Console vs PC Gaming

console or pc gaming

Okay, full disclosure – I’m a PC gamer. I threw my hat into the ring on this issue years ago. I have no plans to change horses now, but with the ‘new’ generation of consoles getting longer in the tooth and PC hardware growing by leaps and bounds, is there even a case for investing in a console rather than a PC anymore?

Performance and cost:

Let’s dive in at the deep end by looking at what you get for your money.

The average console will cost you somewhere in the region of R7,000. That’s really not a bad price for cutting edge technology, and that’s exactly what it was back in 2012. Things have moved on considerably since then and now you don’t need to break the bank to match next gen console performance; just over R8,000 should get you a machine that matches gaming performance and does a heck of a lot more besides.

It’s also worth noting that PC games are typically cheaper to buy than console titles and that online play is often free.

One aspect of the PC build that can stick in the craw is the cost for the windows OS, because, let’s face it, R1,400 could be much better spent on upping hardware specifications. For those of us prepared to go there, installing Linux could help keep software costs down and with over two thousand games now playable on Linux through Steam, you’d certainly be able to keep yourself busy.

Convenience:

Easy installation and customized performance has long been a feature that adds value to the console.

A box I can plonk down next to the television and just turn on when I want a game can seem very attractive, compared to an experience beset by updates and setup times – yes, I’m looking at you Windows 10 (that said with both PC’s and consoles requiring larger downloads immediate gratification can prove elusive these days!)

The PC’s multiple functions can make it feel more of a mule than a stallion, when it comes to wanting a quick five minutes of stress relief in front of the TV.

A friend of mine pointed out that he doesn’t want any games getting onto his work computer. The TV area is for gaming and his office is for working. If you feel you have to make the separation between a workhorse and a gaming rig then the console seems to answer your problem well.

Versatility:

My gaming rig has been with me since, before the PS4 and Xbox were released, and not only does it still beat the consoles in every spec (16gig Ram, 3.4GHz i7, 4GB GPU, 500gb solid state drive), but it has paid for itself in that time (Go mule!)

Now, of course, I have to admit that last year I upgraded my GPU to a GTX 970 and got the solid state drive, but this only goes to prove my point – I was able to revitalize a flagging gaming rig so that it will likely serve for at least another couple of years for less than the cost of a new console (note I made my upgrades before the rand ran into problems). Over all my outlay for 5-7 years of high end gaming has only been in the region of twice what I would currently pay for a new console.

In that time I might well have had to upgrade my PS3 to a PS4 and, with the next gen slipping behind the curve, how long until I need a PS5?

Which brings me to another issue. I have over three hundred games on my steam account, not only did I pick them up for a fraction of what I would have paid for console games (thank you Humble Bundle), but my collection is all still playable.

This, a friend informed me, is not the case for PS4. Xbox at least will allow you to play your old 360 games, but I was annoyed on my friend’s behalf, when he told me that his PS3 version of BioShock Infinite was unplayable on his PS4 (at least not without a download and paying to play a game he had already purchased!)

Conclusion

The bottom line is that next gen consoles are still pretty decent for the price, but they will only fall further behind the PC in terms of performance, cost and game variety.

The future doesn’t look particularly bright for the console with Sony focusing more on mobile gaming and Microsoft announcing its intent to make all its Xbox games PC compatible.

Time will tell, but personally I’m saving my pennies for my next gaming PC.