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hardcore_gamer
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In case you have NO idea what Big picture is:



I just bought Spec Ops: The Line from STEAM and since I have my 42 inch Full HD flatsceen very close to my PC (I connect my PC to my TV via HDMI cable mainly so that I can watch stuff like youtube on my TV rather then on my PC) I decided to give STEAM's big picture mode a try.

...And holy crap, is it awesome.

Granted that I haven't found a way to make the BP mode use the highest res on my TV rather then that of my pc monitor without going to resolution options and telling my PC to only use my TV as a monitor (this can be mildly annoying), and since there is no HDMI port on my PC (I had to use an adopter to connect the HDMI cable to my pc's DVI slot/port/end/whatever. Also note that this isn't a problem if you have a HDMI port on your PC or another cable for audio) my audio comes out of my PC speakers rather then out of my TV which is a shame (though the audio still works just fine since the speakers are only a few meters away from my sofa and TV anyways), but generally speaking playing your STEAM games with the big picture mode is basically exactly the same as playing them on an actual console but with even better graphics.

Most of the games that are multiconsole even change their menus to reflect that fact that you are now using a controller.

So, why even use a console now? I can now see almost literally nothing that consoles can give me now that I can't also get with STEAM's big picture mode and more.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to bash consoles. I own both a Xbox 360 and a PS3. But its just that since using STEAM's big picture mode with an Xbox 360 controller gives me almost the exact same experience that I would get from playing on a actual Xbox 360 I just don't see the point of using an actual xbox 360. I get literally all of the pros of both consoles and PC's both at the same time.

The only thing I would get out of consoles now are games that are only released on their own respective consoles, like Halo or God of War. But I am not sure if spending lots of money on a whole console is worth it just to get a handful of high-profile games that aren't released on PC.

So, is there any point in consoles now if you have everything that you need to enjoy STEAM's big picture mode and a powerful PC to run the latest games?

Old Post 12-06-12 09:21 #
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esselfortium
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Price and convenience count for a lot. Not everyone has a powerful PC or knows what parts to invest in for gaming performance, and fewer people still have their computer in a place where it can be hooked up to their TV, know how to do it, and are going to bother getting the equipment necessary to do it.

Old Post 12-06-12 09:31 #
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DoomUK
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esselfortium said:
Price and convenience count for a lot. Not everyone has a powerful PC or knows what parts to invest in for gaming performance

That's all there is to it, really.

Consoles with never be made redundant so long as they're a (much) cheaper computer to play games on, and require no rudimentary understanding of PC software and hardware to invest in wisely or use. Sure, PC games are cheaper and over time the difference in overall cost levels out, but that's typically not how people think; a good gaming PC is an expensive and luxurious commodity, even if you cut a few corners and don't buy something that's overpowered.

Anyway, how is using Big Picture any different from hooking your PC up to your TV without it? Don't tell me this is the first time you've thought of doing it :p

Old Post 12-06-12 09:50 #
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Mr. T
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Consoles aren't cheaper than a comparable PC. Someone is bound to make a $500 "Steambox" that will be a huge hit and make the two above posters look silly.


DoomUK said:
a good gaming PC is an expensive and luxurious commodity, even if you cut a few corners and don't buy something that's overpowered.


Not really. $500 will get you something that can play any game around at the moment at medium-high settings and an enjoyable frame rate.

Go up to $1000 and you can have that "luxurious" experience. Not a bad deal, IMO.

Last edited by Mr. T on 12-06-12 at 10:34

Old Post 12-06-12 10:23 #
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Avoozl
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esselfortium said:
Price and convenience count for a lot. Not everyone has a powerful PC or knows what parts to invest in for gaming performance

And not everyone can afford, has or can get a decent internet connection either so it doesn't help when drm is involved regardless of the client.

Last edited by Avoozl on 12-06-12 at 10:32

Old Post 12-06-12 10:26 #
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hardcore_gamer
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esselfortium said:
Price and convenience count for a lot. Not everyone has a powerful PC or knows what parts to invest in for gaming performance, and fewer people still have their computer in a place where it can be hooked up to their TV, know how to do it, and are going to bother getting the equipment necessary to do it.


