PC "Master" Race
The PC Master Race, sometimes referred to as its original phrasing as the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race, is both a subculture and a tongue-in-cheek term used to express the alleged superiority of PC gaming used among gamers, as well as to compare PC gaming to console gaming. In current parlance, the term is used by enthusiasts of PCs both to describe themselves as a group and to talk in a derrogatory way about console gaming. Popular imagery, discussion, and media referencing the term also commonly describe console users as "dirty console peasants" and people who use PCs as part of the "glorious PC gaming master race." Basically, it means people who are addicted to PCs and boo consoles because of it.
It is important to point out that enjoying PC gaming and/or preferring it over consoles doesn't automatically make you part of this. This article only refers specifically to the vocal minority of the overly arrogant, elitist PC fanboys that mock people for playing on consoles.
The term "Glorious PC Gaming Master Race" was first used by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw in 2008, in the online gaming magazine The Escaptist where he video-reviewed the role-playing game The Witcher (quoted as followed: "What quickly becomes obvious is that Witcher is very much a PC-exclusive game, which is typically designed to be as complex and unintuitive as possible so that those dirty console-playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC-gaming master race."). Croshaw explained that the original intent of the term in referencing Nazi Germany's master race ideology when he coined it was to poke fun at an elitist attitude he perceived among some PC gamers at the game's release.
"It was intended to be ironic, to illustrate what I perceived at the time to be an elitist attitude among a certain kind of PC gamer. People who invest in expensive gaming PCs and continually spend money to make sure the tech in their brightly-lit tower cases is up to date. Who actually prefer games that are temperamental to get running and that have complicated keyboard interfaces, just because it discourages new or 'casual' players who will in some way taint the entire community with their presence. I meant it as a dig."
Why They Suck
- Say anything that remotely implies something good about consoles, and they'll start bashing on you for saying it.
- Sometimes they would lie about facts in order to tell others that consoles are bad. Ironically, the original intent of the 'PC Master Race' was to fight lies spread by Sony, Microsoft, and game companies, showing that some of the members have become the very thing they were fighting in the first place.
- Can't deal with any kind of criticism at all and will stubbornly refuse to believe PC gaming has any sort of flaws.
- They're extremely arrogant and will constantly brag about PC even when the video/article/thread has nothing to do with the topic.
- Most PC elitists love to abuse the term "console peasant" without actually defining what that is supposed to entail. YouTuber FritangaPlays is a perfect example of this, forcing in the derogatory term into the title of 97% of the videos he makes.
- They love begging for a PC port whenever any game is released exclusively for consoles. On top of this, many love to assume that every game will be eventually released for PC, arrogantly saying that console users are playing a "beta test" (The irony is that sometimes games would get early access on Steam so that PC gamers are the ones who do beta tests, even for multiplatform games).
- They grossly over-exaggerate PC's popularity and claim that "consoles need to die because no one likes them anymore" and that PC should be the only gaming platform. Not only is this completely untrue (in fact consoles are now more popular than ever before), but it also shows that they support the idea of monopolization, despite the fact that they painted it in a negative light when talking about how Sony or Microsoft try to do the same.
- They underestimate the difficulties of PC gaming and assume that anyone can do it when in reality PC has many hassles and can be too cumbersome for the average user.
- They also underestimate how the high amount of customizability for PC gaming also means it can be an absolute nightmare to develop for. This is one reason why a lot of PC developers actually don't aim for the "High end". Developing games for high-end PCs can result in a lot of potential consumers being alienated. (As was the case with Crysis and Cyberpunk 2077) One of the selling points of "Sins of a Solar Empire"
- Extremely hypocritical. Besides the points stated above, they say that Console gamers do nothing but fight and lie in online wars, when in reality they're doing the same; If anything they're often the ones that start those online wars. Another form of hypocrisy from them is someone recommends something about consoles and they'd consider it bashing. Some fans also hate consoles and their exclusives, yet they still play them on an emulator.
- Related with above, if you look at the infamous Reddit guide, they talk down on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles. They do talk about on Nintendo but not the more recent consoles like the GameCube, Wii, Wii U, or the Switch, or even many former console makers like Sega, Atari, SNK, Hudson Soft and NEC PC Engine aka TurboGrafx line of consoles, etc. If you are talking down on the PlayStation, Xbox and the older Nintendo consoles, why not talk down on the rest?
- Additionally, while they are talking down on Microsoft as a console maker, they forgot that Microsoft is also behind Windows, the main PC platform they use for games.
- PC "master" race followers have an "Exclusives are anti-consumer" narrative, in which they use exaggerated and ridiculous arguments such as "It's unfair" or "exclusives stifle diversity" to bash console exclusives and claim that all games should be on PC while very conveniently failing to mention PC exclusives in their arguments.
