Apr 23, 2020

PC vs Consoles, Consoles vs Consoles...

Choose the best gaming device just for you. Check out the comparison of PC and console gaming. Feel the difference between consoles: PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo
Only when we sleep and see a dream about passing a difficult location, we don't need any hardware for playing games. In other times, we enjoy exciting game emotions using different devices.

Many gamers have their preferences rather settled. Communities of console brands and fans of PC gaming may even have a kind of weird confrontation, arguing that their device is better and everyone should agree with this. Still, many players have no prejudgements and are glad to hear various opinions. In any case, it’s good to think properly before making a decision on your gaming device - this thing may remain with you for many years, projecting its unique style on your gaming life.

This article doesn’t give ready-made answers. It just gives you the food for thought by highlighting features of gaming computers and consoles. So, let’s delve into gaming hardware!

Let's compare

Computers are universal devices, suitable for many tasks. You can write text on one, make your own application, edit video, create images… And of course, you can play games on them.

Here are some features of this choice:
  • Many people already have their PCs, so they don’t have to invest money in a new device for trying out video games. There are lots of very good but rather old games (like original Doom II) that will run perfectly well even on cheap and outdated laptops. Also, indie developers often make their products accessible from most of the computers (for example, Donut County). You can build an impressive library only with these games and have an amazingly great time with them. And let’s not forget about cloud gaming. With such services as Nvidia GeForce Now, even super new and demanding games are accessible from a non-gaming PC.
  • Powerful computers for gaming, especially for VR gaming, are very expensive, and they become outdated quite soon after purchasing. Be ready to pay a lot for a PC that allows all the modern games to run with the highest quality (for example, the beautiful world of Shenmue III looks more amazing on a high-end PC). Be ready to see new CPUs and GPUs appear regularly and set a new level for game developers, so your buffy PC will need an upgrade to run that new title (like Red Dead Redemption II). Of course, you will get the best possible experience spending a lot of money. And game streaming services will need time to reach the same level.
  • Games on PC cost less, and you can find just incredible offers on countless sales. Digital distribution platforms compete with each other to get the attention of PC gamers. Steam was a powerful monopolist for a long time, but now, we can choose to purchase games from the Epic Store (which regularly gives them for free), GOG, Humble Bundle, and many small sites. Console manufacturers have no one to compete with on their platforms - they also conduct various sales, but the offers are rarely the same seductive as on Steam/Epic/GOG/HB sales. For example, you can purchase such excellent games as Life is Strange for just for a couple of bucks.
  • The overall process of setting your gaming PC may feel complicated, especially for non-tech-savvy people. This is true even for pre-build PCs - you should install all the applications you plan to use. Then comes even bigger pain - you should change in-game settings to not overload your machine and get the best performance possible. Often, it’s not overcomplicated if you know what to do, but it’s absolutely not the same as “open the box, connect to a TV, install games, and play” - especially if you decide to build your custom gaming PC or upgrade some components. Such things as drivers and parts compatibility may require a lot of attention.
  • Some games are PC-exclusives. Usually, you can hear this about console games, but for computers the situation is the same. Dota 2 and  League of Legends are mega-popular MOBAs, and you can’t play them on a console. The same with CS:GO, one of the most popular esports discipline and shooting games - and so many people consider playing shooters on a console more comfortable with a mouse and keyboard. Real-Time Strategies and City-Builders (such as Frostpunk) are also traditionally rather computer games.

The best devices for gaming - desktop and laptop computers, powerful PC to play games

Game consoles are devices totally dedicated to entertainment. Mostly it’s playing games, but you can watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, or enjoy your photos as well. In the past, consoles were very different from computers. Starting from PS3 and Xbox 360, they become more and more similar to PCs, but of a special format.