I guess that is true for people who can't be arsed to do that stuff you just listed. But for somebody who DOES I don't see the advantage of consoles over big picture for them.


DoomUK said:



Anyway, how is using Big Picture any different from hooking your PC up to your TV without it? Don't tell me this is the first time you've thought of doing it :p



It creates a console interface similar to the one you see when starting your Xbox 360. It basically allows you to browse through your whole game collection with a controller and play whatever you want without needing to touch your keyboard or mouse. I would say that makes it much more comfortable.

Old Post 12-06-12 10:32 #
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DoomUK
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Mr. T said:
Not really. $500 will get you something that can play any game around at the moment at medium-high settings and an enjoyable frame rate.

Go up to $1000 and you can have that "luxurious" experience. Not a bad deal, IMO.


Yes, yes. My own computer is hardly cutting edge, and I can attest that you don't NEED to spend a lot on a PC to be able to play games on it at reasonable quality settings and framerates.

$500 is really pushing it though, assuming we're talking about a whole system including a monitor, a case that isn't a piece of shit with poor ventilation, a DVD/BD drive, etc. Unless hardware prices in Japan or the US (depending on where you shop for yours) really are that absurdly cheap.

Old Post 12-06-12 10:44 #
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Aliotroph?
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I think it would be easier for people to justify if they realized what they were spending anyway. Most people who play console games still end up owning a PC of some sort. Assuming they don't get a free PC (now pretty common with internet bundles) they could just take the price of a console and add it into the PC to get one that can play most games reasonably.

The problem is that takes planning and knowledge. Consoles are easy and convenient. Steam won't kill them. It might further broaden the reach of PC gaming a bit, and that's nice, but not a game changer for now.

Now I just wish they'd come up with an interface for the PC I could read without sticking my face in the screen. I once downgrabbed a tool that let me change all the fonts and colours, but the dimensions and arrangements of elements can't be changed, so its utility was limited.

Old Post 12-06-12 11:26 #
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eargosedown
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Mr. T said:
Consoles aren't cheaper than a comparable PC. Someone is bound to make a $500 "Steambox" that will be a huge hit and make the two above posters look silly.



Not really. $500 will get you something that can play any game around at the moment at medium-high settings and an enjoyable frame rate.

Go up to $1000 and you can have that "luxurious" experience. Not a bad deal, IMO.



Yeah, but a 360 is... what... a hundred bucks or so?

I'm not a console girl--except for my N64 of course--but the price difference is reasonable enough to understand why some people are reluctant to get into PC gaming.

Old Post 12-06-12 15:26 #
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None of the games I play work well on a controller. Maybe Star Trek Online, but that's it.

Old Post 12-06-12 15:45 #
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Phml
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I haven't really understood why is Steam big picture supposedly a big deal. You have always been able to just plug a cable from your computer to your TV and use it as a screen for your computer, I remember doing that ten years ago and I'm the guy who buys his computers prebuilt because I'm so incompetent motherboards burst in flames when I look at them too closely.

So this new Steam mode is essentially just a new interface for Steam, isn't it? Not exactly worth hailing it as some kind of revolution suddenly allowing you to play computer games on your TV.

Old Post 12-06-12 16:48 #
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DoomUK
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Phml said:
So this new Steam mode is essentially just a new interface for Steam, isn't it? Not exactly worth hailing it as some kind of revolution suddenly allowing you to play computer games on your TV.

A console-esque interface, to be precise.

It really seems more of a way of reminding people that they can use their TV as a monitor than anything else.

Old Post 12-06-12 17:14 #
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InsanityBringer
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I'm definitely not opposed to this feature at all, but I personally have no use for it at the moment, since none of my computers could be reasonably lugged into my living room to use with my TV. I could imagine though if this physical limitation didn't exist, I'd use the feature more often.

Will it kill consoles though? Probably not. I'd be more willing to use Big Picture over a console myself though, since all the advantages of PC gaming would still apply (such as mods, custom levels, etc.)