- When actually confronted about PC exclusives, most of them act like there's nothing wrong with them in a completely hypocritical way.
- Even if you point out facts to prove them wrong, they will remain defiant and continue to mock you for your so-called idiocy.
- The ones that do acknowledge PC has exclusives instead brag that PC has more games and exclusives than all consoles combined, while still bashing console exclusives and ignoring the fact that over 60% of all PC games are shovelware on Steam.
- Go to any video discussing a third party game that's exclusive to the Epic Game store, and it is not uncommon to find some PC fanboys actually blaming console players for the practice. Granted, snagging third party games shouldn't be encouraged, but it isn't the same as Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo's own in-house teams making a game specifically for their respective systems.
- They also hate on console gamers for buying console exclusives.
- They snicker at console gamers for buying "overpriced" consoles or "overpriced" games. Ironically, pointing out how expensive a "Top of the line PC" can cost will usually earn you a lecture about how you don't need a "top of the line" PC or even top of the line parts - the hypocrisy of this compared to most complaints on "outdated hardware" with consoles is completely lost on them.
- They greatly overestimate the adoption rate and supply of "high end" PC parts.
- Related to the above, PC gamers even sneer at other PC gamers for buying a prebuilt PC. While some are indeed overpriced (Such as Alienware), some people have legitimate reasons for wanting to compromise and buy a prebuilt PC. The most obvious is a warranty - a prebuilt PC, just like a console, will often come with a warranty that will cover everything in the box.
- PC gamers also sneer at other PC gamers for not building it themselves - when this can again be done with a warranty that will cover everything in the box.
- They brag on how PC has endless backward compatibility, which is not always true unless the user relies on emulators or modifies specific files, which can be tedious for users or even harmful to PCs in rarer cases.
- They even brag about how PCs have some of the best preservation system due to digital distribution. Unfortunately, PCs are vulnerable to platform collapse, digitally distributed goods being delisted, or data being lost. Despite Steam, GOG, Epic games, and Origin do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon and most companies have promised to make purchased games available if/when the system goes down, there has been little evidence suggesting that such infrastructure has even been developed, or is ready to go.
- They're known to brag about PCs having a wide variety of emulation options and even improvement patches thus making some games "superior", and frowning upon people who pay money for HD releases or ports Unfortunately they do not consider:
- That publishers, even PC publishers, do like to see some return on their investment. A game that's popular amongst emulation communities is much harder for a publisher to gauge interest in compared to one with sales figures.
- That emulation isn't perfect across all platforms - it is very easy to emulate SNES and Genesis games, but much more difficult to emulate Sega Saturn or Sega Dreamcast games.
- Some features are better off played on the actual hardware. This is especially true with arcade games such as rail shooters or trackball based games.
- Even if there exist third party peripherals to try and create the closest experience as possible such as an arcade joystick, or controller recreations, these can be quite costly.
- Emulation sometimes brings about its own unique flaws such as performance or sound issues.
- Some of these "fixes" can actually not improve the game experience at all and even break it.
- The fanboys are annoying and extremely loud, which leads many people to believe that all PC gamers are like that, or that preferring PC over consoles makes you bad.
- Many of these people also work in IT or in software development, which is known for attracting people with poor social skills.
- Sometimes they'd also look down on users who have older PCs and laptops, which is really absurd because they are PC Gamers as well.
- Russian PC fanboys often mock console gamers for the fact that prices for console games are higher than for PC games, forgetting that PC games in Russia are cheaper only because of regional discounts.
- They also unfairly blame consoles for making developers 'dumb down' their games with features such as easy level design, iron sights, auto-aim, and moderate graphics, unaware of the fact that developers also need to attract PC gamers with moderate skills, older PCs, and outdated graphics cards.
- They treat console shooters as a joke with petty reasons such as they have to be 'easy' for console 'casuals' even though many console exclusives such as Halo, Metroid Prime, GoldenEye 007, Killzone, Gears of War, and Uncharted have difficulty settings, are challenging (Halo 2 on Legendary is considered one of the most difficult campaigns in gaming history), won numerous awards, and are treated seriously by many tolerant hardcore gamers. Not to mention that most PC games nowadays (even shooters) have controller support.
- Some even frown at the use of controllers, despite when some games play much better with controllers (Such as fighting games or a racing game) or other such peripherals (such as a flight simulator and a flight stick).
- Most of them blindly defend Steam's terrible anti-consumer practices such as Steam Direct with terrible excuses like claiming that "quality control is censorship".
