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Are gaming PCs that much more expensive than consoles?

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  • PC gaming
  • Gaming
  • Consoles
  • Video Games
Last response: in Video Games
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April 6, 2010 3:34:54 AM

I did some calculations. Please let me know if I've made an error somewhere.

Gaming PC - $1500 initially, $300 upgrade, = $1800
5-yr life cycle
Free online games

Regular PC - $650
5-yr life cycle

[$1150 difference between gaming and regular PC]

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Console - $300
5-yr life cycle
Online games for 5 years - $250
Price premium for new games - $10, x 10 = $100

Total cost - $650

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Console cost with regular PC - $1300

Price premium for gaming PC over console ~ $500

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Because you will still need a new PC around every five years with or without a console, having a gaming PC (and thus, only one computer) as opposed to a console and a regular PC for five years should cost around $500 more.

Better graphics, keyboard + mouse, strategy games, mods, not to mention a better computer overall... Is it worth it for $100 extra per year? I think it is, anyway.

More about : gaming pcs expensive consoles

April 6, 2010 3:47:39 AM

Well, you can build a nice gaming pc for 900 (Maybe a bit more) easily, it just wont max out every current game and future games. Personally, i think a gaming computer is a much better choice because it does thousands of other things besides gaming. So that small increase in price gives you the ability to do so much more with what you buy.
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April 6, 2010 4:10:08 AM

I actually include the price of the OS and monitor, though to be fair, I did not include the price of a TV with that console. Though a TV typically sees more usage for movies, etc. than games in a typical household (not my own).
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 4:29:09 AM

I wonder how long it's going to take for people to realize you can only game in DX9 with a console and not at high settings. Gaming on a PC with Dx10 and 11 and clean crisp edges is so much nicer.
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April 6, 2010 6:36:09 AM

The problem with these kinds of comparisons is while PCs DO cost more than consoles, how much more can range from $200 - $1000, so no one ever gets anywhere. Personally, I bet I could built a PC that costs $1000, including monitor, keyboard, OS, etc. with $300 in upgrades over 5 years that would outpace any console by LOTS, bringing your cost down to $200 for 5 years. The numbers are easy, but for any group of people to agree on ANY set of numbers is impossible. Console guys will always claim a gaming PC has to cost $1500-$2500 and have $500 in upgrades every year, and PC guys will say they can cost $150 (both exaggerated).

The fact of the matter is, with average costs of things, you can probably game on PC for some $10 a month more than a console, EASILY.
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April 6, 2010 11:05:42 AM

Gaming PC cost more than a console, but console games cost more than PC games, so for 5 years period the total cost is probably the same, if you buy 1 game per month.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 1:24:09 PM

Over the course of its life, a well built and occasionally upgraded gaming PC will cost less then a console.

Example: You could spend about $400 getting a Q9550, motherboard, 4GB RAM, and about $150 on a ATI 4980. Throw $150 for the OS, mouse, and keyboard, and you have a well built PC that will last for the next few years for about $700 or so. Throw in a bi-yearly GPU upgrade for $150, and as long as the CPU doesn't go obsolete, you're good to go. [You can spend more up front on a i5/i7 solution; it really depends].

Point is, you can get a very good gaming PC for about $800-$900, easy. Just avoid the trap of spending $150 extra for that last 5% of performance.
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April 6, 2010 3:26:09 PM

When doing these comparisons it seems like PCs always get initial cost+upgrades over 5 years (or whatever the life cycle is) figured into the total cost where as consoles only get counted for the one time purchase and at the current price. But to be fair if I'm saying I spent $1000 on my PC 5 years ago and spent another $500 on upgrades over the past five years then it would be more accurate to look at the initial cost of a console 5 years ago ($400-$600, not $300) plus the additional cost of any replacement consoles. That would include if you had a 360 that *** the bed then bought a PS3 to replace it. How many console users only buy 1 console throughout an entire life cycle for a given generation? Also unless you waited to buy a console (and thus got a shorter life cycle within that generation) $300 is not an accurate price to quote for initial hardware. $500-$600 is more accurate although it may be more depending on peripherals added. $300 would be an accurate cost to use for replacements.

