A passionate debate among gamers: which is better? A games console or a gaming PC? Both options come with their own benefits and drawbacks, but the answer will ultimately fall on a few factors that you have to consider. So let’s investigate what you should keep in mind when choosing the platform you want to enjoy your video games on.
When choosing between a games console and a gaming PC, your budget will be a leading consideration. Gaming PCs are generally more expensive than both the Xbox Series X and PS5, which both launched at £449 (and even cheaper for their digital-only counterparts).
However, if you’re looking to get a decent gaming PC, you may find yourself spending the thick end of £1,000 – and costs increase with higher specifications. So you have to ask yourself: what are you willing to pay for a gaming experience?
It’s also worth noting that games consoles, in the long term, are much more cost-effective.
Console releases work in ‘generations’. The previous generation of PlayStation and Xboxes came out in 2013, with the most recent generation of consoles released in 2020 – a seven-year gap! Game developers for consoles will optimise their video game for the current generation, meaning that the player needn’t worry about their hardware going out of date. Although updated consoles from that generation were released throughout the seven-year period (like the PlayStation 4 Slim and Xbox One X), games still run efficiently on the original machine.
To get peak performance out of their video games, PC gamers can find themselves upgrading certain components every two or three years. These components may not be cheap. For example, a decent graphics card can set you back £400 – nearly the same price as a games console on its own!
The video games available on different platforms is a massive influence on gamers who are choosing which direction to go in. Sony has a number of titles that are only available to play on PlayStation such as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, The Last of Us and Grand Turismo. In games consoles’ releases, the exclusives play a huge part of the company’s marketing campaign. You must’ve seen an advertisement for a video game which has a message on the end saying “Only available on…”.
However, titles released on Xbox and PC are more integrated. For instance, one of the Xbox’s most successful video games, Halo 3, which was released in 2007, was recently re-released for Microsoft Windows in July 2020. This synergy comes from the fact that Xbox was created, and is owned, by Microsoft. The vast majority of Xbox exclusive franchises such as Sea of Thieves, Forza and Gears of War are also available to PC gamers.
Ultimately this factor falls down to which games you are desperate to play. If you’re a huge Spider-Man fan, you will want to buy yourself a PlayStation. If Halo is more your thing, you have the option of Xbox or PC.
Ease of use
Do you consider yourself to be ‘tech savvy’? Generally, PC gamers are more knowledgeable about computer hardware, so they are more suited to these machines. Gamers who are less well versed in this technology will find themselves gravitating towards consoles.
Not a lot of prior knowledge is required in order to set up a games console. It’s just a case of plugging it into the socket and connecting the HDMI cable from the console to the TV or monitor. Even if a gamer buys a prebuilt gaming PC, they will need some degree of technical skills. PCs comprise a variety of components, and it’s useful to know what they are and what they do in case you encounter any issues or wish to upgrade in the future.
Keyboard & mouse vs controller
Which is truly better: a keyboard and mouse or a controller? This may come down to the games you play. Generally controllers are considered to be easier for sports and fighting games, whereas first-person shooters (FPS) and role-playing games (RGPs) are better with a keyboard and mouse.
Cross-platform play has become more prevalent in gaming, with Call of Duty lobbies now featuring a mix of Xbox, PlayStation and PC gamers. Console players will use the two triggers to aim and shoot, and their sticks to move around, while PC gamers typically use the W, A, S and D keys to move around and the mouse to shoot. Generally among the community, it’s considered that this gives PC gamers an advantage over console players – perhaps why there’s an option to turn cross playoff!
However, everyone has their own personal preference of how they play, so choose whatever you find easiest.
As previously mentioned, PC gamers have the ability to upgrade their hardware whereas console players are stuck with what they are given. Although owning a console is cheaper, at least PC gamers have more flexibility with their specifications. With technology continuing to move quickly, manufacturers are always looking to release updated components.
While video game developers will tweak their titles to optimize for consoles, some release more impressive versions tailored for PC. As the hardware inside a computer is more powerful than what you will see in a game console, gamers can enjoy the very best experience of a video game. PC gamers will be able to play at a high frame rate while enjoying better graphics.
This blog has touched on what you should consider when deciding which is the best option for you. For some it may come down to how much they have to spend on their gaming experience, while for others money may not be a factor – choosing whatever option suits best.
It would be reasonable to assume that more serious gamers may be drawn to the PC and so are willing to part with more cash. While casual gamers are happy to play on their £450 Xbox or PlayStation.
The debate of games consoles vs gaming PCs will continue to rage among the community, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. While there are reasonable arguments from both sides, there really isn’t a right answer when it comes to choosing the best option for you.
Oliver Griffiths has a passion for film, video games, and technology. He can be found at Tillison Consulting running a number of clients’ digital marketing campaigns across all sectors and platforms.