Old Post 12-06-12 17:18 #
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Maes
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In X years from now, someone will be asking the same question.

Old Post 12-06-12 19:26 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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No, not at all. While the trend of console ports has been nice for controller users, the experience of using a controller on a PC still leaves a ton to be desired compared to using one on a console designed around it. Look at Steam's Big Picture forum and you'll find a lot of complaints about controller-enabled games that still require you to use the mouse and keyboard for certain things (usually a pointless, unavoidable launcher when you first start the game). Valve's going to have to knock some sense into devs and get them to stop doing that if they want this to be an enjoyable experience for controller users.

This interface is a major improvement over the default Steam UI for using on a TV, but that's mostly because of controller support and having decently sized fonts. There were tons of request back when the current Steam UI was in beta to support larger font sizes for TV users which fell on deaf ears. Honestly I'd prefer that to the Big Picture UI, only because Big Picture's pretty resource demanding and there's a noticeable framerate drop in games when using it versus the default UI.

Old Post 12-06-12 19:30 #
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Glaice
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It's just a big gimmick to attract console kiddies into the pool of Steam users.

Old Post 12-06-12 21:11 #
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DoomUK
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Mr. Chris said:
It's just a big gimmick to attract console kiddies into the pool of Steam users.

What's wrong with that?

At least they're going to be a step closer to the One True Way of gaming, correct? Or is the temple of enlightenment closing it's doors to lowly outsiders now?

Old Post 12-06-12 21:30 #
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Phml
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Well, it is certainly condescending in its presentation, Valve making it seem like you couldn't play PC games on your TV before, and can now only thanks to them - and you know people are going to fall for that, because they already did.

What's wrong with that? Misinformation, deception leading people to accept your way to do things as the one way to do things. For all Valve likes to bash walled gardens lately, on this particular feature their marketing is awfully reminescent of what they claim to be against.

Old Post 12-06-12 23:41 #
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AgentSpork
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Phml said:
Well, it is certainly condescending in its presentation, Valve making it seem like you couldn't play PC games on your TV before, and can now only thanks to them - and you know people are going to fall for that, because they already did.

What's wrong with that? Misinformation, deception leading people to accept your way to do things as the one way to do things. For all Valve likes to bash walled gardens lately, on this particular feature their marketing is awfully reminescent of what they claim to be against.



Wow, you're reading into this an awful lot, aren't you? Big Picture is not Valve trying to say "FINALLY you can hook your computer up to your TV!", it's Valve saying "Here's a way to run Steam on a large screen in a way that works better than the standard UI, and plays well with controllers!" In that respect big picture does what it sets out to do and does it splendidly. Certainly, you're more than welcome to use the standard Steam UI on a television screen, but quite frankly it's incredibly cumbersome to use on a dedicated Home Theater PC box, where you might not even have a mouse/keyboard available to use from your couch. Not to mention reading anything on a standard Windows desktop environment from the couch is virtually impossible unless you up the DPI settings to an extreme degree, hence why HTPC environments such as XBMC, Windows Media Center, and Steam Big Picture exist.

Try reading text on the Windows Desktop on a 40" TV running 1920x1080 resolution from 10 feet away and you'll immediately know what I mean. I have a dedicated home theater box hooked up to my TV 24/7 and Big Picture is a godsend. I can run my games from the comfort of my couch with a gamepad, and I've even thrown a shortcut to XBMC on there so that I can access all of my TV shows, movies, and music without ever having to touch a keyboard or mouse.

Last edited by AgentSpork on 12-07-12 at 00:08

Old Post 12-06-12 23:55 #
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Phml
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Dude. Read the official promo page.

I know you just love to jump at any occasion to bitch at anyone who dislikes newish stuff, but that's not me here, sorry. I got no issues with the feature itself, rather with the marketing.

Old Post 12-07-12 00:59 #
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AgentSpork
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Phml said:
Dude. Read the official promo page.

I know you just love to jump at any occasion to bitch at anyone who dislikes newish stuff, but that's not me here, sorry. I got no issues with the feature itself, rather with the marketing.



