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The debate about PC gaming versus console gaming has raged on for decades, with proponents of both platforms making perfectly valid arguments. The discussion can get heated rather quickly, and even in the modern age of consoles like the Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, there is no clear winner.

Let’s be real: we’re not trying to settle this debate. Instead, we’ll help prospective gamers decide whether PC gaming or console gaming is the right fit for your lifestyle, expertise, and video game-related needs.

Please note: The opinions expressed in our showdown between PC gaming and console gaming are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Thunderpick or all its staff.

Controller Vs Mouse & Keyboard

The user’s input device is one of the most significant points of contention in the PC vs console gaming debate. The reality is relatively simple for certain games. In first-person shooters (FPS) and real-time strategy (RTS) games, the mouse and keyboard combo allows for higher accuracy and overall better control over the action.

However, controllers do have an advantage over the PC mouse and keyboard setup in third-person games. For example, completing Elden Ring with a mouse and keyboard setup is nearly impossible. Controllers offer a clear advantage in fighting game series, too, like Street Fighter and Tekken.

It is important to note that gamers can use almost any controller on a PC. A mouse and keyboard setup is possible on consoles, but there are caveats. For example, they’re not officially supported in most esports titles and their competitive, ranked matches, because M&KB offers an advantage over controllers in those games.

PC Vs Console Graphics/Performance

The current-generation consoles can produce amazing visuals considering their hardware. Some games can run at 60 frames per second (fps) in 4K resolution, or 30 fps with Ray Tracing enabled on PS5 and Xbox Series X. The graphical prowess of consoles is impressive, but optimized titles will often look better and run smoother on a powerful gaming PC.

There’s a straightforward reason for better graphics on PC. Game development is constantly evolving, and new, more powerful hardware gets released into the hands of consumers. Comparatively, console generations tend to last for at least six or seven years. The result is that the closer we are to a next-gen console release, the wider the gap between PC and current console graphics/performance becomes.

That being said, you do need top-of-the-line, expensive hardware for some games on PC to look and run noticeably better than on current-gen consoles.

Price Of Admission: The Cost Of Gaming

Building a gaming PC that can outperform the PS5 or Xbox Series X is expensive. First, let’s take a look at the suggested retail price of the top current-generation consoles (sorry, Nintendo Switch, you’re great, but you’re not part of this discussion).

  • Xbox Series X – $499.99
  • PlayStation 5 – $499.99
  • PS5 Digital Edition (no disc drive) – $399.99
  • Xbox Series S (less powerful, no disc drive) – $299.99

The graphics card (GPU) from AMD or NVIDIA is at the heart of a powerful gaming PC. Without a solid GPU, you won’t hit 60 or 120 fps. And without an RTX card or equivalent, you can’t enable Ray Tracing. With this in mind, let’s consider the price of popular high-end graphics cards from NVIDIA.

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti – $499.99
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 – $699.99
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 – $599.99
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti – $799.99
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 – $1199.99

Going for lower-end graphics cards means you won’t get the same level of performance as a PS5 or Xbox Series X. You’ll also need all the other parts of a gaming PC, including a case, power supply unit (PSU), motherboard, processor (CPU), RAM, an SSD, and peripherals. It is abundantly clear that the cost of PC gaming hardware that can match current consoles is much higher.

Please note: Prices listed are subject to change.

Esports On PC Vs Consoles

PC and consoles feature many esports titles, from the latest Call of Duty to battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. The most popular Multiplayer Battle Online Arena (MOBA) esports titles, such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, are PC-exclusive titles, and we believe this is primarily due to the user input methods available.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Valorant, the two biggest tactical first-person shooter titles for esports with massive tournaments, are only available on PC. Comparatively, nearly all esports titles on consoles are on PC as well.

UI Customization And Game Modding

Players can customize their gaming PC’s User Interface (UI) to their heart’s desire. These include specific key binds for their mouse and keyboard, using different operating systems, and customizing their preferred game launcher. In comparison, console gamers have limited customization options available.

Another point of contention is the availability of game modifications (mods). Some of the biggest competitive PC games of all time were actually user-created mods at first, like Dota 2, which started as a DotA mod in WarCraft III. Even CS:GO’s origins are traced back to the Half-Life modding community on Steam. Consoles do not have any significant modding support and do not support most mods for popular titles.

Ease Of Use And Upgrades

Using a console is as easy as plugging it into a power outlet and connecting it to a display such as a TV or monitor. The user interface (UI) is intuitive, allowing gamers of all ages to enjoy their favorite titles without hassle. On the other hand, PC gaming requires driver updates, and unwanted Windows downloads/upgrades can spoil a planned gaming session. Overall, consoles win in this category.

Ease of use comes at a price, however, as there’s no way to upgrade the hardware in your console except for increasing available space. PC gamers can upgrade and change their gaming rig’s parts as much as they desire. You do need technical expertise and troubleshooting knowledge to open up your desktop PC or laptop, but at least you have the option! In the upgrades category, PC gaming wins without contest.

So Which Is It? PC Or Console?

We’ve done the heavy lifting, explaining the key differences between the gaming experience on PC and consoles. A console is your best bet if you want ease of use in AAA games or even indie titles with hassle-free gameplay. Those who prefer customization options, the highest graphics settings, and playing all the best esports titles should get a gaming computer.

One final consideration is exclusive games. For example, if the God of War franchise is unavailable on a specific platform, and you want to add them to your game library, we suggest going for the platform your favorite games are available on. The good thing here, though, is that Sony has been pretty good about porting PlayStation exclusives to PC after a year or two of console exclusivity. So this may not be as big of an issue as it had been in the past.

Now, it’s time for each gamer to decide which gaming platform they prefer. We can’t make this choice for you, but hopefully, the information we outlined can help you make an informed decision. While you mull over the PC versus console gaming decision, you can always take a break and learn about the latest esports action at our gaming and esports blog!

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