Being a PC gamer has been tough lately. Thanks to the dire state of many recent PC ports, it’s increasingly difficult to enjoy big-budget games, even if you own one of the best gaming pc. It’s a situation that simply sucks and could keep many gamers from embracing PC hardware for years to come.
I am currently writing this article while casting a weary half-eye at the stupidly heavy platform under my desk. He’s a colossus that would break my shins if I ever tried to pick him up. Slot one Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12600K processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a couple of super-fast NVMe SSDs, it’s a beast of a system. It’s also the one I kinda regret having put in place.
The cost of assembling such a PC was ruinous. Add a beefy power supply, two of the best gaming monitors, various liquid coolers, and an ostentatious case stuffed with garish RGB, and I’m looking at an outlay well north of $7,000. This is clearly ridiculous…and also shows why I should never be entrusted with anything other than lunch money.
The rigging is in place
My tattered bank balance wouldn’t bother me so much if I regularly got a demonstrably better gaming experience than is currently possible on PS5 Or Xbox series X.
Unfortunately, this is simply not the case most of the time. With so many triple-A PC ports released in such depressing condition, it’s getting harder and harder to justify owning a powerful gaming PC.
Over the past 12 months or so, a slew of PC ports have been released in a totally unacceptable state. The bar has been set so low that a barebones PC version that runs without major issues is cause for mild celebration in 2023. It’s just sad.
Regardless of hardware level, PC gamers have been presented with an increasingly nasty buffet of underperforming ports. The Callisto Protocol, elderberry ring, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Feedback, the prophesiedand more recently The last of us part 1 were all released with groundbreaking glitches or an immersion-ruining stutter.
The stutter wouldn’t melt away
Ah yes, stutter. The rise of PC games launching with horrible shader compilation stutter is seemingly becoming a bigger problem with each passing month. For its first days on sale, ultra-gory survival horror The Callisto Protocol was virtually unplayable because there was no way to pre-compile texture shaders before playing the game.
To circumvent some technicalities, this essentially resulted in extremely noticeable screen jerkiness that even high-end PC owners couldn’t forcefully force.
A patch quickly fixed the problem for many players. But months later, the sci-fi grizzly horror still stutters a lot more on my $2,000 GPU than on a $500 PS5.
And the lessons are clearly not learned. Over the past few weeks, the PC port of The Last of Us Part I hit digital storefronts in truly broken condition. Constant stuttering, an array of bugs, and unreasonably high VRAM requirements mean that Naughty Dog’s apocalyptic adventure runs terribly on all but the best PCs.
Even then, there’s no guarantee of a smooth, beating console experience. Spoiler: The Last of Us is currently a stutter on my GeForce RTX 4090, and that’s after the game took almost an hour to pre-compile its shaders from the main menu.
As more and more half-baked ports hit the market, it’s hard to get rid of the idea that PC games just aren’t a priority for many big developers. This is one of the reasons I’m starting to regret building such an expensive machine.
The cost of PC gaming at the absolute highest level has always been prohibitive, but I can’t think of a time when owning so much high-end tech produced below-average results on such an alarming basis.
PS5 and Xbox Series X: sofa so good
With so many PS5s and Xbox Series X Games delivered in better condition than their PC counterparts, I’m increasingly drawn to the couch when I want to play the latest big titles. More and more, playing games in a hassle-free environment is becoming my number one priority.
As much as I love playing games at 120fps in 4K on PC, there aren’t enough modern titles taking advantage of the power of my GPU. That’s why I regularly find myself opting for a console experience that’s less technically advanced but ultimately smoother and more stable.
Until the majority of PC ports are treated with more care, the rationale for owning super-powerful GPUs like the RTX 4090 or AMD RX 7900 continues to dwindle.
When you can buy one of best OLED TVs and pair it with 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 the new consoles are selling in record numbers.
As the regretful owner of the RTX 4090, I can only hope that the condition of the PC ports will improve a lot in the near future.