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Old Apr 2, 2013, 10:48 PM   #76
thejadedmonkey
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Originally Posted by edddeduck View Post
Yeah for laptops they are pretty competitive (IMHO) especially when you start looking at the details of all the components. CPU is i7 not an i3 or worse etc

Edwin
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Tell me if I'm wrong, but when it comes to 'gaming laptops' my impression is that Macs are competitive price wise for what they offer. For desktops, they tend to be more expensive, but this is their nitch.
Ok, you're wrong. Both of you.

Seriously though. For $3000 I can get a rMBP, which has a 650m GPU with a whopping 1gb of RAM. That right there means it's not a gaming PC, as there are video games that will chew through 1gb of RAM with hi-res textures. If you're using a high-dpi display, as the retina does, it needs 2gb at least, maybe even 3gb of vRAM. My Dell, it was somewhere around $650 in 2012, had 1gb of vRAM in a small business machine...

Also, due to the way that OS X handles video memory (at least as of 10.5, although I doubt it changed since) if you play a game in full screen mode, the desktop is still in memory, using precious vRAM. Windows turns it off, so your 1gb of vRAM in Windows is more than your 1gb in OS X.

Then there's the CPU. You can throw around as many i's as you want until you're blue in the face. But only now are Core 2 Duo CPU's starting to be too slow for modern gaming. A first gen i3 should suffice, and a 3rd gen quad core i7 is complete overkill.

Add in the fact that most gamers need a mouse, not a trackpad, and what you're left with is an overheating, GPU-bound number crunching machine that maybe can play your newest game on high settings, but gets run circles around by Windows laptops that cost 1/2 the price.

Then there's 9 month old drivers. I'm not sure what the state of OS X drivers are as I gave up on OS X gaming, but they've traditionally never been able to hold their own on identical hardware. As driver updates come bundled with OS X updates, I can promise they're always at minimum a few months old, probably closer to a year or more on average, depending on the model machine you have.

Yes a mac can play a video game, but it certainly can't play it as well as a PC.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 06:34 AM   #77
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OK games lists aside, as noted above, Apple still has yet to understand the importance of driver updates and that alone in me eyes stops the system from being a games platform, although I also personally think the hardware is very good for a laptop and powerful.
But when you can install windows on a machine and achieve higher fps on higher graphics settings then you can on the same machine in OSX, then I don't see it as a games platform because you are being robbed of the hardwares real performance potential thanks to old software.

Last edited by apolloa; Apr 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 07:24 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by thejadedmonkey View Post
Also, due to the way that OS X handles video memory (at least as of 10.5, although I doubt it changed since) if you play a game in full screen mode, the desktop is still in memory, using precious vRAM. Windows turns it off, so your 1gb of vRAM in Windows is more than your 1gb in OS X.
OS X has changed how stuff works at least twice since then!

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Then there's the CPU. You can throw around as many i's as you want until you're blue in the face. But only now are Core 2 Duo CPU's starting to be too slow for modern gaming. A first gen i3 should suffice, and a 3rd gen quad core i7 is complete overkill.
Depends on the game, I have seen many a game run slower on the slower CPUs but you are correct that GFX cards are the primary bottleneck on performance.

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Add in the fact that most gamers need a mouse, not a trackpad, and what you're left with is an overheating, GPU-bound number crunching machine that maybe can play your newest game on high settings, but gets run circles around by Windows laptops that cost 1/2 the price.
It depends if you are buying a laptop just for gaming no matter PC or Mac it's plain silly. However if you want a super portable, powerful machine that also plays games well then the rMBP comes into play.

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Then there's 9 month old drivers. I'm not sure what the state of OS X drivers are as I gave up on OS X gaming, but they've traditionally never been able to hold their own on identical hardware. As driver updates come bundled with OS X updates, I can promise they're always at minimum a few months old, probably closer to a year or more on average, depending on the model machine you have.
I see what you are trying to say but your facts are a bit off. The Mac drivers are usually only weeks old when an OS update is released and AMD, Intel and Nvidia all have full time teams on Mac drivers.

What I think you might mean is the level of support for modern DX11 features. OS X uses OpenGL and is a few revisions behind the latest specification at times. Also compared to the PC drivers the Mac drivers can perform slower but not always.

I recall the AMD driver team told us in a benchmark a few years ago the Mac version of Borderlands was quicker than the PC. Yes that was a very rare case but usually the performance is not hugely different with the PC just slightly ahead.

