Back when consoles ruled the market for gaming mediums, the primary debate among users was that of Sony vs Nintendo, as PCs were simply left to some of the more hardcore gamers (such as those who played Quake 3 or the original DOTA). But PCs have come a long way as viable mediums for all sorts of games, so the debate on PC vs. Console is raging at a breakneck pace.
Both PCs and Consoles have their pros and cons. Neither can be said to be objectively better than the other because the one that suits you will depend on your needs. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make an informed decision, especially if you are just getting into gaming.
Price is the most obvious starting point; if you cannot afford a new gaming PC or console, then the best thing for you is to make the most out of your current PC. But if you are set on a new system, then you need to remember that PCs can be, overall, a bit more expensive than consoles. A PC system may cost $800-$1000, while an Xbox One or a PS4 cost around $300-$500. But the system price is not the only thing that matters.
Looking at this in terms of components helps. Let’s talk about display, for instance. If you want a 1080p display, you’ll be using a TV for your console and a monitor for your PC (although you can use a monitor with your console as well). Buying new, TVs are more expensive than monitors. Used TVs are better than used monitors, but new monitors are of better value for money than new TVs.
Controllers are not much of an issue, price-wise. Console controllers can be used with PCs as well, and third party controllers are also available at lower prices (although these don’t always perform as well and can deteriorate the entire experience). A decent mouse and keyboard for a PC will, however, cost less than the official controllers for a console (remember that gaming variants of mice and keyboards cost a fair bit more than a console controller).
New physical games are more or less at the same price point for both mediums. Used PC games aren’t really available as widely, while used console games can be found for $10-15. PC games are cheaper when bought from Steam and other available digital platforms. Consoles are restricted to their respective online marketplaces, but these are sufficient. Consoles also charge for memberships to play online while PCs do not.
All in all, you may be paying more for a PC, but that evens out because it becomes an investment, and paying less for consoles makes for a more hassle-free approach that suits both new and long-time gamers, so again, it depends on your preference.
Exclusivity with Games
Games aren’t simply PC exclusive or console exclusive; each console has its own exclusive games as well. So this is where the debate segregates into Xbox One vs PC gaming, or PS4 vs PC gaming.
To make it quick, PC exclusive games are greater in number but not as harshly segregated by generation. Sony has put a lot of money into PS4 exclusives; like God of War, Uncharted, The Last of Us, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Xbox exclusives aren’t usually much of a concern because Microsoft owns Windows, so many Xbox “exclusive” games work on PCs as well, such as Forza and Gears of War.
If the kind of games you want to be able to play is the most important thing to you, then you can choose your gaming medium based on this heading alone. If you want many exclusive single-player games, go for PS4. If you want more strategy and multiplayer-focused exclusives, go for a gaming PC. An Xbox would make a good in-between for the two.
Upgradability is important because it decides the long term value of your investment, and also determines how versatile your system will prove to be in the future, what with technology constantly evolving to the extent where it becomes exhausting to merely keep up with it.
Internal hard drives can be updated in both PCs and consoles. Newer consoles can use external hard drives as well, but they do have a 2.5 inch-drive limitation for internal storage. PCs have more upgrade potential, but as we’ve already said they are more expensive than consoles for this reason too. So you’ll have to weigh the odds with this one and see what suits your budget and needs.
PCs have crisp, high quality, but very expensive graphics. We have already talked about displays, but to get the most out of your PC’s graphics potential you will also need a high-end graphics card and processor, and a good amount of RAM. Again, if you can achieve this then go for it.
Remember that cheaper PCs may not perform as well, and you really need to know your stuff when shopping for a PC. Console graphics depend on your TV (usually), so if you already have a high-quality HDTV, then getting a console will help you get the most out of your TV as well.
Which One’s For You?
Both PCs and consoles are versatile and serve purposes other than gaming as well, so you do get more value for your money. For instance, most consoles double up as media streaming platforms as well (for Netflix and such), and gaming PCs are powerful enough to be used for resource-intensive tasks like video editing as well.
If you need a PC anyway for a lot of other work, then it might be a good idea to kill two birds with one stone and get a gaming PC. The console experience is preferred by some users overall. Again (because we cannot stress this enough) take a good look at your priorities, budget, and needs before you decide which medium is best for you.