Wait wait wait, so this whole time you were bitching about marketing? Who the fuck cares about marketing? That's like complaining about Coca-cola advertising their soda during the Olympic games despite the fact that you KNOW olympians didn't get where they are by drinking that shit.

EDIT: Read the promo page, I don't see a problem with the way they're presenting it. Does a pretty good job of summing up its purpose. Nothing "condescending" about that.

Old Post 12-07-12 01:55 #
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WildWeasel
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Big Picture does a few things pretty well; I like that they've finally found a better way to type things with a gamepad that isn't just showing an onscreen keyboard (something I still wish I could do on my smartphone, whose designers decided it was more important to put Playstation buttons under the screen than something that can be used to type with). One of these days, I might actually haul my computer to the living room and see just how seamless it is with games that actually support (and work well with) the pad.

Old Post 12-07-12 02:39 #
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Mr. T
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Phml said:
Well, it is certainly condescending in its presentation, Valve making it seem like you couldn't play PC games on your TV before, and can now only thanks to them - and you know people are going to fall for that, because they already did.

What's wrong with that? Misinformation, deception leading people to accept your way to do things as the one way to do things. For all Valve likes to bash walled gardens lately, on this particular feature their marketing is awfully reminescent of what they claim to be against.



That's called marketing, honey. Take a deep breath...


eargosedown said:


Yeah, but a 360 is... what... a hundred bucks or so?




Of course an eight-year old console is cheap now. I could say something really mean, but I'll just leave you to think about what you wrote.

Anyone who has been subjected to one of my rants about how Valve seem to divide their time between making fanboy-felatting trash and ruining good games will know that I'm speaking from a neutral position here.

They are setting themselves up to become a huge player in the console market by directly competing with the PS4 and whatever the next Xbox, which is pretty cool IMO.

Old Post 12-07-12 04:05 #
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DoomUK
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Mr. T said:
Of course an eight-year old console is cheap now. I could say something really mean, but I'll just leave you to think about what you wrote.

Anyone who has been subjected to one of my rants about how Valve seem to divide their time between making fanboy-felatting trash and ruining good games will know that I'm speaking from a neutral position here.

They are setting themselves up to become a huge player in the console market by directly competing with the PS4 and whatever the next Xbox, which is pretty cool IMO.


I like the way you're coyly acknowledging that you're wrong and then skipping around the issue that people are presenting you with by distracting them with a straw man - the traditional method of prevailing in internet discourse - as if your "neutral" (yet curiously assertive) feelings on Valve's business plan have anything to do with what you're responding to.

That's when you're not ignoring people completely. Can you build a decent gaming PC for $500 or not? I'm not being competitive, here; I really am curious as to whether you or anyone you know has done it.

Old Post 12-07-12 08:59 #
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Mr. T
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Acknowledging that I'm wrong? The cheapest PC – with an HD4000 IGP – you can find can smoke last-gen consoles already, which is why I found his point so silly.


DoomUK said:

That's when you're not ignoring people completely. Can you build a decent gaming PC for $500 or not? I'm not being competitive, here; I really am curious as to whether you or anyone you know has done it.



Sorry I missed your post, but sure.

i3-3220 + 4GB RAM + small SSD (Steam = Cloud!) + Mobo + PSU + Case + your choice of mid-range (~$200) graphics card. + 360 controller.

You've got a performer in the "medium-high" settings bracket. To respond to your earlier post, in terms of cases "expensive" and "good" aren't correlated, unless you want to buy a case that looks like a spaceship (no thanks).

Last edited by Mr. T on 12-07-12 at 10:19

Old Post 12-07-12 10:13 #
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DoomUK
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Mr. T said:
Acknowledging that I'm wrong? The cheapest PC – with an HD4000 IGP – you can find can smoke last-gen consoles already, which is why I found his point so silly.

Except her point hasn't really been dismissed. The fact is that consoles are cheaper than the cheapest gaming PC. It's easy for nerds like you and me to ask "Why bother buying an Xbox/PS3 when you can get a much better system for another few hundred dollars?", but the typical person who just wants to relax in the evening with a round of Call of Duty or whatever couldn't care less about the incremental benefits of playing it on a PC, or indeed the wealth of other advantages that PCs have. Your perspective is way too narrow.

