Let's say you received a nice rebate check from
the government. Or, perhaps you just have a little extra money lying
around and you want to enter the fray of video gaming. Sure, there
might be a Wii downstairs in the kids' playroom, and as fun as that
might be, it didn't feel like gaming. You want something serious.
Something with horsepower. But, there's a big dilemma. Should someone
buy a PC or a gaming console? Well, that really depends. Let's
Gaming PC's have been around for quite some time and I personally
have been a fan for 25 years. I've owned several computers, all
of them purchased with gaming in mind. For the longest time, the
sweet spot on price for a good gaming system was $2500. The lifespan
of the computer was maybe 2 years, three or four with a few upgrades.
That's changed a little. You can now buy a PC that will handle today's
games for about $1500, though you won't be at the cutting edge by
any stretch of the imagination.
Consoles have come a long way. Unlike their PC counterparts, however,
their price point has gone up. Back in the 70's, the Atari 2600
sold for $249. Now, you're looking at $400-500 for a good console.
You've got two choices; the Sony Playstation 3 or Microsoft's XBox
360. The Sony console is more expensive but it has a Blu-Ray DVD
player included, so you can watch Hi-Def movies on it right out
of the box. The XBox has an add on for the competing HD-DVD format,
but we have just learned HD-DVD is all but dead. If movies are your
thing, the PS3 is the most affordable gaming/Hi-Def DVD system around,
by leaps and bounds.
Debating over XBox or PS3 is a matter for a different article.
Here, we are trying to see which is better, a gaming PC or a console.
This really depends on what sort of games you will play and what
your current situation is on teh technology front. Here are some
questions you need to ask, which should help you make a decision.
1. Do you have an HDTV? Is it in a place where you can play games
2. How old is your current PC?
3. How serious will you be about gaming? How many days a week will
4. Are you interested in Hi-Def DVDs?
If you already have an HDTV and it is accessible for games, then
more than likely you are better off with a console. For around $400,
you can enter the world of gaming with ease. If not, there is no
sense in buying a new console and playing it on a standard definition
TV. It would be like watching a movie with only one eye open.
If your current PC is old and you were thinking about replacing
it, and you don't have an HDTV, then a gaming PC might be the way
to go. Essentially, buying a faster PC will cost you a couple of
hundred dollars more, and you kill two birds with one stone on this
deal. Companies like Dell and HP are making mass-marketed gaming
PCs affordable. Be sure to get an advanced video card and at least
2GB of RAM.
How serious you are about gaming will really decide how much you
want to spend. If you see this as a semi-serious hobby, then it's
worth the investment for a console even if you don't have an HDTV.
You can get a large LCD monitor or HDTV for under $400 these days,
still putting you under the price of a PC when you add in the console.
Like I said earlier, if you are interested in Hi-Def DVDs (make
sure you either have or get an HDTV or you won't see a difference)
then the PS3 is your choice. the XBox has a bigger library of games
and some can be had for cheap because they are older, but the PS3
is the king of DVD right now. This might make the purchase justifiable
to your significant other or your parents or whomever.
There are pros and cons for every platform out there. Some are
obvious, some are not. Here are a few for each to give you an idea
what to expect.
PC: Pros- Nothing can touch the graphical beauty of a game running
on a top-notch PC. Also, the PC has a wide variety of games, from
casual to advanced. You don't need to make room for the PC because
you likely have one already. The same game on the PC is roughly
$10 cheaper than its console version. Usually, there is no added
expense to play a PC game online. Cons- Gaming PCs are expensive.
They become obsolete fast. There are compatibility issues with PC
games, and there will be many times where you will have to tweak
settings and update drivers. The PC is open to hacking and viruses
and you can lose saved games and the like when you have to reformat.
Console: Pros- Buy game, turn on console, put in game, play. It's
that simple. More than one person can play the console at a time.
There are more titles on consoles. Sports games translate better
on the console and can make for fun with friends. There is no extra
equipment to buy. They are cheap and have a lifespan of roughly
6 years, almost double of the PC. Cons- Online play costs money
and you sometimes have to deal with brats and jerks online, more
so than with a PC. The games are more expensive. If you don't have
one, you need an HDTV to get the most out of a console.
Well, that about does it. You can't go wrong either way if you
want to take a step into the world of gaming. Go down to your local
Best Buy or other store and try games out on both platforms. If
you want to go the console route, check out the game libraries to
see which one tickles your fancy more. Either way, I hope your path
is a pleasant one.
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