Experienced Points: The Great Framerate Debate

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 27, 2014

Filed under: Column 140 comments

Right now there’s this debate going on about the performance of the PS4 compared to the Xbox One. I don’t own either console, but I have spent mare than my share of time fussing with framerate and resolution, both as a consumer and a developer. So my column this week is a primer on the topic that will hopefully give people a sense of perspective before they beat each other to death with charts and graphs of benchmarking results.

And just informally: How many of us are console gamers? I know I lean pretty hard towards the PC, simply because it’s most convenient for me to game at my computer (where I don’t need to share) than in the living room (where I share with four other people) and because PC gaming is far cheaperProvided that – like me – that you would own a gaming-capable PC whether you played games on it or not.. I wonder how much of this impacts the shape of our community here.

Hang on, let’s find out. Let me find one of those free survey things and we can settle this:

What best describes your gaming habits?
I'm mostly a PC gamer. (Windows, Linux, Mac.)
I mostly play current-gen consoles like Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4.
I mostly play on last-gen consoles: Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3.
I mostly play on much older consoles: PS2, original Xbox, or earlier.
I mostly play on mobile devices.
Games what? I’m here for the programming posts.
This poll lacks the sophistication to describe my gaming habits.

Poll Maker

Yes, I know it’s not scientific. But it’s useful and I’m curious.

EDIT: Or maybe this poll is just broken? This is the fourth one I tried, with the previous ones being various flavors of horrible. This entire endeavor is feeling very “Amateur hour in the Internet of 1998” right now. Ah well. I’m tired of watching these half-ass websites try and fail at this simple task.



[1] Provided that – like me – that you would own a gaming-capable PC whether you played games on it or not.

From The Archives:

140 thoughts on “Experienced Points: The Great Framerate Debate

  1. Jason-L says:

    I do most of my gaming on the PC, but there’s some exceptions. It’s easier to play games with my son on the PS3, and things like Uncharted or The Last of Us I do on the console.

    1. Agreed, the freedom to pick up a title on any platform is really nice. There’s rarely a device that doesn’t have at least one exclusive that’s worth playing (if you can justify the cost of the platform). I grew up on the PC (welcome to Europe, we didn’t have an ’80s crash because we always spent more time on the home computer consoles with their terrible keyboards and tape loaders) baring the occasional play on a MegaDrive or GameBoy. The PS1 was a curiosity compared to the PC but by the time the Dreamcast came out I was happy to start sampling what you could only get on consoles. That seems to be less of an issue today (not a lot of titles outside of 1st parties that don’t come to PC) but there’s still a wealth of older games that you have to emulate or buy a console to play.

      PC will probably be the best version (at least for the modern era of games) and after a while it becomes the best platform for non-PC games (eg large PS2 library of games that are probably not going to get PC ports but are great at 1080p+AA, maybe with a widescreen FoV mod to get it to fill the screen if people have done a bit of hex editing to games that shipped 4:3).

  2. Tse says:

    Wow, it seems us PC gamers are winning. Not that it’s a race or something…

    1. CTrees says:

      But if it was, one could say that PC gamers have mastered it.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        Gloriously so.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Typo:”but I have spent mare than my share of time fussing with framerate and resolution”

    Unless you plan on spending a stallion next.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I am a proud member of the pc master race myself.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    Now I feel bad that I had to accuse the poll of lacking sophistication! So, errr … the strong colours are very nice.

  6. Zukhramm says:

    There are too many good game not on PC for me to stay exclusive. That and I’d rather just play a console game than a bad PC port.

  7. Theminimanx says:

    Not really surprising that there’d be mostly pc gamers on a blog written by a pc gamer.

    1. ET says:

      I think it’s probably got more to do with Shamus’ written content; shaders, programming, etc. i.e. stuff game developers would be interested in. Consoles are designed to be simple, and playable without any technical knowledge of what’s happening “under the hood”. If people are coming here for the tech stuff, then they’re a lot more likely to be PC gamers, or have multiple machines. :)

      1. BenD says:

        Or their high-end computer skills are limited to a platform that doesn’t enjoy the advantages of Windows-compatibility with regards to gaming, so they gave up and adhered to purpose-specific machines all the way. XD

    2. Twisted_Ellipses says:

      Ironically, I listen to the Diecast because I’m a primarily a last gen console gamer. I like it and Errant Signal because it broadens my knowledge of the wider world of gaming, often featuring games that are interesting, but not necessarily objectively good.
      I think Spoiler Warning’s statistics might be more universal as all the games featured are big name multi-platform releases.

  8. Ciennas says:

    I’d love to play on the PC more, what with the mod friendly games like RMorrowind and all, but it seems I never have the money to make a decent enough rig.

    Anybody have an old game worthy build they’d like to sell? Or one they could recommend for… I dunno. 100 US?

    In either case, I do love one side effect of the Consoles: Forced Standardization. Not as often do you have an incompatible driver/card issue, because they’re built for three standardized rigs, with common components.

    Also, the Xbox 360 controller is ergonomically pleasing.

    1. Alan says:

      It is a very good controller. Which is why a lot of us PC fans own one. :-)

      A lot of games Just Work with the Xbox 360 controller, and will even use the correct labels for the buttons on screen. I suspect this is because a very similar codebase is driving the Windows and Xbox ports.s

      1. Viktor says:

        Apparently, GFWL required that all games on it worked with a standardized USB 360 controller. Which got enough programmers/publishers used to the 360 USB that they started including that functionality everywhere. Smart move by MS, and it worked out well for the public(for once).

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Unless you want to use something other than a 360 controller.

          1. Humanoid says:

            Yeah, for a time I wasn’t dissatisfied because the small sample size of GfW PC games I played with a controller didn’t forcibly exclude other inputs. But then I had all sorts of problems with Monaco (a game I dearly love) only supporting the 360 gamepad (or the keyboard). There are software emulators to get around that of course, but it just goes to prove the slippery slope concerns around ‘improvements’ like that to be not unfounded.

    2. Tizzy says:

      I’m with you there: historically a PC gamer, and the games after my own heart tend to be console-unfriendly. But I have been unwilling to spend the necessary amount to maintain a gaming rig, and I am enjoying the no-hassle compatibility of consoles. And, for someone who has little time to play games and can buy from the back catalog games that are a year old and more, the cost is very competitive.

    3. meyerkev says:

      To get a gaming rig for $100 US:

      1) Take Desktop with spare PCI-E x16 slot.
      2) Add $100 video card.
      3) Possibly replace PSU for another $50.


      Ok, somewhat LESS over the top…

      The advantage of a gaming computer is that it’s a VERY good computer that also happens to be capable of playing video games. The bwah-hah-hah i7 with 16 GB of RAM and the 512 GB SSD that runs your video games is ALSO running your everything else, really, really fast. The CFX 6970’s not so much, but 75-80% of your “gaming computer” also happens to work well as a very fast, just plain “computer”. (Disclaimer: Computer Programmer. At this point, the combined value of my computers is rapidly approaching the value of my car because I spend 12+ hours/day on them. I’m that idiot who ticks ALL the boxes, and actively searches for companies that let him tick more boxes. That IS my gaming rig because I needed all that stuff for school and threw in the video cards because hey, why not. You also don’t need anything NEARLY that powerful).

