Big Nothing Talk: Jack Frags On Battlefield 3 and The Rise of PC Gaming (Transcript)

RND/ to consider making a video about some random subject (or say, performing a piece of conceptual art) about basically nothing at all – merely for the sake of making ‘the next video’ – the cosmically useless bit of vaguely artistic digital tat *cough*

– A transcript of popular gaming Youtuber Jack Frags on Battlefield 3 and ‘the rise of PC gaming’ – gee thanks Jack that was all er, astoundingly beige – a rudimentary and amazingly generic high school homework essay, written at the last minute by copy-pasting the most generic and violently neutral and non-controversial paragraphs found from one’s first five Google search results.

It all comes off like just another super standard, boilerplate speech weakly penned by some infinitely dull politician, insanely andor existentially hell bent on avoiding offending his golfing buddies, wherein he talks about ‘stuff’ like the weather – how like in wintertime it’s often cold, how ‘war is bad’, how like bears shit in the woods and we should all pull together, try not to litter or play loud music in the local library when people are trying to study; total commitment to nothing much whatsoever. Amazingly and bizarrely non informative – a true insipid art of belabouring the flatly obvious, the inane and unimportant. In the constant search for ever new styrofoam packing peanut like ‘content’ and the psychological stress caused by the need to be streaming constantly without pause, witness the tepid rise of the video for its own sake, that exists for no reason:

It wasn’t that long ago that I felt PC gaming had reached a tipping point; consoles were as popular as they had ever been – and to be fair they still are – but developers weren’t really seeing the need to make PC games any longer, and the ones that we did get were pretty bad ports. As someone who has predominately been a PC gamer all of their life, this was quite disheartening. I love all platforms I played so much Playstation and N64 growing up, and I still play console games now – games like Red Dead Spiderman, God Of War, For The Last Of Us are just all incredible experiences. Not only that, but playing FIFA with friends still a real blast if you into that; I honestly don’t care what platform a game is on – if it’s fun, and it interests me I’ll play it – but, given a choice I would always lean towards PC because that’s just my preference. There is nothing quite like playing an FPS game on PC when you’re in the zone, and tuned in.

So I did a video recently on Halo, talking about the massive news that The Master Chief Collection is coming to PC, and we are finally going to get a proper Halo experience on PC, after waiting for over 10 years – that’s big news, and it also shows that there is absolutely legs in the PC platform, right now. And developers are seeing the benefit of putting their games on it. Of course when it comes to something like The Master Chief Collection the PC platform is still getting it significantly later than the Xbox did, but, the fact is that Microsoft seemed to have changed of how they operate a bit, and games for Windows now brings all of the new Xbox titles to PC. Forza Horizon, that’s a great example of a game that’s not only available on Xbox and PC but, the features it has on PC are fantastic, and it looks incredible at higher resolutions. PC had to wait quite some time to get Grand Theft Auto Five when that released, and well, I think we’ll also end up getting Red Dead 2 at some point, but, that might be a few years later of course.

Now PC does have some games that consoles don’t have access to, and they also happen to be some of the biggest games around. League Of Legends, DOTA and CS:GO to name a few. Counter Strike has been around since the beginning of time it feels, and in various versions, and while it started life as a mod for Half Life it turned into one of the biggest competitive FPS games around. Quake of course was huge back in the day but has fallen off quite significantly now. I think arena shooters in general may be not that popular any more, but CS:GO still has big tournaments and viewership – maybe it doesn’t quite have the hype around it that it once had, especially with all these Skin and Crate controversy, but it’s still a huge title. And Counter Strike, believe it or not did appear on the Xbox360 at one point, but, it wasn’t great. That didn’t however stop them from releasing Global Offensive on Xbox. I doubt many people even knew that CS:GO was released on console, because, honestly I don’t think it’s very widely known, but, it was.

Unlike a game like Rainbow Six Siege though, where the community is strong on both PC and console, Counter Strike just never really worked as a console game. The game required superfast aim, and controlled a quite harsh recoil on certain weapons, and on a mouse that’s quite straightforward, but, on a controller with an analog stick it’s way more difficult. Of course when it comes to games like DOTA or League Of Legends, they’re just much easier on PC, because of the amount of keybinds that you need – as well as the fast placement of abilities and panning the camera with the mouse. Those sorts of games can absolutely work on a console but they tend to have very complicated controls. Real time strategy games are something that while, available on consoles they tend to remain mostly on PC, because they’re just better suited that way – of course some games are also better suited to consoles; playing Spiderman on the sofa with a controller, it’s just a lot nicer than sitting at your desk with a mouse and keyboard on a 24 inch monitor.

