Ah, the old gaming PC versus video game console debate.
Each have their merits, and each have their own league of fans who vehemently swear by one or the other.
At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference.
Sure, it’s true that gaming consoles are easier for casual gaming on the couch, but there are 12 good reasons why gaming on a PC can be better.
This is one of the main arguments in favour of PC gaming, as the hardware inside a gaming PC can far outperform the parts in a console like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. As a result, games on PC can play with graphics settings set to higher levels, as well as play at higher, smoother frame rates, than that on a console.
With that said, gaming PCs that outperform consoles can come at a high price. A great gaming PC for 1080p resolution screens -- the same resolution that the PlayStation 4, original Xbox One, and Xbox One S -- can cost anywhere north of $US500. Compared to the $US250 price tag of those aforementioned consoles, a gaming PC suddenly doesn't seem so tempting.
But, again, better graphics and smoother gameplay are available, if you're willing to pay. And, at the same time, you save money in the long run when you play on PC, as you'll see next.
Steam is a platform where, among other things, you can browse, buy, and launch your games, and it's better than the stores on Xbox One and PlayStation.
For one, game sales are superior on Steam. During a sale, you can get older games for a significant discount compared to console stores. For example, I bought 'GTA V' for $US30 during a sale compared to the $US60 it costs from the Xbox store.
Microsoft and Sony have made great strides with sales and discounts, but the deals will rarely be as good as you'd find on Steam.
To play multiplayer games on console, you have to sign up for the paid Xbox Live and PlayStation Network services, depending on which console you own. PC gamers don't need to pay to play games online.
For a year of service, an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership costs $US60. That may seem like a trivial annual expense, but it builds up over the years. After paying $US60 for five years or membership to either service, you would have paid $US300. That's money you could spend on a PC graphics card upgrade.
Consoles have their share of exclusive games that will never make their way to PC, like the PS4 exclusive 'Horizon Zero Dawn.' But when it comes to sheer number of games, nothing beats PC.
PC is also where you'll first find certain games before they make their way to consoles, like the hugely popular 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds,' which is coming out later this year for consoles. Meanwhile, PC gamers have had access to the early access version of the game for months, since early 2017.
And lest we forget that Minecraft was on PC before it came to consoles, too.
Then there are games that you'll never find on consoles, like 'DayZ,' 'Eve,' 'World of Warcraft,' and 'League of Legends.'
Some tech-savvy gamers out there create 'mods,' or 'modifications' to PC games that give them enhanced graphics or added content.
For example, one game that gets a lot of attention from modders is 'GTA V.' Some mods make the game look even better than it does normally, and other mods add weapons, like the humorous 'exploding Galaxy Note 7' mod where you can use a Galaxy Note 7 as dynamite.
I personally prefer to play most games with a keyboard and mouse, especially for first-person-shooters like 'Battlefield 1.' I find that keyboards and mice offer more control and accuracy than a console controller, whereas joysticks on a controller makes aiming feel sluggish and inaccurate. It's something that game developers on console compensate with a feature called assisted aiming, which lightly locks your aim to an enemy when you're aiming in their general direction.
The good news for PC gamers is that they can choose to play with a controller, too.
As a side note to reinforce my position on keyboards and mice, some console gamers who played the 'Destiny 2' demo game on PC found they preferred the game while using a keyboard and mouse.
Console games are designed to work on TVs, and you can use a monitor, too. However, some special gaming monitors have features that you wouldn't find on a TV, and consoles won't make full use of them.
For example, console games won't fill up a 21:9 ultrawide screen. Ultrawide monitors give me a wider field of view than a TV's traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, which gives me better peripheral vision and lets me spot enemies that I normally wouldn't see with a regular monitor. (Yes, you could say I have an unfair advantage over those who use regular 16:9 monitors.)
Games also look gorgeous and more immersive on an utlrawide monitor, and I can't wait to try Samsung's absurd-yet-tempting super ultrawide 32:9 monitor.
Other monitors offer high refresh rates, like 144 hertz or even 240 hertz, which play games up to 144 or 240 frames-per-second for incredibly smooth gameplay. Console games, on the other hand, are usually capped at about 60 frames-per-second. That's fine for most gamers, but some gamers are sticklers for high frame rates.
And there are some monitors that come with Tobii's eye-tracking technology, which changes your field of view in a game by tracking where your eyes are looking.
This is a big one in my household. Before I built my gaming PC, I constantly had to plan around regular TV-watching sessions with my fiancée just to play games. That would be fine if I liked everything that was playing on TV, but I don't.
With my gaming PC, I can escape the shows I dislike and play my games without having to schedule around TV time.
When you build your own PC, you can pick and chose exactly what parts you want like a case, motherboard, graphics card, processor, RAM, and storage. Just make sure the parts are compatible with each other.
It's remarkably easy to build your own PC, and you can add PC bling like lights and fans with built-in lighting to give your PC a personalised look that no console can match.
I once took up a fully custom water cooling project for my PC. It was great, as it kept the hot parts of my PC cool, which let them perform at their maximum power over longer periods of time. But I personally didn't have the time to maintain it.
You can upgrade your PC parts to keep up with new games, while console parts become 'obsolete' very quickly.
Your very own gaming PC may be beautiful, but the true beauty of a gaming PC is its upgradability.
Whether you built your own or you bought a pre-built computer from an electronics store, you can switch out the parts with fresh new ones when they start to show their age. Each and every part inside a PC can be removed or swapped out pretty easily -- it's a bit like advanced Legos.
Meanwhile, parts inside games consoles largely remain unchanged over the course of their existence. With that said, Sony has come out with the PlayStation 4 Pro that can play in the coveted 4K resolution, which is kind of like upgrading the parts in a PC. Microsoft also has the 4K-capable Xbox One X on the way, too.
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