The PC vs console debate is an age old one. If you are a millennial reading this article, then here is a fun fact for you. During the birth of console and PC gaming, consoles were more powerful than PC’s before the dynamics changed. However today, the PC is considered as the pinnacle of gaming graphics and framerate fidelity, there is no denying that. The keyboard and mouse is a superior input method for some game genres and for some the controller is more comfortable. These are points we aren’t going to delve into in this story as this isn’t a PC vs console argument. This is a story for those of you looking to move from PC gaming to console gaming. We will talk about things like controller comfort, games, hardware, cost of games and more. Just to let you know, in the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s I was a PC gamer gradually moving to the PS1 and PS2 while still gaming on my PC before going console full time. So, the transition that I will share with you, is something I have gone through.
Choosing the right console
This is the most important choice you need to make an honestly, it isn’t that difficult. The easy answer is pick up the console your friends have if multiplayer gaming is what you will be doing most of the time. Sure, there are some games that support cross play between the PS4 and Xbox One, but most of them are restricted to their own console family. If it is single player games that you want, then you will have to look at the exclusive library each console brings.
Truth be told, this is the best and worst time to pick up a console. It is a good time because you can get a good deal on the PS4 and Xbox One and since both the consoles are 5 years old, you have a good library of games to choose from including exclusives. It is a bad time to pick up a console, because rumours suggest that both Sony and Microsoft are expected to announce their next gen consoles in 2019 which means that by 2021 most of the major AAA games releasing will focus on exploiting the new hardware.
There are some AAA games slated for the PS4 and Xbox One both in exclusive territory and third-party titles in the coming years and like we saw during the transition between the PS3 to PS4 and Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, a lot of games will be cross gen. If you are looking to test the console water, now is a good time to do so without spending a lot of money.
Plug and Play setup
One if the biggest advantages of a console over the PC its plug and play nature. There is no need to assemble components like you would with a PC and even though there are a lot of plug and play gaming PCs, it is getting your hands dirty and building a PC that is hallmark of PC gaming. With a console all you have to do it remove it from the box, plug it into your TV, connect to the internet and you are good to go.
Yes, the PC is a more diverse system when it comes to multi-function use. You can watch movies, do homework, browse the internet, run a variety of software and more. The console may not be as diverse as the PC with multi-functional use however it does make for an excellent HTPC replacement or the standalone box to make your TV a smart TV. From blu-ray player to streaming services and even browsing the internet and uploading your gameplay or using it as a Plex device, the console can replace a lot of the accessories you use to make your TV smart. Also, unlike a PC, a console is small and portable enough to put into a bag and take to your friend’s house to play, if you like.
Controller vs Keyboard and mouse
There are some games where the controller is a better option especially if you will play third person action games, racing games and side scrolling adventure games. However, strategy and FPS games are the only ones where the keyboard and mouse are king. If you are on the fence about shifting to a controller, then know that the Xbox One supports keyboard and mouse input.
Also, with the way the Xbox One and PS4 controllers are designed, they are ergonomic for hours of use, functional and work extremely well for shooters as well. Getting used to a controller won’t take long and ones you pay games like Gears of War, Call of Duty, God of War, etc. you will realize, that games are built to exploit the controller from the ground up in ways you didn’t think was possible.
Cost of hardware
We will talk about games later in this article, but one of the biggest advantages of a console over the PC is the cost of hardware. You will buy a console once every 5 to 7 years and it will play all the games that launch for that generation of console with ease. No need to upgrade the RAM or the CPU or the GPU to get the game running. Sure, you won’t get the stellar frame rates you would on a PC but the games do run fluidly and give you an entertaining experience. With games like God of War, Uncharted, Halo and Forza pushing the current console generation to their limits, most gamers will enjoy a console gaming experience without any hiccups.
Consoles in India are expensive at launch (when compared to their international prices) but are still more affordable than a high-end gaming PC. Resorting to the grey market will help you get a console at a cheaper rate.
So, when you are switching from a PC to a console, know that it is a once every 5-year investment in the hardware rather than a continuous upgrade programme.
Cost of games
This is where PC gamers may have a problem when switching over to the console. The PC has some of the best sales each year giving you AAA titles at supremely affordable rates. The same isn’t the case on the consoles. Sure, there are sales, but not to the extent we have seen on PCs. Another thing to note is that with PCs you can play your age-old games with little to no trouble on new hardware. But to play a PS3 game, I will have to whip out my old console. Thankfully, it looks like some of this is changing (read the next section for more on this).
Another thing to remember, is that the PC may have games like League of legends and Dota but games like Red Dead Redemption launch on consoles way before they hit the PC. Needless to say, the console is a higher priority for a lot of developers.
Chose the console that has the better library of exclusive games as third-party games work fine on both consoles.
With backwards compatibility, Microsoft is ensuring that Xbox One gamers can play their Xbox 360 games without any hassles. Microsoft also has a service like Xbox Game Pass which is a Netflix like service giving you access to hundred plus games for a monthly or annual fee.
Microsoft is leading the pack when it comes to backwards compatibility, but when it comes to the PlayStation, information circulating the internet suggest that the PS5 could play PS4 games out of the box.
Backwards compatibility is better on the PC but there are options for console gamers.
For both, the PS4 and Xbox One, you will have to join their respective monthly subscriptions service if you want to play with your friends. This is something to definitely keep in mind when switching to a console from a PC.
Both Sony and Microsoft have subscription services giving you access to 2 to 4 games each month on their respective consoles. The games are preselected and not always the best available on the platform. However, they will give you access to games you would otherwise ignore. This gives you the ability to try out different genres of games and get exposed to ones you would otherwise not spend money on. There are times when classics, remasters and even AAA games find their way to these subscription services.
Like we said above, the lifespan of a console is 5 to 7 years making investment in the hardware a once in a decade investment. The current console generation is the first time we saw a mid gen refresh with more powerful versions of the PS4 and Xbox One launching in the form of the Ps4 Pro and Xbox One X respectively. How this works in the future is only something time will tell. The base versions of these consoles are still supported which means that if you have a launch PS4 or Xbox One, you can still enjoy all the games making their way to the platforms.
Should you move to a console right now?
This isn’t a very tough question to answer as it all depends on the games you want to play. If you are planning to give up on a gaming PC and move to console for good (like I did) then I’d say stick with your gaming PC for another year. In 2019, we will have a clearer picture about the next console generation and jumping to the new consoles will be a wiser move especially if consoles will be your way forward.
If you are on the fence or want to test the console water, then you should pick up a PS4. The console has a better library of exclusives for you to enjoy. Also, all Xbox One exclusives like Cuphead, Gears of War, Forza and Halo bring cross buy between the PC and Xbox. You can enjoy them on your PC if you like.
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