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Forget the console and build a gaming PC! A value comparison

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  • DocFrazierDocFrazier Gladbrook, IA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
  • GnomeWizarddGnomeWizardd Member 4 Life Akron, PA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Big time WIN Love it man GJ
  • drasnordrasnor Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    You're comparing apples and oranges. You've chosen to compare a few games that are not exclusive to one platform or the other but for nearly everyone the play experiences are completely different between the two. Factor in that most games out there ARE exclusive and the analysis falls apart completely.

    Besides, who wants just to 'game?' If you want to be a 'gamer' on the cheap then you should be buying these. It plays TEN GAMES and it's only $20! That's what I call value.

    -drasnor :fold:" alt=":fold:" />
  • GargoyleGargoyle Illinois Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    People have to weight platform exclusives by their own preferences. Personally, I don't care about 90% of the exclusives (or big-budget titles in general) on consoles.

    If it weren't for one must-buy title (FF13), I'd skip this generation of consoles completely.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    dransor,

    Ground rule #1 brother....

    I'm not suggesting that people should not desire a console for certain exclusive content, or perhaps for other reasons. Each platform has merit. I just want to dispel the myth that building a gaming PC costs more than buying a console, and I think that is clear.

    Hey, I purchased a GameCube to play Resident Evil 4, so I know exactly where you are coming from.

    Still, saying that most titles are exclusive is not accurate. Most titles are cross platform, and when you examine the list that includes the top ten Xbox 360 sellers of all time, seven of those titles are also on PC. Most content is not exclusive, most is, and has been cross platform as a matter of economics, more platform releases normally equal more sales for the software developers and publishers.
  • edited Aug 2009
    Great article --

    I just recently went through a very similar debate. I was considering grabbing an Xbox 360 Arcade for ~$200, which, in and of itself is a great value for gaming; However, I didn't have a good computer at the time, and faced with spending another $350 - 400 for a decent computer, I instead decided to build a gaming PC for ~$600 and get a great little gaming rig and a good computer at the same time. And I'm very glad I did.

    Now I can play Fallout 3 and Bioshock and Assassin's Creed and all the same great titles I wanted for Xbox, and I don't have to fight with my girlfriend over the TV :D
  • drasnordrasnor Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    dransor,

    Ground rule #1 brother....

    I'm not suggesting that people should not desire a console for certain exclusive content, or perhaps for other reasons. Each platform has merit. I just want to dispel the myth that building a gaming PC costs more than buying a console, and I think that is clear.

    Hey, I purchased a GameCube to play Resident Evil 4, so I know exactly where you are coming from.

    Still, saying that most titles are exclusive is not accurate. Most titles are cross platform, and when you examine the list that includes the top ten Xbox 360 sellers of all time, seven of those titles are also on PC. Most content is not exclusive, most is, and has been cross platform as a matter of economics, more platform releases normally equal more sales for the software developers and publishers.
    The point was completely unclear to me, because with the exception of that little clause tucked away in rule no. 1 buried in your article the entire rest of the piece is written as a persuasive argument of how one is a better value than the other. My argument is that you can't make that comparison because they aren't comparable.

    My statement regarding exclusives is more accurate than you're letting on. Online multiplayer communities are split for the same titles on PC and console platforms; that is, if I play TF2 on my 360 I can't play against Icrontic on the IC server. Also, I completely disagree that most games are cross-platform; for the reason I just listed as well as differences in platform capabilities most so-called cross-platform games are actually multiple different games with the same name (e.g. the new Ghostbusters game et al.) Not to mention the completely different play experience between sitting in a chair at a desk playing with a mouse and keyboard on a monitor versus sitting on a couch in the living room playing with a gamepad on a TV.

    -drasnor :fold:" alt=":fold:" />
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    dransor,

    Once again, there are merits to each platform. Playing on a big TV sitting further away may be someone's thing, I don't knock it. Personally, I like the immersion of being very close to my monitor, and I also prefer the experience of a really good set of headphones vs. a 5.1 setup for gaming, but that is not what I want to argue about because its all personal taste.

    Lets change the terminology cross platform, with multi platform, that is what I meant. TF2 is on both the PC and the 360 (I have tried it on both, its a far superior experience on PC, but that is my preference ;*) Would it be nice for 360 and PC gamers to play together, perhaps, but once again, that is not the point.

