Consoles have won the gaming platform war, for now

We must admit to something. When we started this piece it was titled “build a modern console equivalent PC”, but following too much research we have to concede that it would’ve been an altogether problematic story.

This is because the latest consoles are incredibly powerful machines that manage to make easy work of modern titles. This is not to say that PCs are obsolete, but rather that if you are simply looking for something to play games with, a console is a more affordable option.

What did make coming to this realisation easier is the fact that AMD recently released its latest stack of CPUs and GPUs which make use of the same architecture found in both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.

Using those releases as a basis we discovered that even when pricing the entry level gear we’d end up spending the following for a CPU and GPU:

This does not include a case, a power supply unit, a motherboard, RAM and peripherals and we’re already close to double the price of the PlayStation 5 with the disc option.

Can you go for a more budget friendly option? Of course but given the compute power the consoles have, it would be unfair. For example, over at Evetech you can pick up a machine with the specs below for R8 499.

  • Intel 10th Generation Core i5-10400F (2.9GHz, 12MB Cache, 6x Cores, Turbo 4.3Ghz) CPU
  • ASUS PRIME B460M-K DDR4 LGA 1200 USB3.2 Intel Motherboard
  • RADEON RX 550 4GB OC EDITION GDDR5 DirectX12 Graphics Card
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz High Performance Gaming RAM
  • 512GB NVME SSD Upto 2000MB/s + Speed Ultra-Fast Solid State Drive

This is a very capable gaming machine, but it is not going to net you performance akin to the latest consoles.

We’re not saying PCs are pointless mind you, rather that Xbox and PlayStation have absolutely nailed the price-per-performance factor here. The fact that the PlayStation is claiming it will hit 8K at 120fps is immense and something that PC gamers would have to fork out much more for than the price of a new console would cost them.

The “free game” problem

We’d be remiss not to mention one of PC gaming’s biggest draws, free games.

Whether it’s mobas like League of Legends or Epic Games filling your library up with new games seemingly every week, PC gamers have it made when it comes to free games.

While PlayStation has some work to do, Xbox Game Pass has become the gold standard for gaming subscription services.

There are quite frankly too many games available through Game Pass and if you aren’t using the service for your Xbox you should be.

While Game Pass doesn’t kill the PC’s shining beacon that is free games, it is an aspect of console gaming in 2020 that cannot be ignored.

Add to that the sheer performance of these consoles at high resolutions and you have not only a compelling challenger but piece of kit that offers more than a PC at the same price can.

Will PC hardware catch up and become cheaper in the years to come? Perhaps, but if you’re looking for a gaming platform right now, it’s very hard not to offer up the latest consoles as the option of choice.


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