owner to charge them extra for services that are free on the PC and to be able to sell games at inflated prices.”

    Sorry, but that’s a fking terrible argument. The reason consoles exist is because they fill a need. Entertainment without having to buy a damn PC. I want a system that is solely (rather, primarily) designed and dedicated to gaming that sits in my living room and attaches to my television. I don’t want to buy a PC with a bunch of overblown hardware that doesn’t get utilized, an inflated OS taking up a bunch of useless space, a bunch of random software updates almost daily to fix problems with an OS that I have no involvement or care about. No. I want a gaming machine, not a work machine that happens to play games. I also want the value performance. I want games by developers that are able to fully utilize the hardware 100%. I don’t want buggy settings and conditions, and constant patches. I don’t care if it won’t render at 14k at 450fps. That is the niche consoles exist for. These premiums services and “inflated” game prices are how the manufacturers invest in more hardware.

    And exclusives are absolutely necessary and great for consoles. They sell more units which means more support in the future for improved, dedicated, services and hardware. PC might be open — but it’s also a cesspool of problems because of that.

    So, no thanks on your hot take.

    • Game consoles haven’t been pure gaming machines ever since the PS3/360/Wii era started. They’ve gradually become PCs – multi purpose devices that, yes, play games, but also run bloated a OS, has social media features, stream videos, and fill your screen with advertisements.

      If you’re buying a pc with overkill hardware, that’s on you. The big advantage of building a PC is that you can choose the specs to match what you play. As for bloating and updates, thats for you to customise as well. But I do understand that doing all of that is not for everyone. Which would be something I’d say is a good reason to choose a console over pc.

      As for exclusives, they’re the main reason for buying consoles. If you want to play Last of Us, you MUST buy a PS4, for example. Improved, dedicated services and better hardware? Yeah, nah. Whatever this next generation of consoles brings, I’m willing to bet even my 2016 pc is going to at least stand toe to toe with it.

      In the end, to each their own. I personally go with PC and switch. Ps4 for streaming on the tv for family, and xb1 is packed away.

      • Kaijuichi on April 17, 2019 at 6:18 am said

        I acknowledged that consoles do other things, but at the end of the day – their primary purpose is to play video games. Being able to stream doesn’t negate their actual reason for existing. That cannot be said about a PC. Windows primarily exists for business application usage. That means the OS constantly receives updates, nearly daily, for completely random crap all the time. That’s obnoxious. It also means, whether you want it or not, resources are being used up by the OS for tasks above and beyond anything you need to play games. Perhaps there are ways to reduce that, but that’s more work and essentially maintenance you are responsible for. Consoles get updated maybe once a month, if that, and it’s fully automated. Outside that, the only thing getting updated are any apps you have installed. No hunting in forums and chasing down patches and data files on the internet to fix a random problem. Never mind viruses and malware.

        PC is generally overkill hardware because most games don’t utilize the power. Hardly any games (if any?) are designed to the metal. That is almost uniquely a console feature, specifically with first party (something else PC lacks). That means you get more performance for your buck. Sure, you can tweak things — but there is no guarantee the game will perform well for YOUR setup. There are countless variables at play that simply don’t exist for consoles.

        But like you said — to each their own. But the bottom line is… this article is a terrible hot take – practically PC fanboy fodder.

        • Kaijuichi on April 17, 2019 at 6:21 am said

          Wish we could edit posts… my underlying point in the most recent response is that those are points we pay manufacturers for. That “walled garden” has a purpose outside just being some nefarious entity looking to steal a wallet as this article’s author is suggesting.

        • Kaijuichi I think you are just married to the idea that Console gaming is better for gaming over all because its built just to play exclusive games that are ran for these specs. But in reality all Consoles now are considered mini PC gaming machines. The amount of hardware they put into each one now with their own custom OS is literally the same thing you do with a PC so your argument is not very valid. When PS5 comes out and ranges anywhere from $799-$899 retail you are literally buying a PC at this point…. (cheaper than building a good pc) but when you start adding in SSD’s with more space, Ram, and other options into the GUI besides loading and playing the game then you do not just have a gaming machine.

          The original point from Falko is that you can get so much more out of a PC than you can with a Console. Money wise why would spend almost $900 for a console and one game on PS5 that you can play and in one to two years its already outdated with how fast tech moves. With a PC you can customize it to handle any new type of game regardless if you are into playing (FPS, MOBO, etc) games and it will last you for 10 years plus with minor upgrades if that. The best part is newer games do require the best of the best which is why people go to a PC. Nothing feels better than playing on a 240hz monitor and a high fps or frame rate and its smooth as butter. Perfect example with these new consoles that want to play in 4k or 8k nvidia is making special TV’s for them. At this point you are literally buying a Gaming TV or (Nice PC Monitor) So again why not just spend the money on a PC?

          Personally I started off as a huge Console gamer because I grew up with them but once I got into PC gaming it literally made me realize what a waste of money it is to spend on these consoles that are limited to what they can do and how much money you sink into them. Now I do still love Nintendo for the exclusives and I did buy a switch just because I am a Zelda fanboy but if I had my pick it would always be on PC.