      In the case of desktops, what this means is that you take your “Computer budget”, and add in your gaming budget. Minimum “computer budget” is probably about $500. You CAN get cheaper computers but you don’t WANT to.

      Ok, so theoretical gaming budget is $300 (Consoles are going for $400). Get a $150 video card, an extra 4 GB of RAM, jump up a CPU tier, and get a slightly better PSU and you’re GOOD for the next 3 years. Especially if you can stretch that and make it a $200 video card. Not great, you’re not turning the settings all the way up, you’re not doing multi-monitor, but everything’s playable and likely to stay that way. I can make arguments for and against SSD’s for gaming, and it may be worth ducking down a bit on the video card and putting in an SSD instead. Seriously, they are amazing. Dedicated secondary SSD just for video games at this point in the gaming rig because the primary one got full.

      Maintenance costs are actually pretty minimal. Everything seems to “just work” these days once you’ve installed the drivers (using the provided GUI installer on the CD) and that’s a one-time issue.

      And there’s your $800 gaming machine that’s also a $600 computer (because you added the extra RAM and better CPU). With quick, easy expansion capability if your financial issues ever change. Just saying. The gaming rig didn’t start out with 6 hard drives. It just grew that way as I filled it up. And if you ever get tired of that old $200 video card a few years down the line as the new games come out, pass it along, and buy the current $200 video card without having to buy an entire brand new computer along with it.

      If you want to go up from there, logicalincrements.com is your buddy. Personally, I’d say the truly sweet spot is somewhere around $12-1500. That’s sort of the point where you aren’t really skimping out on any parts (and you have a decent-sized SSD). Anything past that is just going to be diminishing returns, e-peen, or serious “I need X because I have computing NEEDS that 99% of the population won’t ever touch”.

      With laptops, it gets a bit harder. Not only are laptop parts really expensive, but at a certain point, the power, heat, and space requirements mean that you have a $3500 12 pound laptop with a 26 minute battery life that’s maybe a third as powerful as the equivalently-priced desktop and isn’t upgradable in the same way the desktop is. So you’re trying to play this weird performance curve thing where not-performant-enough means you can’t run anything and too performant means you can’t take it anywhere. So personally, getting a truly powerful gaming laptop is a bit of a fool’s game. If it fits your needs, go nuts, but IMO the tradeoffs you make for going nuts are just bad ones.

      1. Mike S. says:

        While I’m a dedicated desktop owner, it’s worth noting that most PCs these days are laptops (and a fair fraction of the remainder are all-in-ones, which are basically less portable laptops). That changes the calculations a fair amount, since discrete graphics on laptops tend to add expense, weight, and heat, and of course can’t be added in later. It’s certainly possible to get a reasonable gaming laptop, but it has to be a priority at initial purchase.

        1. Daimbert says:

          Yeah, that’s kinda been the issue for me for my past few desktops. I don’t really need a really powerful computer, and lately found that a laptop works better for me for the basic writing, programming and surfing that I tend to do. So I only buy a desktop computer to play games on. For my last few purchases, there’s been a game that I really wanted to play that I could only reasonably play on a PC — TOR was the last one — so it was worth buying a machine just for games. Since I haven’t booted my desktops in about a month, I don’t think that will be the case in the near future.

        2. ET says:

          My gaming computer is a laptop with a half-decent video card. Cost around $1100 CAD, and a cheap laptop is at best $500. So, for only $600, I get a machine which can do all my stuff, reasonably well. (I just have to turn down the graphics to medium-ish settings. ) I recommend a purchaser stay near the elbow of the price/performance curve, so you get the most bang for your buck. Huge expensive gaming laptops are like $3000 (about 3X my price), but are only about 2X the performance. They’re also usually huge, heavy, loud, and hot…which defeats the purpose of a laptop. ^^;

      2. Geebs says:

        Yup, I’m in the same “what you call a gaming rig is what I would just call a decent computer” territory. I slapped a GTX680 in the Mac Pro I use for coding and music, and I have a pretty decent setup that runs most things at 2560×1440. Shame that Apple have now decided to ruin that strategy…

    4. Kalil says:

      I’ve never liked the 360 controller – I much prefer the sony ones.
      I’m currently using a PS3 controller on my PC to play Dynasty Warriors.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Logitech F310. Looks like a Playstation Six-axis to you, looks like a 360 controller to the PC, costs a whopping $25 MSRP. Street price runs about $20, and used ones pop up in the darned places for about $10-12. Seriously, there’s almost no excuse for NOT having one of these Just In Case.

  9. Atle says:

    I’m using Windows less and less, and I haven’t tried Steam on Linux yet. So it’s console gaming.

  10. Cybron says:

    I used to be a diehard console gamer (Nintendo consoles in particular, but I had some from all around) but this console generation just sucks. It’s kind of sad that the console that looks most appealing right now is the PS3.

    So instead I’ve jumped ship to PC gaming. Can’t say I miss console gaming much, Steam is mighty convenient. Not to mention the backwards compatibility is much better, to say the least. Heck, thanks to emulators, the PC has better backwards compatibility than consoles usually do.

    That said, I put off the jump for a long time because PC gaming looked really fiddly, and I was right. I hate messing with hardware so much. My current computer still crashes rather unpredictably (or depressingly predictably, if you look at it from another angle), but them’s the breaks I guess.

    This poll is fine, but for future reference, strawpoll is a pretty good poll site and one that I see used often.

    1. Kizer says:

      This is exactly what I would have said, although I do a significant amount of gaming on the 3DS and iOS as well.

      I actually don’t have a Windows machine, only a Mac, so in some respects my PC gaming is more reminiscent of console gaming: If the game isn’t released for Mac, I can’t play it. If the game is incompatible with the hardware in my Mac, I can’t play it. This may sound terrible, but it is very nice on my wallet.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Are there even any noteworthy hardware incompatibilities anymore since they ditched PowerPC? Always assumed that Macs now are hardware-wise feature-identical to off-the-shelf PCs.

        Genuine question since I haven’t used a Mac since primary school circa 1990.

        1. Eric says:

          From my experience, no. I’ve booted my mac on Windows, and games (and other software) tend to just work. Likewise for the Linux distros I’ve tried.

          In fact, the only problems I’ve encountered due to ditching powerpc is that mac os 10.7-ish dropped support for powerpc apps completely, which means older software can fail. However, the only time I’ve seen that happen with games was early Geneforge and Avernum games.

    2. KMJX says:

      strawpoll.me to be precise.
      Never seen it fail yet. Seems tailored towards functionality over style.

      1. ET says:

        Just tried it; It is very functional, but also looks cool! Not sure what style anyone would need, beyond cute font and background image. Shamus, this is the best poll evar! :)

  11. TMTVL says:

    I’ve got a PS Vita for Persona 3 Portable, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Gravity Rush, Ragnarok Odyssey and a few others, but I mainly game on my PC, quite often using Wine (I run Arch Linux).

    I have a number of home consoles (PS2, PS1, SNES, Sega Megadrive,…), but I can emulate those so I don’t really use them. I’d like to buy a PS3 sometime for a couple of legacy games (Demon’s Souls, NieR), but that has to wait until my finances are doing better.

