I'm playing a game right now that combines one of the most well-told, emotional stories in video gaming history with seamless controls and action sequences that leave me out of breath. The graphics are so crisp and realistic, it looks as if I've upgraded my rig's video card to GTX 1080 or Titan territory—but I can't possibly do that. First, high-end cards are way too expensive these days, and second, this gaming rig doesn't allow for upgrades.
The game I'm playing is God of War (2018), and I swear it's making me a better person. Or better at least at killing gigantic foes rendered beautifully on the PlayStation 4. It's gaming of this caliber that keeps me interested in consoles, even though I’ve long been primarily a PC gamer.
Is straddling the PC/console line a bad thing? Must a member of the “PC Master Race” stick to their computer exclusively to play games, or are consoles okay? Many gamers these days of course blur the boundary, gaming on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch or some combination thereof in addition to a PC. But there are still those who demand that consoles are somehow less than PCs, and that intelligent, upstanding gamers (with good teeth and morals) only play on PC.
The mentality pitting the PC "versus" the game console has been prevalent for decades. Gamers switch from one platform to another, post and argue about which is superior, and call each other names. But honestly, the only thought I have about the great gaming divide is: Why not both?
God of War and other amazing exclusives such as Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4), Forza Motorsport (Xbox One), and various Mario games for the Nintendo Switch, all illustrate that consoles are worthwhile for any level of gamer--from casual to core. And exclusives won't appear on the PC soon, if ever. That’s why they’re called exclusives.
In fact, unless you’re willing to wade into the legal gray area of emulation (and likely wait years for PC hardware that can handle current-gen console titles), your only chance to play some of today’s best titles will be on a console. Heck, even if you luck out and a game you’ve been itching to play does get ported to the PC, chances are the port won’t be done well and you’ll be frustrated by clunky UI and controls. To put it mildly, most developers these days don’t exactly have a good reputation when it comes to PC ports of console games.
Another argument for spicing up your gaming recipe with a console is that big, living-room display that some people call a "TV." Playing on the couch rather than in front of a monitor opens the experience up to better socialization. People can watch you play and be equally awed by the experience. And other folks can even join in some multiplayer games right there in the room with you; party games for the Switch and Xbox One aren't in short supply.
There aren't many downsides to console gaming, either. It doesn't have to supersede your PC gaming hobby, unless you’re on a very tight budget. In fact, splurging on a console these days could help tide you over until today’s high-priced graphics cards and RAM (hopefully) return to some semblance of normal pricing—whatever that is.
That said, the biggest hurdle for PC gamers dipping their thumbs into the console realm might be one of control—or rather controller. Consoles and console games aren’t generally designed for the keyboard and mouse (even though official keyboard/mouse support is supposedly coming to the Xbox One at some point). And if you grew up gaming on a PC, the controller can deal-breaker for first-person shooter enthusiasts. That includes me; you won't find me playing Fortnite or Prey with a gamepad. Also, if you’re a strategy enthusiast who’s always waiting for the next Civilization or Total War title, well, a console and controller isn’t likely to be all that appealing.
But, if your gaming craving cuts across several genres and you have some cash to spare, there’s no shame in adding a console to increase your options—despite what endless many PC vs. console arguments seem to imply. You can have both and enjoy both. In doing so, you're getting more gaming joy, while also supporting the development of great games—whatever the hardware they land on.
Now if you'll excuse me, Kratos needs my help on the PS4—right after I finish blowing up a few more outposts in Far Cry 5 on my gaming PC.