I’m an avid gamer. It’s one of the things I love to do to pass the time late in my evenings after a good, solid bike ride out in the sun. One of the occasionally-hot topics of discussion at Puget with my friends here is which platform is the best one to game on. I firmly believe in playing on whatever platform you want to, and I think there are advantages to each. I’ll try to touch on some of these!
- More direct control of your visual and audio experience while gaming.
- Great for tinkerers and people on the cutting edge of technology
- Keyboard+Mouse provide the best accuracy in twitch-based games
- Games usually release on PC before they release on consoles
- Early Access & Early Development Builds and releases
- Still supports console controllers for genres that are friendlier to it
- Computer builds can be customized/flashy/cool
- Most streamers you watch are likely playing their games on a PC
- Frequent deals at fraction of a full game’s cost on console
- Much higher initial cost upfront to get started.
- Cutting edge hardware can be less stable than a console.
- Far more PC knowledge required to build/maintain a PC
- Too many PC stores (Steam, Microsoft, Origin, Epic, Battle.net, Discord, UPlay, etc)
- Each store has its own launcher, and games are exclusive to each platform
- Driver crashes/Windows crashes
- Linux and MacOS gaming experiences are generally poorer than Windows
- Easier to set up and get to your games
- Console cost is usually a fraction of a good gaming PC’s cost
- 1080P is a baseline resolution targeted by nearly all console games.
- UI experience is consistent across each platform
- Console games are often comfortably played on a larger TV.
- One unified store per platform, multiple game launchers not needed
- Console generations typically last at least 7 years
- All 3 major consoles offer monthly free games
- Game Libraries are easily shareable on consoles between family members in the same house
- Consoles tend to have less graphical fidelity than what PC hardware can generate.
- Games will typically target 1080p when PC commonly targets 4K
- Requires a monthly subscription to play online (all 3 console makers)
- Weird stigma about console gamers being inferior to PC gamers
- Not as easy to set up and run streams if you’re a Twitch streamer
- Controllers on consoles are kind of a you-love-it-or-you-hate-it kind of thing
- Most Console games do not support Keyboard+Mouse.
Long story short, A good PC that plays games at 4K will easily cost you more than $3000, if you round up the cheapest parts you can find. Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo Switch all have consoles in the $300 range. Not to mention, console gaming is much more cost-effective for families.
I love playing Overwatch on my Xbox, because it’s got a vast pool of players, and a unified experience, but there’s nothing quite like playing Overwatch on my PC at 4K/60frames on a high-end gaming monitor. If you’re picky about how good your visual experience is, PC gaming is where you’ll want to be.
Parental restrictions are FAR easier to accomplish on a console than on a PC. With a PC, I couldn't find a single babysitting application for younger kids on the web. Otherwise, you’d have to lock out websites manually. I did write an article about setting up parental controls here.
Game sharing is a breeze on consoles, compared to PC. On consoles, you pick your “Home Console” and any purchases are shared to all other users on that console. So, when my children were small, I had just the two consoles: mine, and theirs, and I could always play my own games on my secondary console, and all of my purchases shared to the “Main” console, and I only ever had to make the digital purchase once to share it to my two young children. On PC, you have to build/maintain a second, or third PC, and set up sharing within Steam, while the other stores (Epic, Origin, UPlay, etc) don’t support sharing your library at all. For larger families, consoles are the way to go financially (in my humble opinion).
On PC, however, there are just some games that don’t translate as well to consoles. MMORPGs are one genre that are lacking on consoles. There are only a few highly-recommended MMOs out there in general, and only one Console MMO that feels like a PC MMO, and that’s Final Fantasy XIV on Playstation 4. I believe that the other console MMOs (all are Free-to-Play) lack in comparison to World of Warcraft, Rift, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Runescape, or Star Wars: ToR. Final Fantasy XIV feels like the only PC-level MMO on console. RTS games like Command & Conquer, Total War, Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, & Endless Legend have simply not been ported to consoles, because of the limited input options on consoles, when a Keyboard+Mouse is needed.
Honestly, the pros and cons of PC vs Console are different enough that it’s hard to say one is better than the other. Hopefully I’ve shared enough insight to help you make a choice! Come talk to us if you want to put together a gaming rig!