As you may or may not be aware, i am and have always been a console gamer. From my first exposure to Super Mario Bros. on the NES, my gaming history has almost entirely been console centric. As the years have gone by it has become increasingly more difficult to continue ignoring the other major platform - the PC. Whilst i am not ready to dip my toes into that pool just yet, i feel that my days of purely console based gaming are numbered.
Whilst i no doubt missed out on many PC classics in the days prior to this console generation, it hasn't really bothered me until recently. Initially, the simplicity of the consoles was a major factor in shaping my gaming habits - the idea of just putting a game into the machine and playing was far more preferable than a computer illiterate like myself trying to make sense of files, settings, hardware and all the other variables inherent in PC gaming. Furthermore, after cutting my teeth on gamepads my entire life, the keyboard/mouse control set up has continued to be something i am seemingly unable to get a feel for. Despite the countless people who swear by that control method for its accuracy and speed, i still cannot wrap my head around it - something about it just feels alien to me.
Nowadays, it seems that many PC gamers will often use a gamepad for certain titles even if the other option is available. This recent shift has at least partially knocked down one of my biggest hurdles, and recent industry developments suggest to me that the controller as an entity is here to stay even on the PC. The other trend which has recently caught my hitherto skeptical eye is the increasing focus on bringing the PC experience to the lounge room. From upstarts such as Ouya, to the "Steam Box" type devices, all signs point to a simplified PC type experience in future that will allow people in my position to play with an input device that does not alienate likeminded gamers - with the added bonus of not having to hunch over uncomfortably in front of a computer for long stretches.
As the current generation has progressed, i have been hearing the echoes of many a multiplatform gamer slowly veering towards a preference for playing on the PC. Even from my biased as hell viewpoint, its not hard to see why. At this point in time, more and more multiplatform titles are being recommended more heavily on the PC - from modding games, to superior visuals (especially recently) to more options for customisation, it is little mystery to me as to why this might be the case. In addition, as the years have gone by i have become increasingly envious of those who regularly partake in promotions such as the Steam sales. Outside of fluke purchases from second hand bargain bins, this is something ultra appealing that i have so far been unable to personally relate to.
Another factor which has seemingly found a home with the PC is the indie game scene. Granted, there haven't been a ton of things which have caught my focused attention as of yet, but the fact that indies are in the midst of a massive renaissance at present is just another reason that i feel i might be missing out on something. Whilst there have been the occasional waves made on PSN and XBLA, the majority of the attention industry wide definitely seems to show more of a deference to what is happening on the PC - in fact, i recall a period of time a couple of months back where it seemed that every gaming podcast i listened to was talking about Faster Than Light and nothing else. I think it would be fair to say that the indie scene is going to be at the forefront of innovation with regard to gameplay systems for some time to come, given how much of a financial risk any console release is nowadays.
I love my consoles - my entire interactive history is tightly wrapped up with them. However, whilst the PC might be a platform that i still find somewhat intimidating, i think i would be a fool to suggest that i can avoid taking the plunge for much longer. I am certain that the consoles, too will experience a 'shot in the arm' come the release of next gen systems, but it is blatantly clear which way the wind is blowing.