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PC vs Console for Gaming - Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Updated on February 18, 2014

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The Great Debate PC vs Console

I love both Console games and PC games equally but a lot of the fans are split on this. What makes one better than the other? Both have their pros and cons and I want to know what everyone thinks!

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The Apple II - The Original Gaming Computer
The Apple II - The Original Gaming Computer

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History of Gaming Consoles and PCs

The history of gaming goes back all the way to the 1930’s, where simple arcade games were made and thrived in the back of bars (or pubs for the people in the UK) and pizza parlors. It was a great time waster while you waited for your food and it started a revolution that still goes on today. So which came first out of PC vs Console?

In 1958 the first true video game was created on a oscilloscope. It was called “Tennis for Two” and it was a very basic Ping Pong game that captured the imaginations of many. It was made on a super computer which was made to calculate ballistic missile patterns so it wasn’t a typical home PC, but this is where it all started.

The very first home console ever released commercially was the Magnavox Odyssey in April 1972. It used two controllers that were hardwired into the system itself and it displayed the gameplay onto a regular TV screen. Don’t try to hook it up now, it won’t work on modern TV’s as RCA (red, white, yellow cable) and Coaxial (Cable TV wire) were not popular in that day in time.

One thing to note that many people overlook is that the original Atari system was called the Atari VCS (Video Computer System) which was renamed the Atari 2600. It wasn't truly a PC, but the name entails that it was influenced by computers at the time.

The first home PC that popularized PC gaming to me was the Apple II released in from 1977. There were computers with games before this but this was the one that really kicked the PC gaming market off in my opinion.

Now since the games have gone from simple blips on a TV to massive fully featured landscapes and virtual worlds that are almost as realistic in look as the world we live in today. The big question is though who does it better Consoles or the PC?

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Pros of PC Gaming

  • They do everything. PC’s can be used for so much more the consoles including typing word documents, surfing the internet smoothly, social media sites, and many other things. Consoles can do these too but they are much slower and clunky in their designs with this.
  • Endless Backwards compatibility. Almost any game is compatible with Operating Systems and also consoles through use of Emulators that mimic the original console flawlessly!
  • Online distribution sites offer games cheaper. Steam and GOG have made newer and older games more accessible not limiting you to what is compatible with the current gen console. Also many online sites like Steam and GOG host those games much cheaper than buying them in at Gamestop or Walmart due to the lack of brick and mortar cost.
  • Discreet Graphics Cards aka expansion cards are much more powerful then on-board cards in consoles and you are always able to upgrade the PC to suit your needs!
  • Controllers don’t cost $50. You can use any USB controller you want on a PC including console controllers like the Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers if they are wired. You can even use these controllers on emulators and they work perfectly fine!
  • Mods. This is a huge advantage the PC has over any console port. Almost any PC game released has a huge modding community who can expand the game and offer new and interesting DLC for FREE! Some games have even been modded into become completely new games like Team Fortress Classic, Counter Strike, and even that combine games like Morroblivion (Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind combined with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s Engine and graphics)
  • Also your PC can play on a HD TV if you have HDMI support on your motherboard so there is no longer the gap between PC and Console playing on large display TV sets.
  • No need for a disc to play the games if you buy them from online distribution sites like Steam or GOG.com. Also you can go the route I do and have a VirtualCD software that takes the CD’s contents puts it into an .ISO ( file) and tricks your PC into thinking its there when it really isn’t that way I don’t have to keep up with the discs.
  • Tons of great free to play games. The PC has a lot of games that are completely free to play that have risen to critical acclaim lately. Our favorites are Team Fortress 2, Crossfire, Combat Arms, and Perfect World International.


Cons of PC Gaming

  • The starting cost for a good gaming PC is higher than a console. If you build your own you can build a decent PC that will run anything the XBOX 360 will around 500-600 dollars depending on if you get the parts on sale or not.
  • Games require CD Keys. If you get the disc version which if you buy the game from a friend that lost his you will have to find a backdoor like Key generators or find a product key online which can ultimately result in you getting a virus or Trojan horse from downloading a bad Key generator.
  • Computer’s require you to install games so it may take some time depending on your computer's specs for it to be installed correctly.
  • Computers require a lot more to hook up then consoles. A standard computer to operate has to have one Video cable, Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor and a Power Supply cord. This can be a mess if you want to move your PC around to another room as it has so many wires and remembering where they all plug in can be a pain.
  • PC’s are much larger in size then a console. A console can tuck neatly into a cabinet or on a shelf while PC’s are bulky and require a much larger space to fit. Plus you have to manage all the cables so no one will trip over them.
  • No Motion Control Games. This isn't a big issue but to some it should be addressed. As far as we know there are no games that use motion controls like the Wii does and that may throw some people off.

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Console Gaming

Console’s are much simpler in design and more affordable making them an attractive option for gamers who just want to play the games and that’s it. They generally range from $100-300 depending on condition and the console itself.

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Pros of Console Gaming

Console’s are much simpler in design and more affordable making them an attractive option for gamers who just want to play the games and that’s it. They generally range from $100-300 depending on condition and the console itself.


