Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Most Rampant Misconceptions of Gamespot's "System Wars" Forum

Today, after what I realize has been an incredibly long break since my last post (life happened), I would like to address a topic that isn't really that existential but has nonetheless been gnawing away at my brain for quite some time.

This topic deals with a particular forum on the gaming website "Gamespot" called "System Wars," which pits fanboy gamers against each other in a heated online setting where they argue over the various benefits of "their" system ( be it the PS3, Xbox, Wii, PC, etc. ).

Logo of Gamespot.com, home of the infamous forum, "System Wars".
It seems innocent enough at first, but unsurprisingly these debates often devolve into troll fests where particular forum posters take up their system's mantle and defend it or promote it in the most infuriating ways imaginable.

Here, in list form, are several examples of ridiculous misconceptions that come out of these debates between fanboys...
  • "The Xbox 360 only sells well because people have to buy them twice or three times due to the Red Ring of Death!"
    • This is an example of a common excuse used by Playstation fans and PC gamers when trying to downplay the success of Microsoft's Xbox 360. In reality, Microsoft extended a multi year warranty to customers experiencing the infamous Red Ring of Death, and therefore most people did not have to re-buy their Xbox if it broke down. I am a prime example of this; I am currently on my third Xbox and it hasn't cost me a penny to get them replaced. However, in fairness, the fact that I've had to get it fixed so often may reveal other aspects about the nature of Microsoft's manufacturing prowess...
  • "PC gaming is expensive!"
    • This is another common assertion on the System Wars forums, mainly used by console gamers to promote their own systems over PCs. In reality, PC gaming is pretty inexpensive if you go about it the right way. For instance, building a PC using a site like newegg.com can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 if you are smart about it. Additionally, the end result nets you a computer much more powerful and capable than your typical console. Furthermore, desktop PCs are modular and can be upgraded over time, allowing you to easily keep up with new console releases and next generation games.
    • Not only can building a PC be cheap, but often times the games themselves are at least $10 cheaper than their console counterparts (also, Daily Deals with Steam rocks!).
  • "Console optimization makes the PC's better hardware irrelevant!"
    • Wrong again. Console optimization, in short, is the process of making a game specifically for one platform (say the PS3) and getting the most that you can out of that system. This often results in games that look much better than the hardware suggests when compared to an equivalent PC. Optimization occurs mainly because developers only have to code for one system and not for endless variables as must be done when making a game for a PC, and because consoles have incredibly lightweight operating systems which allows for more of the processing resources to be focused on gaming.
    • All that being said, this optimization doesn't actually account for much when comparing say the Xbox 360 (made in 2005) to a top of the line PC today. To make a game that looks even remotely close to the fidelity achieved on PCs, console developers must cut down the resolution of their games and cut corners in nearly every area that they can can. Additionally, consoles are usually played on large television screens, where it is harder to discern differences between higher and lower resolutions (as opposed to PC gaming, where people mainly play on 15 - 24" screens with incredibly high resolutions). 
  •  "PS3/Xbox is better than Xbox/PS3!"
    • There are people on the System Wars forum that base their entire existences around the defense of their particular console. I won't name names, but a quick perusal of this forum will quickly make it evident which users have an unhealthy attachment to their gaming system of choice. The bottom line is that you cannot truly go wrong with either system, so there is no point in arguing about it. They both output such similar graphics and offer so many of the same games that any argument between fanboys about the various benfits of these two machines often boils down to insanity. In truth, much of the argumentation occurring in System Wars (and there is a lot of it...) is based around subjects which have no reason to be fought over in the first place. Normally, I would suggest steering clear of a forum such as this, though in this case, sometimes the entertainment value is worth the price of admission (or more particularly the price of your sanity/soul).

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