Of course not everybody has to buy a replacement (just as not all PC gamers have to upgrade) but some people end up buying several consoles do to hardware failures. So why not at least include 1/2 the price of a single replacement along with the real initial price of a console and call it ~$700. Still less than the PC total for hardware but at least it's a more accurate starting point as you go down through all of the other comparisons.
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April 6, 2010 4:03:57 PM

I also see a few miscalculations in your initial post :

1.) what gamer buys 1 game every 6 months ?? - so your $10 per game est. is a bit off

2.) you can build a gaming system that outperforms a console for $700 - $1000 easily meaning only a $50 - $350 cost over an average system so it is actually cheaper or same cost to game on the PC vs. having a PC for other uses and a Console not More expensive. (you mainly just need enough knowledge to get the right parts and assemble them and not buy pre-built under performing on the PC you get).

3. ) With PC gaming you open up the world of modding to change the games to your liking instead of being stuck with a dumbed down version that can be played on a console !
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 4:19:55 PM

My stance is this: RTS and FPS = PC. Everything else, I tend to lean toward consoles for. Depends on the game really.
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April 6, 2010 7:10:40 PM

Used PC games on Amazon are usually dirt cheap, too. (Anecdotal)
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April 8, 2010 2:47:21 AM

JDFan said:
I also see a few miscalculations in your initial post :

1.) what gamer buys 1 game every 6 months ?? - so your $10 per game est. is a bit off


I was being conservative in my estimates. Personally, unless the game is truly great, I do not usually buy a game at full price when it is first released.

But it just validates the idea that a gaming PC is not really that much more expensive than a console. And yes, I didn't take into account that most consoles on release cost up to double or more than their MSRP.
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April 8, 2010 5:54:41 AM

I honestly think that right now PC is a good choice for people who are looking for the BEST of the BEST for graphics and Speed but trying to buy and mod a PC can get complicated and there might be issues that arise from the Hardware, so if your a simple person go with a console but if you like (and have the money for) a PC then go for a PC. I myself use a Console for all my gaming needs, check out the specs. on an Xbox 360 or a PS3 and you will see they are basically under priced for the hardware inside them, and actually do better than most gaming PC's ever could!

Xbox 360 Specs(OFFICAL SITE): http://support.xbox.com/support/en/us/xbox360/hardware/...

PS3 Specs(IGN.com): http://ps3.ign.com/articles/614/614682p1.html
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April 8, 2010 7:59:34 PM

Well to put it my way, I bought the Wii and charger for the controllers, extra controllers, Nunchuk plus have 40 Games so have spent about $1200 - $1500 on console alone in last 3 years, in last 5 years it just cost me $1300 for 1 new tower and a laptop and still have my old systems (4 total), and my tower is all new. As a note, all my PC games that I had before still work on new system, unlike consoles that change (PS-PS2-PS3, Xbox-Xbox 360) you would then need to get new games or the same games but to run on newer console so you tend to spend more for consoles. (New Wii and Xbox on the way and possibility with older games not working) My opinion but sometimes I find the PC way cheaper to run and maintain then the console (already had to have drive motor replaced in Wii)
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April 9, 2010 8:17:37 PM

One other thing to consider is that with 2 or more controllers, more than one person at a time can play on a console, while you cant do that on a PC.

For instance, to play co-op Modern Warfare 2 on PC requires 2 copies of the game and 2 computers capable of running the game.

I have not played it on a console, but I think you can play co-op MW2 on the xbox with only one game and one console.

Looked at this way, PC gaming is definitely more expensive if you want to play together with friends or family. The PC experience may be better, but from a sheer cost standpoint the PC is definitely expensive for multiplayer use.
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