Editorial: PC Games Are Breaking Gamers: The System Requirement Dilemma

How often do you upgrade your PC: Every month? Every six months? Once a year? If you’re a hardcore PC gamer it’s almost an absolute necessity to upgrade or replace your gaming hardware about every other year if you even want a newer game to boot on your PC or laptop. The problem, however, is that games seem to be accelerating in graphics and visual quality faster than the prices are dropping for the hardware required to run them.

For roughly $500 a gamer can buy a brand new desktop with duo core 2.5ghz capabilities and a graphics card that’s more powerful alone than two top-end computers combined from 1999. The dilemma, however, is that a brand new $500 computer in this day and age still isn’t enough to run a brand new PC game at an acceptable framerate, such as Fallen Earth or Shattered Horizon.

Now, places like Best Buy or Amazon actually have gaming computers designated for at least six good months of non-upgradeable hardware for the latest PC games. However, the price starts at the $1,000 mark and works upward. In some regards, it’s now easy to see why the Xbox 360 and PS3 are easily favored for gaming needs, especially when you consider that the cost of a PC has nothing whatsoever to do with paying for a good cable/T1/wireless connection for your online gaming desires.

It’s kind of funny because the problem is actually kind of two-fold: On one hand we have developers pushing new boundaries in small and large projects that encourage PC gamers to extend their PC functionality with new hardware, while at the same time we’ve sort of hit a bump in the road when it comes to [affordable] new hardware that meets the demands of the ever-evolving software.

What’s also ironic about this situation is that when the PS3 first came out it cost about as much as a fairly high-end PC during that time and people complained about the price versus functionality of Sony’s new console. However, time tells a different story now that the PS3 is fully saturated within the market and can still run top-end games with ease. Come 2010, PS3 owners will be able to run a game like Aliens Vs Predator or DC Universe Online without having to touch any of the hardware. Can PC gamers say the same with a PC they bought for $700 back in 2006?

Well, you’ll probably be able to run Modern Warfare 2 with that system but good luck playing any games designed for Windows Vista and DirectX 10 such as Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Wolfenstein or Dragon Age: Origins. Oh, and you can probably completely forget about running 2010 games like APB, The Secret World or the graphics heavy TERA Online. You may as well cough up an arm and leg and buy an Alienware computer in that case.

So what’s the solution for PC gamers who want to play hardcore games but don’t want to break their backs upgrading every couple of months? Well, there’s no easy answer but you can check out some inexpensive gaming accessories right here at Blend Games or drop by New Egg for fairly affordable PC hardware. However, this solution probably won't fix the problem once high-end PC games start hitting shelves in late 2010.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.