Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Coyle Permetter, Editor
The Ultimate Showdown: PC vs Console gaming
Pre-Fight: The Weigh-in
There is an ongoing battle of the gaming platforms. In one corner we have the timeless PC. Ever-vigilant and continuously advancing, this fighter does not know the meaning of the word “retire.” The PC has come back this year with a surplus of new components that ascend it’s contention into the elite. In the opposite corner we have the six year veteran-the Xbox 360, and five year pro-the PlayStation 3. Definitely dated, and on the verge of retiring, however these systems still pack a big punch, and are hands down the easiest to setup.
Refereeing your fight will be Coyle Permetter, a PC enthusiast, as well as Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 owner.
We are approaching what is about to be one of the most exciting winters in terms of title releases. As so many new titles flood into the marketplace it leaves us to ask the question, “Which platform should I be playing these games on?” Many would tell you that PC gaming is dead, when it is actually quite the opposite. Through extensive research, I have laid out my best overview of consumers options when it comes to gaming.
Round 1: Price
The first and most important thing to 99% of consumers purchasing a new gaming system-is the price in terms of the value of the system they are getting. Notice how I didn’t say the cost in dollars, as this works in interesting ways on consumers’ perceptions of possible product. I’m going to compare the upper end setups of each product.
|Xbox 360 S||300$|
The PC is more expensive, hands down. However, the line does become blurred as time goes by. A “nice” gaming-PC will cost you about USD $1000-1300.. This will give you the crème-de-la-crème of hardware (including OS, cables, and headsets) your machine will be able to eat orphaned children and piss excellence. This however does not mean the fight is over. Games for consoles are now reaching an excess of USD 60, truly closer to USD 70 after taxes. PC games are about USD 10 cheaper, which definitely reduces the total costs to the consumer after a certain amount of time.
Consoles also require substantial gadgets to keep up to pace. Want your Xbox games in HD? Tack on the cost of a $30 HDMI cable, $50-60 controllers, $100+ headsets-$60/year Xbox live subscriptions, and the list continues on. Basically, there are hidden implicit costs on consoles that most consumers are aware of, and they definitely need to be factored into the price. So, the accessories plus the extra $10 a game you are spending a year (let’s say you purchase 10 games a year) closes the margin to around only USD $450. Not really that much of a nuisance when consumers were purchasing $600 PlayStation consoles a few short years back.
This also works in the opposite direction. There are a multitude of consumers who want to be able to spend extra money to completely customize their gaming station. With the PC, everything from solid state hard drives, to liquid cooled gaming machines can be created. The ability to continuously upgrade your system is a definite advantage for those willing to spend the money. So, essentially you will spend a lot of money with the ability to consistently upgrade every few years without ever having to spend that initial $1000 again. You simply replace parts as they become dated. With a console, you pay the initial cost and you are locked into that hardware. No upgrading, little customization, and very minimal future-proofing.
Results of Round 1: Console by a split decision (Hardcore gamers/enthusiast Judges for PC)
Round 2: Hardware
|CPU||3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-core Xenon||3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine||Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz 3.8GHz Turbo Boost)|
|Storage Capacity||250 GB||250 GB||4TB+|
|Memory||512 MB of GDDR3 Ram||512 MB of GDDR3 Ram||8GB+ of DDR 3 Ram|
|Graphics||500 MHz ATI Xenos||550 MHz NVIDIA/SCEI RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’||Radeon HD 6990 4GB 256-bit GDDR5|
If you are tech savvy, you can see the difference. If not, these pictures/video show that there is no comparison between the PC and Console.
Results of Round 2: PC wins! Unanimous Decision
Round 3: User Interface
This is where things start to take a huge swing in the other direction. If today I wanted to go buy a PlayStation 3 and play Batman: Arkham City I could drive 20 minutes to the store, drive home, and delve into Arkham City for 2-3 hours that night. With PC, this unfortunately just isn’t the case. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve personally experienced with setting up a PC, upgrading a PC, or just simply installing a game to get down to business that same day. Owning a PC means you are going to be learning a lot about your PC. You will be constantly fiddling, upgrading, and tweaking different things. While for some (me included) this is a huge bonus. However, for the average gamer, this is an unnecessary and ultimately negative aspect to owning a PC.
Results of Round 3: Console Wins! Unanimous decision!
Round 4: Game Variety
There are console titles that are exclusive to a specific manufacturer such as Heavy Rain is only on PS3. Whereas Halo Reach is only on Xbox only title. However, games such as these are also mutually exclusive to each other, so you can’t have both. And to make things even more confusing for the consumer, there are PC titles which do not exist on consoles such as Starcraft II.
So, from here, it’s based on more of a preference. Consumers are faced with the choice of which specific titles that become available are they going to play.
Results of Round 4: Draw
Results of Fight: Console wins by split decision (2 votes for console, 1 vote for pc, 1 draw)
It was an incredible bout, with both fighters bringing incredible things to the ring. PC components have gotten considerably cheaper in recent years making the gap between console and PC draw ever so close. The Achilles heel of computer gaming is still- price. To really reap the benefits of a PC one must spend at least a few hundred more than a loaded console.
Unfortunately, as this is being written, we are in the later stages of a recession, and most of us don’t have an extra USD $700 to spend on computer gaming hardware. However, if you already have a computer dedicated to this, or if you just recently built one, the costs for upgrading are considerably cheaper than getting a new console/accessories. So, the advantage is really only for those who do not have any PC hardware to start with, or for those who aren’t willing to get their hands dirty putting a rig together. Price aside, consoles are lacking so much from a technological standpoint- that they are almost a rip-off to consumers.
For those who want the best, and who don’t mind spending money, PC gaming is the absolute best way to experience any game.
Here, I will take the time to address and disprove many of the rumors floating around concerning PC/Console comparisons.
1.) Consoles have so much more games! Simply not true. The number of exclusive titles have dropped considerably since the Xbox/PS2 days, as more and more publishers are realizing that they can capitalize on multi-platform endeavors. Even Massive Multiplayer Online Game’s (MMOG’s), once PC exclusive, are begging to become cross-platform. It’s only a matter of time until the number of “exclusives” dwindles away to a few mere titles that no one will go and buy a system over.
2.) PC Gaming is dead. This is the worst and most over-exaggerated rumor. PC gaming is actually increasing. Activision makes several billion dollars a year on World of Warcraft. The residual income of subscription based games has dramatically increased over the past decade. Publishers will continue to try and branch into this market so long as the world keeps spending the GDP of Spain on subscriptions. Also the popularity of competitive gaming is also becoming increasingly popular as of late (MLG and such). Most of these competitions are played on pc because pc offers the most competitive environment known to gaming. (sorry no auto-lock for FPS’ kids!)
3.) Consoles are for kids! What!? Nothing is more fun than having people over to play Madden, or jumping into your favorite console game while relaxing on a couch. The ease and comfort at which consoles deliver the gaming experience will never be matched. All ages and all types of people can and do enjoy console gaming.