For Most People, the New Xbox and PlayStation Are Better Than a Gaming PC

A photo of the Xbox and PlayStation controllers on a table.
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The PS5 and Xbox Series X feel more like gaming PCs than traditional game consoles. At least, that’s what tech outlets and gamers are saying. In reality, this generation of consoles offers an experience that’s decidedly more streamlined, affordable, and appealing to the average person than PC gaming. Unless you’re really committed to gaming at your desktop, you should ignore the nonsense and stick with a console.

Just to be clear, we love everything that PC gaming has to offer. But some people are falling into the idea that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are just underpowered PCs. It’s a dangerous take that could cause people to waste their money, as the Xbox Series X and PS5, which are fully capable of playing AAA titles, should be judged by the experience that they offer, not their specs.

On a Console, Everything Just Works

A couple of bros play the PS4.
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Once you include the price of accessories, cables, a monitor, and games, you can expect to spend about $1,000 building a modest-quality gaming PC. Then, you have to dedicate time to building the PC, setting up all of your gaming software, wrestling with platforms like Steam, and troubleshooting the unpredictable issues and that are inevitable while gaming at a desktop.

Now, anyone who’s built a gaming PC will tell you that setup and troubleshooting aren’t a huge deal. You get used to fixing problems on the fly, and you learn that small issues are often a fair trade-off for customization, horsepower, and the other benefits of PC gaming.

But these tasks are frustrating, time-consuming, and a major turnoff to a lot of people—especially if you have limited time and just want to play a damn game. The new Xbox One X and PS5, which will sell for well under $1,000 (probably half of that, in fact), can work right out of the box without any fuss and will be able to reach the heights of ray tracing and 8K video without any tweaking. For most people, the simplicity and low price of these next-gen consoles make them a lot more appealing than an expensive and fussy PC, even if it comes at the price of hardware tweak-ability or small graphics boosts.

The Best Console Gaming Feature: Exclusives

A screenshot from The Last of Us Part II.
A screenshot from The Last of Us Part II.

Sony and Microsoft know that their console games can run on desktop computers. So, they spend oodles of money securing the rights to exclusive AAA and indie games—many of which are extremely popular and totally out of the grasp of PC gamers.

These exclusive titles may be the greatest “feature” of console gaming. You can’t play popular games like God of War, The Last of Us, Halo 5, or Gears 5 on a PC. Why would the average person pay extra to lock themselves out of popular new franchises?

It’s worth mentioning that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will also be backward compatible with previous Sony and Xbox console generations (with an odd gap for PS2 and PS3 games). These old games are often available on PC (through legal or illegal means). Still, they play better on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, which are built with the architecture to handle flawless emulation.

PC Gaming Is Fractured Between Too Many Services

A photo of the Steam store.
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One of the most appealing aspects of PC gaming is the wide variety of gaming platforms and vendors. The ability to choose between gaming services or markets drives competitive pricing, ever-evolving social features (like Steam trading cards), and niche gaming communities (modding communities come to mind). But if you’re the kind of person who just likes to sit down, fire up a game, and link up with your friends, then the fractured world of PC gaming platforms can be exhausting.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X are all-in-one machines. On a console, you don’t have to worry about Steam, Epic, Twitch Prime, GOG, Origin, Fanatical, or any other marketplace. You don’t have to rely on third-party messengers, and you don’t have to wait through file downloads while joining custom servers. All of your achievements are in one place, and all of your friends are available for multiplayer games without jumping through hoops—so long as they own whatever console you’re using.

Again, the fractured nature of PC gaming is appealing to a lot of people. Some of the things we’ve listed as PC gaming hang-ups, like tricked out custom servers, are actually well-loved features of PC gaming. But, for the average person, this stuff overcomplicates things. Console gaming is infinitely more streamlined, so you can spend more of your free time playing and less time logging in and out of services.

Trust Your Heart, Follow Your Friends

A group of friends playing games in beautifully vivid lighting.
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We aren’t trying to say that PC gaming sucks. Most Review Geek writers own massive PC gaming libraries, and actively pursue “hang-ups” like custom gaming servers, new gaming platforms, and expensive (or frustrating) hardware that boosts game performance.

However, we also love our game consoles, and we want to make it clear that desktop gaming isn’t for everybody. Over the next few months, people are going to make the argument that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are just underpowered gaming PCs. It’s a bad take, and we hope that we’ve outlined why it’s not worth listening to.

In the end, you must trust your heart. Do you want the streamlined experience of a game console, or do you want to put your blood and tears into the sometimes clunky world of PC gaming? If you can’t decide where to go, then ask your friends for their plans. Maybe you know a friend who just build a gaming PC, or a group of cool people who are fully committed to buying the PS5 (the cool kid console).

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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