    Point is this, I can build a gaming PC today that will offer an HD gaming experience that will prove to be a better value proposition over the next couple of years.

    I felt that this was worth exploring because most people I know still are thinking in 2003 mode where if you wanted gaming on a reasonable budget, the only real way to do it was to buy a console to plug into the TV. Those days are behind us, and if you prefer gaming on PC, price should not be holding you back. If you prefer paying a per game console tax for your disks and updates so you can assist Microsoft in paying off that heavily subsidized poorly made hardware (RROD anyone?) just so you can play Halo 3 with a bunch of whinny thirteen year olds, you can do that as well. But honestly, why pay more for that?
  • GargoyleGargoyle Illinois Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    This is off-topic to the value proposition, but my concern is that big studios (and to some extent, independent games) are trending towards console-only releases. There are a number of articles that point one direction or the other, and I could see it going either way (not that it would ever be 100% one or the other). But if "big content" has its way, one day we'll all have to play games on consoles where they control and charge for every facet of play. Which, if I can go even further afield, has more sinister implications.
  • NemikanNemikan Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    ** note generally every reference to xbox = xbox 360 **

    In my mind it comes down to a few things:
    Availability, Content, Price, Longevity, and Usability.

    Availability:


    For a kid living at home, a console has much more availability. They are able to get a console for a major holiday such as Christmas or a Birthday, where a PC is a few hundred more... putting it out of the price range of the parents. Not only that but its much easier to find console games than it is to find every PC game. While PC games aren't THAT hard to find, the best place to get games (not online) is from Best Buy, which can be fairly far away, who seems to have the largest supply of games that I've found. Your average store such as walmart, meijier & target, who tend to have multiple around your location, will carry many more console games than PC games. For new releases of computer games, Often times they are sold out and I've been stuck waiting for them to come in again. While console games were fairly often as well, the ability to get them in many more locations made it much easier to get them on release.

    Console game stores also sell previously owned games, such as gamestop where people are able to buy games MUCH cheaper than the expected cost. For Computer games this is not the case. Finding used computer games is horribly hard to find.

    Winner: Console

    Content:
    Console games generally have certain producers associated with them. For Xbox, you know halo will be coming out. You can look ahead and say ok... i want a Microsoft game I KNOW it will be on xbox.

    Single Player vs. Multiplayer:
    Computer games don't always have multiplayers... often times they are fairly lame or the creators focused solely on the single player aspect of the game. Console games on the other hand almost always have some form of split-screen mode, xbox live mode, or co-op mode to play with friends. When this isn't the case more often than not it is an RPG game which isn't ment to be played multiplayer.

    It becomes much easier for a kid to have his 3 friends over to play on a console that he owns and has control over buying / adding more players to. On a computer this requires the other person to have one as well, and then buy the game. 4 people can easily play halo, with only one person buying the game. If you look at in this light, now you have 4x the cost of all games.

    At the same time, the disadvantage of this is that it requires all players to be in the same vicinity. Making this an added feature of a console that a computer does not have. Computers have the ability to lan, (much more powerfully than consoles) which gives them this option as well. The issue is having people move their computers, being much more difficult than a console to move, to a given location.

    PCs have one huge advantage over console games. The ability to download from the internet anything you wish and use / mod your games with. This is one of the biggest advantages PC gamers have over console gamers. While consoles are greatly increasing this ability, i admit i haven't played xbox 360 THAT much, they now have downloadable content and patches to their game. Nothing is worse than playing a game such as Morrowwind, amazing game btw, and then having it crash at a specific spot EVERY time. A simple patch would fix the game, but it was something Xbox (the normal one) did not have the ability to do.

    One of the main advantages of a Computer, is a near endless amount of content via the internet. You may argue... But then remember Emulators exist. Computers have most console content + more hands down.

    Tie: PC for amount, Console for multiplayer capability.

    Price & Longevity:
    Due to how these two categories rely on each other, I'm combining them for my critic.