The reality is if I played that game on PC, I’d probably be using the controller anyway. But what if consoles had mouse and keyboard support? We already know that that’s going to happen en mass, and there are already some titles that support it – both Xbox and Playstation have options available for them now, and while game developers themselves have the option on what they allow, why couldn’t we see games that are suited to mouse and keyboard be more available on console? I think the reasons that console gaming has been so popular over the years, is mainly due to accessibility. Let’s say you buy a Playstation 4 for $300. Assuming that you’ve already got a TV, you’re pretty much good to go – you can buy whatever game you want, and get stuck in. If your friends are playing Battlefield or Call Of Duty, you can be in the action without having to worry about anything else apart from your internet connection. And console gaming has really allowed gaming to move into the living room, and be more accessible in terms of price, and hardware. For way more people than PC gaming ever could.

PC gaming on the other hand is a lot more complex, you need a monitor unless you really want a struggle playing on a TV, and then, well, you need a mouse and keyboard and they’re pretty important if you want to, you know, be able to control anything. And then you need your case, your processor, power supply, graphics card – and the list goes on. Of course you could buy a pre-built set up from the various hardware stores around, but even then the problems don’t always end there. So, PC at its core is a lot harder for gaming on, because developers have to cater to all sorts of hardware setups – old processors as well as new processors, Intel and the new Turing cards from Nvidia, and then AND bring out their new architecture, and developers of course need to try and ensure that their game works with as many of those complex combinations as possible. And there are a lot of them. That cannot be, an easy task.

If you remember the Apex Legends launch recently, there seemed to be a driver problem that caused lots of people with the newer 2080TI cards to crash regularly, myself included, and that just becomes an incredibly frustrating experience. But I’m not saying that console games never crash, because they do, but, having a problem related to hardware can be a real issue with PC gaming, and can often lead to real frustration. As well as all of that, PC gaming is way more expensive. Let’s say for argument’s sake that, Microsoft, bring out a new Xbox tomorrow and it’s $500, and you buy it and assuming it’s similar to the current Xbox it’s go to last you a few years, before they bring out a replacement. At least, normally. With your PC though, new hardware and components are released quite regularly. And after two to three years, the games are pushing forward, and your hardware is lagging behind. Suddenly $500 isn’t going to get you all that far if you want a high end machine as hardware is pricey.

I reckon that nowadays between $1,500 to $2,000 dollars would get you a nice high-end PC (not including your monitor and other parts), but, you’ve got to remember this is a big commitment. However, it would seem that consoles are becoming more like PC’s every day. Mouse and keyboard support, as well as newer versions of consoles released during the same cycle. Resolution options. The Xbox One X and the PS4 pro which are more powerful versions of their originals, I guess you could say is kind of like upgrading your graphics card or upgrading your processor, but,. you have to buy an entirely new console. So maybe we will get to a point where the next consoles have upgradeable parts, but surely wouldn’t that remove the simplicity and the point of console gaming? It’s how refined and simple it is that makes it so successful. But with all of this in mind and with the perception that PC gaming had fallen off somewhat, what if I told you that in 2017, PC gaming accounted for 28% of the total game market, where, as all consoles combined accounted for 29%.

The PC market had as much share as all of the consoles combined, and I think, when you really start to look at how many games release on Steam, including indie games that never make it to console, maybe that statistic makes sense. In 2017, PC gaming generated 32 billion dollars. Insane. And that being said, if you look at the stats for, let’s say a game like Battlefield, the chances are that, a larger player base is on one of the consoles – most likely PS4 – but as a whole the PC gaming market nowadays is as strong as it’s ever be. Now it’s quite hard to really appreciate how many people play games on PC. So many games can be played on Steam which is just a behemoth of a platform, and has had the lion’s share for years, but then you’ve got people like Epic Games coming along and, launching the Epic launcher, or Origin, or Uplay at any one time – it’s so much harder to gauge PC gaming than it is a console.

In conclusion the truth is that PC gaming has never really gone anywhere. There’s been hills and valleys, and over the past few years a lot of developers have focused their time and efforts on the consoles. And that’s meant that the PC release has suffered, but I feel that more and more, developers are focusing time now on actual PC features, such as, proper mouse support, FOV sliders, uncapped framerate, widescreen monitor support – and the list goes on. There’s a massive audience here that cannot be ignored. If given the opportunity I will always opt to play PC games because it’s just what I grew up on, and despite all of the hurdles that we have to jump through, I wouldn’t have it any other way. – And that’s all for today guys do let me know your thoughts down in the comments below, what do you love or hate about PC gaming. If you enjoyed the video give it a like, if you didn’t a dislike – subscribe for more, and I’ll see you in the next one [music]

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  7. Lovecraft Zine: This Inscrutable Light: A Response to Thomas Ligotti’s “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race”

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