With the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X releases, a lot of the conversations naturally gravitate to the new and shiny hardware; but it can’t be ignored that from a technical perspective, the new consoles are essentially equivalent to mid range gaming PCs. Without further ado, I’d like to talk about some of the benefits and drawbacks of picking a PC over a console.
One of the biggest selling points of getting a gaming PC is the ability to customise your specs to whatever you need. If you’re building your own machine or shopping around for a prebuilt, you can get a gauge for how much power you’ll need for the games you want to play, which is great because you can save money if you don’t need as much storage or play mostly older games that don’t need the newest graphics cards. Additionally, if the situation changes, you can buy whatever components you need to upgrade whenever you like.
The new consoles have won some favour from having better backwards compatibility than consoles have in the past; this is a non-issue on PC as there are no separate systems or generational cycles, just games. On PC, you have access to games from decades ago, and while some really old games can have compatibility issues, there are often fixes and workarounds that make everything run smoothly. You also benefit from not having to rebuy your library; once you have a game on PC, it’s yours for good. As well as having access to decades worth of games, there are also games that you can play on PC that you can’t on a console, or games that are undoubtedly a better experience on PC, such as MOBAs, RTSs and competitive FPSs.
Games are usually cheaper on PC. That’s not to say that a new game is cheaper, it’ll typically be the same price as on console, but PC games go on sale more frequently and for bigger discounts than their console equivalents since PC game stores have to compete with one another. Meanwhile, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have monopolies over their respective online marketplaces. The number of great deals that can be had on the Steam Store or Epic Store is astounding when you experience their sales for the first time.
The main drawback for PC players has traditionally been the dreaded console exclusives. Games that you’ll never get to play because your box doesn’t have the right logo on it, a concept that goes against every boon of PC. Thankfully, these are becoming less and less prevalent, and lots of console exclusives are now being marketed with asterisks that they’re also available on PC.
If you decide to buy a console, there’s a good chance it’ll be obsolete in a few years’ time. While a PC you buy now might suffer the same fate, it’s cheaper to upgrade than buying a whole new console, and going forward you’ll get to keep your games forever. PC gaming is better than it’s ever been, and as the new consoles continue to have less exclusive games, the benefits of playing on PC far outweigh the potential drawbacks.