Time to answer the age-old question that has troubled gamers for decades: Console or PC? Putting aside veterans who know their stuff, newcomers might be torn on whether to drop the cash on a PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, or computer system. Which awards the best bang for your buck? While this rivalry is not quite as heated as the console wars, advocating for one or the other tends to ignite quite a passionate debate. Certain groups refuse to even acknowledge the viability of consoles, while the technologically inexperienced may be flooded by the prospect of stitching together a PC.
In truth, both avenues carry their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the needs of the customer, a console or computer could both conceivably be the correct choice. So, why is this article solely highlighting home gaming systems rather than splitting the praise? Well, consoles tend to get the short end of the stick. Commercially, the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One are all performing admirably; however, these devices are frequently treated as inferior to PCs. Now, in all fairness, a high-end computer destroys any gaming hardware without batting an eye, but processing power is not the only factor worth considering when deciding whether to purchase a console or a computer!
PCs trounce consoles in various department, but this contest is far from a one-sided wash. Here are 25 things console players can do that PC gamers cannot!
25 The Grace And Allure Of Nintendo
Following Nintendo's recent efforts to eliminate emulation, purchasing the company's systems might soon become the only viable means to play The Legend of Zelda or Super Mario Bros. Emulation has reached up to the Wii U period, but only a handful of games run at a functional FPS. Crucially, Nintendo's first-party games are truly unique. The publisher's brilliance cannot be replicated by any of its competitors, and PC gamers fare worse than most.
Precious few AAA studios endeavor to produce experiences similar to Nintendo, whose games tend to be incredibly polished and endearing. Platformers are readily available across all systems, but there is only one Nintendo.
24 $400 Is More Than Enough
Consoles are cheaper. Technically, one can purchase a gaming PC for approximately the same amount of money, but such a low price requires concessions to be made in several areas. A $500 computer could easily pack a graphics card and CPU equal to or greater than a PlayStation 4, but this comes at the cost of a serviceable power supply or motherboard.
Nowadays, consoles are basically glorified computers.
Comparing production expenses to sales, console units typically fail to turn a profit. As games are the true m0neymakers, manufacturers willingly undervalue their hardware to ship as many units as possible. When it comes to computers, you get what you pay for!
23 Consoles Grant An Escape
Computers are everywhere. Work in an office? Presumably, the majority of your day is spent staring at a monitor. Work from home? The PC might as well be your entire world! Computers are multi-tasking beasts capable of performing nearly anything imaginable; however, they cannot stop being themselves!
Picture this; Joe wakes up at 7 AM, drinks a cup of coffee, and plummets behind his computer desk. The next ten hours consist of writing articles and scripts while scarcely moving an inch, before finally shutting down LibreOffice to call it a day. Unsurprisingly, Joe must move away from his work station to unwind. Consoles are an escape from computers.
22 A Titan Of Titles: Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games' projects are tailor-made for consoles, with PC owners typically having to contend with delayed ports or scouring Twitch for streaming sessions. Currently, the studio has yet to announce any plans to release Red Dead Redemption 2 on PCs.
Grand Theft Auto V waited more than a year to complete the transition.
Signaling out a single exclusive may seem overly picky, but Rockstar Games is not tied to any particular brand. The studio simply prioritizes consoles over computers. Red Dead Redemption 2 may look spectacular running on an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, but that time may never come to pass! Exploring the new frontier demands owning a PlayStation or Xbox.
21 Game On The Go
Gaming laptops serve as the PC market's answer to portable systems, but the community tends to shun these devices more than consoles! Laptops cannot be upgraded, eliminating one of the key incentives for purchasing a computer over a console. Along with fetching a hefty price, laptops have an expiration date.
A hybrid designed to embody the best of home and portable gaming, the Nintendo Switch grants an experience unlike any other. Putting aside 2017's handheld hardware, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only require a TV to be playable in any location. Desktops are simply too bulky to function as travel companions.
20 Terrible AAA Ports
Due to hardware limitations, developers typically optimize games to suit a console's specs. Following the PlayStation 3's unique infrastructure and delayed release, countless seventh generation titles ran superior on the Xbox 360 than Sony's console. Regardless of the effort afforded by the company, ports are nearly always plagued by numerous issues. At best, these releases succeed in delivering an equivalent experience to the original version.
PC gamers frequently have to accept leftovers. Batman: Arkham Knight is a notoriously terrible port, but Rocksteady's superhero adventure is merely one among many. When it comes to shoddy ports, Japanese studios tend to be the worst offenders.
19 A Level Playing Field
With console manufacturers showing a willingness to step away from controllers, this entry's may not be as big of a deal in the future. Nevertheless, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One players seldom have to worry about being at a disadvantage during multiplayer games. Generally, everyone involved has access to the exact same hardware.
Skill is key.
Some PCs are more equal than others. While skill remains a factor, a zero-delay monitor and a superior gaming mouse can be the difference between victory or defeat. Along with technological advantages, PC players must contend with far more hackers than their console brethren.
