There has probably never been a better time to be a gamer. The amount of choice that players have today is near infinite. Gone are the days where they were limited to only being able to enjoy their games at home; however, the titles from yesteryear are still available to play, alongside all of the latest releases.
Despite this, all the great content and the different playing options haven’t stopped gamers from partaking in one of their favorite pastimes: arguing with each other about which device is best.
Although players on all sides of the debate remain steadfast in their intransigence, the reality is that all three main ways to play games each have their own merits and are capable of coexisting with the others.
So if you’re deciding on which gaming machine to get next, here’s an impartial comparison to help you make up your mind.
Choice of Games
One big factor to consider when deciding which platform is right for you is the games that are available to play on it. After all, the fun of gaming comes from the software rather than the hardware – the machine is just a facilitator.
A decade ago, you’d have seen a big difference between games for mobile devices and consoles/computers. Older smartphones weren’t up to the task of running more powerful titles like first-person shooters, so developers focused on puzzles and turn-based games.
Today, things have changed. In fact, there are many games that can be played on all three, and even come with cross-platform functionality so you can challenge your PC-gaming friend from your PlayStation or iPhone. Some popular examples of this include Fortnite, poker, Among Us, and Hearthstone. In cases like this, players aren’t forced to use a particular format just to play a game they like; instead, they can choose which device they feel is best or even switch between them depending on where they are at the time.
PCs have the most options as you’ll find all the latest titles on there, as well as having access to thousands more retro titles that can still be bought from various sources. Really old games can be made compatible with new hardware too by using tools like DOSBox.
The other two platforms are a little more limiting, though you’ll still find plenty of options.
Another thing that’s going to play a big role in your decision is cost. Gaming is a relatively cheap hobby, but it can still burn a big hole in your pocket if you let it.
The most expensive way to play video games is through a PC. High-end gaming machines can set you back thousands or even tens of thousands, they’ll use more energy than any other device, and will require upgrading more frequently if you want to stay on the bleeding edge of developments.
Cheaper computer options are available though, and with a bit of work you can pick up a half-decent gaming PC for less than $1,000. Just don’t expect it to run everything on the highest settings. If you shop around, you can also find peripherals like mice without having to break the bank either.
On the other hand, mobile gaming is often the cheapest because you already own a smartphone. Therefore, there’s no upfront cost for any extra hardware.
Consoles sit somewhere in between, costing just shy of $500. You’ll likely not need to buy another until the next generation is released, giving you around five years to save up for the next one.
For many gamers, graphics are one of the most important things to consider when gaming. Some spend a lot of time trying to make sure they can play with an ultra-smooth 60fps, while others focus on getting the highest resolutions and richest colors.
If you are one of these gamers and you want the absolute best gaming graphics available, then you’ll need to choose a PC. Console games look great, but nine times out of ten, computers offer a slight improvement.
If graphics are not important to you at all, then a smartphone will work just fine. Although they’ve come a long way in the last few years, they’re still nowhere near as powerful as consoles or computers that have large graphics processors with ray-tracing capabilities.
Smartphones are the ultimate in portable gaming. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket but still have a decent screen for playing games on. You can also play mobile games just about anywhere with an internet connection, which is incredibly convenient.
On the other hand, consoles are almost not portable at all. They require a constant power supply from a wall outlet and need to be plugged into a TV or monitor. Therefore, you won’t be playing your Xbox on the train or the bus.
A gaming PC is usually not portable either, but there is one exception. Gaming laptops usually cost more but have their own built-in screens and batteries so can be enjoyed on the go. However, they’re heavy, bulky, and generally need to be placed on a desk or table.