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Yes a mac can play a video game, but it certainly can't play it as well as a PC.
I will kind of agree, if *all* you want to do is play games you should not buy a Mac, I would recommend a console or perhaps a custom PC.

However for an all around bit of hardware I would not hesitate to suggest a rMBP even if I would prefer if it came with 2GB of VRAM.

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Old Apr 3, 2013, 08:31 AM   #79
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I switched to Mac from Win back in 1999 because Win gave me a headache for the most part. Never liked how the OS worked. Been gaming on my Mac ever since, but the ironic part is that when I game on the Mac (usually ports) it gives me a headache, with frequent crashes, slow, etc. However when my friends bring their PCs, once they finally get them networked and in the game its very smooth, reliable, and works on older hardware.

So I am now seeing why many Mac users choose to bootcamp or run a gaming rig, because gaming with ports on in Mac OS is almost much of a headache as working in Windows. I have played some pretty good ports on the Mac however that are good enough. I definitely have respect for devs that were able to do a good job on some ports, and others that make native games. I can't say the same thing about Apple in this department though.

One thing Apple needs to make headway in this market is exclusives. All successful platforms have a set of games just for them. For example where would Nintendo be without exclusives? Pretty much dead. And I love Nintendos games.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 08:45 AM   #80
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One thing Apple needs to make headway in this market is exclusives. All successful platforms have a set of games just for them. For example where would Nintendo be without exclusives? Pretty much dead. And I love Nintendos games.
Exclusives need a big install base of gamers and at least $100 million dollars to develop a AAA game. Some games cost way more but that's the ball park figure.

Exclusives work on consoles due to the large installation base and the incentives of the console companies to sell more consoles so sometimes an exclusive is partially funded as a marketing expense so you can say "Only on XBox" or "Only on PS3".

The thing is the PC market is not really big enough for serious exclusive games and as the Mac is a small size of the Windows market it's just not a financially viable plan to have big splashy exclusives. And whats the point of an exclusive unless every other platform wants it?

Slowly building up the performance of the gaming graphics libraries and making the hardware compatible with playing games is a good step because the size of Mac gaming can grow in step with demand without artificially trying to raise it's profile with an exclusive. The biggest thing Apple have done for gaming is to make the Mac AppStore.

Making it easy for Mac users to find Mac games makes a huge difference because it tells users Mac games exist, even if they don't buy through the store it still raises games profiles on the Mac.

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Old Apr 3, 2013, 02:24 PM   #81
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For $3000 I can get a rMBP, which has a 650m GPU with a whopping 1gb of RAM.
Where are you getting your numbers? The last I checked, the high end 15" rMBP went for less than $3000 and the low end 13" has 4 GB RAM. The high end 15" rMBP comes with 16.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 02:52 PM   #82
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Where are you getting your numbers? The last I checked, the high end 15" rMBP went for less than $3000 and the low end 13" has 4 GB RAM. The high end 15" rMBP comes with 16.
I'm sure thejadedmonkey means 1 GB VRAM, not RAM. Cheapest rMBP equipped with that is currently the mid-range 15" at $2,199. But as others correctly point out, with that you get so much more than just a laptop decent enough for gaming.

By the by, any laptop for gaming doesn't do it for me as I don't need the portability, but that doesn't detract from those who are pleased in this respect.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 05:07 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by gregorsamsa View Post
I'm sure thejadedmonkey means 1 GB VRAM, not RAM. Cheapest rMBP equipped with that is currently the mid-range 15" at $2,199. But as others correctly point out, with that you get so much more than just a laptop decent enough for gaming.

By the by, any laptop for gaming doesn't do it for me as I don't need the portability, but that doesn't detract from those who are pleased in this respect.
I did mean vram, yes. Although as I type it Safari decided to make it gram

My point was simply that the previous posters were wrong when they said that a rMBP is comparable to a gaming machine, for the money. No matter which way you try to configure the mac, you just can't make it into a machine that's as good for gaming as a PC, even if you completely ignore money.

Having said that I still agree it's a nice machine, and quite capable of gaming. It's just not a machine that any serious PC gamer should even consider if it's going to be their only computer, and doubly so if they care even a little about costs.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 03:40 AM   #84
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My point was simply that the previous posters were wrong when they said that a rMBP is comparable to a gaming machine, for the money. No matter which way you try to configure the mac, you just can't make it into a machine that's as good for gaming as a PC, even if you completely ignore money.