18 Free From DRM
DRM is the bane of every PC gamer's existence. Devised to protect a creator's intellectual property from piracy, Digital Rights Management seem like a reasonable idea in theory, but some variants lock people out of their legally purchased games. Many require internet access to verify a product's license, but corporations seldom maintain indefinite servers for all their titles. Players might fail to launch a property on a second PC.
If used wisely, DRM serves as an added level of protection against theft. Unfortunately, a draconian DRM punishes customers rather than pirates. Conceding that many seem to only succeed in postponing a life on the high seas, this practice borders on pointlessness.
17 Buy & Sell
As the digital market steadily gains traction as a means of distribution, physical games face the risk of becoming obsolete. Regardless of what the future may hold in store, at the moment, players are still afforded the option to venture down to their local store and purchase a copy of Kingdom Hearts III.
Later on, they can trade Kingdom Hearts III to GameStop.
While physical games were always fighting a losing battle on PC, Steam effectively put an end to this practice. Even if certain titles continue to justify CD releases, few stores stock second-hand computer games. Once more than two hours are played, customers are stuck with their purchases.
16 First-Party Accessories
Third-party accessories flood the PC market. On the one hand, customers are granted the benefit of the choice; on the other, there is no guarantee a purchase will be compatible with every game. While the mouse and keyboard combination continues to reign supreme in certain genres, controllers are no longer shunned by the PC community. Yakuza 0's Steam port actively recommends ditching the keyboard for a joystick.
Sony and Microsoft publish first-party accessories created for the sole purpose of complimenting their consoles. Customers do not have to worry about one particular game refusing to recognize the DualShock 4. Steam has taken strides to fix this issue, but first-party accessories are unlikely to gain significant traction due to the overwhelming amount of competition.
15 A Longer (Initial) Lifespan
Let's say two customers purchased a $400 PlayStation 4 and a $400 "gaming" PC in 2013. Five years later, the former is far more likely to still be useful than the latter. Permitting the owner takes care of their property, desktops can last a lifetime, but the same cannot be said for the system's separate ingredients.
While exceptions do exist, consoles typical last for more than half-a-decade. Manufacturers may announce an updated model, but games continue to run on the launch version. A $1000 PC should endure for roughly the same amount of time; however, sooner or later, a component bottlenecks the entire computer.
14 Third-Party Accessories
Third-party accessories reign supreme on PC. Want to buy a controller? Amazon's catalog stretches to the hundreds! Need a new microphone? Amazon's catalog stretches to the hundreds! Craving a fancy cushioned headset? Amazon's catalog stretches...
You probably get the picture.
Such an insane amount of variety is a blessing and a curse. Which games are compatible with this no-name product? Microsoft's Xbox controller and Sony's DualShock 4 are among the best controllers for PC gaming, but even they are relegated to third-party devices. Programs exist that trick a computer into believing a DualShock is actually an Xbox controller, but this is just another step added to an already bloated process.
13 Who Cares About Specs?
On PC, striking the perfect balance between performance and graphical prowess largely boils down to trial and error. Dealing with a touch of lag or frame issues? Should "Vertical Sync" be the first to go? Perhaps, reducing "Shadows" to "Low" might fix the issue!
Suddenly, the graphics regress by approximately a decade!
Wait, why does Rise of the Tomb Raider run flawlessly on "Ultra" but Saints Row: The Third barely functions on "Medium?" What does "Screen Space Ambient Occlusion" mean? Is that even a real thing? For better or worse, consoles mainly offer only one setting. Specs are left in the hands of developers!
12 Renting Games
Wish for an effective way to save some cash AND gain access to a huge catalog of titles? Sign up for a library card. While this varies from place to place, many large libraries stock an extensive range of popular games, including the latest properties that still fetch $60 when sold by stores.
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles feature the most prominently, but Nintendo Switch games also make an appearance. Taking into account Nintendo's reluctance to discount any of its first-party games, libraries are a real lifesaver! Due to the market preferring digital over physical copies, libraries seldom stock too many PC games. Renting is not in the cards.
11 Forever Compatible
Does a computer really last longer than a console? Even if the casing remains the same, changes to the hardware and software are inevitable. Purchasing a new graphics card is the equivalent of transitioning to a next-generation console. Moving away from hardware, Microsoft periodically announces a new operating system or releases updates that drastically alter the current version's ecosystem.
Providing the CD was not flung out of a window following an especially frustrating bout, a PlayStation One game should continue to function without much issue. Ever tried running a computer game from the '90s on Windows 10? Prepare to jump through some hoops. Conversely, a modern PC might be able to launch Doom, but the same cannot be said for the PlayStation 4.
10 Designed For Controllers
Controllers are readily available for PC. The Xbox's version typically runs right out of the box, while DS4Windows comes in useful whenever the DualShock 4 fails to make the grade. Considering all of this, some of you may be wondering whether this entry is truly necessary.
The answer is probably no, but we are going to include it anyway! While certain genres benefit from the extra precision bestowed by a mouse, others demand the use of a controller. It is not uncommon for ports to recommend a specific accessory, which tends to be reflected by the in-game prompts. In the heat of the moment, one quickly forgets that an Xbox and a PlayStation "X" are entirely different buttons.
