Are you considering PC gaming but don’t know how PC gaming works?
Then keep on reading, because in this guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about PC gaming.
We’ll be answering all your burning questions in each section in a quick and easy to understand manner.
Let’s get straight into this…
Table of Contents
Where and how do you play games on PC?
With the PlayStation and Xbox, you can purchase games from many places such as the PlayStation/Xbox online store.
Go into video game retailers like GameStop or buy CD keys online from places like Amazon and eBay.
When you’ve purchased and installed the game, you go ahead and launch it.
It’s basically the same as a PC with one minor difference.
There are many places where you can purchase a game for the PC.
This can include Steam, Origin store, Gog store, Greenman Gaming, G2a, etc.
Once you’ve purchased the game, you have to install it on the right platform.
For example, let’s say you’ve purchased The Witcher 3 on Amazon and got the CD key.
You need to check which platform/application that CD key works for.
You see, there are many applications that games will launch from.
For example, if you like games from Ubisoft, they have their own game launcher called Origin.
So you’ll have to download and install Origin, activate the key on there, and then you will launch and play the game on their platform.
It might sound a little confusing, but trust me, it’s super easy. Anyone can do it.
Purchase the game ⇒ Activate the CD key on the platform/application it activates from ⇒ Launch the game on that platform and play!
If I purchase a game on Amazon, will I have to launch and play that game on Amazon?
No, Amazon doesn’t have its own game launching software.
If you purchase a game from a place like Amazon, you’ll get a CD key (digital activation key for that game).
And then activate that key in the correct launcher.
When you purchase a game, it’s not like there are a bunch of launchers you have to install.
About 90% of the games will activate and launch on a platform called Steam.
And a few will launch on either Origin or Gog.
Steam, Origin, and Gog are the 3 main places you’ll be launching games from.
Well I should say Steam will be the most used. I’ve only got 1 game on Gog and never use Origin.
There are a few other platforms out there you can launch games from but I’ve only used the 3 mentioned above.
And I’ve been gaming on PC for many years.
Can you use any PC for PC gaming?
It’s not like a PlayStation or an Xbox. Where you have to have a specific computer to play.
You can play any game on any PC… kinda… sort of.
I say this because not all computers are powerful enough to play any game out there.
For example, if you’ve got an old school computer, it’s not going to be able to play the latest blockbuster titles.
But it’s probably strong enough to play less demanding titles like CS Go or Hearthstone.
So any PC can be used for gaming but not all PCs are powerful enough to play some games.
It’s better to get a computer that’s dedicated to gaming.
Can I use a gaming PC for normal use?
Yes, you can use a gaming PC for normal use.
A gaming PC typically has much more powerful components than the average PC.
So it’s still capable of doing the normal everyday tasks.
Also, even a not so powerful computer can be considered a gaming PC if you’re still playing games on it.
It doesn’t have to look flashy. That’s simply a stereotype.
Should I build my computer or get a prebuilt one?
There are pros and cons to both…
Building a PC
In the lifetime of your PC, there’s something that will inevitably go wrong and stop working.
And if you’ve built your own PC, you’ll be confident enough to go into the computer and try and fix the issue.
When you decide to upgrade your computer, you’ll have an easier time since you’ve built a computer before.
It’s a little cheaper but not by much.
When you first build your PC or even after a few, you’ll always have issues.
There would have been something that you did wrong. And it’s a huge headache trying to figure it out.
A prebuilt PC is built by professionals so you know everything is working well.
The cables are neatly organized and you’ve just taken away a bunch of stress.
If anything goes wrong, you’ll typically have a 1+ year warranty.
So you can send it back and get it fixed without getting your hands dirty.
Even after the warranty has run out, a lot of companies offer lifetime technical support.
When you want to upgrade, you need experience of building a computer.
Building a computer is kinda like putting Lego together.
So if you want to upgrade your graphics card, you just unscrew it and slot the new one in. It’s literally that easy.
Personally, I would recommend getting a prebuilt gaming PC.
This way, you’ve taken out the headache and you can start gaming right away.
And when you bump into an issue, you have warranty plus technical support.
You can even Google and YouTube these issues.
Or take it into a local computer repair store to get it fixed at a cheap price. At least, that’s what I did.
What do all these in-game settings mean?
In this section, we’ll be going over some in-game settings that will appear.
Simply explaining what each feature does…
Motion blur – When you turn, things tend to blur. Giving you the feeling that you’re moving quicker.
A lot of gamers including myself like to turn this off as they do not like the effects.
Vsync – When your graphics card is producing many more frames than your monitor can output, there tends to be a screen tearing effect.
It looks like the image has torn in two. V-sync helps to lock the frame rate to prevent any screen tearing.
There are monitors with features that help prevent screen tearing such as G-sync and Free sync.
Field of view (FOV) – How much in terms of width you can see.
Consoles tend to have a low FOV that makes you feel like you’re in a tunnel.
A small FOV is undesirable. In many games there’s an option to adjust your field of view.
Allowing you to see more of what’s happening.
