If you want to play video games.. these days, there have never been so many options. You can grab a smartphone or connect to a game streaming.. service and start playing right away. However, for most people playing video games.. as their main entertainment, there are two options: PC or console.
Consoles are specially designed gaming machines that offer plug-and-play games without having to tinker with game settings. They’re also pretty affordable, at least for their starting price.
PCs, on the other hand, offer complete hardware flexibility and, if you spend enough, gaming power that no other console can match. Except, perhaps, the moment a new generation of consoles is released.
While the PC platform tends to be home to premium video games.., gamers often ditch what counts as a PC gamer. The question is whether this perception is correct. The answer, as we’ll see, depends on how you look at things.
There are no two options. The amount of money you have to give to take your console home is less than what you would pay for an equivalent or better gaming PC. As the life of the console increases, this fact changes. As the console hardware does not change, new PC hardware becomes more powerful at a lower cost. So in the end, for a similar asking price for a console, you get a better-spec PC.
Why are consoles so much cheaper? There are several reasons for this. Console makers get preferential hardware prices because they create millions upon millions of consoles. Console makers also don’t need to make money on their consoles. They often either pay off or suffer losses on every unit.
This is acceptable due to what is known as “attachment speed”. In the case of the console, this refers to the games, services, and accessories that users have to buy to get real value from their machine. Thus, even if the console hardware itself does not make a profit, there is instant profit from the sale of the first game, accessory, or subscription.
In the case of PCs, every component makes a profit. Individual manufacturers are required to return equipment, or it doesn’t make sense. The end result of this is that in terms of performance per dollar, PCs are more expensive than consoles. However, this is not all. It would be more accurate to say that PCs are more expensive. But if we look at the cost over the life of a typical console, that picture changes.
Since consoles are a closed platform, game developers must pay for the right to release games on the system. This comes in the form of a fee for each copy sold. Instead of lowering your bottom line, these costs are passed on to the console player. As such, you will find that console games cost more at launch than the same games on PC.
That’s not all! Since several different distributors are competing to sell PC games, you are unlikely to ever pay the retail price for a PC game. Whether it’s a pre-order discount or price cuts a few months or even weeks after launch, there are always great deals on PC games. Console games, by contrast, tend to maintain full value for much longer. Plus, when they go on sale, they don’t get the same price cuts as PCs.
This is where the main price equalizer for PC and console games comes into play. However, this is clearly highly dependent on how many games you buy.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume a console game costs an average of $ 10 more than the PC version. If you buy one game per month for five years, that would be $ 10 x 12 months x 5 years. $ 600 worth.
If you added that $ 600 to your initial console purchase and bought a $ 1000 PC instead, your total costs would be the same. For $ 1,000 these days, you can buy a pretty decent gaming laptop or desktop. However, this is just one area of ??hidden cost that console players have to contend with.
Costs for online services
Since PC offers an open platform, players do not need to pay a third party for features such as multiplayer. On consoles, online multiplayer is usually reserved for a subscription service, which is in addition to any actual game subscriptions you may need to pay.
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft sweetened the deal with discounts and “free” digital games. So whether it’s worth paying is up to individuals to decide. The bottom line, however, is that if you want to play online at all, the fee is optional.
So the added value aspects don’t really matter. If you add the difference in monthly online multiplayer subscriptions to the average price difference for games, it will further equalize the difference in price between PC and console hardware over the life of the console.
Then we need to factor in the cost of upgrading the PC. First of all, upgrading to a PC while creating a console equivalent is optional . At least when it comes to cross-platform games.
The fairly recent development of consoles is a mid-generation upgrade. That gave us the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Neither was a significant upgrade, but they did offer a fairly affordable boost in graphics power.
The processors for these middle-generation machines have barely changed. So if you were to do the same with your mid-generation PC and upgrade only the GPU, then you would spend about the same (or less) as on a new upgraded console. From this point of view, the update has little effect when comparing PC and console.
Do you need a computer for other things?
The next important consideration when calculating comparative cost is whether you need a computer for anything other than gaming. If you need a computer for more than just gaming, then the cost of a console will add to the cost of a non-gaming PC.
In that case, you can also add up the costs and get a gaming PC. If you don’t need a PC at all, we may not consider it when comparing costs.
A different cost perspective
As we have seen, if you look at the total cost of ownership over the life of a typical console, the difference in cost between PC and console is not as significant as anticipated. Sure, high-end computers can be incredibly expensive, but this is not a comparison of extremes.
Again, we must not forget that consoles have unique advantages as well. For example, they are intended to be used as general household machines rather than personal ones. In addition, they do not require as much technical knowledge to operate or purchase. From a pure cost standpoint, though, if you can afford the higher up-front price, there is a strong case for a PC.