Old Post 12-07-12 11:44 #
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Mr. T
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DoomUK said:

Except her point hasn't really been dismissed. The fact is that consoles are cheaper than the cheapest gaming PC.



Valve are putting themselves in an excellent position to take on Sony and Microsoft in the next round of "console wars". Release it now, get it perfect, then kick ass. Because "the fact is" that shiny new PS4 isn't going to be <$500 at launch.


DoomUK said:

...the typical person who just wants to relax in the evening with a round of Call of Duty or whatever couldn't care less about the incremental benefits of playing it on a PC, or indeed the wealth of other advantages that PCs have. Your perspective is way too narrow.



This is the "big picture" of Big Picture. Pick up controller. Play CoD.

Old Post 12-07-12 11:59 #
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DoomUK
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Mr. T said:
Valve are putting themselves in an excellent position to take on Sony and Microsoft in the next round of "console wars". Release it now, get it perfect, then kick ass. Because "the fact is" that shiny new PS4 isn't going to be <$500 at launch.

All right, fair point.

But I think it's safe to assume - not knowing any details about the PS4 or Microsoft's latest endeavour myself; admittedly I need to do my homework - that the PS4 or Xbox9000 are going to outmatch a mid-range PC it terms of raw performance, ideally resulting in prettier an innovative games. The PS3 in particular was a monster when it was released, at least in the CPU department, and I don't expect Sony to disappoint with the PS4.

So the initial price difference is perhaps "justified". But then, to own a PC which equals or outmatches the latest amazing games console in performance, you really do need to spend a lot on it. So we're back to square one of PCs being proportionately more expensive than consoles :p

Old Post 12-07-12 12:25 #
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Maes
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Consoles always outperformed contemporary PCs at a price parity point. When the Playstation first came out (late 1994), its twin RISC CPUs and dedicated 2D/3D/hardware audio accelerators were well beyond the very best PC you could cobble together at the time.

An early Pentium /66 (which would cost as much as several Playstations) could probably outperform the PSX in terms of raw MIPS and even onboard RAM, but the lack of 3D hardware and the usual PC gaming troubles of the era meant that PC games were often worse than PSX ones, well into 1998, when serious 3D accelerators (and software support) for PCs started appearing.

Go a few years before the PSX: the SNES could outperform even a TOTL 486DX/25 (let alone an entry level 286 or even 386SX) when it came to 2D games. A game like Donkey Kong country would be nigh impossible to code for an entry level 386 with a VGA card and a Sound Blaster, and in fact most PC platformers of the time were merely Amiga conversions (which they didn't compare too favorably with, either). An Amiga 1200 might pull through, but barely.

This trend was even present with 8-bit consoles: the NES and SMS had much better graphics, scrolling and sound than most of the 8-bit homecomputers of their era.

Even if the above don't strictly hold true anymore (consoles no longer use super-exotic hardware that you won't find on a home computer), at least with a console you get the advantage of "locked specifications": may it rain or snow, as long as the console is officially supported ANY and ALL new games will be tailored and optimized to ridiculous levels to fit the existing hardware, rather than the other way around as on PCs.

Old Post 12-07-12 12:52 #
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DoomUK
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Maes said:
Even if the above don't strictly hold true anymore (consoles no longer use super-exotic hardware that you won't find on a home computer), at least with a console you get the advantage of "locked specifications": may it rain or snow, as long as the console is officially supported ANY and ALL new games will be tailored and optimized to ridiculous levels to fit the existing hardware, rather than the other way around as on PCs.

Yeah, it's important to emphasise this.

Upgrading your PC involves putting a dent in your bank account if your video card or whatever isn't quite up to the challenge and "needs" to be upgraded (whether or not it's going to result in a difference like night and day isn't important; the game either plays as the developers intended or it doesn't, and you're either happy with a sacrifice in detail and frame rate or you're not).

Old Post 12-07-12 13:08 #
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