Thinking about upgrading your gaming gear and wondering “Should I buy a gaming PC?” The reality is that gaming PCs used to reign supreme, but nowadays they don’t carry that much weight in the eternal boxing match between consoles and PCs. In the mid-2000s, I owned two gaming systems: a Nintendo Wii and a mid-range gaming PC. My PC then got a lot of attention and the first time I ever played games like Batman Arkham Asylum, BioShock, Portal and so many others were on PC.
It was my gateway to a world beyond what Nintendo had to offer. That momentum has carried me through the past decade, and in 2019 I upgraded to a newer PC with an RTX 2060 Super GPU powering the RGB Carnival that sat on my desk. It was beautiful and fast, and one of my favorite statement pieces to display when people would come over. And then… things started to change.
The line between a PC and Xbox/PS5 has never been more blurred
In 2020 I bought a PlayStation 5 at launch, and a little over a year later I managed to find an Xbox Series X available at a local Target. Suddenly games I had only once available on my PC were now playable from the comfort of my couch with a controller, without any concern for system compatibility or digging through countless video settings to make sure I was running the game at its best .
Now that these consoles are in rotation, my gaming PC, which is not even three years old, started collecting dust. I still turn it on from time to time, mainly to play with friends online, but even with the Xbox cross-play capability, that became less of a requirement. My consoles ended up taking up the lion’s share of my time, and that’s OK.
Since the latest release of gaming hardware, the line between a home console and a gaming computer has never been thinner. Yes, gaming PCs still offer a variety of performance upgrades that you won’t find on a home console, but if you just want to play the latest games and have fun with them, an Xbox or PS5 is going to give you everything you’re looking for you are looking for.
Interested in third-person adventures with tall tales? Sony spent years developing the PlayStation as the place to go for games like that. Microsoft, on the other hand, is more interested in attracting a larger install base with a variety of indies and AAA titles on Game Pass. Likewise, if you subscribe to one of the higher PS Plus tiers on a PlayStation 5, you’ll get access to hundreds of games almost instantly. PC has some similar offerings, such as its own tier of Game Pass, but in terms of value, the console will be the best bang for the buck, especially over time.
Are there advantages to a PC over a console?
These days, gaming on a PC is almost more of a personality statement than an actual preference. A niche market that really cares about the highest frame rates and the highest resolutions wants a powerful build, but literally at what price? I can respect someone who wants to put thousands of dollars and many hours into building the perfect rig so they can show off their RGB light show and rejoice at how glorious their Minecraft world looks in 4K HDR, but for those same people want I just ask: Are you happy?
Some describe building a PC as akin to playing with adult LEGO, while others (some of whom live on the TechRaptor staff) insist it’s much, much more complicated than that. Isn’t it easier to buy a relatively affordable PlayStation 5 for $500 and just plug it in? The thing about consoles is they just WORK despite the red rings of death on the Xbox 360. Wouldn’t you rather just plug in a system and jump in War god Ragnarok without having to worry about whether your GPU needs to be overclocked to run properly? I know I would.
Can a console replace a gaming PC?
If you’re just looking for a system to play games, do some research on what games you like or what upcoming releases you’re looking forward to. First-person shooter players might be better off on an Xbox, while fans of third-person adventure stories will find plenty to play on PS5. Those lucky enough to own multiple systems can worry less about what’s available on a particular console and instead decide where to play a specific game. Whichever current-gen console you choose, you’ll enjoy the fast loading times and current-gen features available on a PS5 or Xbox.
Current prices still make this an investment for most people, but it’s still cheaper and easier than investing in a high-end PC. The best financial advice I ever received was to spend my money where I spend my time, and I spend a lot of time playing games. From a cost/benefit standpoint, nothing can replace the value I get from my home video game consoles.
For most people who just want to enjoy a wide variety of games, any console can be a good investment rather than a PC, and they shouldn’t feel like they’re getting a lesser experience than their PC player counterparts. After all, the goal is to have fun, and when it comes to fun, the PS5 and Xbox certainly deliver.
Gaming PCs are not as necessary as they used to be. I’m glad more people can enjoy games they love by simply buying a box of electronics and plugging it into their wall. As for buying an Xbox vs. PS5? That is an argument for another time.