          I will also disagree you do not get more performance for your buck on a console if anything you are limited because they are only made for the game designed for that console. With a PC you can build it to be able to handle any game no matter what it is and you can optimize and customize it for every game that you want too. Also its not very hard to turn off windows updates on PC so that point is invalid as well. Unless you are just not very tech savy I can see why you would not want a custom gaming rig like a PC but they are very easy to manage if you understand how they work.

          Like both you guys said to each their own but this article gives factual information on why PC’s are the gaming future. With out Twitch and people playing these PC games with the amount of exposure they get online who knows where gaming or esports would be as a whole right now. PC gaming has actually progressed the future and acceptance of close minded people that you can now go pro in a game and make a living off of it or get a scholarship from it. Console gaming would have never done this as it was always the sterotype of being at home in your moms basement sitting in front of the TV. If anything you should give more praise to PC Gaming as a whole because it sets the bar for gaming to be that much better as tech keep growing.

      • “If you want to play The Last of Us you MUST buy a PS4”

        Well that’s the effing point. It’s marketing, it’s EXCLUSIVE for a reason. But also don’t look at it like that. If you liked consoles you would probably want one nonetheless, not caring about exclusives.

        I didn’t know that some games that I like would be exclusive to a PS4, I just happened to have one since it launched and then I was happy about my decision when choosing a console. Xbox doesn’t have good exclusives therefore the PS4 is more appeasing.

        Marketing 101

  5. This article should be taken down, it breaks EG rules

  6. When your opinions are based on ignorance they’re maybe best kept to yourself 🙂

  7. PC and switch. Best combination for me as I get the best of both worlds. I own a ps4 and xb1 too, but the ps4 is used solely for streaming, while the xb1 is packed away.

    1st parties are really your only reason for owning a ps4 of xb1. If you aren’t interested in them, or if you can wait for xb1 1st parties to show up on pc eventually, I don’t really see the point in them.

    With consoles just being mid tier PCs, I really don’t see why you wouldn’t just get an actual mid tier pc and link or stream it to your tv. At least the switch is portable, which for me, gives it an edge against other consoles in terms of access.

  8. Believing that Witcher 3 was hurt by consoles is rather silly. First two were PC only and that didn’t help. Also there is no reason why Witcher 3 wouldn’t be able to be bigger on consoles. Resources not being infinite is the reason.

    Secondly, there is a great reason for console exclusives. This games do not solely exist to make as much money from sales and microtransactions as possible. Yes, they are made to sell consoles. And because of this they are allowed more freedom and more risks. Image projects like The Last Guardian cannot exist within EA or Ubisoft – at least not in that scope. Uncharted is a huge success yet publishers don’t want games like this unless forced.

    Many console exclusives would simply never exist otherwise. And unless you think that it’s better for great games to never exist unless they can exist on PC, I doubt you can seriously argue that console exclusives are a good thing.

    • Witcher 3’s marketing budget was $80M. Almost all of that marketing was for gathering in the ‘new audience’ aka console players. It worked. But they could’ve consumed that budget right back into development and catered to PC players whom made the series what it was with very little marketing.

      Sorry but great games don’t need consoles to exist. It’s a BS lie that corporations spin to justify greed. Consoles have been a bane to game ambition since 7th gen.

      • LevyAthan on April 17, 2019 at 9:25 pm said

        Yep, this discussion is still childish af.

        It’s like telling your 80 YO grandpa that there is nothing wrong with having a phone and using it for stuff other than calling people

        Why not have exclusives?

        Everybody wants to feel special. It’s a smart marketing point and it sure does work. Bloodborne made a lot of Xbox and PC users order a brand new ( or old ) PS4 just to play the game and now they can enjoy other games that they wouldn’t have access to because they’re exclusive to PS4.

        Sony wins money, more people buy PS4s therefore more players are going to play the same games as you, making matchmaking faster and with more variety of people, etc…

  9. Musou Tensei on April 17, 2019 at 1:59 am said

    “Console exclusives are a completely different beast; they exist to drum up artificial demand for hardware that could otherwise not stand on its own two feet.”

    The XB1 kinda disproves that, barely any true exclusives but sells well enough to warrant a next gen Xbox.

    This is a pretty bad an biased article.

  10. Technotronic on April 17, 2019 at 2:53 am said

    This is exactly the kind of ignorant, hate-bating article I would expect on any one of the other “games urinalist” rags, not here.

