In light of the recent announcement by Activision that they are going to mark up their retail price for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, a lot of gamers, both local and abroad, are wondering whether this will set a precedent for all other AAA PC titles released in the future, finally bringing the prices of PC games to the same level as consoles. One of the major selling points for PCs today is that their games are cheaper, and many users stay loyal to their desktops because they’re saving money that way, but what does this price increase mean?

With prices going up, more and more people are buying and playing on consoles because the price differences are becoming negligible.

With prices going up, more and more people are buying and playing on consoles because the price differences are becoming negligible.

I think it means that PC games will just get more expensive, that’s all. Activision is one of the few companies which hasn’t yet retrenched employees to save on operating costs during the global meltdown. Granted, it’s only a R100 increase, but that builds up over time, and new users will be scared off to the console side because they theorise that it’ll last them a lot longer. But they don’t have to, if they use their head. There are a few budget computer parts out there that’ll help them play games at the highest settings while still being able to buy those new AAA titles in future. Take a look at the computer I built for my parents:

  • MSI G31M3-F @ R395
  • Intel Celeron E3200 @ R404
  • Apacer 2GB DDR2-800 @ R263
  • Force3D HD4670 1GB GDDR3 @ R746
  • Seagate Barracuda 500GB @ R422
  • LG GH22NS Dual-Layer SATA @ R211
  • Mercury Chrono chassis, 400w PSU @ R237
  • LG W1952s 19” LCD @ R1140
  • Keyboard and mouse @ R88

That comes to a total of R4450 (adding VAT). Now, those prices don’t come from any online shop or national distributor, they come from a walk-in shop called PE Technologies in Port Elizabeth (kudos to those guys for trying to give me the best deal possible). All these parts add up to what is a very capable gaming computer, able to play just about everything at decent settings and the native resolution for the next two or so years. A gaming computer doesn’t have to be expensive.

The vernerable HD4670's performance has been noted a thousand times, and really does make budget gaming more affordable.

The venerable HD4670's performance has been noted a thousand times, and really does make budget gaming more affordable.

This doesn’t apply to current owners of high-end gaming PCs: those people don’t bat an eyelid at paying R500 for a PC game. But for those who can only afford lower-spec machines, the increases don’t exactly help. Ever since prices crept up again, companies like Intel, AMD/ATI, and Nvidia started to place an emphasis on overclocking and value-for-money, and one wonders whether they could have predicted this change way back in the past. One thing’s for sure: PC gaming is no longer the affordable luxury it once was. Publishers are employing tougher DRM measures, and it’s starting to become more difficult to buy cheaper second-hand games, except on consoles. If you can’t handle that, then perhaps the budget market can help you out as much as it will my parents.

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