Desktop v Mobile – the best platforms for online gaming

Desktop PC or mobile phone? What’s best for online gaming? Because, let’s face it, most games released these days seem to require an internet connection to play. Be it the latest Steam titles, console games, or phone apps, online is increasingly baked into game titles at the point of creation.

From multiplayer lobbies and team maps to online chat rooms, playing the latest titles means getting – and staying – online. If only to download critical game fixes that should have been tested during the development stage (wry wave at the Assassin’s Creed series), an online capability is usually required to enable the best gaming experience that the game can offer.

So, which to pick? Desktop versus phone: two platforms, one winner. Let battle commence.

Horses for courses

Actually, it’s a false equivalence, so no need for fisticuffs.

The question of which platform is best suited for you as a gamer depends in large part on the kind of games you like to play, and how you like to play them.

Game developers tailor their creations to the platform upon which they will be presented, playing to strengths and sidestepping weaknesses. A game app designed for smartphone play will have far different requirements than a game designed to be played on a high-end PC rig.

The range of games available for phone-based systems is vast and growing all the time. From heavy hitters like Nintendo to a wealth of indie game stables, there’s plenty of choice to be had if you’re on the hunt for something moreish to while away a coffee break.

How about a round or two of online bingo? Fabulous Bingo offers different game rooms, slots games as well as a rewards system based on “fab points”. Or perhaps you’re more of a chess person? In addition to a vast array of straightforward chess games, there’s Chess Opening Blunders, a smartphone app for iPhone and Android designed to present you with smart chess puzzles to improve your skills. Or maybe you yearn for an esoteric puzzle game that’ll tie your mind in knots. Whatever your preference, if you’re looking for a quick yet satisfying burst of online gaming, your gaming tastes will be well catered for in any app store you care to mention.
Smartphones” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by internetsense

Mobile games are well-suited to a quick burst of frenetic arcade-style gameplay, with cartoony visuals and lots of scrolling action. Those cabinet-sized game machines from the eighties paved the way for the home console market, which in turn has forged contemporary expectations of casual gaming – addictive platformers with smooth parallax scrolling and colourful tile-sliding puzzlers make for a great way to showcase the sugar rush pick-up-and-play nature of what the mobile platform has to offer.

A top-range modern smartphone such as the iPhone 7 Plus ships with a scanty 3 GB of RAM, and an onboard memory which starts at a mere 32 GB. Specs like that would disappoint your average goldfish, but these limitations can be made to work in the platform’s favour, and canny game designers pull this trick all the time; it’s what makes them canny game designers.

Big is better in the Desktop world


Alternatively, should your gaming tastes run to exploring massively immersive worlds where your character might roam all day and night without once bumping into a boundary wall, then you have hardware considerations to take into account. You’re going to be looking at the processing oomph of a high-end PC gaming rig in order to maximise your gaming pleasure. Or indeed to run your game at all.

Open world RPGs are generally anything but “pick up and play” – or at least “pick up and play well”. They reward solid game hours with a level-based progress system, chaining quests for items and better kit.

If you’re the kind of person who rates The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt over Candy Crush, then you’re considering taking on a sprawling game that might take upwards of a hundred hours to complete. That’s a massive investment in time and energy and most especially graphics. Without a decent graphics card,  your spiffy new game is a world that will remain forever closed off – this game and others like it require a bare minimum of 6 GB of RAM, and earmarks hard drive space at around the whopping 40 GB mark. So it wouldn’t even fit on a modern smartphone, even if the phone carried sufficient memory to hold it. And this is hardly an untypical example.

Your game, your choice

Horses for course, remember? The two platforms, PC and mobile, are entirely different platforms, built to do different things in different ways and for different reasons. If mobile games represent gaming on the go, then the PC games market is all about settling in for an evening session: a marathon over a sprint.

The gaming race you choose to run is ultimately up to you. Internet connectivity won’t be going away anytime soon, so how you get online becomes less important than what you choose to play when you’re there. So pick your game and have fun. That’s what it’s all about, after all.