  • Consoles are obviously cheaper. As stated before consoles cost half the price of a decent PC, so in the time we live in now where everyone is broke… like me. A simple system that plays all our favorite games for less is a great thing.
  • They are compact. Consoles compared to PC’s are much smaller in form factor and easier to store.
  • Built in Wifi. Most them also already have built-in Wifi which most Desktop PC’s do not include without a separate adapter.
  • Game controls are preconfigured. To me this is not an issue with the PC, but some people it would be. On the console all you have to do is plug in your controller and you are ready to go. On the PC many times you have to configure your button layout to whatever game pad you are using. Not a big issue but the console takes the hassle out for the average consumer.
  • More support for LAN gaming. Now you are probably scratching your head thinking “What is LAN gaming?” Well LAN means Local Area Network. In simple terms you can play with your friends just by hooking up a controller. With PC games you have to have a completely separate system to play against your friends when they come over to hang out. There are ways around this with the PC but they are difficult and not as accessible to the public sector. So, local multiplayer can be a huge hassle with games.
  • No need to configure hardware. If you are “Computer illiterate,” as many people say, consoles would be your best choice as there is no configuration needed to set up the system and play beyond hooking up all your wires.
  • There is always new innovations being made. The PC does have its own innovations in hardware and software but consoles focus on the consumer market more then the hardcore market. Consoles have to compete with each other along with the PC so they make many new innovations like Motion Controls, Six Axxis (ps3), and all the proprietary peripherals.

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Cons of Console Gaming

  • Little to no Modding potential. I know I covered this in the PC pros but this is a huge con for consoles. In console gaming its much less common to have a dedicated modding community to expand upon an existing game to make it better and add free DLC.
  • Limited Memory. Plain and simple memory cards suck! They have limited storage capacity, they cost too much and are easy to lose. Consoles now have hard drives—some built in, some are external—but to upgrade your 60gb Xbox 360 hard drive to a 120Gb hard drive is very expensive. A 1 TB PC hard drive generally cost around $60 for a lot more storage space.
  • More load times. This really depends on your PC’s specs but if you have a decent PC loading screens go much faster on them. Some console games take ages to get past a loading screen and it really takes you out of the game itself. Perfect example being the WWE games.
  • Online Multiplayer is limited. On consoles you can get a game that is only a few months old and it wil take you ages to get into a multiplayer match as many people don’t stick with the multiplayer in games as much as in the PC. Also another huge issue is the lag associated with online multiplayer. Its not a bandwidth issue as I can play the same game on PC with little to no lag spikes.
  • Internet Browsing is horrible. I own an Xbox 360, PS3, and a Wii and all of their internet browsing capabilities are mediocre at best. The Xbox barely has internet browsing it just has apps and looks like you are using a cheap version of a Windows Phone. The Sony Playstation 3 is also slow and clunky and works when it feels like it but its be best out of the 3. The Nintendo Wii is by far the worst. The browsing just does not work. It freezes, crashes, and to think Nintendo originally charged people $10 for the internet browser! What a ripoff!

So the big question now is what is your favorite gaming platform? Would you go with the console or the PC? Don’t forget to vote in the poll at the top of the page and leave us a comment to let us know your thoughts on what we have said. Once again I do love both platforms so I can’t decide between them for sure.

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    • Omnivium profile image

      Omnivium 4 years ago

      Xbox 360 because it will have Halo 4

    • mmo-games profile image

      mmo-games 4 years ago from MMO World

      I think you still need both of them. Some of the games are exclusive for the consoles (and some are PS3 only) and you can't play them on the PC. Yet, there are games that look amazing on the PC and you can't have the same experience on consoles. (at least not yet until the next generation of consoles are out)

    • profile image

      Lyman 3 years ago

      Great Article. I have pretty much felt the same way.

    • ravenrage07 profile image
      Author

      John Fox 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks man appreciate the feedback!

    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 3 years ago from Australia

      I'm a PC gamer at heart and I always will be. I do hop on my consoles from time to time but I'll always rather play something on PC.

      One PC con that you've listed which I'm thankful isn't much of an issue any more is CD Keys. I get everything from Steam or GOG these days so no messing around with cd keys or discs! I love it.

    • ravenrage07 profile image
      Author

      John Fox 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks for the comment. CD Keys are a thing of the past for the most part but other types of DRM have become troublesome like look at Maxis with simcity's "always online" thing or the countless "you gotta have our service running to play our game" and other things like that. DRM is still there just in a different flavor. Check out my article about is physical media dead so you can see why I believe it won't die off because of steam or gog.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 3 years ago

      The two biggest, most annoying problems for PC (in my opinion) were left out: compatibility and driver issues. Oh, yes, it seems like no one talks about the fact that when your computer blue screens, due to a faulty driver which has not been tested thoroughly (*cough* Nvidia *cough*) you will have to go through hell. With a console, you can usually just turn it back on, with maybe a little data loss. But with PC? Have fun spending hours trying to get your data back, or, in extreme cases, getting it to work again! Not only this, but the crash frequently causes my PC to not work right. The performance turns terrible, and the hard drive has to repair itself. That often doesn't work, so you have to use a backup, which, also, sometimes doesn't work. After about a year of crashing, headaches, and updates that Microsoft releases that freeze your computer, forcing you to get an earlier backup, I was sick of PC gaming. After switching to consoles, I could not have been happier. As far as compatibility? With technology changing so quickly, I find my graphics card that I thought was awesome at the time, one year later, is irrelevant and incompatible with the new games coming out.

    • SegaNet91 profile image

      Kristopher Billingsley 20 months ago from Tulsa, OK

      I've always primarily been a console gamer. But lately, I'm not really sure anymore. I purchased an Xbox One with a Best Buy Credit Card with $1,000 worth of credit. I easily spent around $600 just on the console, games & accessories I wanted. I was so excited in the beginning, until reality set-in that there wasn't really much worth playing on the system. I ended up using it for YouTube, Netflix & live TV. That was it.. and I felt dumb for spending so much money on it.

      I've considered transitioning to PC gaming, since the only game that I feel like I absolutely must have is Shenmue 3. I will definitely not be buying a PS4 for that one game.

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