The debate of Console vs PC gaming rages on, but the scales appear to be tipping in favor of the PC. We are in the age of all in one devices. Phones are now also mini computers that allow you not only to make calls, but to instant message, capture HD video, play games, check email, and the list goes on. Consoles, on the other hand, have one main function- games. Sure, consoles can also be used to stream video from Netflix or Hulu, but so can any number of other devices, including smart phones, smart TVs, tablets, and computers – not to mention the fact that devices like Google’s Chromecast and the Amazon Fire TV are significantly more affordable solutions for streaming video.
Speaking of affordability, the argument has been made that it is more cost effective for the average gamer to purchase a console than a PC capable of playing the same games – and until recently, that argument has been valid. However, with recent advancements in technology, it is now more cost effective to buy a mid range PC (and get the same or better performance) than it is to buy a console.
Some will argue that consoles provide a different experience than PC altogether – another argument that used to be true but no longer is. Gaming from a couch with a controller is no doubt a different experience than the classic mouse and keyboard approach to PC gaming, but the tides are turning. We have had PC capable USB and Bluetooth controllers for quite some time, but the boundaries between console and PC are starting to blend even more with the advent of steam machines and other small form factor computers. Add in some wireless HDMI, and you can play PC games just as comfortably from your couch as you can from your desk.
We are already starting to see the effects of PC gaming on the console world. Developers for Microsoft and Sony platforms have continued to release new titles on last gen consoles, because less and less people are willing to buy the new gen consoles. Granted, rumor has it they will stop releasing games for old consoles within the year, but it is rather telling that news like that is rumor. They are showcasing their ”console” games on high end PCs at gaming conventions like E3, rather than displaying them on the console they are going to release on. Consoles are having a very difficult time keeping up. It’s hard to get exact numbers, since console manufacturers hold them fairly close to their chests, but according to most reliable sources, PC game revenue for the past year is more than double every other console combined.
Will this be the last generation of console gaming? We think it’s entirely possible. Nintendo is doing the smart thing by keeping as many games as possible exclusive to their consoles, and exclusive to their newest generation at that, but how long will they last before the average gamer realizes they can get the same, if not better, experience from a PC? How long will it be before every developer develops games exclusively for the system that holds the vast majority of the gaming market? Sure, we’re a bit biased, but the way I see it, console gaming is on its way to the chopping block – and the PC is holding the axe.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.