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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:50
The problem with this line of reasoning is that in supposes a monstrous performance penalty for running Windows. Just counting up raw-compute power on a modern 'higher-end' gaming pc (multiple gpus and an i7 with say >500gb of SSD): that machine is going to be 5-10x more capable than a next-gen console.
Optimization can get you a long way, but when people say that optimization can overcome the performance gap that superior hardware has bought gaming PCs, what they're really saying is "Windows--because nobody games on Linux or Mac OS X--cuts the gaming performance of your hardware in half". That's a pretty bold claim to make without some compelling evidence.
With console launch titles at around 900p, that's 30% fewer pixels than 1080p. Mid-range gaming PCs can run 1080p at 60+ FPS in any modern game. Just to achieve feature parity with todays sub-$1000-systems the xbox one developers need to find 1/3 more performance. PS4 developers seem to be having a little more luck, but even their launch titles aren't all confrimed to be 1080p60. We know in 2 years my 'high end' $5000 PC is going to be comparable to a $1500 budget-box computer. in 4 years todays best kit will be dated and laughable (A 6970 scores around 2000 in firestrike extreme, todays r290x/780 scores ~5000: that's a 2.5x increase in 3 years). Are you expecting console developers to find 50% more performance over the next year and then >100% each year after that? I suppose it's possible, but I'm not counting on it. If those sorts of gains were easy the thought that a launch title wouldn't hit 1080p60 would be laughable. Gains of any sort are going to be hard-fought by skilled programmers after the second round of console games come out. Then there are the hard restrictions: with HDMI 1.4, consoles will never drive 4k @ 60 FPS: not such a big deal today with $3500 4k screens, but in 5 years when those things are selling for ~$600 it'll start to sting a little.
One point you missed about consoles: first party and console-exclusive titles are awesome. While the PC occasionally has a killer indie game that makes console-people envious (and a handful of exclusive titles like World of Warcraft with millions of players), the big money is in console gaming. The new/improved PS4/Xbox stores combined with "familiar" architectures are going to attract even more indie-developer attention. On the other hand: PC Gamers aren't going to be getting Wonderful 101, Little Big Planet, or Halo any time soon. If you just want to play video games then access to first-party titles from the console vendors should weigh into your decision.