PC Gaming vs Console Gaming: Which Is Better?

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Pepsi vs Coke, Marvel vs DC, and Big Macs vs Whoppers: these are some of the many rivalries that dominate society. As over 164 million American adults enjoy playing video games, perhaps no rivalry is more intense than that of the console gaming vs PC gaming debate. 

Proponents on both sides claim that their platform is better in just about every way possible. What do the facts say? Is there even a clear winner?

Keep reading for a breakdown on PC gaming vs console gaming that will help you decide which platform is best for you.

Pricing

For many people, pricing is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a platform to game on. As different components make up the overall price that you can expect to pay, we’ve broken it down into the most important categories.

For the sake of simplicity, we’re only going to be referring to the price of the previous generation of consoles, and not the newer generation that is being released. Let’s take a look at each one. 

System Pricing

The Xbox One X costs $500, while the Playstation 4 will set you back $300. To match the specs offered by the One X with a PC, you’ll need to spend around $600. To match the PS4 with a PC, you’ll need to spend $400. 

While it may seem like consoles are inherently cheaper, the reality isn’t as clear. Buying PC parts used is a great way to cut down on the cost, and it’s something that many consumers do. You can build a console-equivalent PC for gaming for around $200. 

While a newer PC may be more expensive than consoles, PCs reign supreme when you buy used or create a hybrid machine made up of old and new parts. 

Controller Pricing

As you can also use console controllers on the PC, there’s nothing to compare there. That being said, it’s important to figure out how much you need to spend to create a quality gaming experience on both platforms. 

On consoles, current generation controllers cost around $50 to $70. Buying a third-party controller can help you save some money, but the build quality and features may suffer.

On the other hand, you can buy a gaming mouse and keyboard bundled together for as low as $15. Specialized keyboards and mice might cost you more, but PCs still edge out consoles with regards to controller pricing. 

Display Pricing

A solid gaming rig or console won’t do you any good if you can’t see the games you’re playing on. 

If you’re buying new, PC is the clear winner. You can find a huge number of quality gaming monitors that sell for around $100. Yet buying a 1080p HDTV will cost at least $200. 

However, it’s important to consider that most people’s homes have a TV, whereas not everyone has a gaming monitor. This means that console users might be able to sidestep buying a display, whereas PC gamers won’t be so lucky. 

Game Pricing 

If you’re looking at buying new, physical games, then you’ll pay around the same on console and PC. However, when buying used, modern console games can retail for as low as $10. Used PC games are won’t sell for as cheap, and are also harder to find.

Yet in terms of digital games, PC is the undisputed champion. Platforms such as Steam offer sales throughout the year where they discount modern games down to a couple of dollars. 

Console systems can only access their respective marketplaces. Because of that, there’s no competition, which means that digital games sell for the same price as physical games. It also means that there are fewer sales throughout the year.

Game Exclusivity 

Game exclusivity is a tricky category to cover. In terms of the number of games available, PC is the winner. You also won’t have to worry about different generations preventing you from playing older games. After PC comes the PS4, then the Nintendo Switch, and finally the Xbox One.

However, the number of games available doesn’t matter to most users, as most people only want to play specific games. For example, if you want to play most Mario games, you’ll need a Switch. On the other hand, Halo 5 requires you to have an Xbox.

If you’re debating between getting a console or a PC and are stuck weighing the exclusive games that each platform offers, go with the platform that provides you with more games of interest to you. This will be different depending on the person. 

System Upgradability 

With the exception of the Nintendo Switch, you can upgrade the internal hard drive of all consoles and the PC. The same rules also apply to using external hard drives. PCs make it easier, however, as consoles are only compatible with 2.5-inch drives. 

In terms of upgrading other hardware pieces, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the PC is the undeniable winner. From switching out your GPU and upgrading your CPU, to building a new computer from scratch, the sky’s the limit when it comes to PC hardware.

On the other hand, you’re unable to upgrade any of the hardware on the different consoles. In many cases, even trying to open them up will void your warranty. This means that while consoles are powerful, they’re limited to the graphics and power they release with. 

Ease of Use

Consoles are meant to be accessible and easy to use. Console gamers don’t have to worry about installing anything (aside from the occasional update), downloading drivers, or tweaking settings to get things just right.

The freedom and variety that goes along with a PC work to its detriment with regards to accessibility. As any PC gamer knows, it seems like you always need to fix or tweak something, no matter how powerful your gaming rig is.

However, when it comes to hardware accessibility, PC comes out on top. Almost all PC games let you adjust the keyboard settings to however you find most convenient. If you don’t like a traditional mouse and keyboard, you can also use console controllers and other things to play.  

Backward Compatability

If you’re interested in playing some of the older games that you played when you were younger, not all gaming platforms are created equal. 

In terms of backward compatibility, PCs again come out on top. Compatability mods and special gaming outlets make older games playable, while emulation software allows you to play games on anything from the Nintendo DS to the GameCube on your computer.

Nintendo and PlayStation used to offer forms of backward compatibility, but both have platforms have since gotten rid of that feature. You can emulate certain games on the PS4, but options are still limited. Out of the three consoles, Xbox offers the best backward compatibility.

VR Gaming

As one of the newest gaming trends, virtual reality capabilities and performance can have a big impact on which platform people choose to get. Playstation is the only console to offer VR, while PCs offer several different choices.  

When it comes to technology and power, the PlayStation VR loses to PC alternatives, especially the powerful Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. There are also fewer Playstation VR games to choose from, which might make it less appealing of a purchase to certain consumers.

However, PS VR is also cheaper than PC VR alternatives. The cost of the VR software is different, and you also have to consider that PC VR requires a top of the line computer. This might force some people to have to spend more money upgrading their machines.

Regardless of which platform and VR headset you’re thinking about getting, make sure that you have the opportunity to try it out before buying. The lower price point of the Playstation VR might sound nice, but you don’t want to buy it then realize that it makes you feel nauseous. 

PC Gaming vs Console Gaming: A Close Fight

The PC gaming vs console gaming debate has raged for years, and as tech continues to upgrade, it doesn’t look like it will be going away anytime soon. Yet while supporters of their respective sides may claim something else, it’s clear that both platforms provide unique benefits. 

Who do you think comes out on top in the PC vs console gaming showdown? Make sure to let us know in a comment down below!

If you enjoyed reading this article, take a moment to check out some of our other blog posts for more tech-related guides and tips.