Global illumination – Models the realism of light bouncing from one surface to another.
It’s often very taxing on your system to have this turned on but well worth it.
Anti-aliasing – Often, edges can appear jagged. AA helps to smoothens these line
Texture filtering – When items and the environment fades into the distance, there’s no need to point in trying to show them if you can’t see them.
That’s what texture filtering does. Saving you rendering power by not rendering things you can’t see.
This feature doesn’t take much to run.
SSAO/HBAO – This feature provides more realistic shadows by calculating how much light falls onto an item and how much is being blocked by the other item.
Resulting in more realistic shadows.
Bloom – Attempts to simulate the way bright light can appear. It looks nice but some games can overuse it.
To the point where it blinds you.
However, if you’re playing online shooters, you may want to turn this off as it can distort your vision.
Do I have to play with a mouse and keyboard?
No, you don’t have to play with a mouse and keyboard but it’s highly recommended.
Because if you’re playing online first person shooters and you’re using a controller whilst everyone else is using a mouse and keyboard…
…you’re going to get slaughtered.
The mouse and keyboard are a lot more accurate and precise. Originally, first person shooters were exclusive to the PC.
Because the console controllers just weren’t very accurate.
Then came out aim assist which helped people to aim, kinda like a cheat.
With the mouse, you can easily snap from person to person, making it much easier to kill.
Completely blowing away the controller.
But if you’re not playing online, you don’t have to worry about it.
…I would still recommend learning the mouse and keyboard.
Yes, it’s frustrating at first and the idea of playing with a mouse and keyboard probably makes you sick.
It did for me too. I thought to myself, how on Earth can you play with a mouse and keyboard?
It turns out that for years I was the one missing out.
Now I can’t even play first person shooters with a controller.
It just feels so sluggish and slow.
And first person shooters aren’t the only ones that are better with a mouse and keyboard…
…there are games that you can’t even play with a controller. For example, strategy games like Civilization and Total War.
It’s absolutely mandatory that you play them with a mouse and keyboard.
Other popular genres can only be played with a mouse and keyboard such as MOBAS like League of Legends.
How do I get better with the mouse and keyboard?
Turn off mouse acceleration
This will get rid of the excessive speeds that’s added when moving your mouse.
It may feel nice when doing standard computing tasks. But it will completely kill your mouse accuracy.
Open the mouse settings in Windows and turn off “Enhance pointer precision.”
Use rubber grips on the W, A, S, and D keys
Your left hand will be resting on these keys and it’s where your hand will be stationed.
It’s a point of reference and will help you figure out where the other keys are.
Use lower sensitivity
It’s easier to use a lower sensitivity.
It’ll be easier to predict where your mouse will land.
It doesn’t have to be so low to the point where you’re dragging your mouse completely off the desk. In fact, that’s too low.
A general rule of thumb to follow is, being able to do a 360-degree turn in 3 – 4 inches. Find what suits you best.
Stop changing your setup
If you’re constantly changing your keys and mouse sensitivity, you’re not giving your mind enough time to adapt.
It needs time to get used to the change. So give it 10 minutes before you decide to change your setup.
Don’t be afraid to look down at the keys
There’s nothing wrong with looking down at the keys. After all, you’re new.
So make sure to look down and see what’s what. That’s why I recommend the rubber keys, so you don’t have to look down.
Practice, practice, practice
There’s no secret to gaming with a mouse and keyboard.
You need to practice, it’ll take you a couple of weeks to get solid with your new peripherals.
Stop rage quitting
This was my biggest issue…
…I kept on quitting whenever I died in games.
I would say, “What the Hell?! I shot that guy! How did he not die?!” *Rage quits*.
You need to keep playing through these tough games, it’s annoying when you’re getting completely destroyed.
But you’ll be surprised at how quickly you progress.
Is PC gaming expensive?
A lot of people say PC gaming is expensive, and I can’t blame them.
When you search for a gaming PC, you often see prices in the thousands.
That’s a turn off for many, including myself.
You can get a solid rig for about $600 – $700.
Yes, the initial cost for a PC is more but it’s cheaper in the long term.
Games are much cheaper on PC. Since pretty much all games are downloaded, you get rid of physical costs.
No more cases, booklets, or multiple CDs. Yes, I’m looking at you, Red Dead Redemption.
Also, developers can publish games on their own platform.
If you just go to a site like G2a, you’ll see how cheap games really are.
When a new game is released, often the PC version is $10 cheaper.
The price really drops on PC, whilst staying incredibly expensive on consoles.
After a couple of years have gone by and you look at your massive library.
Try and calculate how much that would’ve cost if you purchased them on the console.
And then tell if PC gaming is still expensive.
Expenses can add up really quickly with video games. But you can easily slash that price in half or more with a PC.
Also, PCs don’t have to pay a subscription to get online.
Is PC gaming worth it?
There are many pros and cons to PC gaming which I’ll be going over here…
Yes, the most obvious ones. The graphics look much better on PC.
If you plan to switch to PC for graphics alone, I would say it isn’t worth it.