Here are features of the console gaming:
  • Consoles are cheaper than computers of the same power. The recipe is very simple - the manufacturers are ready even to lose some money but connect customers to their ecosystems. They earn mostly on software, not on hardware. If you have a PlayStation / Xbox / Nintendo console, each game you purchase officially makes a profit for Sony / Microsoft / Nintendo). They get components for the consoles cheaper from their partners - the price is significantly bigger for a person who wants to build a custom PC.
  • Consoles are underpowered. These are amazing devices, dedicated mostly to games, and you will not have problems to run anything from the official stores. And still, the console specifications are significantly lower than of gaming PCs. The manufacturers try to make these consoles affordable for customers, and they are limited in the internal space of the boxes. Developers adjust settings of their games to the real capabilities of these devices, so on gaming PCs, the same virtual world may look much more detailed and beautiful.
  • Consoles offer amazing exclusives - except Xbox. Sony purchases companies and makes deals with developers to release PlayStation exclusives. They are absolutely brilliant games, worth purchasing the device (such as God of War or Ratchet and Clank). Nintendo positions itself as a software company, and you can play Animal Crossing and Pok√©mon only on Nintendo devices. The situation with Xbox is different. Microsoft produces the most popular OS for computers, Windows, so they consider PC gaming a part of their ecosystem. PlayStation also makes steps toward the PC community. Such games as Death Stranding, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Detroit: Become Human make their way to Steam. Lots of PlayStation exclusives are playable on computers through the streaming service PS Now.
  • Games for the consoles are more expensive. This is the main source of revenue for the manufacturers, so you usually pay more for the same game on PS/Xbox Store than on Steam/Epic/GOG/HB. Nintendo almost never cuts prices. Games on the Nintendo eShop are always expensive and rare sales for Nintendo games don’t make a big difference.
  • Consoles are easy to use - and nothing distracts you from gaming. For many people, this is the biggest advantage of console gaming. You plug-in the box, log-in to your account, and everything is ready for you to enjoy. No additional applications to remind you about the job or some other tasks. No complicated settings to delay delving into a game world. Consoles offer a very comfortable environment, and even people who can easily handle all the tricky tech features of PCs, enjoy being in the convenient and straightforward PlayStation / Xbox / Nintendo universes.
  • Consoles are a luxury. You can use computers for lots of other tasks and occasionally play games on them. People purchase consoles to have fun in spare time - it’s hard to take something else from them. Also, to have a modern console, you should buy a new one every 7-8 years. Otherwise, you will be late for the new generation.
For a comparison of the next-gen consoles, take a look at the post PlayStation 5 / Xbox Series X - the choice beyond specs.

Devices to play games: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch. The best game consoles

Consoles vs Consoles

One opinion arises here and there around the game industry - the consoles are going away. We may get the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as the last iterations of these systems. The Nintendo Switch may become the ultimate version of Nintendo devices. Why? Because of the global changes in this business that come with the game streaming technology. Gamers don’t need to upgrade their devices regularly to play the newest games - they can pay a reasonable subscription and play whatever they want to from the cloud. Many people see this possibility as a future of gaming. Still, it’s not here yet.

The Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch are quite real things and a lot of people love the feeling of being owners of the devices and the games. Will there be the next-gen of consoles after this one? No one knows, but anyway, you will need some devices even to play from the cloud. Maybe, we will not see further leaps in the internal power. Maybe, for playing games from the cloud, a usual smart TV and gamepad or keyboard with mouse will be enough. But that doesn’t cancel the new revision of PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo consoles. And gamers will make their choices in the potential future as well - which console to buy, and even to buy or not to buy consoles at all. Let's look at them more closely.

  • PlayStation - cinematic story-driven games make up the spirit of the PS exclusives. These games are precious for the brand reputation, and many people purchase a PlayStation only for playing Last of Us, Spider-Man, or God of War. Lots of other games are also available on PlayStation, so these consoles are a perfect getaway to (almost) all things gaming (even if it's the less successful PlayStation Vita). VR games on consoles are available only with PS4 and PS5 + the special PSVR set.
  • Xbox - Microsoft tries to bring enormous power to console gaming. They did that with the Xbox One X, the most powerful console ever. And they do the same with the Xbox Series X, which is again the most powerful console ever. This power comes with some rough edges, so many gamers feel the lack of experienced elegance of PlayStation here. Still, Microsoft has a significant extra weapon right now - an amazing variety of games on their subscription Xbox Game Pass. They also have exclusives, but for both Xbox and PC (Gears 5 and Forza Motosports 7, for example).
  • Nintendo - this Japanese company found its perfect niche and stopped competing with the others some time ago. The Nintendo Switch is an underpowered hybrid console with some iconic exclusives. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, and other characters live only here. Having PlayStation or Xbox doesn’t prevent gamers from purchasing the Switch or Nintendo 3DS - they exist in a different dimension.

The console war is a stupid thing to follow. We all are gamers even if we use different devices. It’s a rare thing to see one person having a PlayStation and Xbox simultaneously. And the secret of choice here is not in the numbers of bare power or the quantity of exclusives. Each brand has its specific aura, its spirit. Just feel the atmosphere around PlayStation. Then feel the atmosphere around Xbox. And then buy whatever makes you happier. Or maybe you need only the Nintendo Switch - this choice is also perfect, we don’t have wrong decisions here.

The same can be said about the choice between PC and console gaming! Playing games is good for developing some skills (such as attention or constancy), but the most powerful aspect of this hobby-lifestyle is to create a positive emotional experience for you. Consider all the features described in this article and then feel your heart. It may give an illogical answer, but probably it is the best just for you.

See also…

You can play games even without consoles and computers - on your smartphone. Pokemon Go is one of the most popular mobile games:

An article about playing Pokemon Go in 2020

It’s nice to have a game released on all the gaming devices, so it unites the community. The fun and colourful platformer The Adventure Pals is one of such products. And it’s an excellent playing experience!

A review of the platformer The Adventure Pals on the gaming blog Very Good Games