Beginner Gamer Tips: How to Know Whether You Should Get a Console or a PC Gaming Setup
With new game releases and updates every month, there’s never been a more perfect time to own a gaming setup. However, as the gap between gaming PC and console sales starts to shrink, it can be confusing for first-time gamers to decide which platform to invest their money in. Even when game developers are aiming for a wider audience through a multiplatform release strategy, it’s best to get acquainted with the respective features of consoles and PCs to help you compare them and make a more informed decision.
Gaming setups will cost you a considerable amount no matter what. A console can be relatively cheaper since you buy it as an entire system, while the different PC components would accumulate expenses. To illustrate, a fully built gaming PC can cost you around $700 to $1,000, while gaming consoles like the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X retail for $400 to $500. There’s also the portable Nintendo Switch, which appears to be the most accessible at a cost of $300.
Ease of use
The setup of gaming consoles can be simple, intuitive, and user-friendly. Since they are usually handheld or plug-and-play systems, they’re also known to be portable and easy to store. Gamers are used to keeping their consoles on a shelf or next to the television, so the size of popular console PS5 due to its heat management system can otherwise serve as a detriment to space and storage.
Meanwhile, gaming PCs need to be set up with a desk and gaming chair, while also demanding some tech know-how so you can identify the specs and hardware combinations that you need or want. There are certainly pre-built PCs on the market, but building and setting up your gaming PC can still be leveraged if we consider the next aspect of performance and capability.
Performance and capability
Console gamers tend to not worry about game-breaking bugs, since developers have already taken into account the specific console’s hardware and software when launching a game. As previously mentioned, however, the modularity of gaming PCs may be costly but usually leads to better performance and capability. The components of a gaming PC can be customized to suit the gamer’s specific needs, be it in graphics, storage, or system requirements. Outside of upgraded graphic cards and hard drives, 4K monitors like the Samsung INZONE M9 can display your game at the optimal resolution and frame rate. You can also opt for gaming accessories like noise-canceling headphones and light-up keyboards, while the customization for consoles is usually limited to hardware skins and designs.
What and how you play can also determine the platform that’s suitable for you. A Wirecutter review on best game consoles emphasizes the current and upcoming releases of console-exclusive titles, such as Horizon Forbidden West and Final Fantasy XVI for PS5; and Halo Infinite and Grounded for Xbox Series X and Series S. Both of these consoles are also backward-compatible, which means you can play older games released for previous console generations. But if none of these exclusive titles pander to you and you’re the type to prioritize variety and availability, then gaming PCs might be the better choice. Gaming libraries like Steam have a wide selection of both paid and free-to-play games, while also offering niche and indie games that you possibly cannot avail of on consoles. In terms of online multiplayer gaming, consoles usually require a subscription to play online while PC online lobbies are always free.
With their respective advantages and disadvantages, it’s logical to conclude that both gaming PCs and consoles are equally viable options for beginner gamers. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to gaming, you can weigh these differences against one another in order to determine which platform works best for you. Happy gaming!