Adam Ames heads a roundtable discussion on PC gaming hardware with Jacob Freeman, Bryan Edge and Skip Clarke.  Topics include gaming hardware as a buzzword, DIY vs pre-built PCs and much more.

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  • Steven S

    I’ve had people ask me for advice on buying a new gaming PC and I always start by asking what games they want to play and what kind of machine are they using now. Typically all they need is a cheap $75-$100 video card and maybe $30 worth of RAM. One guy was instantly skeptical because he had heard the “You need a $3000 computer to play PC games” nonsense. I explained that most games sold at that time were programmed to run on an XBox 360 which cost about $200 and is 10 year old technology. Plus in his case he wanted to play Minecraft so he didn’t need anything at all. The new PS4 and XBox One will jump gaming up to the next level now but will again hold back PCs for another 8-10 years until the PS5 or XBox Next. This is also why I think the rating number for games and PCs to determine compatability is nice in theory, but won’t work due to advances in technology. A game that needs a level 6 gaming PC today will run on a basic level 2 home office machine made 3-5 years from now.

    I will admit that the future of the Steam Box has piqued my interest. There is no way I will ever own one myself but I do want to see what happens with it. I have been a bit confused by the Linux angle. For the most part the Linux users I know are big into the whole Open Source concept. They don’t use Photoshop or Office because they have GIMP and Libre or Open Office. In fact just about every piece of commercial software has an open source counterpart that they claim is jst as good or better. There are even multiple versions of Linux to play with so you don’t have to get tied to one build. It seems to me that the whole Steam DRM/Client would be anathema to the open source Linux idea. Unfortunatley most of the hardcore Linux folk I know are not gamers.

    • AdamAmes

      You bring up a good point about Linux folks being more opposed to the idea of DRM like Steam. Are there any PC gamers who use Linux that you know are in favor of Steam?

      • Steven S

        Nobody I know personally. I have read lots of article and message boards as well as watched videos of some Linux loving YouTube personalities. The majority seem to not care, at least not enough to actually mention it. It seems that a lot of Linux users have a dual boot setup with Linux and Windows, even though they rave about open source software they still need Windows for certain games. These users praise Steam Linux because they hate having to reboot just to play a game. Even among the relatively few detractors there seems to be the notion that while yes, Steam is a closed system and flies in the face of what Linux stands for, it’s better to have people playing Steam games on an open source Linux than the closed system of Windows. On the off chance that someone stands up and says that Steam has no business being on Linux they are called a filthy software pirate and ridiculed off the board.

        • AdamAmes

          Sounds about right for the internet, sadly.

      • Campbell Wallis

        Speaking as a Linux user (less so now, but I still value what Linux offers), while some like Richard Stallman rile against Steam, I think the majority of Linux users are pragmatists. They see that, while open source has created alternatives to Office or Photoshop (heck, I use both on Windows and Linux because why pay hundreds of pounds for features I don’t need?), the nature of game development makes that less viable.

        Of course, Linux gamers will tend to favour DRM-free games over Steam, but if Steam brings more people into the Linux world then they see that’s a good thing on the whole.

        The bigger issue is that PC gaming has an almost 1:1 correlation with Windows. Until very recently, using Linux extensively meant not playing 99.9% of PC games, so being a Linux user meant not being a PC gamer, and vice versa. That’s something that will take a sea change of attitude and plenty of time to change, and it makes any question about “PC gamers who use Linux” a bit of a contradiction in terms. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but that’s the trend as I see it.

        • AdamAmes

          I really had not thought about the idea that since there were so few games on Linux, why would any of those folks be interested in PC games. I mean, it seems pretty obvious now that I think about it.