    1. Daimbert says:

      If Persona 4: Golden isn’t among those other games on the Vita, you should get it. While it doesn’t have a female protagonist, it does add quite a bit to the game.

      1. TMTVL says:

        Including a voice actress whose delivery I can’t stand after the near-perfection that was the original. I liked the original Chie so much that I played P4:tG muted all the time.

        I also dislike the added non-choices:
        “Hey, Souji, let’s go get our motorcycle driving licenses.”
        “No, Yosuke, no.”
        “You’re getting one? Great!”

        There are enough non-choices in the games as-is, I really wasn’t looking for even more.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          I had the same issue, but the new voice actually grew on me after a while. It had its moments to shine, but mostly later on.

          Still preferred the old VA though.

          1. Daimbert says:

            I agree that I liked the original VA better, especially since it fit the character better. On the other hand, I liked the extra story with Marie and the additional events were fun, so I think it was worth getting the Vita for that game, for me, anyway.

            And as stated, the non-choices were pretty standard anyway, so they didn’t bother me at all.

            1. TMTVL says:

              I haven’t gotten to doing Marie yet, I’ve gotta play NG+ sometime (unfortunately I lost my save when moving computers, so I’ll have to play through the regular game again).

              The game is also way too big, taking up 4 GB when I only have an 8 GB card.

  12. Attercap says:

    I’m pretty much 50/50 between PC and my XBox 360. Any MMO, PC exclusive, or game I want to play with mods (that is, anything Bethesda-based, it seems) I play on the PC. Action-y or console-first games, I more often play on the XB. Just over the weekend I played Fallout: New Vegas on the PC and GTA V on the XB. I could not pick a “mostly.”

  13. Adalore says:

    I am one of those annoying “I GOTTA HAVE 60FPS ARGUGHUHHHH” players on the PC.

    Though I typically play twitch related games, It’s hard to play scout in tf2 at inconstant fps vs just 60fps.

    1. Tizzy says:

      I’m impressed. I could never care about resolutions and framerates, because as soon as I get nto a game, I stop paying attention to the graphics and everything becomes abstracted. I remember even firing up Quake 2 many years later, when it shipped with Quake 4, saying “how horrible, glad games are prettier now”, and then playing through the whole game.

      Maybe it’s one o the few benefits from a really poor vision that I don’t mind shoddy, blurry images…

      1. Arven says:

        Another gamer with poor eye here. Like you, I don’t really care for resolution (and other shiny graphic features) which is why I tend to favors Indie over AAA games. However, even though I can deal with low framerate, I can immediately calculate a game’s framerate by looking at a video of it. So framerate is very important to me. It doesn’t have to be 60FPS, but it DOES have to be consistent and preferably nothing lower than 30FPS.

  14. Chris says:

    I… oscillate? Like, I’ll find myself playing PC games for long stretches at a time. Sitting at the office computer and staying up until 4 AM immersing myself in an alien world or compelling narrative, my face inches from the screen. There’s something… intimate about PC gaming that you don’t get on a console. When I play games on a computer it’s like reading a book, I put my head down and just lose myself in these characters and places. It’s a solitary, contemplative act.

    But then I’ll reach a point where I want nothing more than to plop down on a comfy couch in a big, dark living room and unwind with some feature-rich, pixels-a-poppin’ AAA game that my wife can half-watch as I play. Much like how films feel… bigger? Grander? More polished? …in a theater, so too do games feel shinier and larger on a big-ish TV that can be watched by four or five people at a time. It also becomes a communal experience; late night games of You Don’t Know Jack or WarioWare Shake It or Rock Band with friends – experiences that simply aren’t replicable on a desktop PC.

    So I guess I’m both? I dig the quiet, focused isolation of PC games for experiencing arty indie games or fictional worlds rich with lore. But I also like the social aspects and sense of scale provided by sitting in a living room and collectively watching a big rectangle show me operatic stories and flashy explosions.

    And in both situations I’d obviously prefer 60FPS, don’t mind 30, can deal with a non-action/minimally realtime game at 24, and start to grumble if it starts dropping much below that, or has fluctuation or tearing issues. But really, a stable 30 is all I’m asking for out of either, as much as I can see the difference and prefer a silky 60.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Hey everyone! Try reading Chris’s post in his Valley Girl accent. Hilarious!

      1. Sean Riley says:

        I’ve never wanted to like a post on these fora until now.

      2. SyrusRayne says:

        You have ruined Chris for me forever.

    2. Eruanno says:

      I was going to write a post about my gaming habits, but then I found Chris’ post and was like “damn, he explains my gaming habits better than I could have” so… yeah. I’m pretty much exactly the same, down to the framerate. 60 is nice and preferrable, but if you strike a steady 30 I’m not going to complain. The worst/most distracting thing to me is a framerate that goes up and down all the time.

    3. ehlijen says:

      I think the difference is in the design of the devices. Computers are designed so one person can sit directly in front of it and use it. The screen is only as big as needed for that, and not laid out for additional viewers. It’s close to the user. It gives a feeling that it’s a device meant to be used alone, look a book. In order to share a computer screen with someone else, they often have to look directly over your shoulder.
      Old CRT monitors even usually had an edge around the screen that bordered it off a bit against viewers from the sides.

      Meanwhile a TV is explicitly designed to be viewed by many people at once. It’ big, wide and can be seen from many angles. Watching TV is never a private experience because anyone else in the same room can share it. It’s too far away from you to just claim it as yours. If you put it on the TV, you put it out there to be seen by others.

      I think these subtle differences in the screens and our use thereof can change an experience from private to communal.

    4. Ben Hilton says:

      My habits are almost the same as Chris’, and I was a bit surprised to find out that so many people were purely PC gamers.

  15. Kamica says:

    I think I might be the only person in New Zealand to have done that poll up to this point O.o (Unless people have put proxies up =P)

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Looks like you now have a counterpart on the other island!

      (Also, no one in Perth, Western Australia likes gaming or programming? Huh. Must all be anime fans.)

      1. Kamica says:

        New Zealand is slowly being populated =P.

        Also, as expected, my original homeland is also quite well populated (The Netherlands) I love maps like that =P.

  16. Retsam says:

    I ended up picking the “lack of sophistication” option, because I’m really about 50-50 split between PC and Handheld (by which I mean 3DS and PSP; which I almost thought should be a distinct option from “mobile” which I associate with the filthy casuals playing “Angry Flappy Birds with Friends”).

    As for the article itself, can we all just take a moment and appreciate this pun: “These debates form a non-Euclidian (and extremely hyperbolic) volume of debate-space”.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye, the whole article was great but that bit got an actual round of applause.

      1. Thomas says:

        At first my brain halted on it because I thought it was describing 4d+ spaces as necessarily non Euclidean, but the hyperbolic part won me over =D

  17. far_wanderer says:

    I play on PC almost exclusively. I experimented with console gaming several years ago and was largely disappointed, with one major exception: I LOVE having an XBOX 360 controller. I use it with my computer now for every game that supports it.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I’m having a reasonably hard time retraining myself on a PC Xbox 360 controller after years of using the PS3 one, and oof, it’s tricky. (Don’t get me wrong – they’re both damn good, I reckon, but going to one after so much of the other is a bit of a challenge!)

