Tom’s Soapbox: An Argument for Ending the PC Vs. Console Debate

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.

  • Shektron
    Just buy both and be happy forever. End of discussion xD.
  • Math Geek
    considering what it costs for a decent GPU these days, i've moved to console for now. bought an XB1X for what it would have cost me to just buy a GPU for my rig. running an R9-280 now and anything worth calling an upgrade costs as much or more than the XB did.

    until that kinda nonsense gets sorted out, i won't be upgrading my pc anytime soon.
  • WildCard999
    Agreed, I have a PC & PS4 Pro and am loving both, mostly because I'm getting the exclusives on both platforms and usually what comes to Xbox will come to PC at some point.
  • delaro
    This should be more like OEM small form factor PC vs Console because that is the real comparisons, you have two platforms with little to no upgrade potential and a gaming life of 3-5 years. A gaming PC is a different monster entirely and will always be the defacto Premium hardware option over a console. Gaming PC's are complete freedom to pick how the machine looks and performs, that is a option you will never have on a console and the main selling point which keeps PC gamers focused on PC hardware. A gaming PC will always be the premium hardware options for API since if reflects the best the hardware market has to offer over something that is locked at launch.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    Well said. The platform wars have mystified me for ages. The only thing that matters in the end is the player's experience. If one is having a good time on the PC, why sould one care if someone else is enjoying themselves on a console, or a phone? Every platform has its merits, and debating about them can be a darn good time when everybody's being civil. But I definitely see no need to mock, deride, or insult someone else for their choice.

    (For the record, SMS, SNES, PS1, N64, PC, GBA, PS2, GC, PS3, DS, PS4, Switch)
  • nobspls
    Console PC whatever doesn't make a lick of difference if the games run well and look nice enough. But most importantly they need to both support mouse, keyboard, and controller so people can play with the controls they like. That is my bottom line.

    I like the controller for Gran Tourismo on PS4 and controller is good for that. But tell me which console will let me play FPS with keyboard and mouse without hacks or mods?
  • Integr8d
    +1 for keyboard and mouse... But this article feels like, "Yeah, we've written story after story about crypto mining and have managed to sell that to the point that there's no GPU left to buy. Consoles are headed for a slump, since PC guys aren't into that. So let's pump up that segment and get them to spend their money there."
  • mwryder55
    The one thing not mentioned in this article is that most console games are only usable on one generation of the console. This means that if you like a game and they upgrade the console to a new model it may not run on the new console and you have to keep both of them. With a PC you can run a lot of "ancient" games on new hardware. The only times I have had a problem is with some of the software protection schemes and some really old games that used timing loops.
  • Anarkie13
    I'm all for both as well. I converted from console to PC years ago (midway through the Xbox 360 life-cycle). Was primarily on PC only until I was gifted a PS4Pro. With a 4K TV, the games look and play great. And thanks to Samsung making a nice deal with Steam, I can even play through the Steamlink interface.
    I still use my monitor when my wife or kids want the TV and I want to play my games. But the options and flexibility are damn nice to have.
    As for the controls, I use mainly a controller for most, KBM for some and a wheel for my racing. Again, flexibility. And with PC and PS4 both, I get the biggest library of stuff I play.
    Going forward, I'll keep up a great PC and get the newest consoles only after a price drop. Problem solved.
  • lun471k
    What caught me off guard was this: "and likely wait years for PC hardware that can handle current-gen console titles".

    Are you serious ?

    Most PC enthusiasts have far better hardware than consoles, especially graphics wise. My GTX 1070 alone does 6.5 TFlops, which is basically 50% more than a PS4 Pro. And it's far from being the best card out there. I'm running most recent games on Ultra with an old watercooled i7 2600k... it's a 7 years old CPU ! Of course, my old P4 2.66Ghz can't run recent games, but compare current gen consoles with current gen PC hardware and the performance winner is easy to pick.

    I just need to upgrade my GPU every couple of years, which often costs me a bit less than a new console ($380 US tax included for my current GPU).