Video game consoles have always been a way for everyday consumers to enjoy without needing technical savvy.
The world of PC enthusiasts can easily seem too intimidating for the average gamer, with a deluge of complicated specifications, hardware options, and high-priced graphics cards. But as next-gen consoles adopt x86 architecture the difference between PC’s and consoles is getting quite narrow, in terms of the basics.
We take a look at the merits of both gaming PCs and Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4 to determine which option is the best fit for your gaming needs.
PlayStation 4 vs PC: Affordable performance gaming
Sony’s PlayStation 4 console doesn’t compromise performance for functionality. It’s all about gaming, and as we’ve seen across our retinue of PS4 game reviews, the system does its job quite well.
The console is a solid choice for high-def gaming and isn’t a slouch in terms of hardware; its unified 8GB GDDR5 memory is a unique solution that empowers the system’s overall efficiency, allowing it to hit graphically-intense workloads.
The PS4 also has a great games library, with games like Bungie’s new sci-fi shooter Destiny as well as the PlayStation-exclusive masterpiece The Last of Us: Remastered.
There’s also Remote Play, which allows you to play PS4 games on-the-go with a PS Vita, as well as the newly introduced Share Play feature to consider. Share Play lets you give control of your on-screen game session to a friend over the PlayStation Network, letting them play even if they don’t own the game. It’s a sort of interactive social demo feature that’s exclusive to the PlayStation 4.
Opting for consoles is a matter of personal preference that often comes down to two things: cost and convenience.
High-performance enthusiast PC’s can range up thousands of dollars, with a huge array of expensive graphics cards, CPUs, motherboards, cooling systems and everything else to choose from. Nvidia’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card, for example, has a MSRP of $2999.
It’s also easier to pick up a console and hook it up to your television without having to lug a PC tower in your living room. It’s a matter of convenience as well, as console gaming is a sort of offshoot of PC gaming, providing the basics without the countless number of different software and hardware options.
Console gaming is minimal, and keeps things simple. The PlayStation 4 emulates this simplicity but also doesn’t give up that PC-like performance in the process, making it an ideal fit for gamers who like to pick up their controllers and jump right in the game.
At $399 the PlayStation 4 is an affordable choice that delivers quality-driven gameplay, but it’s quite sparse in functionality.
PlayStation 4 vs PC: PC is the king of gaming, at a cost
PC’s have traditionally dominated the gaming sector in terms of raw power, graphical fidelity, and fluid frame-rates. Essentially PC gaming is the whole picture, whereas console gaming is a more smaller consolidated package. The platform is able to hit the highest tiers of performance while also bringing multitasking capabilities to the table, making it the ultimate gaming solution.
Now PC’s do come with an associated cost, and it’s not just about money.
The world of PC hardware is quite sizable and can be rather confusing and downright intimidating to some. There’s a whole galaxy of hardware–from multitudes of CPUs and GPUs to motherboards and accessories–and it takes the right know-how to assemble a gaming rig.
The financial cost of performance PC’s is also a deterrent to most gamers, but you don’t always need to spend a fortune to get quality hardware. There’s a huge market for budget PC’s that can be bought for as little as $300, but consumers don’t always want to take the time to track down barebones kits and assemble the tech themselves.
It’s true that PC’s bring the best in gaming, but consoles are more concise slices of hardware that are tailored specifically for a purpose, and they are portable and designed to fight right in your living room.
But even PC’s are cornering the console market–iBuyPower’s SBX PC gaming console is just one of the many prototype solutions that mix the best of both worlds.
PC’s also have Steam, a massive online games marketplace that serves as the nexus for every PC gamer’s digital library. Steam’s Big Picture mode also makes playing computer games in your living room a breeze by optimizing performance on HDTV’s.
The major advantage that PC’s have over consoles is that they’re modular; their parts can be changed out and updated at any time. This is the key to keeping your rig updated with the latest and greatest hardware for optimum performance.
Consoles don’t have this feature. They’re stuck in the same hardware configurations that soon become outdated and obsolete within months. Despite the PlayStation 4’s unified memory and upgraded software solutions, being modular is one of the many reasons why PC’s are the king of gaming.
Conclusion: Is the PlayStation 4 better than the PC?
Choosing whether to get a PlayStation 4 or a gaming PC is a matter of preference to be sure. The PS4 offers affordable high-quality gaming with a range of additional features and a library of great console games, but the PC has a huge helping of advantages.
The PC can be updated with fancy new graphics cards and hardware to boost performance, but it’s not as portable or specific as a console. Gaming computers have a vast library of games, and can even be found for budget prices, but they take a bit of know-how to assemble and configure, whereas consoles can just be hooked up and played right out of the box.
While the personal computer dominates in power and graphical fidelity, the popularity of consoles proves that not every gamer is ready to be an enthusiast.