      Not, though, anywhere near as bad as retraining myself to use WASD when my formative years were spent using FGHJ+Mouse 2. (Don’t ask… I haven’t got an explanation which makes sense even to me.)

      1. Bryan says:

        Explanation: …You used vim? :-P

        OK, OK, vim isn’t *quite* fghj (it’s hjkl), but it’s close…

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Had to check what that was (where I’m from, Vim is a cleaning product), but I might pretend that was the reason if it ever comes up in future!

  18. Gravebound says:

    I used to game on everything. Then Steam (and all the copycats desperate for that same level of control) killed my PC gaming. And it looks like Microsoft and Sony are trying to kill off console gaming for me, too. There is not one thing appealing about the PS4 or XBone. But old console games are still (relatively) cheap.

    The speculators and Ebay gougers are ruining the dirt cheap pricing, though. The local game store sets prices based on online pricing, so if a few people have a game marked $80, even if none of them sold, the store will mark that game $80, too… and leave it sitting around for four years not being purchased. And you can’t bargain or reason with the manager; she’ll have none of it. :P

    I don’t know if you’ve addressed it before, but the pop-up annotations don’t seem to work right for me (Firefox, if that makes a difference). They work perfectly on the front page, scripts running or no, but when I’m in the post’s own page they are always displayed without scripts running, and only appear after clicking the numbers when scripts are allowed. Just letting you know. :)

  19. Hal says:

    More than the poll results themselves, I find the geographical breakdown of your readership fascinating.

    1. Bryan says:

      Especially that one guy who lives — or at least, browses from — Iceland. :-)

      1. GM says:

        Especially me,why thank you.

    2. Humanoid says:

      We even have a tiny presence behind the Great Firewall of China! (Chaoyang, never heard of it)

    3. Henson says:

      I’m most surprised that the concentration is greatest not in New York or LA, but Toronto. Neat.

  20. DGM says:

    >> “I have spent mare than my share of time fussing with framerate and resolution”

    So you’ve spent time as a female horse?

    I have to admit that this does change my image of you. Does your family know what you get up to?

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I doubt he could foal them even if he wanted to.

      1. DGM says:

        Oh, gods, it’s going to be puns again? I feel like a horse’s ass for setting this off.

        1. evileeyore says:

          Oh no, now I’ll be hoarse from laughter.

          1. Incunabulum says:

            *squint suspiciously*, not sure if you did that on purpose.

  21. poiumty says:

    Maybe try Strawpoll next time? It’s what everyone and their dog uses.

    Anyway, PC Master Race here. Though I’m not completely opposed to consoles, I’m probably going to get one in the forseeable future. Learning to be as good with gamepads as I am with keyboard and mouse is gonna suck though.

    Personally, there’s nothing consoles can really give me besides more games to play. A good desk chair can trump a couch, I’m well-versed in mouse accuracy, and the size of your screen isn’t such an issue when you’re standing relatively close to it (and have a huge monitor or two). And I play my games either solitary or on Skype.

    1. Warstrike says:

      What consoles give me: the ability to play without my wife going “you work really long hours and then disappear into the computer room! Don’t you love me any more?”

  22. Ringwraith says:

    I started out playing games on computers(/like devices) and kinda split it equally with console games for a while.
    I dropped out of console gaming a while ago, then decided to dig my PS2 out to finish an old game of mine (a PSOne one in fact, using the original save file) and then I sort of hopped back onto the splitting bandwagon. I blame that actually getting me into JRPGs funnily enough, as before I just never really bought many (I had like two, though I also was barely aware of games being from Japan probably too). Using consoles for the games I want to play but cannot get on PC. (Which is also why I lean on Sony consoles more than Microsoft, less crossover there).

  23. Daimbert says:

    My gaming is … varied (as you could see from my list of games to finish that I keep on my blog) mostly because pretty much all of the options have benefits and detriments that make me flip between them:

    Vita/PSP: It’s the best way for me to play (comfy chair in the living room watching TV) … but there aren’t very many games that I want to play on them (mostly the Personas)

    PS2: Second best way (on the sofa watching TV) but it leaves a bit of clutter, and I’ve played most of the games that I really want to finish on it for at least a while.

    PC: My office chair isn’t all that comfortable and the sound on my TV is low, making it harder to watch TV and play. And there are fewer games on it that I want to play that I couldn’t play just as well if not better on the console (MMOs are mostly the exception).

    PS3: Comfortable as I can play in the living room, but I can’t watch TV while playing. Some unique games.

    Wii: Can’t watch TV, and there aren’t really a lot of games to play, so it doesn’t really get used.

    So I don’t mostly play on any one system, and kinda play on all of them as the mood hits me. The consoles have more of the games I want to play — JRPGs and the like — but the PC has some unique games that I can’t play anywhere else.

    1. Retsam says:

      No DS/2DS/3DS? Same way of playing, but a MUCH better library. The 3DS library has a few gems at this point, Fire Emblem and Bravely Default, especially; though I’m mostly going on faith that the library is going to continue to improve over time, but particularly the DS is the handheld equivalent to a PS2 in terms of library.

      1. Daimbert says:

        I only got the Vita for Persona 4: Golden and the PSP for Persona 3 PSP and the other Persona games, and so never had that one game that I really wanted to play to encourage me to get one of the DS systems. If I didn’t have so many other games to play, I might think about it.

  24. Thomas says:

    I consider myself a console gamer and fanboy, but when I moved away from home I lost ownership of my console to the family. So I’m actually a laptop gamer atm. But I play every game possible (including FPS’ and MMOs) with a controller and when I’m rich enough to buy a device for the purpose of playing games it’s going to be a console and not a desktop PC.

  25. Sean Riley says:

    I had a weird reaction to this question.

    My initial thought was to answer, “Consoles, last generation.” That would have been true for most of my gaming life; most definitely a console gamer, but driven by the games rather than by the systems “” I held off getting an Xbox until Deathrow came out, an Xbox 360 until Bioshock, a PS4 until The Last Guardian was announced and yeah I feel stupid for that one. Still, I always preferred the simplicity of ‘put the disc in, play’.

    But… now? I play Minecraft, Shadowrun Returns, Sid Meier’s Pirates! and various indie games on my Mac. That’s most of everything I play.

    Somewhere along the line I became a PC gamer. Huh.

  26. Smejki says:

    PC gamer here all the way as I don’t own a TV. If I did I would only own it for a now imaginary console. And this pack plus the awful pricing policy of console games is too steep a hill for me to get comfortable climbing over. However I occasionally visit my cousin and we play some PS3 games which currently found a shelter at his place. So I don’t despise console gaming. It’s just expensive for me. Which is a strange situation to find myself in as the argument is usually otherwise – that PC gaming is expensive. Whelp, yeah, my PC is like 2.1x more expensive than a console but it last for like 5-6 years, my games are on average like 4-5 times cheaper, I don’t have to pay monthly fees to acces multiplayer or effing YouTube for God’s sake and I also get to play 10+ years old gems (with a bit of a hassle sometimes but I do). And it’s not like I could not afford it. It would just feel like a waste.

