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Why Gaming Computers Surpass Consoles

Anyone who’s been keeping up with tech news and opinion pieces has seen the familiar war of words: “Is PC Gaming Dead?” or “Is This Really the Last Console Generation?” Plenty of exaggeration is thrown around to dramatize the truly relevant question of whether it’s better to play on a console or a PC. But, the answer is actually far more complicated than most of these articles usually let on.

It should be revealed that many gamers don’t limit themselves to just one platform. There’s a spectrum of player preferences out there, and a lot of people will enjoy a console even though they also have a gaming desktop. I still believe gaming PCs carry the edge though—hence the title. Let’s dig into why.

A Broad Gaming Spectrum

The point is to identify where you belong on the scale, and determine whether your interest in games is narrow enough to simply get by with the static, walled garden approach that consoles are trying to provide. Or if you’re the type that like pushing into a new level of gaming that requires the customization, flexibility and performance of a gaming PC that consoles haven’t been able to match. In fact, looking at the current console generation’s shelf-life and with certain developments in the way players access content, playing on your desktop is looking much more attractive than ever.

Digital game sales and DLC are one indication that the spectrum of gaming is funneling players into the PC space. Despite high-profile problems developers are having with cloud-based DRM, distribution of games for your computer is still light-years ahead versus tightly controlled markets from Microsoft and Sony - it’s taken them over a decade to get to where they are now. They have fallen behind Valve on market share for digital distribution.

Digital distribution has lead to both a renaissance in indie gaming and retro gaming for the nostalgic, both gaming genres that are pretty much exclusive for the PC only. Chalk another point up for desktop gaming! From performance, to user experience and customization, desktop gamers are simply operating at a different level. Let’s break this down further.

Hardware Customization

In my opinion, customization has always been the desktop’s biggest advantage, and gaming laptops also benefit from tweaking to a lesser extent. A console, by its very nature is a cookie-cutter approach to a gaming system, which has a plug-n-play appeal for the masses. But then, so does the Hailstorm to a certain degree, and you can swap out components or install any software you want as well. You’re not frozen in time in a little walled garden like a console that limits your control of your games, movies, music and other media files.

I also want to make a point here about the superior display options for the PC, which often do not get enough credit. The best monitors go well beyond 1080p, and it’s been that way for a while. Let’s not forget about the luxurious triple monitor surround setups either. What’s more is that the PS3’s hardware doesn’t support multi-display spanning like most graphics cards do. PC gaming display setups are far more advanced than most console gamers could ever experience, and they’re certainly in a different class than your average desktop user too.

System Performance

At the end of the day, what matters is the gaming experience that your system delivers, and a PC clearly comes out on top. Let’s consider a special case. I just mentioned the Digital Storm Black Ops: Hailstorm line, and it’s got some insane specs against which a console simply doesn’t stack up against:

    • - Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB graphic cards.

    • - Exotic custom liquid-cooling solution (heat has killed more than a few consoles, don’t forget the situation with PS3’s YLOD and XBOX’s ring of death).

    • - Dedicated zippy solid-state drives and massive mechanical hard drives for storage.

I’ll stop there. You simply won’t find that on any console today, and I’d be willing to bet a Hailstorm that the next-gen platforms won’t have any of those three features either. Even after you’ve assembled a rig with an insane array of components, you can overclock your processor (something we help users do all the time), and overclock your GPU and memory to squeeze out every last bit of performance. When a new amazing video card makes its debut, you can swap your old one out for an instant performance upgrade.

I’m not sure we need to go any further. The debate will continue, no doubt, with plenty of hype for both Sony’s and Microsoft’s announcements in the next year or so. But gamers in the know see where the true advantages are, and PCs are hands-down the superior choice.

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