A PC gamer has been tough of late. Because of the disastrous state of many recent PC ports, it is increasingly difficult to enjoy high-end games, even if you have one of the best gaming PCs. It’s a fact that clearly sucks, and one that could stop many gamers from embracing PC hardware. for years to come.
Right now I’m writing this article as I cast a half-tired eye at the stupidly heavy rig sitting under my desk. It is a colossus that would break my pipes if I ever tried to pick it up. Housing Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12600K CPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM and two ultra-fast NVMe SSDs, it’s a beast of a system. It is also one that I rather regret the contribution.
The sheer cost of such a PC collection was devastating. Throw in a hefty PSU, two excellent gaming monitors, various liquid coolers and a full garish RGB display case, and I’m looking at a cost well north of $7,000. That’s absolutely ridiculous… and it also shows why I never trust more than lunch money.
The rig is up
My damaged bank balance doesn’t matter so much if I’m regularly getting a demonstrably better gaming experience than is currently possible on PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Sadly, that time will not last forever. With so many triple PC ports released in the state so sadly, it becomes more and more difficult to have a powerful PC game.
Over the last 12 months or so, a host of PC ports have existed in a completely unappealing state. With such a low bar, a barebones PC version that runs without major issues is cause for mild celebration in 2023. That’s just sad.
As for the field of hardware, PC gamers have increasingly disliked the slap of machines making ports. Callisto Protocol, Elden Ring, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Returnal, Forspoken, and more recently The Last of Us Part 1 have all been released with either gameplay glitches or stuttering immersion.
He stammered not to melt
Ah, stammer. The rise of PC gaming with its horrible shadowy stuttering launch seems to become a bigger problem with every passing month. For the first few days of the salt, I survived the horror. Callisto Protocol was almost playable because there was no way to pre-compose texture shaders before you played the game.
To get past some technicalities, this basically resulted in a very significant lead that even high-end PC owners couldn’t break through.
A patch fixed the first problem for many players. But months on, raunchy sci-fi horror still stutters on my $2,000 GPU far more than it does on a $500 PS5.
Lessons are clearly not being learned. In the last few weeks the PC port of The Last of Us will hit digital stores in a truly broken state. Constant stuttering, bug fixes, and unreasonably high VRAM requirements mean Wicked Dog’s Apocalyptic Adventure runs terribly on all but the best PCs.
Even then, there is no guarantee of a smooth, comfortable experience. Spoiler: The last one we have is a stuttering mess on my GeForce RTX 4090, and this after the game took close to an hour to adjust its shadows from the main menu.
As more half-baked ports hit the market, it’s hard to beat the idea that PC games simply aren’t a priority for many key developers. One of the reasons I’m starting to regret building such an expensive machine.
The cost of PC gaming at the highest level has always been prohibitively expensive, and yet I can’t think of a time when high-end hardware owners produced subpar results on such an abysmal basis.
PS5 and Xbox Series X: So good
With so many PS5 and Xbox Series X games shipping in better condition than their PC counterparts, I’m drawn more and more to the couch when I want to play the latest big titles. More and more, playing games in a hassle-free environment has become the number one priority.
As much as I love playing games at 120 fps in 4K on PC, there aren’t enough modern titles to use up the power of my GPU. As a result, I find myself regularly opting for a less technically advanced, but ultimately smoother and more stable console experience.
Until more of the PC ports are handled more carefully, the justification of having super powerful GPUs like RTX 4090 or AMD RX 7900 continues to diminish.
When you can buy one of the best OLED TVs and pair it with either a PS5 or Xbox Series X for a fraction of the price you’d spend on a 4K-capable PC, it’s not hard to see why new consoles are selling at record-breaking numbers.
As a grieving owner of an RTX 4090, I can only hope the state of PC ports will be a heck of a lot better in the near future.