    Also this website shows impacts of FPS difference pretty nicely and it demonstrates how important it is for fast paced games.

  27. Irridium says:

    Lately I’ve been playing more on my PC. I used to mainly play on consoles, but day-1 patches started becoming more and more common along with constant firmware updates (this is mainly PS3 related) then more and more games started requiring installs and I was annoyed because I have these consoles so I DON’T have to do this crap. Also, now with the PS4/Xbone all games need to be installed onto the systems’ tiny 500gb hard drives. With games now getting to be 20-50gb… yeah it fills up quick. Also, now pathes are stupid-big. Did you know Wolfenstein The New Order has a 4 GIGABYTE day-1 patch on the PS4? Fucking ridiculous. And then there was Infamous Second Son’s with a 800mb patch, and there was also Battlefield 4’s many ~1gb patches to try and fix what a mess it was.

    So yeah, I’ve been leaning more towards PC as of late. Because I already deal with the bullshit of PC gaming on my PC, where I can at least get the perks of PC gaming. Do not want to deal with this crap on consoles which I got to avoid it all. I mean, I still do play consoles quite a bit, and even like them, but damn have they gotten annoying to use.

  28. Mikey says:

    I’d say I spend most of my gaming time on whatever Nintendo’s current handheld is. I’m usually way behind on the home console generations (Only got my 360 a year or two ago), and the first PC game I purchased for myself was Skyrim, because I tried it on my brother in-law’s PS3 and enjoyed it, but the console versions had the Favorites menu while the PC version had hotkeys and moddability. It and Portal 2 are my entire Steam library at the moment.

  29. Nidokoenig says:

    Mixed. I do a fair bit of lofi gaming on my laptop, things like FTL and Super House of Dead Ninjas, and some gaming on WiiU and XBox, stuff like Wonderful 101, Bayonetta and Saints Row(Played the series through from 1 through to The Third recently, which was interesting), and some 3DS gaming. Been sitting on a steadily growing nest egg for building a proper PC, but it’s a big chunk of money on something I’m not an expert at so I keep delaying it.

    My view on frame rate is that games should be hardened for high-level play, and (one form of) high-level play should be at high-speed, flashy and in high style. If a game chugs early on in a normal playthrough it’s going to suffer when an experienced player uses all the unlockable abilities to their fullest, not to mention what speedrunners are going to do it. Of course, you can harden it by making it harder to do cool stuff, but that’s a shitty solution. I’ve also had problems with motion sickness, and consistent frame rate helps greatly. High is nice to have, but if it can’t be consistent it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

  30. Bryan says:

    PC master race, when I play games at all. Lots of GoG happening lately, which is interesting as I run Linux, so there’s lots of dosbox or wine happening. (Except for Arx, which has a native client that just requires the game data.)

    But, I just can’t use the controller for anything first-person. It doesn’t have nearly enough precision for what I’m used to doing; I’m sure if I had used it years ago it’d be fine, but I’m far too used to the mouse. Not even WASD specifically, just using the mouse to control where the character is looking (and at that point the left hand has to control movement)…

  31. BeardedDork says:

    I grew up on consoles my first was an Odyssey 2e, I got an NES as soon as they became available, Shortly thereaftem my mom brought home a computer for her work, and I also rocked gaming on DOS. I’ve had Super NES, Sega Genesis, Playstation, PS2, Xbox, and my most current console is (was) a Wii. Ultimately I became one of those computer users with a PC that can run games whether that was what I bought it for or not. I like Shamus I have a such huge backlog of PC games (currently in the neighborhood of 175, damn you Humble Bundle) that I would never have time for a console if I somehow acquired a new one.(I do occasionally miss my Wii though.)

  32. Robyrt says:

    I follow the games. As a last-gen example, I bought a 360 for Bioshock and Rock Band, a PS3 for God of War 3 and Demon’s Souls, and a PC for Supreme Commander. These days, everything is multi-platform, so I can use my preferred setup: a gaming desktop, a wireless 360 controller, and a long HDMI cable to my TV. 60fps and 1080p on the couch! Best of both worlds! :D

  33. Blake says:

    I picked the last gen consoles because my PS3 probably gets played most, but it’s a pretty even split between that, my Wii U, my laptop and my 3DS.

    PS4/Xbone I haven’t bought yet, no exclusives I’ve cared about, but once I do they’ll probably get a fair share of playtime too.

    Of course, I do more board gaming than video gaming.

  34. Nice article Shamus, you truly are the tech god at The Escapist.

    In regards to what is important for graphics…


    Anti-aliasing will become redundant soon, with 4320p (8K) displays anti-aliasing is not really needed any more, if your desktop monitor has 4320p and is not the size of your wall then those jagged pixels should not be perceptible under normal situations any longer.

    Please note that when I say anti-aliasing I mean (SSAA) Super Sampling (rendering a image at a higher resolution then re-sizing that down again, this is the most computationally expensive form of anti-aliasing).

    At 720p I’d recommend 8x SSAA, at 1080p use 4x SSAA, at 2160p use 2x SSAA, at 4320p use no SSAA.

    A 1080p monitor with a view area of 21.5 inches is about 103 PPI (Pixel Pitch 0.248 mm), a 4320p monitor at 21.5 inches is 430 PPI (Pixel Pitch 0.059 mm).


    Framerate is an illusion, around 12 FPS is enough to create the illusion of smooth motion, but only if the frames are delivered at a consistent rate, if the display refresh is not a even division or multiplication of the framerate then you might get tearing (if vsync off), or you get dropped frames or duplicate frames (if vsync on).

    Now that AMD has proven that it is possible to do adaptive vsync with monitors that follow the VESA standard (thus no need for hardware dongles like Nvidias gsync) we’ll hopefully see a reduction in tearing/dropped frames/duplicate frames.


    Monitor refresh and vsync are leftovers from the old CRT days, modern LCDs do not need them.
    Ideally a modern monitor just informs the graphics card about it’s bandwidth restrictions and it’s response time (how quick it’s pixels are.
    This will allow the graphics card to tell the OS what the maximum framerate possible is.

    If the monitor is able to change pixels faster than 1ms (millisecond, 1000th of a second) this means in theory the graphics card could send 1000 frames per second, in other words 1000FPS.
    Today even a budget gaming monitor has around 5ms response time if I recall correctly, which means 200FPS is not an issue (bandwidth permitting obviously).

    This does not mean the system should send 200 frames per second, that would be a waste as the illusion of motion starts at 12 FPS and beyond a certain point (I’m sure somebody else will dig up the exact numbers) beyond 60 FPS there are diminishing results.

    To achieve 60FPS a monitor must have a pixel response time of less than ~16.67ms, even a cheap budget LCD not really meant for gaming can do that.

    So what is the problem then? Why do gamers want higher FPS?
    It’s due to something that has nothing to do with the frame rate.

    Input/Output response time.
    A lot of games (especially noticeable in certain games/engines if vsync is enabled) has their input (mouse/keyboard/gamepad/controller) tied to the framerate.

    In my mind this is a big no-no, I’ve mentioned it before in the comments on Shamus’s blog. This is the wrong way to do things.

