The debate surrounding video game consoles and gaming PCs has been around for the longest time. While one camp flexes interchangeable hardware specs, the other emphasizes convenience and couch-gaming support.
Nevertheless, both generally share the same internal components, making them essentially equals. So, is a game console actually a computer as well?
Technically, a video game console is a computer too. A typical computer is an electronic apparatus that’s used for running various applications and software, including video games.
Hence, because game consoles utilize the same components built into gaming PCs to run video games, they’re considered specialized computers exclusively used for video gaming.
PlayStation and Xbox are two major console brands that normally come to mind, though handheld gaming devices, like the Nintendo Switch, are also classified as video game consoles.
What’s the Difference Between a Gaming Console and a PC?
Although both video game platforms – console and PC – should ideally be put under the same category, there are a few differences setting them apart.
Some of the obvious ones are:
|+ Smaller and lighter gaming device that fits the living room (for group plays, etc.) |
+ Comparatively affordable for the video game hardware specs provided
|+ Usable for many other tasks besides gaming (work, streaming, etc.)|
+ Universally compatible with third-party accessories/ devices (keyboards, external drives, etc.)
+ Configurable hardware/ specs (upgradable components, etc.)
|– Almost entirely used for playing video games (apart from extra quality-of-life tools, such as Netflix)|
– Requires compatible accessories/ devices to be used properly (controller, TV, etc.)
– Limited hardware configurations (few upgrade options, etc.)
|– Quite pricey for modern, triple-A (AAA) gaming|
– Bulky, immovable (unless gaming laptops which are even more expensive)
Due to their ease of use and seamless connectivity, game consoles are usually preferred by casual gamers looking to play the next blockbuster title released. Still, dedicated video game enthusiasts commonly opt for high-end PCs, especially those geared for next-gen games coming in the next few years.
Sometimes, the choice falls down to playing preferences, with some people finding it uncomfortable playing games for long hours on the chair in front of a display screen. After all, lying on the sofa while playing Call of Duty: Warzone with the pals is much more fun and enjoyable.
At the end of the day, both are electronic devices used for playing video games, and they still require drivers to be updated periodically to maintain their systems’ long-term health and consistent gameplay performances.
Are Computers Considered Gaming Consoles?
Since gaming computers were built for the best video game experiences, can they be called gaming consoles too?
No, computers are considered their own video game system because their use extends to more than just gaming, such as work-related software, artistic design processes, and many more (consoles don’t offer these).
Plus, games developed for consoles can’t be read by the PC, such as Xbox Series X disc games (even though Xbox is owned by Microsoft), regardless of how top-of-the-line the computer might be.
The only exception to this is video game emulation, meaning we can get Nintendo Switch games to run on the PC if set up correctly. So, PC gaming does offer much more utility than consoles, but it all depends on our gaming habits and interests.
Is a Game Console Better for Gaming than a Computer?
When it comes to video games, many people assume that gaming consoles are the go-to medium to get the most stable framerates and gorgeous visuals. Is this true?
Depending on the circumstances, a gaming console can be a better alternative to a PC.
Direct exclusives, such as PlayStation’s The Last of Us or Xbox’s Halo 5: Guardians, were created to be run optimally on their designated consoles. Not to mention, the plug-and-play experience can be smooth when playing games on a console instead of waiting for the computer to boot up (depending on specs).
That being said, PC gaming has evolved throughout the years, most notably with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Now, Xbox games can be streamed via the Internet while we’re logged in to a Game Pass account on the computer.
Such innovation does make us wonder: are PC games free now? Well, game developers still need to earn profitable gains from their finished products, so their games are still monetized in other ways besides direct purchases.
But, by opting for a subscription service, we don’t have to go through the headache of asking for refunds if the games played are found to be poorly optimized.
Xbox gamers are gradually getting there too, with a few PC-only games slowly being added to their Game Pass libraries. However, it’s going to be a while before games like Total War: Warhammer finally make it to consoles, especially when mouse and keyboard support is still somewhat experimental.
Should I Buy a Console or PC for Gaming?
Ultimately, it all comes down to this: do I buy a console or a PC for the best video game experience?
Honestly, it all depends on our own gaming expectations and enjoyment. If we find Steam games to be quite expensive, then buying a disc-compatible console could be a good choice.
Want to access a larger pool of video games? PC is the way to go. Weighing the pros and cons of each gaming platform can help us evaluate which best suits our profile.
Just remember one thing, though: Nintendo has never released games for the PC, so that might be one of the biggest factors affecting our decision if we’re more interested in playing on-the-go titles while traveling, such as Pokemone Scarlet and Pokemon Violet.