Console or Gaming PC
This shopping season a lot of people are looking at the next generation gaming consoles, however I want you to consider another option, the Gaming PC. In this article I will look at the pros and cons on both and then leave you with, what I hope you feel, is an informed choice.
Lets begin with the next generation consoles, the Playstation and the XBox One. A console is actually a specialized gaming computer that works within specific hardware and software parameters. This allows for consoles to be kept lower in cost, as they are truly mass produced, as well as much easier to setup as they essentially do only a few things and are setup for those things out of the box. This simplicity of setup and function is a prime reason many people buy consoles. They want to play their games and do not want to mess with the other functionality that comes with a full computer.
The down side of the console approach is first cost. Now I know you are going to try to tell me how much less a console costs over a gaming PC and the initial out of the pocket cost is much lower. However that cost does not include the cost of having the console. Consoles require a monthly fee for multiplayer access to a network system, so we have a set monthly fee. Additionally console games are expensive, even used games often going for $30.
Speaking of games, not all consoles are created equal. Often that large game library you have built will not transfer to the next generation console you just bought, meaning you either sell off the games and build the library anew or keep your older consoles and thus have essentially two game system.
Gaming PCs are the other option for the more hardcore video gamers. A gaming PC ranges however in size and bling from massive towers with LEDs everywhere to simple boxes that sit on a shelf without drawing attention to themselves. Where with the console the consumer has the choice of buying what the company offers and that is it, a gaming PC has options ranging form buying a prebuilt system to building the system yourself.
A huge pro for gaming PCs are the raw horsepower they offer. Gaming PCs can always display games in higher detail, resolutions, effects and overall performance. In addition the level of power your get from your gaming PC is decided by you, you buy the power level you need, not use a one size fits all approach.
Another huge pro is the game library. Remember all those games you bought over the years, good news most of them will run fine on the newest gaming PC. Additionally the ability to buys games is a lot more open. While it is hard to buy used PC games, the games are often available at much lower costs. PC games range in price from $3 to over $100. New releases might come out at $60 but 6 months later the console game price is still the same and the PC has likely had at least one if not more sales that let you get the game for as much as $50 off.
Speaking of more game options, you also, with PC Gaming get access to a wonderful thing called mods. Mods are a gaming communities efforts to improve on a game they love. Now not all mods are worth the effort but many can be truly exceptional. Play Skyrim on a console then play the game modded on a PC and the console just feels dull by comparison.
On the con side, PC Gaming is a bit more technically involved. You have to deal with malware attacks and drivers. Most games just go in and work, just like a console but some require some effort. The console plugs in a game and plays with a PC game you have various settings you might need to tweak to get the best play experience. There is also the cost, a decent gaming PC will realistically set you back about $750 minimum. Oh you can get one for less and even get a solid experience but the true PC gaming experience takes a solid discrete graphics card and a little more cost on the PC side. Now a lot of people will talk about enthusiast level gaming rigs, in all fairness unless you are after a super high end experience you can built a really great gaming rig for under $1300.
So which is better? Well that is a personal choice. Whichever you choose, make sure your having fun, after all that is what gaming is all about.