This seems to be a hot topic when it comes to gaming. Console gamers hate PC gamers and PC gamers hate console gamers. It seems to be a full circle of hate and misery. Why?

Because for some reason, price has driven a wedge between gamers. Console gaming has always been seen as the cheap alternative to PC gaming, no upgrades needed over the machines lifetime and the games run better due to normalized hardware.

Where as PC gaming has been seen as the top end of the gaming tree, best graphics in all games, easy to develop for alongside cheaper games.

Every-bodies argument against PC gaming is that its expensive, and so only done by those lucky few who can afford it. Others say console games are a watered down version due to old hardware.

I’m here to say, Bollocks to that!

I love both sides. Console for shooters and some damn fine exclusives, while PC is for everyday gaming and those brilliant indie & strategy games I can’t get anywhere else.

But I was thinking on this expense thing, with the new consoles coming out, I thought it a good chance to see if people are right or not about the big difference between console & PC gaming, being price.

My research and experience bore fruit.

My gaming rig is blazing past its fourth birthday, fifth next January. All the games in the world run on it, whether its Battlefield 4, Dragon Age, Crysis 3 or Witcher 2. Not at full specs of course but neither does a 4-5 year old console compared to the next gen’s. And I thought it funny, this idea that being a PC gamer costs me more than just being a console gamer. In fact, it doesn’t. Being a PC gamer is not just cheaper, literally, but also more advantageous on most grounds.

Let me run through the numbers in my head, before some fanboy quotes me and says how much shit I must accept up my arse each night due to my undeniable envy over consoles.

Let’s take the last generation of consoles and compare it to an average PC, like mine. My PC cost me £450 to build from scratch, that doesn’t include monitors as I use a TV, as would any console.

Now, my consoles at the time of replacement, cost me £250 for my slim 360 with kinect and £200 for my 250GB ps3. Considering the slim was replacing my original 360, which died of red ring and we’ve now replaced the 60GB with a slim 250GB PS3 due to yellow light of death that had been fixed three times, I think we’ll have to at least add £200 for my original 360 and the original PS3 cost me £300. That makes the 360 so far, £450 and the PS3 £500. Ouch.

Oh but I ain’t finished yet. Games, yes those wonderful discs of joy that we all love. Games on PC, brand new on release day cost on average a tenner less than consoles. Say the average gamer buys at least eight new games a year. That’s a whooping £80 difference on PC compared to console in one year. Compare that to an average PC and console life cycle of five years and you’re looking at an extra £400 if your buying those games on console.

Some of you are probably shouting, what about second-hand games! Again, I would shout back, STEAM!

Yes, Steam is a wonderful little platform that so far no competitor has come close to beating. The offers are unbelievably good, service is top-notch and its had features like updating games automatically for years now, something that consoles have just started to get. PS+ is the next best thing with a yearly subscription equal to a AAA game that nets you a bag full of goodies while Xbox Live is the worst service I’ve seen in years, compared to what get in return for what you pay for it.

Shall I tally up the total so far?

PC, for five years with eight main games bought each year and for fanboy’s sake I’m going to add in £50 on top encase of repairs = £1700

PS3 with the same five-year lifespan, the same main games with a replaced console half way through its life = £2100

Xbox 360 with the same eight games each year, a replacement unit and five-year life = £2050

That’s not taking into account the deals you can get on bundle packs, Steam holiday discounts or numerous other advantages like mod’s for PC’s while I’m not also including the price of live for Xbox, just so you can play online, which on PC is free anyway, oh and I can watch BBC iPlayer free too…

Even for those of you saying I’ve cheated due to the fact a PS3 & Xbox have had to be replaced during a five-year life span, take the same price of a new console off that final figure to even it up in your own heads, for those lucky enough not to have console failure. It still makes the PC better in price. Let’s face it, unless your console lasts the full ten-year life span promised, you don’t get better value for money. You actually pay more to be a console gamer on average than a PC gamer.

Of course this is looking at an average gamer. If your someone who only ever buys the new COD each year and that is the only thing you ever play, than maybe, just about, you’ll save a few bucks. But for the rest of us, please stop griping about cost. Consoles have always cost a large amount, and while some people may say my machine isn’t a real gaming PC as it didn’t cost £800-£900, I’m going to say, why the hell should it? My machine can still play each and every game out today, it may be on the low setting but it runs smooth at 40-60 frames a second. That’s all I care about.

PC gaming is not this huge expensive beast. It’s cheap and cheerful, an experience that anyone can have by using the internet and some common sense. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read and you’re welcome to discuss your own opinions down below.

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About The Author

Alexander Bradley

Alex was born a geek to a geek family, so he has a passion for anything sci-fi related. He runs AGR in his spare time. Gaming, reading and writing sci-fi stories means he has very little spare time, though he makes it a point to get back to every comment, if possible.

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7 Responses

  1. Dirk

    Let us keep it simple – First, my X-Box 360 never failed. Your assumption that the console will fail is a false one. I agree a lot of them did fail, but it is not a fair comparison to make for some console users. Second, your assumption that it cost the same to obtain a new 360 or PS3 if they did fail at the same price as an original is nonsense. 5 years later Sony and Microsoft were still selling launch configured systems mostly to get rid of the stock, but they were cheaper than when they launched. Third, the fact that you don’t need to actually replace your console if you fix it. There is no warranty to worry about and the only thing Sony or Microsoft gave you a hard time about was modding NOT fixing a broken console for far less than a replacement. With all that being said let me keep it simple on the numbers side: 1,700 pounds = $2,747 US Dollars. Your number don’t add up for me. The cost of my console + 8 games, like your example = 543 pounds or $879 US Dollars. If you had a subscription to X-Box Live then it would be more expensive — maybe another 250-300 pounds depending on what you paid for the service. I will say I never once in the entire 8 years of having X-Box Live did I pay the stated full price for the service. I usually managed through deals to obtain a price at least 50% cheaper.