    In reading cliffs article, there is one main point that strikes me in this matter. The time frame of 2 years. As you buy a computer, it degrades in value and can't run the games "forever". To have your PC run the games for greater than two years, you would need to spend more money initially into your system. This dramatically ups the cost of your PC where the console sits at a static cost. Lets look at some figures. Cliff states his approximation for a basic PC is $400. Normally I'd agree with this, but he also stated he wasn't factoring in peripherals. With that in mind, a basic PC without the monitor or speakers, costs less than $400. According to dells site, it costs about $270 for a cheap computer, add in another $30 for keyboard and mouse, so its sitting at around $300.
    http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/desktops/inspndt/ct.aspx?refid=inspndt&s=dhs&cs=19&ref=dthp
    Now looking at a budget PC +a Console vs. a Gaming PC over a 4 year period, the numbers change. A Gaming PC you buy to last 2 years, (Maybe the computer you have listed will last longer for gaming I do not know) will then need to be repurchased. A budget PC and a console on the other hand... do not.

    People are still playing on their Atari's, Super Nintendos, Original Game Boys, etc. This is a possibility due to the hardware requirements not changing for a given game. You buy a console, you buy a game for the console, it lasts forever, excluding scratching discs / wear & tare etc. Gaming Computers need to be repurchased every 3-5 years.

    Then there is the internet. High speed internet is approximately the same cost as an Xbox live subscription. This doubles the cost of console games over PC games in terms of the monthly fee in terms of paying for internet anyways. Even so, this added cost fades if the player stops paying for Xbox Live.

    Winner:
    Console. The longevity vs. price clearly is in favor of the console.

    Conclusion so far:
    Gaming consoles seem to have won 2/3 categories, and in the one it didn't win... it tied. So why am I a dire-heart PC gamer, and feel it is better than gaming on a console? Well it heavily is explain with my last category: usability.

    Usability:
    One of the biggest improvements PCs have over Consoles is customization. One can choose what they want, set things to work how they want, and have it operate in the way they want. I can have my games boot with different resolutions, play windowed, minimize or maximize the graphic settings, change all my keybindings etc. Not only that, but I have over 50 keys I can customize / use in gaming. You can buy a game pad, joystick, specially shaped keyboard etc. A console has a controller. Maybe 2 types... but thats it.

    Next is an FPS specific feature. The mouse. Nothing pisses me off more in an FPS than knowing that there is an enemy on the sides or behind me.... yet it takes too long to rotate the character around to face them, due to using a controller's joystick over the mouse. If I up the sensitivity to make up for this problem, making centimeter adjustments to my aiming becomes very difficult to ever so softly tap the control stick which is bound to a grid system. Want to see this taken to the extreme? Sarge's Heroes for N64 had the WORSE rotation speed I've ever seen. I can't tell you how many times I've been knowing to my left is a guy, hes shooting me.... and I can't turn around fast enough to kill him. WTF.

    Then their is the headsets. PCs you have various mikes, more headset options, speakers galore (many for very cheap), mices and keyboards to fit your exact style etc... Xbox 360 has limited headsets, and once again... only a few controller styles.

    Next is the ability to multitask. I can sit online my computer with Irc, im clients, ventrilo or skype open AND be playing my game at the same time. Yes, this does require multiple monitors, but even with only one you can alt tab or play your games in windowed mode. Xbox has a chat system, but that requires all your friends to own Xbox and be on Xbox live.


    Then there is the added cost / use of having a computer for non-gaming uses. I use the computer enough that even if I wasn't gaming, I'd buy a fairly expensive processor to get my computer working as fast as I could. A simple budget PC wouldn't cut it. Anyone who has felt the speed of a 7 yr old computer owned by some old fogies who don't know anything about them can easily tell the value of having a fast computer.


    Having an Xbox requires a TV. Ok we are factoring out the costs, but there is more to this issue that comes into play. Generally speaking people do not require a computer unless they want to go check email or surf Facebook. A TV on the other hand, people are constantly wanting for watching movies, sports, TV shows, etc. What I've seen in my College apartment, is that the TV with the xbox was almost always in use... making it VERY difficult to be playing games on the console. While on the other hand my PC is mine, I have no one else to compete with using it. Even if it were a family PC, generally speaking I feel a TV would be more used than a PC was. At my home this was the case. Occasionally my parents would want me to pause for them to check email or something, but in a matter of 30 minutes tops or so I'd be back gaming.


