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PC vs Console: Where lies the future of gaming?

by james wernich (GabeSA)  Posted Tuesday, July 02, 2013 11:50:00 AM

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It’s undeniable – The future of console gaming is looking promising. The constant increase in the exchange rate makes maintaining and upgrading of a PC less obtainable. To be more specific, costs are rising and there is no end in sight. The launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 are going to offer specs in gaming that is usually reserved for PC gamers. Or that’s what they say. So let me delve into the logic here and give my input as to what the experts and developers are saying.

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But first let me give you a little price comparison on PC vs Xbox One vs PS4. My latest PC’s graphics card is considered a mid range card, but with very good capabilities. It cost me what I could expect to pay for a new PS4 or Xbox One, which should be around R5,5k – R7k depending on exchange rate at the time of release to South Africa. However, when you upgrade your PC graphics card, you don’t buy something mid to high range without upgrading other components as well, such as your CPU, GPU, RAM and motherboard. Then you have your gaming peripherals, a mouse, keyboard headset etc. Even at mid range these peripherals could set you back at least R2k. Yet the constant demand of PC gaming ends up limiting the lifespan of your components, whereas a console places no such demand on your pocket. Yes I know that console games are more expensive, but if you do the math, the cost does actually outweigh the benefits of PC gaming. At least in my opinion it does, and I am a PC gamer first, and console gamer second.

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Let me give you a bit of a financial idea of how it could work. Let’s say you buy five console games a year at R600 per game. A PC game of the same name would cost about R450. That is a difference of R150 in favour of PC games. If you buy your five games in one year the total difference is R750. One of the new console’s could cost you (lets for this costing work on a base amount) R6k. You get a controller with the console, but no such luck with a PC (Mouse & Keyboard). A mid range PC that could be comparable to the same new specifications as the consoles being released could set you back at a reasonable amount of R8k. That includes peripherals and so on. In two years, you may need to upgrade your card depending on your level of gaming i.e. online competitive or even online multiplayer only. Whereas a console, that upgrade isn’t necessary. As technology expands and grows, the level of graphics improves considerably which is where PC graphics cards give PC gamers a slight edge. But how much better can graphics get compared to what we see now? I don’t expect that it can by much. So, if you take the above information into account, a console is already saving you R2k even with the additional costs of the games produced for these consoles. Now of course prices will increase, but the same goes across the board. As long as you don’t need or have to upgrade your console, inevitably you will save money in the long run.

Below is an indication of the expected specifications for the Xbox One and PS4. If you know your technical stuff, you will know what a huge improvement these new consoles will bring. It is undeniable that they are significant compared to their predecessors.


Xbox One

PlayStation 4

Price (Proposed)

$499

$399

Availability

November 2013

Holiday 2013

Blu-ray

Yes

Yes

Hard drive

Built-in (500GB)

Built-in (500GB)

Motion control

New Kinect (bundled)

Move controller

CPU

8-core x86 AMD

8-core x86 AMD

RAM

8GB DDR3

8GB GDDR5

USB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Wireless

Yes (802.11n w/Wi-Fi Direct)

Yes (802.11n)

Gigabit Ethernet

Yes

Yes

HDMI

Yes (in and out)

Yes

Suspend/resume game support

Yes

Yes

Background downloading

Yes

Yes

Native gameplay sharing (video)

Yes

Yes

Real-time gameplay steaming

Yes (Twitch)

Yes (Ustream)

 

Now, if you are a PC gamer, go and check your current gaming specifications, work out what that PC has cost you and determine the pro’s and con’s of either having a PC or console for the future. It is difficult if you are a PC gamer to adjust your thinking toward a console. I prefer to play certain games on PC i.e. First Person Shooter, rather than on console. But if prices do continue to fluctuate with the exchange rate, perhaps I need to rethink my gaming choice to better suit my pocket.

 

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Although it may not seem like it, I am not here to tell you console is better. I am merely stating the financial facts. That being said, I love gaming on my PC. I love knowing that I have had the visual edge over my console gaming counterparts. But with the new consoles, I need to see how much of an improvement there is on these new machines to determine whether or not PC is still better. Of course you can debate this as much as you want, and I hope we all do. Getting other peoples insight into the comparisons will help each of us make a more stable and informed choice for our gaming futures. If PC components were cheaper, I would be far happier. The other benefit that console has to offer is the future of interactive gaming with motion control, of course, if you enjoy such a thing.

 

Motion Control.jpg

 

The logic is there, the understanding of the benefits are there, but one can only make an informed decision when the new consoles are released and reviews on them are dished out. This gamer does feels that the future of gaming is swinging in the favour of console. If this is in fact the case will only be seen in time to come.

 

 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd


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