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With Game Pass For PC, The Console Wars Are Over

Whether it was Nintendo vs. Sega, Sony vs. Microsoft, or Neo Geo vs TurboGrafx-16, there’s been some form of console war waging for decades now. A seemingly never-ending battle of video game companies competing for the right to place their machines underneath our TVs. Even now as we head toward the next generation of consoles, both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are still trying to lure us all in with promises of exclusive games, fancy new controllers, and heaps of teraflops.

Yet, unbeknownst to these competitors, the console war might already be over. In a strange way, Microsoft may have simultaneously won and lost thanks to Xbox Game Pass on PC.

The Revolution Will Include A Monthly Subscription

Game Pass has proven itself to be an incredible service. For a reasonable monthly fee of $10 – formerly $5, but still a solid price – you get access to a large selection of old and new first-party Microsoft games as well as third-party titles from publishers like Capcom, Square Enix, Devolver Digital, and more. There’s even more value coming this holiday season as you’ll get EA Play for no additional cost. And now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, you can expect to see their entire library on there soon.

That would be enough to give Xbox a major edge over Playstation. However, Microsoft went above and beyond when they made Game Pass available on PC. With that move, consoles became practically irrelevant.

There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this you own a computer or a decent smartphone. If that’s the case then congratulations, you have everything you need to enjoy gaming for the foreseeable future. As long as you’ve got something with more processing power than an Easy Bake Oven you can subscribe to Game Pass and play some incredible titles.

Even without Game Pass PC gaming is still a much better value proposition. Free games are becoming more and more common on PC. The Epic Games Store is dishing out two to three free games a week and they sometimes include blockbusters like Grand Theft Auto V or underrated gems like Remnant: From The Ashes. There are also subscription services like Humble Monthly which give you 8 to 10 games every month for a fraction of the price of a new release. As if that wasn’t enough, you can routinely find better sales on Steam and other online gaming marketplaces than you ever will on the Playstation or Xbox storefronts. Combine all that with Game Pass and you have more games than you could ever hope to complete.

Kratos Still Calls To Me

Of course, there are some reasons to still own a console. While Microsoft has gone all-in on the PC bandwagon, Sony has only begun to dip its toes into the water. Death Stranding and Horizon: Zero Dawn have received PC ports, but franchises like Uncharted, The Last Of Us, and Marvel’s Spider-Man are still shackled to the Playstation. At this stage, the most tantalizing reason to buy a PS5 is to play the next God Of War. This goes double for Nintendo as the day you can legally buy a Mario game on Steam will be the same day that you can go ice-skating in Hell.

In addition, PC gaming can be expensive if you’re trying to keep with the latest hardware. Computer parts aren’t cheap, especially when it comes to graphics cards. Running games on PC also comes with its own frustrations, such as lousy PC ports and occasionally having to fiddle with settings to figure out why something isn’t working properly.

But even when taking those objections into account, getting wrapped up in this generation’s console war doesn’t make sense. Why plop down $500 on a new plastic box – especially one as unwieldy as the Playstation 5 – when you could just update your graphics card and be set for the entirety of this generation? The price of a card that’s one year behind the latest model likely works out to be around the same cost as one of the new consoles. Or if you want to splurge, throw down some serious cash and you’ll be able to play all of Microsoft’s exclusives with better graphics than the Xbox Series X could even dream of replicating.

War Occasionally Changes

We used to have to rely on consoles due to a lack of options, but with Game Pass, Microsoft has given us one of the best gaming options ever. They blew up the console war by removing the need for a console. You won’t need an Xbox to play the new Halo, Gears, or even the next Elder Scrolls at this point. They’re all coming to Game Pass and a PC near you. And thanks to their streaming service, you’ll even be able to play them on your phone (although you might have to shell out for a controller attachment, but that’s still pretty cool.)

It’s not a perfect solution – removing ownership of your games and replacing it with a reliance on monthly services is a somewhat disturbing future trend – but neither is paying $70 for each game on top of the price tag for a new console. Microsoft has changed the game industry and the competition is struggling to keep up. This war is over, PC gaming has won, and we’ll never need to worry about irritating pre-order fiascos ever again.

That being said, you should probably own a Switch. After all, you got to play Zelda somehow.

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