9 Every Console Is A (Good) Pre-Built PC
Pre-built PCs may be tempting, but most are not worth a second glance. A quick Google search should return countless detailed tutorials on building your own computer. Along with providing a rundown of what is available on the market, PCPartPicker automatically eliminates incompatible components, a feature that substantially diminishes the potential risk of failure.
Putting aside high-end companies like Alienware, who typically overcharge for their computers, pre-built PCs punish the uninformed. They might include an acceptable CPU or graphics card, but corners have to be cut somewhere. Affordable and effective, consoles are pre-built PCs done right!
8 Couch Co-op Shines On Consoles
With each passing year, this advantage becomes less and less of a factor. Honestly, when it comes to couch co-op, the ship may have already sailed. Console gamers might fondly remember visiting a friend's house to partake in a match of Crash Team Racing or Super Smash Bros. For a child, there was no greater accomplishment than defeating your older sibling in a round of Street Fighter II!
Couch co-op is feasible on PCs, but systems are not typically set up to facilitate for group play. Desktops are often tied to relatively small monitors or lack an additional USB drive to insert a second controller. Nowadays, couch co-op is seen as more of a bonus than a necessity.
7 Play Console Exclusives
Well, duh. Console exclusives are the main reason most people purchase a PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or (to a lesser degree) Xbox One. Now, in all fairness, there are more exclusives on PC than any other platform. Steam's library puts to shame all of its competitors. While the Master Race is home to a couple of gems, a large number of PC exclusives are small indie games, RTS titles, or MMOs. Great for a niche audience, but not for everyone.
When was the last time PC gaming pulled a massive exclusive worthy of standing alongside the likes of God of War or Super Mario Odyssey? Endless Space 2 came arguably the closest to matching that level of polish associated with first-party exclusives. Microsoft's cross play has also helped bridge the gap.
6 Safer Seas To "Sale"
Piracy used to run rampant during previous generations. Jailbroken consoles seemed to be more common than normal ones! Experience begets wisdom; with each passing generation, corporations found new ways to counter illegal copies. Piracy is a non-issue for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
On the other hand...
PC gaming is synonymous with piracy. Regardless of whether someone supports or hates this practice, gamers and studios are inadvertently required to acknowledge it. DRM exists as a countermeasure against any unauthorized distribution of a product. Consoles are safe from piracy and all the complications associated with it.
5 Japanese Games
Thanks to the emergence of competitive online games, Japan has started to embrace the PC scene. Back in the early 2000s, Japanese studios seldom saw any point in releasing a PC port due to the local market failing to justify such an investment.
2008's Tales of Vesperia was only released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Conversely, 2019's Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition broke through the console barrier to score a multi-platform release for all currently available systems. Japanese studios are undeniably more receptive to PC ports than in previous generations. It is just a shame that so many seem incapable of manufacturing one that rises above mediocrity.
4 Made For TV
Consoles are convenient. Putting aside install times and patches, home gaming systems continue to adhere to the "plug and play" mentality. Once a disc is inserted into an Xbox One, the console handles the rest! Players may need to wait for a download to be completed or the system to update, but it is a matter of time rather than effort.
Technically, both a modern console and a desktop merely require HDMI cables to connect to a television set. While the former is devised for 50-inch screens, the latter works best with smaller monitors. Want to play a PC game on the big screen? Buy a Steam Link or the longest HDMI cable on the market.
Fallout 76's day-one patch was larger than the actual game. While Bethesda's RPG launched with more bugs than your average AAA product, post-launch patches have become quite common. Along with permitting studios to fix any egregious errors, updates serve as a link between consumers and developers. In 2019, a studio has no excuse for leaving a bug unchecked.
Patches are released more frequently for PC than console games, although this is another disparity that has gradually begun to shrink. Computer owners must also remember to periodically update their hardware's software. Luckily, Windows presents the option to automatically download and install the latest patches.
2 A Streamlined Experience
At the end of the day, computers and consoles fulfill distinct goals. The former offers flexibility, freedom, and diversity. On the flip side, consoles circumvent any extraneous fluff to produce a streamlined experience tailor-made to satisfy a family's media requirements.
Two clicks and a game is ready to go!
Consoles get straight to the point. Feel like playing a game? Just click on the thumbnail and that should be that! There is no need to bother installing Ubisoft's launcher to access Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. Obviously, a computer can perform far more tasks than any console, but simplicity is its own virtue.
1 The Functionality Of Xbox
During the eighth generation, Microsoft opted to blur the line separating Windows 10 and Xbox. Forza Horizon 4 and Gears of War 4 can be played on computers! This is fantastic news for customers who predominantly game on PCs, as Xbox systems are notoriously impracticable to emulate.
A large percentage of above-average modern PCs should be able to emulate the PlayStation 2's library, but the Xbox is an entirely different beast! The Xbox One's backward compatibility allows certain games from both preceding generations to be run on Microsoft's current hardware. Simply put, none of the Xbox's contemporaries came close to offering something similar.