Gaming: Console vs. PC

I think it’s an undeniable fact that teenage boys like video games.  As most of you probably know, the dominant platform on which to play video games is the console – a dedicated set top box designed for playing games.  The three main consoles right now are the Nintendo Wii U, the Sony PlayStation 4, and the Microsoft Xbox One (although the previous three generations – the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 – are all still widely used).  I however, am a PC gamer.  I have a desktop PC that I build myself, which I use to play games (these days, most of my games are from the Steam Store).  I have a group of friends who all use Steam, but I also have a lot of friends that are console gamers.  Most people are very passionate about their platform, and each side has pros and cons.  I’ve picked a few major battlegrounds, in each of which I’ll pit the consoles vs. the PC.

1.  Game Selection
Right off the bat, I’m going to cede this point to the consoles.  PC gamers are in the minority right now, so game studios cater to the majority.  Most games available for consoles are available for the PC, but some of them are ported (brought over to a new platform) horribly.  Some big title games for the PC have frames per second limits, and many lack (or limit greatly) controller support (something I’ll talk more about later).  Despite these setbacks, there are still good games for the PC, so it’s definitely a viable platform.

2.  Controllers
Many console gamers I know say they don’t like playing games with a keyboard and mouse.  I’m divided on this subject.  Some games, like racing games, are awful with a keyboard.  For other games, like first person games, I like to use a mouse; I think it gives more control than a thumb joystick.  However, many people are used to a controller for first person games, so they like using that.  Consoles are designed to be used with controllers, so obviously they have the best controller support.  However, PCs can use console controllers as well, although sometimes the support isn’t as good.  There are drivers available online for the PS3 controller, the Xbox 360 controller (in this case, they are actually official drivers from Microsoft), and even for the Wii Remote.  This makes the controller category look like a win for the PC, since it supports both the keyboard and controllers.  Unfortunately, like I said before, sometimes controller support for PC games is a little spotty.  That being said, this category is a tie; what’s best for you depends on your play style.

3.  Online Community
The online community is a huge part of choosing a console these days.  Microsoft won the last round with the Xbox 360, and it became the dominant platform.  As more people bought Xboxes, more people wanted to play with their friends, so they also bought Xboxes, and the cycle continued.  The Xbox and the PlayStation both have thriving online communities, but so does Steam.  The best way to explain Steam is that it’s like an iTunes Store for games.  But Steam also includes a social aspect that allows you to make friends and play against them online.  A good number of my friends are on Steam, so that community works for me.  However, I think that the consoles win this category by a small margin.

4.  Equipment
Console equipment is pretty simple: you buy the console, some controllers, and you’re more or less ready to play.  This simplicity is very appealing, and it’s a big reason why consoles are so popular.  PC gaming is trickier.  Almost everyone owns a PC, but most laptops are not cut out for gaming.  The easiest way to use a PC to game is to build one; you can build a good gaming desktop for $400-$500.  What’s also nice about desktops is that they can be upgraded.  Got a new game that your current video card can’t handle?  Just buy a new one, no need for a whole new PC.  A shocking stat that I heard is that right before the PS4 and Xbox One came out, all those PS3s and Xbox 360s had hardware that was seven years old!  Now you may not have bought your Xbox seven years ago, but the parts inside were still released way back then.  PC gamers can keep their rigs more up to date with incremental upgrades, instead of spending a big chunk of change every 5-7 years.  So, in conclusion, I’d say this category is also on the fence.  If you’re willing to put forth the effort, a PC can serve you better.  However, consoles are a much easier way to start playing faster, and with less glitches, which is certainly a feature worth considering.

I guess in the end the choice comes down to personal preference.  As a PC gamer, I’m sure this post is biased towards that end of the spectrum.  However, I’m only one person, so I’d like to know what you, as the reader, think about the topic.  Feel free to post a comment and participate in the polls below.  Happy gaming!  ••

6 thoughts on “Gaming: Console vs. PC

  1. I play both! There are enough great games that are platform-exclusive that you’ve hamstrung yourself if you only focus on a console or a PC.

    Having said that, the state of PC gaming today is miles better than at any point in the past ten years or so. Thanks, Steam!

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  2. Nerd on the Internet says:

    I don’t own a gaming PC myself, but I believe they will definitely overshadow consoles in the near future. Superior hardware, always-free-online, first to receive indie titles, cross-platform capability, mod-friendly, and the benefits just go on.

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  3. I have to agree and disagree with you on the status on PC as a platform. It’s difficult to gauge PC as a console sale since PC’s cn be sold as a whole or parts. The best way to measure consoles and include PC is to compare their hardware sales. You will find PC gamers would spend more on their rigs over a longer time but consoles will spend a lot in a short amount of time. Agreeably the PC is a minority in game sales, but hardware sales are likely immense compared to consoles.

    Compared to simplicity over function, console is a great way to go however having a gaming rig opens up opportunities as a electronic multitool beyond gaming. Though the PC has the limitations of being finicky by comparison with hardware; requiring specific parts for specific units and each PC unit has it’s unique shelf life before it needs to be replaced.

    At the moment, we are seeing the merging of the PC functionality to the simplicity of a dedicated console and vice versa. In the end like the mobile telephone, people would prefer a multitasking device that is the do-all of their needs.

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