    Ideally one should have the input decoupled from the output.
    By this I mend that the number of times the software checks the mouse input poll/scanrate could be 200 times per second (200 Hz) while the video framerate of the game could be at 60FPS (60 Hz) and the monitor pixel refresh response at ~4ms (240 Hz).

    “Smart” rendering.

    I’d like to see more smart rendering made possible.
    By this I mean decoupled input and output, mouse/controller sampling should never be tied directly to vsync/frame/refresh rate of the video.

    LCDs hold pixels automatically (old CRTs had to refresh them, LCDs do not).
    I can not recall any monitors/graphics cards (nor if the VESA standard allow) partial redraws.
    By this I mean only change the pixels that was changed. Individual pixel updates might be a waste, but area changes make more sense.
    Ina game with a solid GUI or elements those may only update once per second so why draw those 60 times per second? Only the main action area would need a higher framerate.

    Right now when typing this text only a tiny part in the middle of my screen is changing, the rest of the page/browser/OS areas are static, so why is the OS/system/graphics card sending 1920×1080 pixels at 60 frames per second right now while only a partial area of 300×200 pixels at 2 FPS would be enough?

    I’m hoping AMD and Nvidia will be going that route, the adaptive vsync is a first step towards that in my opinion.

    What need to be done…

    With displays that are capable of 100+ Hz progressive frames the hardware can provide the refresh rates needed all they need to do is make sure adaptive vsync is supported, this will allow smooth synced updates of frames or pixels.

    Developers of games and game engines must make sure that input (mouse/keyboard/gamepads/other) are sampled/polled/refreshed at a rate suitable for the game, a FPS might need 200 FPS/Hz sampling of a mouse.
    This can be achieved by using a separate user input thread, this will avoid jerky/laggy mouse issues that many PC gamers notice with vsync enabled.

    Only update the view area (or parts of it) when you really need to update it, this meas that a static pause screen/menu will be fine with 1-3 FPS.
    If your game is RPG or a calmer type of game and the player is standing still and you use effects like frame blending to give that “movie” look then with the player just overlooking an area and enjoying the scenery can do fine with 12 FPS.

    In fact with adaptive vsync you can improve perceived quality, when the player is moving quickly (or the visuals are updating frequently) then you can reduce the quality but increase the frame rate.
    When the player is standing still (or the visuals are calm or not updating so frequently) you can reduce the framerate but up the quality.

    Imagine running and gunning through tight tunnels at 60FPS while the walls blur past you, then you emerge outside safely and stop as you look at the most amazing vista ever at 12FPS everything in perfect detail as you look around you.
    And all the time each frame is sent to the display in a millisecond or less, regardless of framerate.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Excellent insights.
      The visual diff may require a drastically different pipeline than we have at the moment, but it’s the clear way forward (already being used in video compression).
      Hopefully, VR architecture will arrive somewhere near an optimized visual data transfer convention. Currently, as you say, our system sucks.

  35. krellen says:

    I had to stare at those two Rainbow Brites for a minute and a half before I could tell the difference between the 32- and 16-bit colour. I wonder how generational noticing the difference is.

    1. HiEv says:

      I used to work in the 2D computer graphics industry, so the banding in the ceiling was immediately obvious to me. I just took one look at it and my brain was immediately screaming about how bad the dithering was in the 16-bit version. I’m sure it was just to illustrate the point, but technically the 16-bit version didn’t have to look as bad as it did.

    2. Irridium says:

      Yeah it was hard for me to notice anything for a while as well. Eventually I saw the color in her face was slightly different though.

    3. Humanoid says:

      I picked up the difference in the same context as the column describes, reading articles in PC magazines about how the nVidia TNT2 stacked up against the incumbent 3dfx Voodoo3. The thing was at that point it was barely even any tradeoff, they were getting almost the same framerates, just with different colour depths. One generation later and 3dfx was essentially dead, despite the followup product actually returning to competitiveness. They were complacent for *one* generation and that was enough to boot them from the market.

      The irony is that nVidia’s first serious attempt at a 3D accelerator, the Riva128, was known for horrible image quality, with simple greys suffering from horrendous dithering. I know because I had one of those cards, it looked terrible even in something as simple as Civ2 Wonder videos. This card was released sometime between the Voodoo and the Voodoo2, for what it’s worth, and its claim to fame was that it was the first competitor to outright beat the Voodoo in benchmarks. It’s just that it had to kind of cheat on image quality to achieve that. Remarkable how they turned it around since then.

      In the space of a few years, the market went from competitors as varied as the aforementioned plus the likes of S3, PowerVR (NEC), Rendition Verite, Matrox (though they continued as professional cards for longer) and a few others, down to just the two we have now. I guess it was inevitable, no one really remembers the Cyrix 6×86 either.

    4. Thomas says:

      I haven’t worked in this area (and it was before my time), and I thought it was really badly obvious where the ceiling was concerned* but I still can’t really see it on the person itself.

      *I assume those bands of colour on the ceiling are what the problem is meant to be

      1. Humanoid says:

        Might have been fun to use a 256-colour SVGA-equivalent image to show what the norm was in the early 90s. I’m sure there were people arguing that 256 colours was all we needed.

    5. Primogenitor says:

      Also that was a single still image – I find the banding far more noticeable on moving images e.g. in game video cut scenes.

      Of course, the standard way to show moving image example would be a .gif but they don’t allow 32-bit colour at all (if I remember correctly).

    6. Richard says:

      Colour banding is something that absolutely leaps off the screen at me, especially in the blacks and greys, where slight gradients become sharp-edged blocks of colour.

      That said, my day job is lighting, and extremely subtle colour changes right down to 2 macadams are rather important in this industry.

    7. Cuthalion says:

      The problem is that they shrunk the image. Notice how he mentioned he made the pixels bigger? You have to right-click and view the image itself at full size. Then, it’s much more obvious.

      Bad formatting, Escapist! Bad! *squirts with water bottle*

  36. Ravens Cry says:

    I game on PC, but with positively ancient games. I’d say the newest thing I got running was City of Heroes.and Freedom Force verses The Third Reich. Most of my games are much, much older.

  37. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I’m 95% PC and about 5% 3DS.

    Resolution’s pretty fixed these days. 1080 is pretty much where things are going to be aimed until 4k monitors are at least as cheap as 3D displays, and have at least as solid an install base.

    Framerate’s … well… pretty much I can’t really see the difference between 60 and 30 FPS, and don’t really notice anything annoying until things are dipping pretty close to 20 FPS. The eternal chasing to 60+ doesn’t seem important.

  38. Taellosse says:

    Your poll lacks sophistication. I’m like Campster – my usage fluctuates. I have a (now aged) PC, a PS4, a 360, a PS3, a Wii (which I haven’t used in at least 2 years now), a PS2, and even recently got a Vita (it was a gift from a friend – but Gravity Rush is a ton of fun!). I tend to play indie games, serious RPGs, and the occasional RTS on my PC, and I tend to play action-oriented games on one console or another. Odds are if a game is multi-platform, I’ll play it on the consoles because it’s easier (too often the DRM on PC is a pain in the ass, and besides, my computer is no longer good enough to be able to outperform a console reliably, even if it is more powerful still), unless it’s something I wasn’t in a hurry to play, and I end up getting it on Steam first (I played both Darksiders games on PC, for example) because of a sale. In aggregate, I’d say I spend about 55% of my time on consoles, and 45% on PC, but it really depends what I’m playing at the moment (if anything – I also will sometimes go weeks at a time without playing anything) – I tend to play one game at a time, so whatever platform my current game is on is the one I’m mostly using.

