The global semiconductor crisis has put computer games in a difficult position. Components, especially graphics cards, experienced massive price hikes and years-long shortages at this point. Although analysts expect the shortage in consumer technology to end by the end of 2022, there is no guarantee of that. And every day you wait for another day, great games pass you by, without even playing. In short, it’s time to cut your losses, buy a cheap (compared to other tech) console like Xbox Series S, and start playing.
This does not mean that you should give up PC gaming entirely. It’s not worth missing out on modern games trying to get past a constant and unpredictable situation.
NVIDIA’s Phantom Opera
Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central
The original impetus for this article was the news that the RTX 3090 Ti is supposedly launching soon. Here’s the problem: Almost every GPU release in recent memory has been a case of “If a graphics card was released but no modules existed anywhere on planet Earth, were they really released?” For examples, look no further than the RTX 3080 12GB, or the RTX 2060 12GB, or if you feel really masochistic, just go to any Major retailer (Newegg, Best Buy, etc.) and try to buy a GPU. You’ll either experience “out of stock” or you’ll see MSRPs so inflated that they can power a fleet of airships.
And that’s not the worst part for PC game lovers. While every aspect of the tech industry is affected by the lack of chips, PC makers have the hardest part about it because they don’t get priority on components (unlike, say, a major company like Microsoft), And the They have to compete with PC-specific issues like crypto miners exacerbating supply problems. These factors combined to produce an environment in which older GPUs that could barely outpace the processing power of the Xbox 360 still managed to fetch big bucks on sites like eBay. The market is out of control.
Meanwhile, friendlier options like the Xbox Series S are flocking to shelves more regularly. Sure, getting a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X is still a tall order, but the Series S? This is a $300 temporary fix to keep you playing modern games while you wait for the PC market to stabilize. Time is money, and waiting months, if not years, for the best graphics cards, CPUs, and memory to come back to normal on the market is likely to cost you more than $300 of fun in the long run.
Alternatives to controllers
Source: Windows Central / Miles Dompier
If you absolutely can’t stomach keyboards under any circumstances, there are still options – sort of. One goes the way of the pre-built PC. This used to be more expensive than buying your own parts and doing the hard work outright, but now, what was once a “expensive” option is usually much cheaper than trying to buy custom parts. Not to mention, sites like Newegg have taken the component first to those who follow the previously created path.
In other words, even if you don’t want full system parts and a device that comes pre-assembled in the mail, it can actually be (or less) as expensive as buying the part you’re interested in on its own. Even then, pre-installs do not avoid the realities of chip shortages, which means that PC games as a whole are a little more expensive than usual at the moment. Consoles can be the cheapest route for those who have an outdated platform and desperately need to get back into the game.
But wait, there’s another option on tap: Steam Deck. Sure, this product suffers from massive demand and limited supply, but at least it has the strength of Valve behind it, just as Xbox is able to weather the shortage thanks to Microsoft’s industry weight. If you’re okay with a switch-like setup for PC gaming endeavors, this is a wallet-friendly option that might even be your ticket to your handheld Windows experience.
You can also use less traditional solutions like GeForce Now if you’re not hesitant to harness the power of the cloud to power your PC gaming goals, just note that any non-native solution comes with potential networking flaws that many would say makes it an unacceptable substitute for proper hardware ownership.
PC gaming will rise again, one day, hopefully
Source: Windows Central
It’s time to stop suffering. Ignore those posts “NVIDIA releases new GPU that no one can actually get”. Tune in to the painful news that crypto miners are taking the best parts for themselves and are drying up in online markets.
Even I, as a PC fanatic who will likely never buy an Xbox again, must admit that for those who missed stopping to get into PC gaming at an affordable price, it might be time to consider alternatives. Especially when you consider a frightening premise: What if NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, co. Deciding to keep prices permanently high going forward because consumers have proven willing to pay through the roof? There is no guarantee that the extremely high prices will come down in the near future, even if the shortage diminishes by the end of 2022.
Don’t wait for a better tomorrow that may never come, just take advantage of today. Waiting for PC has proven to be a diminishing returns game, and you deserve better than that.