No ten-year cycle
As soon as the consoles are announced, there's a countdown over their head. In ten years, the PS4 and Xbox One will be obsolete. That's not a worst-case scenario: it's a proudly stated feature. It's also a misleading one. In six or seven years the system makers step up to the E3 stage and announce the next next-gen. Then, as will soon happen to PS3 and Xbox 360, the 'support' becomes nothing more than hobbled ports; both systems limping to the finish line before being put out of their misery.
That can't happen on PC. Our technological advances are on an individual, component-based level. It's not a locked-in list of technical specs; it's a system that can expand and evolve naturally over time. With every upgrade, your rig feels brand new - ready to tackle the latest games for years to come. Even a change of OS is a minor procedure along the way.
Not that any upgrade is mandatory – you're free to build to the level you want. If you don't like the look of Windows 8, you don't have to use it. If you don't want to be bombarded with particle effects, that new graphics card can wait until the prices have dropped. At every hardware level, there are games tailored for you.
And think of this: World of Warcraft was released in 2004. Our platform has games that are being supported longer than most consoles.
Be as social as you like - or don't
Every novel social feature that has been demonstrated at the major console conferences is already possible on PC: no matter how enthusiastically a grey-blazered exec might try to convince you otherwise. Between streaming services like Twitch, YouTube, and the widespread availability of freeware editing software it's already possible to share as much or as little of your gaming time as you wish.
'As much or as little' is the crucial phrase, here. Sharing features are a double-edged sword on console: they might be fun to dabble with, but they also plug you directly into the profitable info-gathering exercise that every platform holder has a stake in pursuing. Not only is the promise of quick streaming and sharing a case of new money for old rope, it's giving you old rope to hang yourself with. This metaphor has become desperately confused.
How you socialise online is a sensitive subject, and the degree of control the PC offers is worth the inconvenience that comes with spreading yourself between multiple programs and services. Signing on to Microsoft or Sony's all-in-one platform might be simple, but it's an abdication of your right to game and chat on your own terms.