  39. ehlijen says:

    Maybe my screen resolution is odd, but I couldn’t spot the difference in the example photo without zooming in a lot. Could be my eyes though, thick glasses are thick.

    As for gaming, PC only for me. Only console I ever had was a Game Gear. If you know what that is you’re both old and a nerd :p

    It’s not helped by the fact that my favourite genres are turn based tactics/strategy and space shooters, genres mostly dead now, from the PCs prime. (Though I was quite annoyed when 40k Squad Commander came out on consoles only. My favourite genre in a setting I really like…but not on the one system I have? ARGH! Not that I missed much, from what I hear).

    1. ET says:

      Look in the top left and top right corners of the image, where the grey ceiling changes brightness from the lighting in the photo. There should be some pretty obvious bands of dark grey -> medium grey -> light grey in the 16-bit version, which is a smooth transition in the 32-bit version. :)

  40. Neko says:

    Glorious PC Gaming Master Race reporting in, although I do love the programming posts too.

    For me, framerate only bothers me on some games. I can tolerate terrible framerates on WoW, but a sudden drop in Minecraft can cause me to mis-place something which makes me rage. In Skyrim I’m not too fussed about resolution, texture quality, or framerate… but if the UI is terrible it breaks my immersion and makes me cranky. And if the FOV is too low I get headaches.

    Come to think of it, the two most recent games I’ve played that have given me serious gripes about the UI had the exact same problem: Both Borderlands 2 and Skyrim just don’t know what to do about the mouse wheel. Whenever I’m scrolling through a list of items it doesn’t update the mouseover-highlighted item and it also doesn’t update this on mouse click – so it’s entirely possible to sell, eat, and say things you didn’t intend to.

  41. Mintskittle says:

    I’ve generally been an all inclusive gamer, having owned a variety of consoles, handhelds, and gaming quality pc for as long as I can remember. I’ve been playing mostly pc games recently, but I finally stopped procrastinating and replaced my failing PS3, so my habits are likely to change again.

  42. All hail the great PC master race! (and the occasional casual game of 2048, Quell, or Bejeweled on my tablet when I’m nowhere near my PC)

  43. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I PC Game because I already had a PC when I started. I’ve replaced that computer one part at a time until I’ve replaced it completely.

    My computer is my entire entertainment system. I sit in my living room with Netflix or YouTube on TV and a game on my monitor both running on the same system.

    I keep considering getting a console but if I did, it would be the Wii U, because they have the only exclusive titles I care about (Mario, Mega Man, Zelda, Metroid, all titles I haven’t played two decades). The PS4 and Xbox One exclusives seem to be the stuff I don’t go for. Modern shooter or Space Marine or Zombies or Hell or post Apocalypse. All grimdark. I can get enough of that on PC when I’m in the mood. So I couldn’t be less interested.

    Now if XBox One ever figures out something interesting to do with the Kinect 2, I might risk contending with Big Brother to get that. I’d love to be a spellcaster chaining together somatic and verbal components with the Kinect.

    Oh and I have some games on my Kindle Fire HDX. Final Fantasy 4, Bardbarbarian, Angry Birds Star Wars (the only Angry Birds I’ve liked so far and its because the physics puzzles got a lot more innovative.)

    (EDIT: So lets see, I think my opinion runs pretty much opposite of everything I’ve ever seen in a gaming forum. Pro-kiddy console, tentatively pro-Kinect, anti-modern, shooter, whatever. I’m not being contrarian. I swear.)

    1. Thomas says:

      Anti-modern and anti-modern shooter isn’t being contrarian around these parts :P

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:


        Cool. Good to know I found the right club. You guys have a club right? Guild maybe?

  44. Humanoid says:

    As a kid in the late 80s, most of my gaming was unsurprisingly on the NES, with the family computer decidedly inferior in only offering a handful of games in comparatively primitive four-colour CGA graphics (though I remember playing a handful of games like the ubiquitous Space Invaders, Tetris, Winter Games, Pitstop and Alley Cat on the PC).

    In the latter part of the early 90s (1994?) my dad finally junked the by-this-time antique 286 and replaced it with a shiny new 486 – well, actually not that shiny because around this time the Pentium had already been introduced. More importantly though, it came with a Creative Labs megabundle: Sound Blaster 16, double-speed CD-ROM drive, some crappy Suncom joystick, plus an array of games including both new ‘multimedia’ games such as Star Wars Rebel Assault, Return to Zork, Iron Helix, plus collections of some older but now-legendary titles: SimCity 2000, Wing Commander 2, Strike Commander, Syndicate, Ultima 8, Railroad Tycoon, F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0, Silent Service, and above all, Civilization. In one fell swoop I turned into a PC gamer.

    So yeah, I could say that that one bundle is what turned me into the gamer I am today. In the earlier days I still did a fair bit of SNES gaming since it was still the only real way to get multiplayer done (aside from hotseat HoMM or whatnot), but in time that share dwindled down to near nothing. No console post-SNES has been able to grab my attention, even though at various points I have owned all the Nintendo consoles. These days I’m probably about 95% PC, 4% Wii, 1% Xbox360.

    – I didn’t buy the 360 for games, it was for pay-tv streaming which I’ve since discontinued, so in hindsight I feel it was a big waste of money. I did research some exclusive titles for it, but in the end none appealed to me. The only thing I use it for now is the rare occasion I decide to dust off the Rock Band controllers.

    – The Wii is for first-party platformers and Mario Kart. I’m buying a Wii U to replace it sometime within the next week for obvious reasons, and it’s cheap enough so that I’m not worried about the outlay for the comparatively minimal use. I’ve felt for a good while now that a PC + Nintendo setup makes the most logical sense since there is minimal overlap in titles: they’re complementary devices unlike any combination involving the ‘big two’.

    – I run a HTPC, but have never gamed on it. I could easily turn it into a gaming machine for minimal outlay (heck, probably just using spare parts I have lying around), but I’ve had no incentive to do so. That rationale makes the whole Steam streaming thing just announced rather pointless to me too, I guess I just don’t get the appeal of PC gaming in the living room.

    – Zero handheld or mobile gaming. I’ve never owned a handheld gaming device, and have never owned a smartphone.

  45. Arven says:

    The only console game I’ve ever played is Skyrim when my cousin introduced me to gaming world with his PS3. After that, I played a whole bunch of MMOs because I live in Indonesia, the land of lag. And now I settled down with Steam since it makes it easy to reach random games of the past or Indies (easier than the alternatives anyway).

  46. Mark says:

    I use my 3DS at least as much as every other gaming-capable device put together, but unlike your poll I still distinguish dedicated gaming handhelds from phones and tablets.

