We’ve just seen the launch of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series S and X, and as seems to be a tradition when a new console is launched, there has been a massive scramble for the limited supplies of stock in stores around the world.
In addition to that, NVIDIA and AMD continue to pump out new graphics cards with ever-increasing power. This includes the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 which will set you back $1,500.
Not to be outdone, smartphone manufacturers have been releasing bigger and better devices, including the iPhone 12 and Google Pixel 5.
All these devices are capable of playing the latest and greatest games available on their platforms, with the most realistic graphics ever seen in video games, and the most exciting gameplay.
But with so much choice, it can be difficult to know which one to get. Here are some factors to consider to help you decide.
Choice of Titles
There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a new device to play video games and then finding the title you want isn’t available on that platform. This happens frequently because of exclusivity deals signed by the console manufacturers and internal production studios affiliated with them. For example, Xbox Game Studios (formerly Microsoft Game Studios) develops Halo, Fable, and Forza, all of which (for the most part), have remained exclusive to Xbox and Windows.
Typically though, computer gamers have the widest selection of choice. The vast majority of console games get released on PC, even if it is after a delay. They also have access to exclusive titles through services like Steam and have more flexibility when it comes to using emulators to play older titles.
Browser-based games, such as those offered through social media sites and online casinos, aren’t usually open to console gamers, though they often can be played through mobile devices. This means that PC and mobile gamers can take advantage of the free bet no deposit offers run by many of these online casinos.
In the world of video games, it’s nearly always the case that gaming PCs are the most expensive way to enjoy your favorite titles. This is because the components are usually much more powerful than those found in consoles, and the fact that manufacturers often sell consoles at a loss (at least in their first few months).
An entry-level gaming PC will set you back around £500 or $700, while a high-end machine could cost £1,500 ($2,000) or more. Hardcore gamers can easily spend more than this. The NVIDIA Titan RTX graphics card costs $2,499 on its own, while the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 is an eye-watering $6,299.
In contrast, the PlayStation 5 costs around $399 in the US and £359 in the UK. The Xbox Series X comes in a little higher at £449 and $499, while the cheaper Series S is £200 and $200 cheaper respectively.
For mobile gaming, a new device like the iPhone 12 will cost you around the same price as an entry-level gaming PC, but has all the other uses and features you’d expect from a smartphone.
Additionally, it’s likely that the smartphone you already have is capable of playing most games on the market today, even if that’s with the graphics settings turned down.
Ease of Use
If you want to play AAA titles, you need to have a console or a PC. However, one of these is much easier to use than the other.
A game console just needs to be plugged into the wall and the back of your TV and turned on. It may have a short setup process to go through the first time you use it, but it’s straightforward.
After that, whenever you want to play a game, you just need to switch it on, pick up your controller, and you’re ready.
In contrast, PC gaming can be more fiddly. Many PC gamers choose to build their own machines, which can be hours of work on its own. Then there’s the installing and setting up of the operating system. Then each game needs to be installed, as does your controller, joystick, or any other input device.
With a computer, you also need to think about security software and maintenance. Using a gaming VPN can also extend security beyond your PC.
Once everything is set up, you’ll need to sign in and navigate through the desktop to get to your game before you can begin playing.
Smartphones are just as easy as consoles, though you won’t have access to AAA titles. Playing a game on your iPhone or Android device just requires you to download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, then it’s available right away.
Customization and Upgradability
If gaming is your passion, then you may want to spend time customizing your gaming machine. Many people do this with custom cases and skins as well as adding lighting.
Gaming PCs are the only way to have the freedom to customize your machine in any way you like. In fact, you’ll likely void your warranty if you do try to modify your console. Sony recently made moves to prevent third parties from creating aftermarket accessories. It seems the company has even designed the shape of the console to make it difficult to create such modifications.
A gaming computer can have a completely custom case, filled with cold cathode tube lights and LEDs, water cooling, perspex sides to allow you to see your expensive components, and more.
You can also replace components over time, giving you the ability to upgrade your machine piecemeal. With a new graphics card one year and more RAM the next, this means you can continue playing the latest games at their highest graphics settings.
Your smartphone can’t really be customized either. It’s a closed unit and opening it will likely void the warranty as well as risk damaging it.
You can, however, nearly always find cases you can attach to it. This gives you some degree of customization. You won’t be able to install new components inside it like a computer though. Once its internals becomes obsolete, you’ll have to replace it.
There’s no perfect gaming device. Whatever you choose will require compromise and tradeoffs. However, there will be one that best fits your needs, and considering the factors above will help you find the one that’s most suited to you.