    • Alexander Bradley
      Alexander Bradley

      First, thanks for popping by. Second, I made no assumptions, I provided fact that both of my systems have had to be replaced and this is not a small issue among the last generation of consoles. I also mentioned near the end of the article that if your own console did not fail, then you were more than in your right to discount the replacement costs from the final figure.

      As for price, what I have above is my own costings, as what came from my pocket. My original Xbox 360 20GB cost me £200 as they had an offer on at the time. My replacement was a brand new slim with kinect, which had just come out at the time, that cost me £250. My original PlayStation 60GB cost me £300 and the replacement slim cost me £200 due to it being on offer again.

      As for fixing the system, I fixed my PS3 three times before I eventually gave up on it. The yellow light of death was permanently unfixable from the original chunky models. The 360 was fixed once yet still had the same issue again not long after. I soon progressed away from the 360 at the time to the PS3 60GB. There is only so much patch work, even a technician like me, is willing to do. A console should not be given a lifetime of 10 years if it can not meet it. Most PC’s will fail that same test as would a lot of modern technology.

      Your cost of a console and 8 games sounds good. Though I’m pretty sure those eight games may not have been at full price and you certainly haven’t added the extra 32 games to your costing, I did say eight games each year for five years.

      Congrats on the discounted live subscription, even so, your paying for online access which is fine in some regards, while also paying for features freely available or in the case of the iPlayer, something you’ve already paid for, (if your British,) that you can get elsewhere without paying another penny. Don’t get me wrong, the party system for the xbox is way better than the current ps3’s, but Skype on the PC is free as is a lot of extras without paying for a subscription.

      Now do you see how PC gaming is actually a lot better than people seem to think? No subs involved, no ridiculous controller charges that were not even added into the above costings. £30-40 on one extra controller, compared to £5 for a mouse and another £5 for a keyboard. Hmm…

      So in short term over a five year lifetime, not a ten year lifetime as PC would be even better value and without a replacement console, the costs would still be: PC: £1700, Xbox £1750, PS3: £1800

      That is with taking off £300 of the original figure, a rather generous amount, for a replacement console that in your case was not needed. This does not include controllers, cables, accessories or repair costs.

      • Dirk

        I have replaced nothing, but now I remember my parents bought me a play and charge kit for Christmas 1 year. The other issue the more I think about it is the upgrading of your PC. If you do the work yourself things can to some extent go the way you said, but most people will not be willing to crack open the case. The 8 games in my example assumed 8 full priced regular games $59.99(USD) * 8 = $480. In terms of a real time exchange rate games are $10 (USD) more expensive. To be honest I prefer PC gaming, but it has not ended up being less expensive for me. I am glad that it has worked out for you.

      • Alexander Bradley
        Alexander Bradley

        Yes, if your not technically minded or have a friend that is, than building a PC is quite a daunting task. Not that putting one together is difficult, as I find the process straight forward, but that could be due to the fact I work with machines for a living.

        Are those 8 games PC or Console? See in the UK, PC games average at £30 while the average for consoles was £40, that has since changed at least temporarily for the next gen, which stand at £50. I find that when games are on offer, and they are on offer a lot more on PC than console games, you get a much better deal. With MS & Sony running the only digital stores for their consoles, deals will not be the top of they’re list, after all, they have no one to compete against on the same system. PC has several big game stores and so they compete with each other in different and often beneficial ways to the customer.

        Thanks for the mention of the FUN Captcha. I use it instead of that horrible word version, where you guess what it says behind layers of interferance. Still don’t understand why the FUN Captcha isn’t used more but oh well.

  2. Tom

    As a PC gamer and Console gamer, let us be honest about this, PC is far more expensive, why? Because the temptation to upgrade your hardware (be it a new graphics card, CPU, memory, etc…) on PC is far too tempting, and then once you start, it quickly becomes a money pit as you try to squeeze a few more frames per second, better performance or higher resolution from games. On console the developers optimise games for one hardware configuration, so you don’t need to upgrade your machine until the next gen, there is no way GTAV or The Last of Us would run on a non-upgraded 7 year old PC, yet the run very well on a 7 year old PS3.

    But I think in this next generation, Sony and Microsoft should not wait more than 4 to 5 years before producing next-next-generation consoles, as technology moves faster now.

    • Alexander Bradley
      Alexander Bradley

      See that is down to the gamer. For me, upgrading is nothing but a money trouble that I know I’ll encounter sooner than I’d like. Yes, having a fast machine is great, the best graphics look awesome, but you don’t have to do that. That’s like saying just because the next gen is out, you must go out and buy it, just because you can. NO! People will be happy with there current gen machines for a couple years yet before a large portion of gamers finally make the big leap.

      I agree that certain games would not run on the same hardware PC wise, compared to the console. Why? Because of the OS used. Every PC has a OS that gobbles up space and resources. Why? Because a PC was never really intended as a pure gaming machine. So the OS has to cram a lot of extras in that many other people may wish to use but may be completely useless to a gamer. This also adds more complexity to a PC for a developer as they can’t always squeeze every drop of performance out of a PC as they can with a console. Difference is the Console will cost you more over your lifetime. If you can’t stop yourself from upgrading your PC, that is your fault. Not the PC’s, not your best mate and certainly not the man at the shop accepting your money.

      • Dirk

        Not really related to the topic at hand, but the FUN captcha to verify humanity is quaint and clever. Took me several minutes to figure it out the first time.

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