As millions of people all over the world fall over each other in a scramble to get their hands on the almost non-existent supplies of PlayStation 5s, the spotlight is, once again, on console gamers.
Yet, consoles are not the best devices for playing games. Computers have held this title for decades and look set to maintain this position for the foreseeable future.
Sure, consoles have their benefits. A console (at least traditionally) works right out of the box, with no setup, installation, or other faff to deal with. You also don’t need to worry about compatibility or security, since this just isn’t a problem with these machines.
With a console, you trade convenience for flexibility. Sure, you can buy any game and not have to worry about compatibility, but you also can’t upgrade the hardware inside it to improve the quality of the graphics after a couple of years.
With a gaming PC, you have the flexibility to do practically anything you want. You’re not tied into the ecosystem created by either Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo.
If you want to install your hardware into a glass case that’s helped to run at its optimal performance using a state-of-the-art liquid cooling system, then go right ahead. If you want to set up four displays so that you can get a wider viewing angle, plough on. If you want to buy budget components to save money, then that’s ok too.
With a computer, you can spend as much or as little as you like, and as long as you have relatively recent hardware, it should be capable of running any game.
The Widest Choice of Games
Consoles have bigger libraries of games than they have ever had. For example, although the PlayStation 5 has recently gone on sale with just a smidgin of launch titles, owners can still access countless PlayStation 4 games and those from previous generations in Sony’s back catalogue that can be purchased and downloaded.
However, computer gamers have much more choice. As well as the AAA titles release on consoles, there’s a vast array of other games to choose from. For example, Valve’s Steam platform has a huge library of indie games, remastered retro classics, and its own exclusive content. You also have access to browser-based games and those that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.
Computer gamers also have the ability to take part in online poker games and tournaments, both for free and with the option to wager real money. With a PC, you can even move your weekly poker night between you and your buddies online, thanks to the Home Games feature offered by PokerStars India. With this, you can create your own private club and play from anywhere in the country, so no one has to miss out when they’re travelling.
That’s still not all though. Through emulators like RetroArch and DOSBox, you can play games released for machines that are now decades old. Google’s Stadia platform also works on computers, giving you even more choice.
Consoles need to be plugged into a TV and a power socket, there’s almost no way to take them away from your home.
The champion of portable gaming is the smartphone. It’s a small computer you carry around in your pocket and can be used to play everything from Angry Birds to Call of Duty. While that’s great, it’s let down by its underpowered hardware and tiny screen. It’s a great mobile gaming experience, but playing a first-person-shooter isn’t quite the same as on a computer.
Computers offer a good balance between the two here. Of course, you will struggle to lug your custom-built desktop gaming rig around with you, but you’ll have no problem putting a gaming laptop in your rucksack.
With a laptop and a mouse, you can get a full gaming experience anywhere you like. There are no limitations on the titles you can play and you’re not forced to use touchscreen controls.
Computers offer the most varied, flexible, and portable gaming experience possible. While other devices may perform better for specific tasks, computers are great all-rounders, giving them a distinct advantage.