The PC Master Race, sometimes referred to as its original phrasing as the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race, is both a subculture and a tongue-in-cheek term used to express the superiority of PC gaming used among gamers, as well as to compare PC gaming to console gaming. In current parlance, the term is used by enthusiasts of PCs both to describe themselves as a group and their belief in the superiority PCs have over consoles, citing features such as free online play, backwards compatibility, mods, upgradability, customization, lower cost-over-time, and performance. Popular imagery, discussion, and media referencing the term also commonly describe console users as "dirty console peasants" and people who use PCs as part of the "glorious PC gaming master race."
The term "Glorious PC Gaming Master Race" was first used by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw in 2008, in the online gaming magazine The Escaptist where he video-reviewed the role-playing game The Witcher (quoted as followed: "What quickly becomes obvious is that Witcher is very much a PC-exclusive game, which are typically designed to be as complex and unintuitive as possible so that those dirty console-playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC-gaming master race."). Croshaw explained that the original intent of the term in referencing Nazi Germany's master race ideology when he coined it was to poke fun at an elitist attitude he perceived among some PC gamers at the game's release.
"It was intended to be ironic, to illustrate what I perceived at the time to be an elitist attitude among a certain kind of PC gamer. People who invest in expensive gaming PCs and continually spend money to make sure the tech in their brightly-lit tower cases is up to date. Who actually prefer games that are temperamental to get running and that have complicated keyboard interfaces, just because it discourages new or 'casual' players who will in some way taint the entire community with their presence. I meant it as a dig."
Reappropriation and Popularization
The term quickly caught on, but not with the meaning Croshaw originally implied. It's currently being used to express pride among PC gamers.
In recent years, easily abusable systems such as Steam Greenlight making it too easy for anyone to sell PC games has increased the amount terrible game developers such as Digital Homicide and lead to a huge flood of horrible PC games and scam attempts. This in turn has drastically worsened the reputation of PC gaming because consoles are mostly free from that.