  11. Martichor4 on April 17, 2019 at 5:41 am said

    Biased but again we get told that at the beginning of the article so coming from the point of view of someone who grew up with minitels and pong and games being an effffing massive book of code that you compile yourself to be able to play and as someone who now works in IT I can see both sides of some of the arguments for and against in some cases it’s the same as windows vs Mac one requires tinkering to your personal satisfaction the other “just works” a feature that you pay more for and yes I have a PC I also have a PS4 for those exclusives and that I dust off when the guys come round for beers and Tekken (sorry not a football fan) but exclusives are bad in my eyes no matter what to whether a specific hardware or software PC/Console or Steam/Epic/EA/Ubisoft/GoG and honestly having repaired my second hand PS4 pro myself rather than shilling out over 150€ for Sony to replace one condenser in the PSU I’ve stripped it and looked at references and frankly I’m happy I only payed 50€ for it anymore would have been a rip-off while xbone is somewhat more easily approachable from a repair standpoint as in you can buy the actual parts Sony flat out refuses and after stripping my PS4 all the way down and checking references of all the parts I can see why

  12. Who cares on April 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm said

    Oh so biased, oh so wrong.
    Articles like this are one of the reasons people tend to make fun of “gamers” (another stupid word) and they are absolutely right.

    The level of childish and elitism is through the roof.
    Are you sure you not an SJW? Because you (and 90% of the users around) sure behave like one

  13. Nice article , love to read and understanding.

  14. SeriousSam on April 17, 2019 at 3:55 pm said

    What a great analysis of what lifelong PC gamers have tried to state in a rather poor manner. The facts continue to support that PC attempts to be as diverse as possible while console intentionally bifurcates the people for profit. Exactly what is happening with EPIC within the PC platform itself right now and why people get so angry. This article is an honest perspective all fellow honest gamers should be able to admit.

  15. Nice article. Fully agree with it and the outrage of console kiddies without arguments here makes it all the sweeter.
    Btw… I own both a PC and several consoles.

    And yes, the article belongs here as it is clearly marked as opinion.

  16. I disagree. Console exclusives aren’t always bad.

    Metal Gear Solid isn’t meant to be played with Mouse and KeyBoard and it doesn’t require 60FPS since it’s a stealth game with slow movements. Crash bandicoot deserves to be a PS exclusive. Bloodborne is too amazing for the greasy Xbox players’ hands (I’m joking, I know they’re dirty with Doritos powder and not grease)

    PC exclusives however are logical; some games are too powerful for a console to handle and yes, Mouse and KeyBoard is a must (imo) when playing First Person Shooters or point and click games, duh.

    Exclusives are not good for everybody because you shouldn’t have to buy 2 consoles to play different games but tbh just stick to a PS4 or buy a PC and you’re not gonna miss much…

    That’s it

    • TheSHEEEP on April 18, 2019 at 7:12 am said

      Why would you play MGS with kb&m on a PC. I mean, sure, you could, but I don’t know a single PC gamer who doesn’t have a controller for games that are just better with it.

  17. Whyimight on April 18, 2019 at 3:46 am said

    I don’t care for the condescending tone of this article . Yes m/kb is a better way to play fps games but what about fighting and racing controllers have to account for every genre. Consoles now are just locked down low end Pc’s but you wouldn’t complain to toaster grade Pc users that they are restricting gaming because they don’t have the latest and greatest and platform holders didn’t fund these games they wouldn’t get made Ubisoft and EA aren’t going to make a game on a such a long dev cycle. You also don’t mention any of the negatives of Pc gaming.

  18. 100% true. The sad thing is how they made us accept, and even “love” exclusivity, by making hard to hate games, such as The Last of Us, Uncharted, etc. The quality of the game doesn’t matter, in an ideal world, we shouldn’t applaud exclusivity of any sort, this just shows how fucked up the industry is, this is the only easy way they can pull people in.
    The only real exclusivity should be because of the limitations of a platform, like, you obviously not gonna release an RTS or MOBA on consoles, because it needs insane timing and precision.

  19. As a PC gamer, I find it hard to disagree.

  20. Came in here ready to take some heads. Gonna attempt a logical counter argument instead. I completely agree that consoles are limited in processing or doing as much as pc, since as stated the hardware isnt there or the mechanics just dont work on a console port. The argument that it was the choice of the buyer to get a awesome computer and spend a ton of money is their own fault seems to be a little dumb to me. Consoles provide a one time payment which allows you to play games for the entire life cycle of that console without having to upgrade a video card or ram. This may seem simple for some of the readers here. I know the basics on pc building. I have done it. I find that unless you have prior knowledge of pc’s, you will most likely end up just floundering around video’s/websites on whats best and so on until you have a friend who just comes up and simplifies everything. The exclusivity of games are done in order to promote a port. This is business, not anything else. I am sure that developers can create any of their games to work on any port, especially pc. I see consoles as a great introductory into games and even pc’s. If you want more then i completely agree that pc is necessary. For the constantly growing audience of console players it should be expected for consoles to have exclusives. I enjoy pc, i just find it to be clunky at times compared to the console. The console makes life easy though it does sacrifice some aspects in order to do so.

  21. What a great article
    It would appear it’s upset some console fans but that’s expected

  22. GandalfSquad on April 18, 2019 at 7:57 pm said

    Nothing like PC v Console flame war to get the clicks and comments to roll in.

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