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And that is saying a lot.

While shopping for a laptop, I came across this article. I had to double-check to make sure it was not from 2011, and that it was not from CNET. Although from India, it could have been pushed to CNET with nary an edit — that’s how wretched this smeared fecal matter of an article was!

The writer has a major issue with gaming laptops, because he has a major issue with PC gaming, period. He feels there is no point to PC gaming when we have such wonderful iPhone and Android games. To wit:

“Perhaps the biggest reason for an average consumer to not purchase a gaming laptop is how good mobile gaming is now. When you’re going on a trip or are unable to access your PC for a while, you can probably still get your phone or tablet with you. And these days, games made for smartphones or iPads are incredibly entertaining and engrossing.”

The idiocy of seriously arguing that mobile devices can actually replace computing, whether PC or Mac, is a fail that I thought we’d seen the last of some years ago — silly me to once again underestimate the capacity of idiocy in the human race, and in particular, in journalism.

While Clash Royale (for example) can be entertaining, it, like almost all mobile games, is defined just as much by its simplicity and it superficiality as it is by any fun value. Matches generally last roughly 3 minutes, the design does not exactly foster deep strategic thought, and it really has zero depth. And that is the point. Like most iOS / Android games, it is not designed for anything other than idle timewasting, something to kill ten minutes while waiting for your dentist appointment.

Which is totally fine! Sometimes it’s good to fire up a mindless phone game (my current is Marvel Contest of Champions, a fancy which I doubt will last past the end of this week) instead of a web browser or Twitter to kill a few minutes. But to consider these trifles as something to even approach the level of what we call “hobby” means it’s time to reassess your priorities.

Because that is what gaming really is. A hobby. No better and no worse than other hobbies such as golf, amateur photography, building toy trains, or keeping up with the various Real Housewives. All have zero income potential, all suck up real or potential income for no hard purpose, all build up questionable “expertise” with no practical benefit, and above all, all are meant to service a concept so completely alien to this writer, the concept of fun.

Sure, a professional gamer, or golfer, or photographer, or reality-TV expert, could potentially earn income off of these things. But for 99.9% of us, that’s not even the point. It’s what we do in our down time, which I assume is another concept alien to this writer. It’s what we do when not engaged in our actual source of income. From earlier in that article:

“Between cheaper ultrabooks, a focus on video game consoles, and the rise of mobile gaming, the gaming laptop is obsolete tech.”

His belief that mobile (aka phone) games could replace PC/console games would be laughable if it weren’t so risible from a person literally paid to be an expert in this field. Besides the whole “mobile is the only gaming” stupidity, he equally buys into the old news that consoles are supposedly the future of gaming, once again a meme from 5 years ago — at least.

The reality is that PC gaming is actually the future of gaming; that consoles represent a dwindling market, with the Xbox in particular representing a financial black hole for Microsoft with no good news on the horizon; and that while casual games will always have their place, more serious games, including massively-multiplayer online games as well as the latest triple-A shooters, will ensure a market for the PC whether this hack likes it or not.

You just can’t play The Division or XCOM 2 on an iPhone. It’s not just the lack of a controller — the hardware is simply not on the level. For the same reason, Grand Theft Auto titles for iOS are over a decade behind the latest releases on console or PC. And these console/PC games pull down $60 a throw, before factoring in DLC. How much do you spend on an iPhone game? Which would you invest more money in if you were Ubisoft?

Furthermore, playing shooter games like The Division or a Call of Duty game is far more optimal on a PC than a console, which is why their multiplayer arenas literally keep PC gamers separate from console gamers so that the latter don’t get steamrolled. This is a big component on the revival of PC gaming, a trend which the above-linked ignoramus could not be paid enough to notice despite its being a thing since the early 2010’s.

Certainly, a gaming laptop is not for every gamer. A desktop gaming PC gives you more bang for your buck, no question. This is certainly an area worth discussion. Sadly, this article does not provide such a discussion.

All this is written less as a defense of PC gaming, which needs no defense economically speaking, and more as an indictment of the shoddy, unresearched bullshit which journalists can pass of as articles and still get paid for. It’s more and more apparent that paid writing — whether in India or the USA — is less about quality and more about bullshit, especially if a passing amateur like me actually knows far more about an industry than the guy who is literally paid to write about it. It’s ridiculous!

 

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