You can still enjoy games without the best graphics.
Graphics don’t make a game. Things like story, gameplay, and artstyle make a game.
The graphics are just the cherry on the top.
A critical reason why I play most of my games on PC over console is because of the performance.
I constantly see the consoles dip below 30fps which is just unplayable. It’s incredibly frustrating where you’re a console or PC gamer.
You want a smooth performance all throughout the game.
And not have to deal with lag in intense environments and firefights.
I also don’t like when the games feel too zoomed into their character. This is to do with the field of view (FOV).
With consoles, there’s often a small FOV to help with performance but it’s incredibly annoying.
With a PC, you can easily adjust this.
Mods are user generated content.
When a developer doesn’t fix an issue or not longer puts out updates for a game.
The modding community is there to fix issues and add more content.
In The Witcher 3, there were some things that got really annoying.
Such as there being a carrying load capacity, not being able to fast travel from anywhere, visual issues etc.
I installed a few mods and these issues were fixed.
You simply cannot do these things on a console.
At first, playing with a mouse and keyboard is annoying but after you get used to it, you find it much better than a controller.
It’s a lot more accurate, quicker, efficient, and it’s just a better experience.
You can’t play games like League of Legends, Civilization, Total War, etc. on consoles.
The controlling options and even processing power isn’t there.
Sure, consoles have great video games exclusive like God of War that I love playing.
But PC has entire genres exclusive to them.
It’s no secret, PC games are really cheap.
You can get a bundle of great games for under $40 to get you started.
And it’ll keep you occupied for a long time.
All your games are in one place
If you want to play an old game, you have to bust out that old console or hope there’s a remastered version.
And then purchase that game again. But with a PC, all your games are in one place.
And you don’t need to buy it again, you’ve already got the best version there will ever be.
If you feel like upgrading your gaming experience, you don’t have to wait for a next generation of consoles.
You can just slot in a more powerful graphics card.
You can upgrade your processor or even slot in another stick of RAM.
It’s a full fledged computer!
It’s an entire computer and a powerful one.
You can do your school work here, create videos, design websites, program, watch movies, learn new skills, etc.
The biggest con with PC gaming is there are a lot of bugs…
One day your PC won’t be working as it should and you’ll need to find out why.
Often, you can just Google it. But the point is, it’s not entirely plug-in an play.
Some games will suddenly crash and you’ll have to figure out why.
If you can’t deal with these frustrations, I would say, save your money and don’t get into PC gaming. It’s not for you.
But if you can spend a bit of time, Googling around to fix an issue. You’ll be okay.
As you can see, the pros heavily weigh out the cons of PC gaming.
It’s a rewarding experience. And in my opinion, the best way to play video games.
After all, you can keep your console and also play on PC.
The gaming PC we recommend for beginners
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme
GTX 1660, 6GB
This is a solid graphics card that can handle any game out there…
The Witcher 3 on ultra settings at 1080p gets an average of 57fps. On 1440p, it gets an average of 42fps.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey on max settings, 1080p gets an average of 64fps. On 1440p it gets an average of 47fps.
The Division 2 on ultra settings, 1080p gets an average of 68fps. On 1440p it gets an average of 46fps. SOURCE
As you can see, this graphics card will give you a battery-smooth frame rate in the most intense games out there.
Regardless if it’s at a 1080p or 1440p resolution.
Intel Core i5-9400F
The Intel i5-9400F is a 6 core CPU that will handle any game without an issue.
It will also handle other intense tasks such as video editing and rendering without an issue.
8GB DDR4 RAM
Games these days can use up to 16GB of RAM. However, this computer has 8GB of RAM.
Sure, adding in another 8GB of RAM will give you more frames but 8GB will still get you by.
As well as lowering the costs.
When you want to upgrade to another 8GB stick, you can easily slot it in. Takes just a moment.
240GB SSD, 1TB HDD
The Windows 10 operating system is installed on a 240GB SSD.
Allowing general computing tasks to be much, much faster.
Giving you a more pleasant experience whilst being at your computer.
You can even install a couple of applications and games on the SSD as well.
There’s also a 1TB hard drive. It runs at 7200rpm which means it’s faster than the average hard drive.
You won’t be stuck looking at loading screens all day.
This has 5 fans. Sucking air from the front, bringing it in to cool your components, and pulling it out from the back.
Allowing your components to stay cool which will increase their lifespan.
This PC is completely blacked-out except from the fans.
The fans light up multiple colors and really makes the computer POP!
It’ll definitely be the talking point of your setup.
1 Year Parts & Labor Warranty With Free Lifetime Tech Support
If anything goes wrong, there’s a 1 year warranty, so you can easily send it in for repairs.
As well as free lifetime tech support. These guys will walk you through any issue you’re having.
Are you ready to finally get into PC gaming?
So that’s how PC gaming works.
We made sure to make this guide as informative as we could and try to keep it short to save you time.
We would highly recommend going for the PC we recommended above as it’s the best for beginners.
We put a lot of research into it and you won’t be disappointed.