With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, console warfare resumed in late 2020. We’ve written our evaluations, but the console battles are more than that. We’ve opted to put the next-generation consoles against their perennial foe. We’re not talking about the Nintendo Switch; we’re talking about the old PC.
Sony and Microsoft’s latest consoles are getting more and more PC-like in hardware and design than ever before. It raises the issue of whether you should spend your money on one of the new consoles or on a gaming PC.
The newest consoles from Sony and Microsoft are becoming more PC-like in terms of hardware and appearance. It begs the question of whether you should invest in one of the new consoles or a gaming computer.
Most prospective PC gamers must first overcome a psychological barrier. Putting together a computer is not an easy task. Moving away from the plug-and-play format may feel especially frightening if you’ve been a console player for a long time.
But don’t be alarmed! Building a gaming PC is not something that only techies can do. We’ve already seen a number of superstars with no previous expertise succeed, and you can, too. There are several internet tools available, including those that compare component pricing and others that provide easy-to-follow sample constructions.
Of course, you don’t have to build a bespoke rig if you find it too time consuming. There are several economical prebuilt PCs and even gaming laptops available to meet your requirements.
However, I believe that creating a computer is a worthwhile effort. After all, how often do you get to choose every single component of a piece of technology you own? This is the advantage of building a bespoke build over purchasing a pre-configured gaming console. It may be as bold or as subtle as you choose. If you only play indie games with pixel graphics, you don’t need to invest more than $1,000 on a 3080 Ti graphics card. On the other hand, if you want to make an RGB lighthouse that attracts swarms of moths, you may certainly do it.
Monitors provide you a lot more flexibility than connecting a console to a television. You may choose between curved, flat, large, or tiny panels, as well as refresh rates and other features. A 144Hz monitor can increase your performance more than any next-gen console connected to an outdated flat screen in highly competitive games like MOBAs and FPS titles.
“But what about the price?” some of you are already wondering. Yes, a good gaming setup is generally more expensive than a console. The PS5 and Xbox Series X, on the other hand, are the most costly systems to date. The regular PS5 even approaches the $500 mark. It’s also worth mentioning that a desktop PC is considerably easier to repair and replace, potentially saving you money in the long term. Not to mention all the other things a strong PC can do, like video editing, programming, and so on.
Instead of having to wait five years for the inevitable PS5 Pro to have the greatest console hardware, you can just replace your graphics card, or even your CPU and motherboard, if you’re patching up an older PC. A high-end gaming PC will always be more powerful than any game console.
Another advantage of PC gaming over console gaming is the variety of peripherals available. I can play FPS games with a mouse and keyboard, but I have a lot of options if I want to play Dark Souls or fighting games with a controller. Aside from Microsoft’s Xbox and PC-compatible gamepads, I can also use the Nintendo Switch Pro controller or one of Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers, since both are Steam-compatible.
The ability to choose your own hardware is far from the sole advantage of PC gaming. In fact, when it comes to gaming, a PC offers greater choice than any console. Online gaming shops are home to competitive free-to-play MOBAs, endless battle royale shooters, MMORPGs, obscure indies, and dazzling Triple-A titles alike. Better still, unless the game is a subscription-based game, there are no additional monthly costs for online play, and deals are regular. I must admit that consoles have an edge with certain exclusives, but this is becoming less common as time passes. Even well-known console franchises, such as Final Fantasy, are now available on Steam.
PC players aren’t restricted to a single gaming retailer. On Steam, the Epic Games Store, Origin, and Uplay, you may shop around for the best value, or purchase DRM-free games via GOG, Humble Bundle, and Itch.io. The latter, in particular, is a secret treasure trove of indie jewels that you won’t find anywhere else.
Backward compatibility is also not a problem, since mimicking allows you to play old games in ultra-high quality without having to wait for remasters or remakes. Modding may dramatically transform your gaming experience. Take a look at titles like Skyrim to understand how much a community can change a game. We wouldn’t have games like Counter-Strike or DayZ without modification.
It’s difficult to refute the PC ecosystem’s openness and accessibility. It’s a long-term investment in your gaming habit that will undoubtedly outlast the excitement around next-gen consoles.
In the console vs. PC argument, the difficulty with advocating for a specialised gaming machine is that a PC does considerably more than simply play games. You can’t, for example, use it to start and operate a home company or do research and prepare for a university essay.
Any conceivable cost-effectiveness argument is thrown out the window. Even if buying a new console every five or so years was cheaper in the long term — which it isn’t if you’re a clever shopper – a PC is a considerably more flexible computer than a gaming console.
Consoles do, however, offer several benefits over PCs. Let’s start with the most obvious: games.
All of the really amazing exclusive Xbox One titles can now be played on a Windows PC thanks to incredible efforts like Game Pass and Play Anywhere. Sony has also pledged to make PC games more enjoyable. Horizon Zero Dawn and the otherwise PS4-exclusive Death Stranding are examples of this.
However, there are many amazing console games that are not available on PC. A PC-only player would lose out on fantastic PlayStation 4 titles such as The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2, Bloodborne, God of War, Persona 5, Uncharted 4, Shadow of the Colossus, Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Last Guardian, and many more.
Although the PC has its share of exclusives, if Triple-A blockbuster adventures are your thing, you’ll be missing out on some of the finest if you don’t get a PS5.
Sony’s two PS5 versions offer consumers the choice of going totally digital or opting for the more conventional disc-based approach. The Xbox Series S, which will be released alongside the Series X, follows the same model. Do you know what doesn’t usually have physical copies of games available these days? PCs, indeed.
Except for a few outliers, practically all PC games are purchased via digital shops. Unless you find a DRM-free version, you will never really own anything you purchase digitally. When you finish a physical copy, you may trade it in for a discount on your next purchase. You’ll be able to lend it to a buddy as well, as long as Microsoft doesn’t pull another quick one.
What else will you be able to do with pals on a PS5 or Xbox Series X that you won’t be able to do on a PC? Local cooperative!
Although PC games have more couch co-op options than console games, who wants to sit hunched around a desktop smashing faces in Streets of Rage 4? While sitting on a soft sofa with a huge TV in front of you, gaming with friends in person is simpler and more comfortable. In fact, it makes all gaming more enjoyable. Furthermore, you will not be required to purchase an expensive gaming chair to complete your setup.
Another key element to consider is cost. A gaming PC’s entry point is often higher than that of a console. For the typical individual, these $500 boxes are easier to rationalise than paying $300 to $1,500 on a PC’s GPU alone, and that’s assuming you can get one at MRP. There are other variables at play here, including the fact that console games are often more expensive, while PCs have a greater performance ceiling. The reduced barrier to entry, on the other hand, offers a strong argument for consoles, particularly current-generation consoles.
This gets me to the most important reason I’ve never truly embraced PC gaming: its simplicity.
Games consoles may also serve as pseudo-media centres, but their main function is still to start a game and go right into the action. Consoles need essentially little work, compared to the plug-and-play experience of the past. You purchase a game and then play it.
Before you turn on your PC, there are a lot of things to think about. On which launcher is the game being played? Do you have a computer that meets the basic requirements? Which graphical enhancements are required? Is it necessary to upgrade your GPU drivers before you start playing? Is it really necessary to improve your core hardware in order to have a good gaming experience?
In terms of raw technology and architecture, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are closer to excellent gaming PCs than any prior console generation. While that may not last long — or at all, according to Nvidia – I’d rather deal with somewhat less pixels and slightly reduced lighting effects in exchange for the simplicity that consoles provide.