Ever since their inception, video games have provided countless hours of entertainment and joy to millions of people around the world. So, it comes as no surprise to anyone that the video games industry has become one of the most popular and lucrative industries, long surpassing other entertainment industries, such as cinema and music.
One of the reasons why the video game industry is projected to reach $196 billion in revenue is that you can play video games across a wide array of devices, so the overall market penetration is massive.
This has obviously spurred rabid competition between the different manufacturers of these devices, as well as their fan bases. And out of this competition, the concept of the PC Master Race of gamers eventually arose.
The PC Master Race is a belief, community, and internet subculture that holds PC gaming superior over the alternatives. But, is this belief justified? Is computer gaming objectively better than console gaming?
Is A Pc Better For Playing Video Games Than a Console?
Playing video games on a PC has many advantages over console gaming, but consoles have a lot to offer as well. This is why today we are going to dive deep into the world of gaming and try to settle the debate once and for all.
Are PC Gamers The Gaming Master Race?
It’s a complicated debate.
For the longest time, there was no crossover between the 2 groups. What most real gamers don’t realize is the average person playing games is a casual gamer. In terms of performance, price, and the sheer number of games, consoles were the better choice for most gamers.
For example, most game companies didn’t even bother to penetrate into the PC gaming market. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft had a gigantic player base and it was these players that most game developers sought to reach.
Further tilting the scale in the direction of the consoles, was the fact that consoles were built using different processor architectures than those commonly found on personal computers. As such, once a game was developed for a console, it was almost impossible to properly port the game to the PC market.
However, a drastic change in the processor chip architecture of the newer generation of consoles changed the PC vs Console debate forever.
The advent of the PS4 and Xbox One introduced the console market to the x86-64 processor architecture. The PS5 and the Xbox Series X consoles would continue this trend, which ultimately made porting games from consoles to PC and vice-versa easier than ever before. This, in turn, lowered development costs for virtually all game studios, which became incentivized to reach all potential gamers.
On another note, PC gaming was prohibitively expensive for decades. Although desktop gaming hardware was almost always more powerful than the competing gaming consoles, consoles presented consumers with a far more appealing entry cost.
However, since the era of the PS4 and Xbox One, it has been possible to build perfectly capable gaming rigs for a comparable price to that of one of the consoles.
Console manufacturers quickly caught on and began selling their new consoles at a loss, in order to gain a wider player base and gain their profits through the sale of games. So, once again the answer to the debate becomes a little muddled.
This is why we are going to provide you, dear reader, with a comprehensive list of the various advantages of playing games on a PC vs the advantages of playing games on a console.
Advantages of Playing on PC
Playing games on PC offers gamers a wide number of unique and impactful advantages over playing on consoles. It’s no wonder that to a large number of enthusiasts PC is the master race of gaming.
For example, PC gamers have the opportunity to always be up to date. PC can be considered the benchmark against which consoles can be measured. For this reason, it is pretty much a given these days that all improvements to processor performance and graphical capabilities will occur on the PC gear first.
Therefore, being a PC gamer will allow you to be on the cutting edge of gaming technology. Consoles will still receive these technological advances but not until much later, often not until the birth of a new generation of consoles.
PC Games Are Cheaper
Generally speaking, buying games for the PC is cheaper. This is so for several reasons: One of the most obvious is that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo take a publishing percentage for each game sold on the console. Thus, game developers must bump the price of their games on these consoles in order to keep their profits safe.
This is not the case for PC gaming. Popular PC digital distribution platforms such as Steam, Epic Games Store, and Origin, offer a massive catalog of PC games, many of which would have been console exclusives just a decade ago, for significantly lower prices than on consoles.
Additionally, the price of PC games will typically drop faster over time compared to the price of games on consoles, which tend to remain static for far longer. The distribution platforms above also regularly organize fire sales during which games get massive discounts.
Another factor that most people forget about when deciding between a gaming PC and a console, is that Online multiplayer is completely free on PC, but requires an additional investment on all major consoles. This additional investment can steadily add up over the years and should be considered as a part of the total cost of consoles by those interested in Online play.
Components That You Can Improve Whenever You Want
The PS4 and Xbox One were the first consoles to receive an intergenerational update with their PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X versions, which had a much-improved performance. However, this has yet to become a solidified trend, which means that when you purchase a video game console you can’t do so with the expectation that an upgraded version will become available in the future.
It is not practical or consumer-friendly, and this is not even taking into account having to pay full retail price for a slightly improved version of a console you already own.
But, with a PC you will always have the ability to update your rig as best you see fit, whenever you want.
For example, you can assemble a PC today making sure to include a cutting-edge processor and high power graphics card. However, given the incredibly fast rate at which computing components improve, it is very likely that your cutting-edge CPU and GPU will be outdated in a few years. No problem, though, because you can easily purchase individual upgrades and replace them if needed.
The same can be done with the PC’s RAM, Hard-Drive, etc.
