When it comes to what platform people prefer to play on, everyone will have different answers for different reasons. Some prefer the Xbox 360, some prefer the PS3 and some prefer the Wii. Some people even prefer older consoles such as PS2, Nintendo 64 or older handhelds such as Gameboy Colours. There’s a wide variety to choose from to be sure and for a long time I just considered myself a ‘console person’. I hadn’t really considered PC gaming as a route for me. I did, and admittedly still do, prefer the feel of a controller in my hands as opposed to keys. However, with the recent ‘next-gen’ argument only getting more heated I thought now would be the best time to try it.
Steam had been sitting on my computer for months at this point; somewhat neglected. It was in dire need of updates and my library was barren. I wanted to give it a fighting chance so I bought a good wireless mouse and mousepad, and got it back into fighting shape. I figured the most logical first step would be to download a game I have already on console and see how smoothly it flows for me.
So I downloaded Dragon Age; Origins. I’d played it time and time again on my Xbox 360 (not to mention it was only £20 for the Ultimate Edition with all DLC packs in the Steam Summer Sale) so I figured it would be my best shot at getting an appropriate comparison. The result? My god, was it smooth to play. Less buggy, better interface, it even looked better. It completely took me by surprise and to be honest I adapted to the WASD way of things much faster than expected. I fell back in love with a game I hadn’t touched in quite some time due to new releases piling up at my doorstep. It rekindled my love for what is -in my opinion- the greatest RPG I’ve ever played. All because of how perfect it was for the PC. Keeping in mind this was coming from a devout console gamer who was confident that Steam wouldn’t be able to convert me. It hadn’t completely done so yet, though; I wanted to try a few more titles before I could consider Steam my next-gen solution. So I bought a few more; Alice Madness Returns, Portal 1&2 and Magicka. All perfect, all VERY convincing. It was making me wonder why I hadn’t tried this before and the overall better gameplay wasn’t the only thing that I found seductive either.
Another incredibly tempting aspect of Steam was the price of its games. The Summer Sale was incredible, but even without it a lot of the games were very modestly priced and most cheaper than their console counterparts. Not to mention there were different offers on every week which I can see would be extremely tempting if I had the money to spend on them. Sadly, I don’t being a student and everything but it’s safe to say my library would be packed if I did. My point being I would be much likely to buy a title off of Steam than I would be to walk into my local game store and buy it new from there. The only advantage I could see that console games have would be that you then always have that game on disc but you can access your Steam account from another computer so sharing isn’t a problem and I’m pretty sure Valve would be more than happy to help you if you had a faulty game or it just stopped working somewhere down the line. All in all? Cheaper with better deals. The idea of PC gaming is getting more and more appealing by the minute and yet, it isn’t over.
And so we get to my last point; indie games. Yes, I know that Xbox Live has the Marketplace but with Steam the market is just so…Vast! So many incredibly promising titles just waiting to be discovered at prices that would make your head spin. Rogue Legacy was a hidden gem that’s finally getting the recognition it deserves and I don’t regret a penny of what I spent. There’s also Greenlight which further encourages indie developers to get stuck into such a promising market. It’s a win-win situation from where I’m standing; Steam get a larger market and more money, developers get recognition and money for their creations. Nowhere here do I see a bad point. Steam are giving indie developers all the right nudges in all the right directions and you only need to look at their ‘Indie’ section to see what a brilliant job they’ve done. It’s fair to say that some titles in that genre are better than some mainstream ones; it goes without question. It was the final blow for me; Steam was pressing all the right buttons.
So there you have it; a console gamer admitting their affair with Steam. And I’d never go back.