There was a time when PC gaming meant little more than Microsoft Solitaire.
But as technology advanced, internet speeds increased, and custom PC builds have become more accessible, this once niche platform gained a thriving community.
Popular distribution service Steam has seen a considerable bump in active users in the past year, with no signs of slowing down. It currently averages 20 million active users in 48 hours!
But what about console games?
The PS5 and Xbox Series X|S releases in 2020 leveled up gaming for console fans worldwide. Both borrowed a few tricks from the PC gaming community, implementing AMD Ryzen chips and SSD storage — resulting in benchmarks that could leave even high-end gaming PCs in the dust.
These developments led some critics to declare that PC gaming was on its last legs. After all, would anyone be interested in building a new gaming rig when these new consoles could do the same thing — or better — straight out of the box?
Are the critics correct? Is PC gaming dying out?
For the last few years, PC gaming has had an edge on the console market. Regular technology advances meant consoles were left behind when it came to specifications and performance.
However, with the next generation of consoles pushing boundaries like never before, critics say that PC gaming now has far less to offer serious gamers.
But is that really the case?
Well, the first thing that any PC gamer should consider is their budget.
Consumers are always looking for the best value, which immediately puts PC gaming at a disadvantage. Consoles offer the benefit of a one-off payment, with everything you need already included in the box. But if you want a custom gaming PC designed specifically for your needs, it’s not quite that simple.
For a good gaming PC, you need to have:
- A motherboard
- A CPU chip (e.g., AMD Ryzen or Intel)
- RAM sticks
- A graphics card
- Data storage (SSD/HDD/NVME)
- A Power supply unit
- A cooling system (fans/water cooling)
- A tower/case
These components’ prices vary wildly, depending on specification, but the average cost of a high-performance gaming PC is around $1000.
Building a PC to roughly the same specifications as a PS5 was estimated to cost about £1200 ($1600), whereas the PS5 Digital Edition actually costs 4x less, at a mere $400.
But let’s say money isn’t an issue.
Critics of PC gaming are also often quick to bring up the “hassle” of upkeep. New components come out every year, which can quickly render your parts outdated. This can turn keeping your rig working great into a constant battle!
And what about when something breaks?
It’s no secret that PC repairs can be tedious. If parts can be repaired at all, the process is usually difficult and costly. And if they can’t, you have no choice but to invest in new ones.
So, why go through all this hassle and expense when you can get a similar experience on a console?
Well, let’s dig a bit deeper…
Why PC gaming is not dying
In August 2020, DFC Intelligence reported that of over 3 billion gamers worldwide, many play across various platforms.
The report showed that 48% of gamers use a PC to play. And shockingly, only 8% said they exclusively game on consoles!
What’s more, that group took the top spot when it came to spending per-user. So, maybe PC gaming isn’t the most expensive option after all.
More often than not, PC games tend to be priced lower than their console counterparts.
Well, consoles are often sold at a loss, meaning that Sony or Xbox must rely on game sales to make up their losses.
With the PC market, games are almost exclusively digital copies. This drives the overall cost of production and distribution down, so games on platforms like Steam can often be sold at a much lower price.
What’s more, when games are only sold digitally, the second-hand market becomes non-existent. This means publishers can afford to offer lower prices for their games to PC users, knowing that consumers can only obtain a title through their approved outlets.
Sales are huge within the PC gaming market, with consumers flocking in droves to regular sales events that can see prices slashed by up to 90% off the RRP.
Time it right, and you can buy 4/5 games for the same price as one title on a console!
When you buy a PS5, you’re limited to the titles available on that platform and nothing more. Older games are gradually phased out, giving you much less variety.
But with PC games, you have a huge range of titles right at your fingertips! There isn’t a next-gen edition ready to make old titles obsolete, so you have so much more choice when it comes to which game to play.
Now we come to the most significant advantage of PC gaming: performance.
The newest generation of consoles pushed performance into the spotlight, offering console gamers the ability to game at 60FPS in 4K with ray-tracing. Fancy stuff indeed, but nothing the PC gaming community hasn’t already seen.
In fact, high-end PC’s could offer the same thing years before these consoles were announced!
Now the new generation of consoles is here; they’re already being out-performed by the new generation of CPUs and graphics cards. While console gaming offers amazing accessibility, it’s the PC gaming community that will always see the best technology and gaming performance.
Designed for you
Finally, we get to customization.
By design, consoles are a “one size fits all” solution to gaming. You are given a controller, games are tailored towards that controller’s capabilities, and that’s the end of it.
Ultimately, they are designed for gamers that just want to sit back and play the newest title, rather than the hardcore gamer who prefers to mix and match to create a rig that suits their playstyle.
On the flip side, PC gaming offers a huge range of input options. There are many different controllers on the market to suit all needs, but more importantly, gamers aren’t just limited to controllers.
Players can switch from controller and VR to the more traditional mouse and keyboard setup with very little hassle, providing a level of versatility and accessibility that console gamers can only dream of when playing video games.
And the opportunities for customization don’t end there! When you choose to invest in a custom-built PC, every single component can be chosen to meet your specific needs.
Rather than limiting your customizable gameplay options to mobile gaming or out-of-the-box systems, building your own PC system open up numerous possibilities for playing games, especially first-person shooters, in a way that fits your gaming style.
Ready to invest in a custom PC build? Reach out to the Screenworks team today!