PC gaming vs Console gaming: it’s a debate that’s raged for decades, ended friendships, and ruined online discussion forums. And almost every hardcore gamer who’s ever picked up a controller – or a keyboard and mouse – has already decided which side of the battle they are on. Some things in this world just don’t get along – oil and water, cats and dogs, PC gamers and console gamers. One can barely go on a gaming forum these days without seeing the standard animosity between the two factions repeatedly rear its ugly head. So what is the truth of the matter? Who really has the superior gaming system? A side-by-side comparison can show us a lot.
Just like the epic fictional rivalries that grace their games, the very real rivalry of the platforms rages on. It’s a never-ending conflict that that has forums and message boards raging all over the Internet and beyond: Which offers their users a greater overall gaming experience – PC or consoles?
COST OF GAMING
Consoles are undeniably cheaper than a high-grade gaming PC. A console will also remain unchanged for a decade, while your PC will quickly become obsolete and require essential upgrades. You can get all you want on one neat little package – console, controllers, storage – on the console market for around £150. For a good gaming PC you are more looking at the £400-£500 price mark for a fast, 8GB RAM desktop or up to £1,000 for an advanced gaming machine (and quite a lot more if you want to be mobile with a gaming laptop).
Of course, you can always start with something more basic and add hardware to it yourself. However, you will have to factor in the cost of labor, unless you are willing to learn how to do the upgrading yourself. Where a PC does win out in price is on games. Newly released games work out around £10 cheaper on PCs than on consoles.
If you’re a student on a shoestring, then a console is perfect. But essentially you will get what you’re paying for. There’s no denying that the scenery rendered in new console games are spectacular. Trotting along the frontiers in Assassin’s Creed 3 or Red Dead Redemption inspires you to up sticks and head to the American wilderness. Playing this on a PC does the opposite: you don’t need to – it’s on your PC screen. The spectacular graphics transfer you to a new world.
Consoles will inevitably be stuck with the same old performance levels until the latest machine arrives. If you have the money, the latest graphics cards, processor and RAM upgrades can be kept up to date, ensuring you always have a machine of the highest power. In fact, you’ll probably find your PC leaving the latest console in the dust, performance-wise, even before it’s hit the shelves.
COMPATIBILITY OF GAMES
Whatever you pick, you’ll lose out on some titles. But what type of machine is it better to play on? It’s hard to deny that shooters are easier to operate with a keyboard and mouse. The difficulty faced by players using duel joysticks on consoles was why auto-aim was invented. In addition, RTS games are far easier on PCs.
Action-Adventures are far more enjoyable with a control pad, as are sport games. But it can be argued that an Xbox controller can be used with PCs anyway, so the point is moot.
EASE OF PLAYING
With a console, it’s as easy as hitting the switch and playing away, while PCs have to go through the boot-up process. Of course, with faster machines, boot-up times are kept to a minimum. Then there’s ease of access to games. Where the ease wins for PCs is the ability to download PC games, especially new titles, on the day they are released.
PC gamers usually cite the computer’s modding abilities, keyboard/mouse control, cheaper games, better graphical capabilities, openness to indie games, free online play, and sheer practicality: ever since the late nineties, the PC has turned from an optional luxury to a necessity for modern life. Usually, it is also cheaper to build a very powerful gaming PC (especially as an upgrade to the more basic PC you’d need for your homework or job-hunting anyway), although pre-built PCs are another story.
Console gamers cite ease-of-use, larger communities, simple control scheme with the controller (sometimes unusual), the ability to resell/buy used games (let’s not get into the Internet Backdraft on that subject in this page), game stability, and easier local multiplayer, such as split screen.