Are gaming PCs really more expensive than consoles?

If you want to play video games in this day and age, there have never been more options. You can grab a smartphone or use a game streaming service and play right away. However, for most people who play video games as their primary form of entertainment, there are two choices: PC and console.

Game consoles are purpose-built game consoles to provide plug-and-play gaming without the need to mess around with game settings. They are also quite affordable, or at least their original price.

PCs, on the other hand, offer complete flexibility in terms of hardware, and if you spend enough, the kind of gaming horsepower that no other console can match. Except perhaps as soon as a new generation of consoles comes out.

While the PC platform is generally the home of high-end video game performance, gamers often object to the costs of being a PC gamer. The question is whether that perception is correct. The answer, as we will see, depends on how you see things.

Hardware cost

There are two ways about it. The amount you have to hand over to buy a console to take home will be less than what you’d pay for an equivalent or better gaming PC. As the life of a panel lengthens, that fact changes. Since the console’s hardware hasn’t changed, the new PC hardware will become more powerful at a lower price point. So in the end a similar asking price for a console will get you a PC with better specs.

Why is the console so much cheaper? There are several reasons for this. Console manufacturers get favorable hardware prices because they build millions upon millions of consoles. Console manufacturers also don’t need to make a profit on their console. Often they break even or lose per unit.

This is acceptable because of something called “ratio of attachment”. In the case of game consoles, this refers to the games, services, and accessories that users must purchase in order to actually use their machine. So even if the console hardware itself doesn’t make money, there’s an instant profit from the sale of the first game, accessory, or subscription.

With PC, every component has a profit margin. The individual manufacturers need to return the hardware or it won’t help. The end result of this is that, from a performance-per-dollar standpoint, PCs are more expensive than consoles. However that is not the whole story. It would be more accurate to say that the PC has a higher upfront price. But if we look at the lifetime cost of a typical panel, that picture changes.

Software cost

Since the console is a closed platform, game developers need to pay to get the privilege of publishing games on that system. This takes the form of an attached fee for each copy sold. Instead of hitting their own profits, that cost is passed on to console players. So you’ll find that, at launch, console games cost more than the same PC title.

That’s not all! Since several different distributors compete to sell PC games, you will be hard pressed to pay the retail price for a PC game. Whether it’s a pre-order discount or a sale just a few months or even weeks after launch, there are always great deals on PC games. In contrast, console games tend to hold their full price for longer. They also don’t get as deeply discounted as on PC when they go on sale.

This is where the main equalizer of PC game prices versus consoles comes into play. However, this obviously depends a lot on how many games you buy.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that a console game costs $10 more on average than the PC version. If you buy one game every month for five years, that will be $10 x 12 months x 5 years. By 600 dollars.

If you added that $600 to your original console purchase and bought a $1000 PC instead, your total spend would be the same. Today, $1000 can buy a pretty good gaming laptop or desktop. However, that is only part of the hidden costs that console gamers face.

Online Service Charges

Since PC provides an open platform, players do not have to pay for functions like multiplayer to third parties. On consoles, online multiplayer is usually reserved for a subscription service, in addition to any actual game subscriptions you might have to pay.

Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all softened the deal by adding discounts and “free” digital games to the mix. So whether that’s worth the cost will depend on the individual. However, the bottom line is that if you want to play online then fees are not optional.

So the value-added aspects don’t carry that much weight. If you add the difference in monthly online multiplayer subscriptions to the average difference in game prices, that further equalizes the price difference between PC and console hardware over the life of the board. control.

Upgrade cost

Next, we need to factor in the cost of upgrading the PC. First of all, the upgrade for a PC during its console equivalent generation is optional. At least when it comes to cross-platform gaming.

A fairly recent development with consoles is a mid-generation upgrade. This got us the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Neither of them were necessary upgrades, but they did provide a pretty decent support for the graphics prowess.

The CPUs for these mid-generation machines have remained largely unchanged. So if you did the same thing with a mid-gen PC and just upgraded the GPU, you’d be spending as much (or less) as buying a new, updated console. From that point of view, the upgrade has a negligible effect when comparing PCs and consoles.

Do you need a computer for other things?

The next important consideration when calculating comparative costs is whether you need a computer for anything other than gaming. If you really need a computer for more than gaming, the cost of the console is summation of a non-gaming PC.

In that case, you can also add the costs together and get a gaming PC. If you don’t need a PC at all, we can leave it out of the cost comparison.

Another view on cost

As we’ve seen, if you look at the total cost of ownership over the life of a typical console, the difference in cost between PCs and consoles isn’t nearly as dramatic as we’ve seen. ever performed. Of course, PCs can be extremely expensive in the high-end segment, but this is not an exaggerated comparison.

Again, we should not forget that the control panel also has its own advantages. For example, they are designed to be shared machines in the home rather than for personal use. In addition, they do not require much technical knowledge to operate or purchase. However, from a pure cost perspective, if you can afford a higher upfront price, there’s a strong argument to be made on the PC side of the equation.

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