  47. Simplex says:

    Are there people who really don’t see the difference between 60 and 30fps in direct side by side comparison? I hope not.

    http://30vs60.com/ – see for yourself

    1. Thomas says:

      Yeah, I can’t see the difference. Even staring hard for a few seconds at side by side synced animation I don’t think I’d have more than a 50% chance of telling which was which.

    2. Humanoid says:

      The thing about watching them as videos though is that I’m conditioned to perceive them as I would movies recorded at “23”Hz. So looking at that page, I can instantly tell the difference ….and find myself strongly preferring the lower framerate – indeed the 60fps image makes me feel a little queasy. Someone who’s left their display with the motion interpolation setting on might feel the opposite.

    3. Torsten says:

      The difference is not really in that large, 60 fps I notice tiny details more, dirt, flashing lights etc. The difference is there, but it is not really that great.

      Looking at the 60 fps clips I felt that the movement of the NPCs for example in Formula 1 and Sleeping Dogs clip looked a little too smooth for my taste. A slight case of over simulation, maybe.

    4. Flakey says:

      I seem to be one that can not tell the difference if that link had not told you which was which. I could never have guessed which was 30, and which was 60 fps

    5. ET says:

      I can see the difference, but since most of my games (I assume) only go at 30 FPS, the 60 FPS thing looks surreal to me. It doesn’t make me queasy (like Humanoid above), but it definitely looks weird unil I spend a minute getting used to it. Same with TVs showing off this stuff in Best Buy, and other stores. I know that I can get accustomed to the extra hertz, from one afternoon I was on a friend’s super gaming rig, but even then, the difference isn’t enough to justify that much extra horsepower for me. Head-mounted stuff like the Oculus may well force devs to accommodate 60+ FPS in the future, to avoid barfing. :)

    6. Tse says:

      I see it, but the difference is much larger when I actually play it. 30 FPS just FEELS sluggish in fast-paced games. Not that problematic in video.

    7. TMTVL says:

      All the difference I see is when the player fires the machine gun and the recoil is smoother.

      That being said, how much does FPS matter when the best games are turn-based anyway?

  48. Gobberlerra says:

    huh, I knew that the poll would be swinging pc gamer’s way, but those numbers are pretty crazy. I guess we have proof that pc gamers create a more intellectual community :P.

    It is a shame you couldn’t have put the same poll up on the escapist with the article, could have been interesting to see the different results.

  49. Indy says:

    360, PC, 3DS and PS1 in that order.

    Consoles are easy to pick up and play and depending on the game, they feel the most responsive and cathartic. And I always have Let’s Plays or podcasts going on a laptop.

    PC gaming for me means paying attention. I would never consider playing something like Bastion or a Telltale game on a console because it takes away some form of privacy and intimacy.

    Then there’s the PS1. Retro Crash Team Racing has never been not fun. That game was my Mario Kart.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I love Bastion and Telltale.

  50. Darren says:

    Count me in the camp that prefers a steady rate over anything else. I almost can’t play Assassin’s Creed Revelations on PS3 due to the constant stutter; it feels like I’m dragging Ezio around through deep, gritty sand.

    Having said that, 60 FPS is preferable if I have the option. Last year I played the God of War HD collection–60 FPS, v-sync, anti-aliasing–and then proceeded to God of War 3. The frame rate difference was very jarring and took some getting used to.

  51. Chris says:

    Mobile because it is available all the time for quick moments which is what I have now

    PC due to upgrade ability to keep up with current games – I am 5 years behind on games here

    Whatever console is cheap for me to pick up & play till I get bored

  52. Athan says:

    Yup, poll just says “Please wait…” after submission of my “Almost exclusively PC for games” vote.

    1. ET says:

      I think it’s still counting your vote, if you check the results in a new tab/reload, after submitting. Not sure, though. :)

  53. straymute says:

    I play mostly on pc, but I still do a lot of console gaming because PC is almost dead in some genres. For example if I played purely on pc I’d miss almost all of the best mech games of the last 7 or so years.

  54. Lee says:

    I mostly game on the PC, and that’s almost exclusively Minecraft right now. I’m fond of PS3, and will play that on occasion, but I don’t currently have one in my house. On the other hand, I voted “I came for the programming posts.” since they’re my favorite, and my real reason for being here.

  55. Alec says:

    Nice sentiments in the escapist article Shamus, even if, as a PC exclusive gamer, I don’t completely agree.

    I certainly admit to being sensitive to frame-rate – and the greater skill and precision demanded by a game, the greater that sensitivity becomes.

    For example, I can struggle by with 40 fps from a single-player stealth game, but need 60+ to play comfortably in a real-time strategy title.

    But move to an online multiplayer shooter…yeah, I take 120+ frames when I can get it (not often, but has the nice benefit of being able to sync evenly to my fancy monitor’s refresh rate and mouse polling which makes aiming feel like *melted butter*), but less than 60 means I might as well not play at all.

    So, sometimes framerate *does* trump quality. It doesn’t matter how great a Battlefield game is if I can’t get 60 fps on it with my rig – I find it unplayable. This is quite literally because a dropped or missed frame or two gets you killed, which leads rapidly to ragequit.

    But it’s not just me. Titles like NASCAR and Trespasser back in the day were commercial failures partly or wholly because of performance issues.

  56. Cybron says:

    Where’s the “I’m here for the pen and paper game articles” option? Surely there must be many of those on this fine site named for a twenty sided dice.

    1. Blackbird71 says:

      Yeah, I miss those.

  57. Bloodsquirrel says:

    About Google:

    Unfortunately, the Digital Millennium Copyright act is pretty heavily skewed in favor of content owners. It places the burden of copyright enforcement far too much on ISPs and companies like Google and too little burden of proof on copyright holders. As large as Google is and as much content as they have to manage on sites like Youtube they really don’t have much choice other than to take a “Take anything down as soon as anyone complains” stance.

  58. Blackbird71 says:

    The most correct poll response for me would have been: “I’m exclusively a PC gamer.”

    I have never owned a console, and likely never will.

    1. ET says:

      I’ve only ever owned one console, which was my DS. Cost me about $200 or so, since it was a couple years old at that point. I got something like a grand total of $170 worth of games, of which about $150 was actually any good. Looks like the game library of the 3DS is about in the same situation. So…I’ll stick with my glorious PC. :P

  59. Dragmire says:

    I primarily play on PC but, sporadically, my PS3 sees heavy use(Recently Disgaea, then Disgaea D2 then Drakengard 3). I also collect systems(nothing older than the NES though) and games so I’ll hook up one of them every once in a while to play.

    I categorize mobile consoles separately from the above. If you were to include it, my time is more evenly split between PC and consoles.

  60. Bryan says:

    I mostly play on PC, because most of the games I like are exclusive on PC. I prefer playing on the xbox 360. I don’t own a real gaming pc, just a laptop.

  61. william dutton says:

    for polling you should try http://strawpoll.me/ tried and tested by large youtube peoples with large subscriber lists.

  62. DaveMc says:

    Excellent article, Shamus. It is better to light a single plea for reasonableness on the Internet than to curse the darkness.

  63. John says:

    For polling I would also try YouMatchUp. It lets you customize your questions more than a simple poll.

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