Having said that I still agree it's a nice machine, and quite capable of gaming. It's just not a machine that any serious PC gamer should even consider if it's going to be their only computer, and doubly so if they care even a little about costs.
Without wanting to mince my words, I actually agree with both camps. As stated, many reasons exist to buy a Mac. However, few might argue in favour of buying any Mac mostly for gaming, even with Bootcamp. Not least due to the lack of upgradability & higher costs. There are other factors of course, for eg. not every gamer wants to be frequently rebooting for those games not available in OS X. PC games also tend to run better & older ones are much cheaper.

With all this in mind, I went for a PC. If Apple had offered an upgradable, consumer-priced Mac, no doubt I'd have bought that instead to sit alongside my current Mac. But that's by the by now.

FWIW, though the PC will be used for many modern games, my reasons for switching were actually partly prompted by rebuying a fair number of Mac-native, Rosetta-reliant, older games, unplayable in OS X Lion. Yes, Bootcamp was an option. But my Mini with HD 6630M & 256 VRAM just isn't powerful enough to justify the hassle of rebooting. It also gets very hot when the GPU is taxed for hours.

Besides, I'd had enough with Apple's BS in this domain. As most of the software I owned was gaming related, I wanted an OS I could trust in future to maintain backward-compatibility for much longer than tends to happen with Apple. Windows ticked all the boxes. The gradual integration of OS X with iOS also gave me cause to wonder how long before more of my stuff became incompatible with a future version of OS X.

With a PC, I now feel I have the best of both worlds.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 04:33 AM   #85
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With a PC, I now feel I have the best of both worlds.
Well said! However by buying a Mac (that can dual boot) I feel the same way about my MacbookPro.

As this thread has proven there is no "right" answer, everyones needs and demands for a computer are different and you should buy what you need, not what people say you need.

I am sure if we went to a Ubuntu forum they would all laugh at us for using OS X or Windows instead of Feisty Ferret or Kokehead Koala

So let us all rejoice in the diversity of our opinions and agree that you can game on any platform you want and that platform is decided by your personal computing (and gaming) demands.

Edwin
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 07:24 AM   #86
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Well said! However by buying a Mac (that can dual boot) I feel the same way about my MacbookPro.

As this thread has proven there is no "right" answer, everyones needs and demands for a computer are different and you should buy what you need, not what people say you need.

I am sure if we went to a Ubuntu forum they would all laugh at us for using OS X or Windows instead of Feisty Ferret or Kokehead Koala

So let us all rejoice in the diversity of our opinions and agree that you can game on any platform you want and that platform is decided by your personal computing (and gaming) demands.
Some VG points, Ed! Nothing I'd go against. I'd also add that thanks to some quality Mac games developers, not least you guys at Feral, for those not wanting to reboot, that situation is now better than ever before. You guys do a great job.

Maybe needless to say, my beef has never been with Mac games developers. Only strictly with Apple.

Many defend Apple to the hilt in every respect. For eg. some say, big deal losing Rosetta-reliant software, games or otherwise. The onus is on developers to update or rewrite completely. I disagree!

You guys at Feral know better than anyone how long it takes to do a decent Mac-native port & about all the resources necessary. It takes a lot of hard work from teams of dedicated people. This in a games market considerably smaller than the one for PC.

MacSoft only completed their AoE 2 Mac port in 2006. Ditto other games around that time. By as recently as mid-2011 with Lion's release, a number of these Mac ports were dead to new Macs.

Why should hard-pressed Mac games developers see all their hard work be so readily undone within barely 5 years? That's not very long. Meanwhile, a rich company like Apple with (at last count) $137+ billion surplus cash reserves, can't be bothered to allow their new Mac-buying customers an easy downgrade to Snow Leopard.

Obviously it isn't a lack of resources that stops Apple from providing the option of Snow Leopard with updated drivers to run on the latest Macs. Apple just can't be bothered. That's the main reason for me recently turning to Windows for much of my gaming.

