What many people don't understand is that you're supposed to differentiate a computer from a computer as a gaming platform. Any computer in general will run into problems whether you game on it or not, IT WILL happen. You'll end up spending money to fix your computer whether you want to or not because a computer is becoming almost as necessary as a TV these days.
Buying That Gaming PC
Now there's a line where your computer crosses from typical computer to computer and gaming platform. The misconception that gaming PCs are expensive is from building it and upgrading it as games come along. Now again you have to differentiate between a typical computer and a gaming pc, your typical computer will run you about $400 (without a monitor). Here's a not so bad custom gaming pc for (currently) $650 on newegg [link]. That's merely a $250 difference! Which gives you both a computer you can use for all the tasks it's known for and to play games on. That's somewhat cheaper than a PS3 and pretty much what you'll spend if you want a 360 with a hard drive, go figure. This being that the custom build in the link is more than modest for gaming at the moment, you could go a bit cheaper if you wanted given you know what you're picking out.
But What About Upgrading?
This is another common misconception that many (especially console gamers) have about PC gaming. That you have to continuously upgrade your computer to keep up with games. This is blown out of proportion, yes you will end up having to upgrade just like you'll also have to buy newer consoles to play the games for it. Where the actual misconception lies is where you have to upgrade for current gen games while consoles do not need to. This is utterly wrong, most gaming computers are able to run games at least as well as a console can. The problem is where many PC gamers are tempted to buy higher-end hardware so they can run their games on higher graphical settings and/or at better performance. This hasn't to do with gaming PCs so much as it has to do with temptation.
Remember that Expansion Pak for Nintendo 64? Ya know, the one that increased your RAM from 4MBs to 8MBs and made the supported games for it look graphically better and was required to play Donkey Kong 64 aswell as Perfect Dark. I'm betting many of you who had a N64 bought that like I did when I was younger. This is the same exact thing that goes on with PC gaming except on a much broader scale, temptation. Now imagine a Xbox 720 or PS4 that allows you to swap out GPUs (just like HDDs can be) for higher end ones so you can play your console games with higher graphical settings making them more visually appealing. I bet most console gamers would feel the same way PC gamers do and many would give in and end up buying a better one even though they can play the game with their current one.
Replacing Bad or Old Parts
As I said before, fixing your computer will happen whether you game on it or not. After that 2yr warranty on that Dell you're out of luck, if it's broke most would go buy a new one while most PC gamers replace parts. Why is this? Many if not all brand-name computers are built with almost all OEM parts [link for definition] to save the company money and if you change out a significant part there's a chance it may not run anymore. Now if your computer is custom built (which is typical for PC gamers since it ends up being cheaper than buying a Alienware or Dell XPS) the worst that would happen if you were to replace a part, as long as it's compatible (which is relatively simple to find out) is that you have to reactivate Windows with your CD-Key given that it's a OEM installation of it. The warranties given for PC parts you buy can be anywhere in the range from 1- 5 years or even lifetime. My current video card has a lifetime warranty so if it ever dies or breaks because of 'natural' causes then they will send me a replacement for free, and if they no longer make it then they will send me one of equal or even better performance. So that will be a free upgrade for me right there since they don't. The only catch to some warranties like that is that you have to register your product within a certain time frame, which is typically within 30 days of the purchase.
Probably one of the more common problems when it comes to PC gaming is that of running into game crashes. This is misconceived as a flaw to PC gaming when it's actually a flaw to the computer in general. Even normal programs have the tendency to crash. Now there are those problems that are game-related, which if reported enough or reported correctly to the developer it can be fixed. I know that doesn't sound so great, but the real question is, how often does this problem arise? Well I've tried at least 13 different game entities on my current computer and I think the only one I ran into real issues with was Call of Duty: World at War, which had the tendency to BSOD when I exited multiplayer. It was soon fixed through a patch. I myself cannot speak overall for it, but but from personal experience the actual problem behind running into such issues is a lot smaller than assumed.
This is always a yummy subject to discuss because it's known to be a double-edged sword. I'm not the most tech savvy person, but I know enough. Typically the only driver that is referred to when it comes to PC Gaming is video card drivers since those tend to be the big variable. A bad driver can lead to blue screen errors in certain games or a loss of performance in another game or games. Now when put out like that it sounds pretty bad. What's the reality of it though? The reality is that most drivers as long as they're WHQL certified (they usually say so before you download) won't lead to blue screen errors. As for the performance variable, there are some drivers that may give a dip in performance of some games, but you should be reminded that people typically only mess with drivers in the first place to increase performance with their games which does happen as drivers tend to boost up specific games which are noted in the driver details. So usually unless you have a really old driver or a specific game tends to not run correctly for what seems like a driver-related issue then you really don't need to change it, it's another thing that many tend to choose to try out.
PC Gaming Dying?
No, it's not. The gamer base for PCs is actually growing, people have been blindly claiming the death of PC gaming for quite a long time now even though they honestly have no idea. The only difference is that console gamer bases are growing at an incredible rate these days, much faster than PC. So in essence, it's not dying, just growing slower than consoles. As for games being developed for PC, it's definitely give and take just like PS3 and 360 are. PC sometimes ends up getting the console exclusives from both sides of the playing field.
What about Piracy?
I prefer not to discuss this in this topic because it's a whole huge section of discussion within itself.
I'm not trying to advertise PC gaming here. I'm just clearing things up that are far too often blown out of proportion or even lied about. I read/hear about these things all the time and it spreads like wildfire.