- They accuse every console port of removing the true experience of a video game even though there are numerous disastrous PC ports such as Sonic Mania (Sega delayed the port by two weeks to implement Denuvo without informing the developers), Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Saints Row 2, many Assassin's Creed games, Batman: Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X and Grand Theft Auto IV.
- A poor Console-to-PC Port is met with criticisms of the developers being held back by developing it for consoles, while a poor PC-to-console port is usually met with "What did you expect, it's x year old hardware".
- Most of them will say that console games like Sony Exclusives are movies with barely any gameplay. The irony here is that the visual novel genre, which is a genre mostly consisting of PC exclusives, is basically reading and little to no gameplay.
- Most of them claim that consoles restrain the freedom of video games even though the freedom of PCs from console manufacturers have allowed publishers like EA and Ubisoft to implement DRM like Denuvo and Uplay in their PC ports which ironically restrains the digital rights of PC gamers .
- PCs are also notorious for all but a few publishers period (such as EA and Activision-Blizzard) all but abandoning physical releases, sticking to a highly regulated online marketplace. Many of these were pioneers in the infamous "always-online DRM".
- Additionally, while many good gaming 'features' started on PC first (Such as full motion videos and pre-rendered backgrounds to make games look better during the "Polygon Leap"), a lot of controversial or undesirable features such as Microtransactions, Cosmetic microtransactions, lootboxes, DLC, Always online DRM, early access, and paid online were not only tested on a PC audience, but said audience proved that these things were actually profitable.
- They think games are only good if they are on PC at 60FPS, because if games do not meet the criteria they will say it sucks, as they can say with bad games like Star Wars Battlefront and II.
- It's also claimed that it's mostly console players that abuse lootboxes - actually most of the controversial aspects of lootboxes (Such as the ability to "Cash out" via third party sites) happen on PC.
- To add on the above pointer, they are also the main reason why hardware elitists also exists, which also bashes anyone that does not use their hardware on their computer. The Nvidia elitists were so bad that a Russian fanboy actually murdered his friend that used an AMD GPU on his computer!
- Most even go so far as to say that they are the best because of how easy it is to pirate PC software and you can get so many games for free!
- Mods are almost always brought up as a catch-all purpose as to why PC is better than console - when most mods are bug fixes, visual changes, or sex mods rather than ones that do things such as create new campaigns or new modes of play.
- Because most if not all mods are done by hobbyists, regular testing and updates are not guaranteed. Many mod archive sites include notices of mods that are no longer supported. Because of this, plenty of "good" mods that had a lot of effort put into testing and designing it will require you to downgrade or even not update your game in order to keep using it.
- Mods are also to be installed "At your own risk". It's not uncommon for mods to cause more problems than they solve, or to actually cause the game to crash.
- Sure, the interface to auto-add mods and even update them has been added to steam, other non-Steam programs are often required for other games. Sometimes, even games that're available on steam need these kinds of programs to daisy-chain
- When a console releases, scalpers are quick to grab limited stock and then resell for a profit online. PC gamers act as if this only happens to consoles - PC hardware is often just as vulnerable to scalping, if not moreso. (As many parts are often used by video editors and Cryptocurrency miners. Similarly, many sellers are the first to buy them) Even if substitutes for these parts exist, PC gamers severely downplay (if not completely ignore) compatibility issues from the various mix-and-match PCs, thus justifying the "need" for specific parts.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- There are at least some PC gamers who aren't toxic and respect other people preferring consoles over PC gaming.
Re-appropriation and Popularization
The term quickly caught on, but not with the meaning Croshaw originally implied. It's currently being used to express pride among PC gamers.
In recent years, Many games such as Arkham Knight and Just Cause 3 made many multiplatforms have terrible ports, which ends up making their console versions as the superior versions, and at how Valve not making games also made many lose faith in them, which got worse when a trading card game based on DOTA 2 called Artifact was announced, which made people really hate Valve, since it proved that they only care about milking DOTA 2. And then they made Half Life: Alyx, which was exclusive to VR. VR itself is a platform that even some of the biggest PC gamers take issue with, due to its high initial costs, health risks, and a very small library.
Easily abusable systems such as Steam Greenlight making it too easy for anyone to sell PC games has increased the amount toxic game developers such as Digital Homicide or Silicon Echo Studios and lead to a huge flood of horrible PC games and scam attempts. All these, in turn, has drastically worsened the reputation of PC gaming, as all of these are almost non-existent on consoles, and the situation has only become worse since Steam Greenlight was replaced with Steam Direct.
The rise of PC hardware costs, due to the trend of cryptocurrency mining and shortages in recent years also added salts to the wounds.
YouTuber Renegade Operative (who is a PC gamer himself, yet acknowledges the PC's shortcomings) has made a video debunking most of the dumb arguments made by PC elitists. You can see the video right here.