End of the day, Microsoft, for all the criticisms aimed at them (some justified), won't mess users or developers around so easily. They're just too heavily reliant on generating maximum sales of new editions of Windows. They have to provide excellent backwards compatibility, or else they risk a backlash in poor sales. - Apologies for the rant.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 07:42 AM   #87
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What I think you might mean is the level of support for modern DX11 features. OS X uses OpenGL and is a few revisions behind the latest specification at times. Also compared to the PC drivers the Mac drivers can perform slower but not always.
It has been more than three years since the launch of OpenGL 4.0, and Apple still has yet to include full support for it.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 07:54 AM   #88
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It has been more than three years since the launch of OpenGL 4.0, and Apple still has yet to include full support for it.
True, but it's more complex than just Apple. You need to include NVIDIA, AMD and Intel as they need to write specific support for their hardware and overcome any design issues with the original spec.

Unlike DirectX which is 100% under Microsoft's control OpenGL is controlled by a large group of people all of whom have different goals for OpenGL. It means sometimes things move slower than when you have one sole person/group in charge.

Also as the 360 is really a DX9 console with a couple of DX10 style calls thrown in the lack of the super shiny stuff in GL was less of an impact when porting however with new consoles coming soon, support for the newer GL features will become more and more important in the coming 12/24 months when porting games.

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Old Apr 4, 2013, 08:26 AM   #89
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True, but it's more complex than just Apple. You need to include NVIDIA, AMD and Intel as they need to write specific support for their hardware and overcome any design issues with the original spec.
And those companies have stepped up to meet those challenges. What have we received from Apple? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. You (the Feral collective), Aspyr, Valve, and EA have stepped up in offering the games. The hardware Apple is putting into its machines is actually half decent. You said that AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel have teams dedicated to the Mac, so those components are in place. Arguably the most important piece to this whole pie, however, is not. That's my whole point. For you as a developer, there has to be at least some frustration. It's aggravating as a user because there's a lot of lost potential here. More than once I've paid for the OS X port of a game that I already own for Windows. There are even games that I purchased solely on OS X and paid more than I would have if I bought it for Windows.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:13 AM   #90
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And those companies have stepped up to meet those challenges. What have we received from Apple? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Firstly Apple's GL team exists and is at least as big as the teams at the driver companies. Second Apple have provided so far since 10.2 the following OpenGL support in the frameworks: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 & 3.3.

It might not be as much as you want but it's a huge amount more than nada. In fact it's more than Microsoft have done on Windows as they don't officially support OpenGL at all anymore from what I can tell.

Things are not perfect and we know that performance and features for OpenGL on OS X are not equal to DX11 on Windows however your assumptions are not completely accurate. I am not saying Apple are perfect but laying the blame for everything that is not perfectly implemented is not really fair or accurate.

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You said that AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel have teams dedicated to the Mac, so those components are in place. Arguably the most important piece to this whole pie, however, is not. That's my whole point.
The thing is your view is based on not having all of the facts some/many of which are not in the public domain. In forums etc it's always the easy option to just say "it's all Apples fault" after a while many people take this rumor and speculation as fact. Graphics performance is not 100% down to Apple it's down to a combination of Apple and all the driver manufacturers, this is mixed with the abilities of the porting team to make best use of the drivers and OS features for all the different cards. It's a very complex dance really.

For example GRID does not support the 330M cards but does support the 320M. The 320M plays the game at a high frame rate and super smoothly. The 330M will have massive pauses/stutters when lots of cars are visible, on corners and every 30 seconds regardless. This is strange as the 330M is a high performance dedicated VRAM version of the 320M so should run the game faster not slower!

This stutter is caused (in basic terms) by the driver dumping all the video memory and re-uploading it which causes the game to pause while the re-upload completes. Now this is due to the specific 330M drivers. The 320M also had a similar stutter but by altering the rendering path we were using through the drivers we avoided the stall and the game plays perfectly fine.

Borderlands got a frame rate boost recently from Apple that improved some frame rates by 25% by optimising the OpenGL stack. This effected almost all cards as it was a framework improvement not a driver one.

In simple terms:

Apple = Overall OpenGL implementation this is the core framework of OpenGL that the drivers bolt into.
AMD/NV/Intel = Driver implementation if a card supports a specific OpenGL call (and it's relative performance) is at least partially down to the drivers.
Developers = Work with everyone above to make sure their games use the fastest path through the libraries/drivers for every card.

My point in a long winded kind of way is that Apple could always do more to help gaming performance in OpenGL (just like Feral can always improve our optimisations or AMD/NV/Intel could help make faster drivers) but it's unfair to lay every single problem at anyones door. Getting high performance graphics is a complex business and the various Mac teams are all a lot smaller than the same team on the PC/Console so you have the same amount of work just a lot less time and people to make it happen.

