Editor’s note: Ryan Smith is a longtime gamer and freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in business and marketing, he has written in the past for WRAL Tech Wire and GameArgus.com. He currently plays Xbox 360 and PC as well as Nintendo DS. For story ideas, tips and feedback, he can be reached via e-mail (ryannicksmith@gmail.com)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – A recent conference call with graphics card manufacturers NVIDIA touched on some very interesting trends in the gaming industry, Techgage reports. First and foremost NVIDIA believes that in 2014, PC game sales will surpass that of consoles such as Xbox360 and Playstation3, which for the last few years have dominated the market.

Released in 2005-2006, the current generation of gaming consoles was, for many gamers, the most cost effective method of playing games. I was included in this group, even though I always preferred PC gaming, because it was simply too expensive to have the performance on a PC that I could get from a $300 console at the time.

However, three months ago I bought a new gaming rig, so that I can dust off my mouse and keyboard and get back into real time strategy games, first person shooters and MMORPGS, all which really don’t allow much control with a console controller.

That isn’t the only reason I made the switch back, though. As the time gap between console releases enlarges, the performance superiority of PCs is becoming much more obvious when compared to the current gen consoles. So even though a $300 console is more powerful for gaming than the equivalent in cost PC, for a few hundred more dollars you can have a better system that is in my opinion more suited to gaming.

According to NVIDIA, the latest and greatest in PC GPUs (or graphics processing unit) are about 9x more powerful than those in the 2005-6 consoles. This was another factor in my switch back to PCs. Even though the price is higher for that quality of gaming, the performance simply can’t be matched on a console at the moment.

Another factor in PC gaming’s return to supremacy is the “freemium” game model, where publishers release a game free to play, with the option to purchase premium in-game items and content for actual money. Games likeLeague of Legends, with over 15 million downloaders of the free game, League of Legends is more popular than the $15 a month subscription based game World of Warcraft. Of course League of Legends has a less consistent player base than World of Warcraft since LoL players aren’t paying to play it, but they are paying to get the premium content, a gaming model that has seen a surge in popularity recently.

Digital distribution is also a significant attraction for PC gamers. The need to venture out to retail stores is no longer required to purchase and play games, you can download it right to your hard drive and play it, sometimes in only minutes.

For the longest time (starting about the time I quit playing PC games because computer upgrades had become too expensive) I was opposed to “cloud” gaming platforms such as Valve’s Steam because I didn’t like the idea of not physically having my game to be uninstalled and reinstalled when needed and also because I love having the box art. However with my current computer’s 2TB hard drive, the space is no longer an issue, I can download and install as many games from Steam as I want (and I do), or at least can afford.

Sure it is a bummer not having the game boxes, but when Steam has a great deal (say 20 THQ games for $50, which I bought immediately) it’s too tempting to pass up, so I have finally become a Steam user.

So with the convenience of digital distribution like Steam, free to play competitive games like League of Legends, or even free to play MMORPGS such as Lord of the Rings: Online and the massive performance gaps between current generation consoles and PC’s, it is no wonder PC gaming is on the rise.

I will be pleased to have as many multiplayer opponents as possible joining me.

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