This directly leads us to the fact that when you purchase a gaming platform, you must analyze the long-term cost of doing so. While a video game console will often be a cheaper option at first, it will often be a much cheaper option in the long term to go with a gaming PC.
Games will generally be cheaper, and upgrading to keep your rig in top shape will be more granular.
Most games do not require custom controllers. You already have a mouse and keyboard, which offers tighter controls in most FPS and similar games
Accessories will also be cheaper on the PC side of things. Additionally, you will always have access to a wider market of peripherals that just isn’t present in the console side of things because console manufacturers take a more hands-on approach to vetting and controlling the available peripherals.
More Control Over Performance
It’s a pretty widely known secret that most newer games on consoles represent a compromise between getting the game to look good and run appropriately.
In other words, when you play a game on a console, regardless of which console, you relinquish control of the experience and accept that performance and graphical fidelity will be decided for you by the console makers and game developers.
But when you play on PC, you have the ability to assume much more control of the experience. For example, on PC you get to decide at which resolution to run the game or establish a framerate cap to give your components some breathing room, you can also lower texture, shadow, and lighting quality. You, not the console makers, get to adjust and decide how your PC renders what you see on screen.
While Sony and Microsoft have taken great strides at giving players the ability to play older games via backward compatibility, the PC is still king in this regard.
On PC you are able to natively run game software that was released decades ago.
Modding allows PC users the ability to “modify” their games with considerable freedom. There is a gigantic community of modders and mods which help players alter their gaming experience even beyond what was originally designed by the game developers.
Modders are able to add content to the game, such as new levels, new playable characters, new gameplay mechanics, etc. The degree of freedom attainable by the modding community is truly astonishing.
And for the technically inclined, overclocking CPUs and video cards can allow you to run better games a higher framerates at no additional cost.
For various reasons, this is simply not possible on consoles.
Advantages of Playing on Consoles
To say that consoles have nothing over PC gaming would be disingenuous. Especially if we are trying to decide whether PC is actually the master race of gaming. So, let us briefly touch upon the various advantages of playing games on consoles.
While game exclusivity is not an issue on Microsoft consoles, due to compatibility with the Windows OS, it is definitely a problem on Sony and Nintendo consoles.
Some of the bigger, blockbuster titles on consoles are built with console exclusivity in mind; which means the only way to play them is to own the console on which they were released.
Sure certain games offer local multiplayer on the PC but they are few and far between and the experience is just not the same.
We keep a Wii in the house exclusively to play games with large groups around the TV. For me personally, as someone who lives in a house with 3 other gamers, this is by far the biggest advantage for console gaming.
Ease of Use
Consoles are truly Plug-and-Play machines. All you have to do to play on a console is plug it into a display, boot up the game, and hit play. That’s it. All the parameter setting and technical stuff have been taken care of for you. This is not the case on PC, where often you will have to tune more than a few in-game settings and OS settings to get the most of your gaming experience.
Assembling a PC and making sure every component is working properly can be a daunting task, whereas getting a console ready to go is a matter of plugin in a few cables and a controller.
Lower Cost Of Entry
When you buy a console you have “everything” you need to get started. This means that generally speaking the initial cost of entry is lower than on PC. Consoles are also regularly on sale, especially during holidays.
Although platforms like Steam have done wonders for the unification of the PC gaming community, for the most part, it is still fragmented. Especially when compared to the console communities.
Your Friend List on the console will keep you connected with all of your friends who own the same console, thus giving you the possibility of more easily organizing your playtime.
Portability is another factor to consider, and consoles have the upper hand there. While both consoles and personal computers somewhat limit their use when on the go, Nintendo has based a significant segment of their console market on the portability of their portable console line, including their flagship Switch console.
While the Steam Deck looks to upend the portable market, we still have to wait and see how that is going to pan out. In the meantime, PC gaming is at a disadvantage when it comes to gaming on the go.
The personal computer, or PC, has been a better gaming platform for more than a decade now. There are many advantages offered by the PC over the various gaming consoles, including a much larger variety of titles, better graphical fidelity, versatility and flexibility in the peripheral market, freedom to mod, and a more inexpensive pricing model.
While it is true that gaming on PC can be more complex and, thus, more intimidating, the payoff will be larger and more significant in the long term.
Getting comparable performance to the latest consoles will be more expensive on a PC, at least initially. However, the higher initial cost will be offset by the longevity of the machine, as it will easily continue to outperform the consoles after more than a few years.
Something to keep in mind is that currently there is a shortage of raw materials which has made the production of certain semiconductors, essential to the manufacture of microchips, somewhat difficult.
This has, of course, made prices on CPUs and GPUs skyrocket beyond normal market value. As a result, having a PC equipped with the latest tech has become significantly expensive over the last couple of years.
I know the couch peasants will not agree. but when we take into account every possible variable and study every angle, I can’t help but arrive at the following conclusion: We are still the glorious PC gaming master race.