Sure some things could be better but I find it better to focus on the important features you need fixed/implemented one by one and combine everyones resources and avoid pointing fingers at individuals and saying you suck!

Edwin
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:19 AM   #91
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Sure some things could be better but I find it better to focus on the important features you need fixed/implemented one by one and combine everyones resources and avoid pointing fingers at individuals and saying you suck!
But it's fun being a (somewhat) anonymous Internet forum doofus and pointing fingers. You should try it sometime.

Seriously, I appreciate the detailed explanation. It makes more sense now. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:25 AM   #92
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Seriously, I appreciate the detailed explanation. It makes more sense now. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.
Trust me, all of the developers at all these companies including Feral would love it if we woke up tomorrow with a pile of 100% implemented, optimised & bug free libraries.

Until that day we will fight the good fight one feature, bug and game at a time

Edwin
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:28 AM   #93
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Until that day we will fight the good fight one feature, bug and game at a time

Edwin
Believe me, you folks do a heck of a job with what you're given. Some of the bigger guys (Valve, I'm looking in your direction) could learn a thing or two.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:29 AM   #94
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Where are you getting your numbers? The last I checked, the high end 15" rMBP went for less than $3000 and the low end 13" has 4 GB RAM. The high end 15" rMBP comes with 16.
High end 15" rMBP is $2799. I don't think it's worth splitting hairs if he rounded that figure to $3000, most people would.

He's talking about video RAM, not main RAM.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:35 AM   #95
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High end 15" rMBP is $2799. I don't think it's worth splitting hairs if he rounded that figure to $3000, most people would
Figure in sales tax, and you'd be right at or even slightly more than $3,000.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:44 AM   #96
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Figure in sales tax, and you'd be right at or even slightly more than $3,000.
In the UK the high end model sells for 2299 including VAT (UK Gov Tax). This comes to $3475 at current exchange rates
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 11:30 AM   #97
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Disagree re the console viewpoint. There are still many gamers for whom a console just doesn't meet their needs. I include myself. For eg. no RTS like the Total War series.
The fact that a console doesn't meet your needs doesn't invalidate his point that consoles may be placing downward pressure on system requirements for games. The fact that consoles are popular means that many games are released for PC and consoles. While it's certainly possible and common for the PC version of a game to have better graphics than the console version, it's also the case that game makers will try to design their games and graphics engines to work well on the less powerful console hardware, so that there can be fewer differences in the codebase for the console and PC ports of the game. This downward pressure on minimum system requirements also benefits PC gamers who don't have the latest and greatest gaming computers. That was the point that the person you're responding to was making I think.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 05:43 PM   #98
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The fact that a console doesn't meet your needs doesn't invalidate his point that consoles may be placing downward pressure on system requirements for games. The fact that consoles are popular means that many games are released for PC and consoles. While it's certainly possible and common for the PC version of a game to have better graphics than the console version, it's also the case that game makers will try to design their games and graphics engines to work well on the less powerful console hardware, so that there can be fewer differences in the codebase for the console and PC ports of the game. This downward pressure on minimum system requirements also benefits PC gamers who don't have the latest and greatest gaming computers. That was the point that the person you're responding to was making I think.
To be fair, I didn't disagree with most of his point. More so the bit about there being an ongoing "general trend" towards gaming on consoles. IMO, that used to be the case, but it's no longer so. More recently, PC gaming has consolidated, if not picked up again. At least if going by Valve's figures from their Steam service. Whilst casual gaming on mobile devices has exploded.

Looking at recent data, sales of consoles & console games are well down on previous generations. That was one of my points & I stand by it. I also think that disagreeing with another person's point doesn't necessarily mean one's trying to "invalidate" it. That certainly wasn't my intention.

As you say, though some PC-specific titles will continue to push the barriers of gaming technology, at current levels there's also much to be said for developers now focusing more so on improving gameplay than graphics.

For eg., I'm greatly looking forward to Rome 2: Total War, slated for release towards end of this year. But I'd rather not have to be turning everything down, or else upgrading my PC, just to play it at decent settings.

However, there's usually an easy fix for most PC gamers. Unlike with consoles & Macs, we can of course upgrade our PCs as suits our needs. That's a key advantage, so that "downward pressure" you mention may be of dubious benefit to a fair number of PC gamers. But each to their own!
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