PC Master Race: Fact or Fiction?

by Edwin Chen

Picture of PC

So suppose you had to choose between PS4 or a PC for gaming. What factors exactly would be in consideration here? How can one truly measure the benefits of playing games with a PC or a console?

Let's begin by exploring customization options. One of the greatest benefits of using a PC is, of course, the vast customizability both in-game and hardware-wise. You can switch parts in and out very easily as the need for upgrades arise. Any console, such as the XBox One, pales in comparison. One cannot just upgrade the GPU any time they wish; instead, a gamer is stuck at a preset level of graphics. There is no way to change various in-game options either. (PCWorld) For example, in the exceedingly popular FPS game "Overwatch", there are no graphics options in consoles. PC's, on the other hand, can alter depth of view, textures, resolutions, and much more.

In terms of affordability, which is a common factor for a large part of the gamer population, there are many variables to consider. When buying a console, you can expect to spend around $300 to $400, then about $40 to $60 for each game. Meanwhile, to expect comparable performance on a PC, you will usually have to spend up to $800 for a desktop, or more for a laptop. The same games you might buy on the console generally have the same retail price on the PC. In this case, the console definitely wins. However, there is a bigger picture to look at here.

Picture of Console

Beyond the intial expenses of buying either a console or a PC, there are the games to consider. The aforementioned prices in either system vary very greatly on the PC, but not so much on the console. On Steam, a massive gaming platform on the PC, there are thousands of games with prices as low as $0 to the big AAA games that cost $60 each. The big turning point here is the frequent sales Steam offers, dropping prices sometimes by over 50 or even 75 percent. Console sales are generally relegated for the holidays, and even then they aren't as generous with the discounts. In addition, a gamer can easily acquire almost any game for "free", albeit not legally.

Speaking of Steam and its thousands of games, we move onto the idea of variety. (Lifehack) The PC offers an incomparablly greater amount of games than the console does. The PC platform is just far more easy to work with, especially for the large amount of independent developers. There are some game genres that aren't even possible on the console. Many Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA's) like League of Legends or DOTA aren't feasible on consoles. The same is true for many real-time strategy games, like Starcraft. In addition, in this day and age, the once sizable amount of console exclusives, or games that are only offered on the PS4 or XBox, are dwindling while the amount of PC exclusives are growing larger by the day. One final point to bring up in regards to variety is the compatibility of games in relation to the game system. On the PC, a game made in 1998 can still be played today. Meanwhile, a PS2 game disc will not work in a PS4. Also, while many PC games function in both Windows, Mac, and Linux, there is no cross-platform compatibility for PS4 and XBox systems. Finally, with the advent of virtual reality gaming, consoles simply aren't prepared for such a massive undertaking while PC gamers can already enjoy using the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift to play the first wave of virtual reality games on the market today. (TechRadar)

Some smaller, yet equally important factors to take into account are comfort and security. For many people, playing a game on a big screen while slouched on a sofa or a couch ten feet away from the screen definitely feels better than being confined to a computer chair and desk. An argument can be made about how you can just connect a big screen to a desktop or laptop screen with an HDMI cable, and you can just use a wireless keyboard and mouse to play from a distance, but this isn't a common setup for many gamers. As for the point on security, consoles are definitely safer from malicious virus and trojan attacks than PC's are. One wrong move and your computer can be downed for quite a while. No computer access leads to a very frustated and unhappy gamer and possibly expensive repair fees!

PC Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
  • Higher Customizability
  • Greater Selection of Games
  • Potentially Better Graphics
  • Virtual Reality Support
  • More Costly Upfront
  • More Vulnerable to Attacks
  • Less Comfortable to Play On
Console Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
  • More Comfortable Experience
  • Better Human/Social Interactions
  • Less Costly Upfront
  • Games are Far More Expensive
  • Less Massively Multiplayer Options
  • Non-Backwards/Cross-Platform Compatible
  • Lack of In-Game and Hardware Customizability
  • Lower Variety of Games and Less Exclusives

By taking all the aforementioned pros and cons into account, there are many questions the buyer must answer by him or herself. How do you feel about playing games from a sofa or sitting at a computer desk? Do you care about in-game graphics options, like changing resolutions, graphics quality, or view distance? Do you appreciate a vast library of possibilities, or sticking to a few favorites? After everything is said and done, the decision to take home either a PC or a console rests in the hands of the buyer's values.

Works Cited