If you are a gamer, whether, on console or PC, the thought has crossed your mind. The problem is, you cannot compare apples to apples when trying to determine the answer. We need to rephrase the question to find an answer. We need to think of it like this; why does a gaming PC that is as powerful as a console cost so much more than a console?
Gaming PC’s are more expensive than consoles because consoles are mass-produced and built specifically for gaming. This allows console builders to optimize less expensive components to produce more power. Console manufacturers also sometimes sell consoles at a loss to get people into their ecosystem.
When discussing this topic, a lot of people’s opinions are based on biases. Because I play both console and PC and I like both, I can give solid, experienced, and unbiased insight into this question. If you are trying to make a decision on what to buy or what to stick with, especially going into the next generation of consoles, then keep reading.
Is PC better than console?
Comparing the two using only face value is disingenuous. Instead, what you need to do is ask yourself a few questions to find the answer.
- What are you going to be using a PC or a console for?
- What do you want to get out of the system you choose?
- What type of games do you like playing?
- What is your budget?
What are you going to be using your system for?
If you are looking at just gaming, or even gaming and media like Netflix, Youtube, and Spotify, then a console is great. You can do all of that on a console. The Xbox One actually had a massive focus on being your all in one media center with features like HDMI pass-through. Pass-through allowed you to connect your set-top box to your Xbox.
A PC allows you to do all of that and more. It also allows you to do multiple things at once. If you have a dual monitor setup, you can watch Youtube or Netflix and play games at the same time. You can also use a PC for schoolwork. You can use it to self-study things like programming and app development. You can even start a work-from-home business on a PC.
Based on my experience, a PC wins this battle. The amount of stuff you can do on a PC is endless, while a console limits you to gaming and media consumption.
That being said, it is entirely up to you. If you are just looking for something to game on, the machine that suits your needs, comforts and wants is the best. It does not matter if it is a console or PC, you will still have fun, and that’s what matters most.
What do you want to get out of your machine?
When we talk about graphical fidelity and performance, you have to also talk about the budget. If you want to build a PC that will stand up to the PS5 or Series X, You will have to spend over $1000, at least, possibly more.
The power and performance per dollar that a console offers are unrivaled. That being said, a console is limited, and you are limited to what a developer thinks is a priority.
A developer can lock their game to 30 fps and prioritize graphics, or they can lock their game to 60fps and work around that. Some games will do 120fps on the Series X. We are still awaiting confirmation from sony.
With a PC, you choose what you want to prioritize. You can tweak your graphics and performance settings to your taste. You can also build your PC the way you want it, and you can focus on one aspect a bit more than others, according to your preferences.
In terms of power vs. cost, a console winds hands down. In terms of raw power, a PC wins.
What type of games do you like playing?
This can play a huge factor when it comes to value. The Playstation consoles have always had great exclusives. God Of War, The Last of Us, Spiderman, and Horizon Zero Dawn are just some of the great single-player exclusives that Sony has launched this generation. Games like these are what are known as “console sellers.”
PC also has some exclusives, but they are not as popular as console exclusives. They also do make their way to console eventually. You can look at them as timed-exclusives. Some games are just so demanding on resources and launch with too many bugs to launch on a console. Developers iron out all the kinks on PC before launching on consoles.
Some games play better on a console than they do on PC and vice versa. Sports games like FIFA, Madden, and NBA are best enjoyed on consoles. Games like Battlefield, COD, Battle Royals, MMO’s, and survival games are best enjoyed on PC. Some single-player games are optimized for console.
So, choosing your preferred platform can depend on what games you play.
Side note: Xbox has bought around 15 new studios to produce some Xbox exclusives for their new Series X console.
What is your budget?
In a perfect world, we would all be able to own each system, but, in reality, we have priorities and responsibilities. I understand that most people can only choose one so I will give my opinion.
If you have the budget and can spend at least $1200 on a PC, then I say, go for the PC. As we discussed above, the amount of stuff you can do on a PC is almost limitless.
Let’s take a quick look at the upgrading aspect of PC vs consoles.
For the longest time, a lot of the appeal of a gaming console came from the fact that, once you buy into a console generation, you do not have to upgrade for a few years. That all changed when Sony and Microsoft introduced their mid-generation upgrade with the One X and PS4 Pro.
Other than that, you don’t need to do a mid-gen upgrade, a PS4 will play all PS4 games, and an Xbox One will play all Xbox One games. The problem is, once a console has been out for two or three years, the tech starts becoming dated. A smart way to upgrade your consoles is to keep the old one in good condition; selling your old one can make upgrading easier.
Upgrading a PC
One of the biggest arguments against PC is, “You always have to upgrade, and it is expensive.” That is not true. On a PC, you can do incremental upgrades so that your machine is always up-to-date.
If you are smart in the way you do upgrades, you can cut costs significantly. Selling your old hardware is the best way to do this. If a new GPU costs $400 and you sell your old one for $280, the new one only costs $120.
We have gone pretty in-depth in this article. There are a few things we discussed, and let’s go through a quick recap.
Consoles are cheaper than PC’s and give you more bang for your buck up until a certain point.
If you have the budget, it is better to get a gaming PC as there is so much more than you can do on it.
Upgrading your PC does not have to cost as much as what people might lead you to believe. Just remember to keep your old hardware in good condition.