    Final Conclusion:
    For me a PC wins out due to the value I put in its usability. A console is also aimed much more at the younger crowd who does not want to deal with many of the added “hassles” of the PC. Its nicer to buy the initial console for cheaper than a starting PC would cost. Games are suited much more to their style, as they can have fun with friends coming over to play. Consoles allow easy of purchasing fairly standard items, and are sold at many more places than PC games. PCs on the other hand have their biggest advantage in usability and customization.
  • ledbetterledbetter Chattanooga, TN
    edited Aug 2009
    Chris wrote:
    Now I can play Fallout 3 and Bioshock and Assassin's Creed and all the same great titles I wanted for Xbox, and I don't have to fight with my girlfriend over the TV :D

    This is the same reasoning behind my decision over 2 years ago. I already had a mid spec gaming PC, but my wife wanted to get me a PS3 or 360 for my b-day. Almost all of the games "exclusive" to 360, I already had or could get on my PC. I went PS3 so now I can get Sony AND Microsoft games.:D Win, win!

    BTW, great article Cliff!
  • CyrixInsteadCyrixInstead Stoke-on-Trent, England Member
    edited Aug 2009
    An interesting article that I tend to agree with on the whole Cliff. However, the one thing that nobody has yet pointed out is that this article only holds water whilst we're thinking in 2009-mode.

    The only reason that the TCO of the PC system is less than the XBox is that the XBox has been out for a few years already. Rewind the clock to the day when the 360 was released and try re-writing this article and you'll have to inflate the price of the PC components suitably to come up with a machine of a spec that can compete with the 360 (even taking into consideration the initial release cost of the console). A few years down the line and the price of the components has dropped to such an extent that the PC becomes a better choice.

    Let's fast forward to the day the XBox 720/PS4 or whatever comes out. At that point to get comparable performance from a PC you'll have to buy much more expensive components than listed, so once again the console becomes the better choice.

    And so we have the swings and roundabouts of which machine to buy. When a next-gen console is still next-gen, that is the better choice. When it becomes current-gen (as the 360 & PS3 are now) the PC becomes (arguably) the better choice.

    I have to agree with drasnor that PC gaming and console gaming are different beasts altogether, but I still think the article has its merits.

    ~Cyrix
  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    If you want to, you could also trade in your console games to lower your overall software cost. That'd have a huge impact.

    You could try and sell your PC games, but

    A) You can't sell digital downloads, so your savings there are negated
    B) It's hard to sell the newer PC games that might have limited install tokens due to draconian DRM.

    Speaking of DRM, console gamers don't have to put up with rootkits and Orwellian copy protection software.

    As a PC gamer, I'm freakin' jealous of how easy console gamers have it.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2009
    First, good article Cliff.

    I can flip back and forth all day between the technical aspects between PC and Console gaming. What it comes down to in the end for me ultimately is the social aspect and I find the social aspects of gaming on a Console to be much more enjoyable then on the PC.

    Setting MMO's and online gaming aside for the moment. There is nothing better then laying the smack down on a friend who's sitting in the same room with you while other friends are standing by cheering waiting to jump in on the action for some serious payback.

    While some PC games do support local multi-player, most don't and the ones that do don't feel as responsive, this is certainly true with fighting games. Now expand that to 4 player local games and PC's are entirely left in the dust.

    So in a very general sense of 'hardcore' if your concept of gaming is sitting alone playing FPS's, MMO's or a select few of Exclusive PC RPG's. Then yes PC gaming may be the system to go with. If however if your sense of gaming encompasses a wider spectrum of titles and activities then consoles provide a significantly greater value.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Wow everyone, Allot of great comments.

    Nemikan, you posted a whole article. I was hoping someone else would come up with a through detailed analysis.

    To repeat myself a little, while my preference is clear, my main goal is to inform people that they should not walk away from the idea of gaming on PC simply because it is too expensive.

    Great arguments are made about the ability to do trade in's on console to offset the console subsidy tax. I don't find it to be a good value though, ultimately you are giving up your content for a fraction of what you paid, but it is a valid consideration none the less.

    Point being, we could fudge the numbers many way's, but the point still remains that it has never been this economical to be a PC gamer. 2009 has presented some amazing value in high quality game ready components, and if you ever had the inkling that you wanted to be a PC gamer, but price dissuaded you, things have changed where consoles are priced higher, and not falling in price as rapidly, and PC components seem to become a better value every week.

    For some, a console is still going to offer a superior experience. As pointed out, gaming together in the same room, console tends to win, but reality is, more and more people bypass local multi player to play together online.

    One more thing to keep in mind. The superior visuals can not be debated. A properly appointed gaming PC will have visual bells and whistles just not available on console. See the first three frames here, amazing the difference in detail on both the creature and the weapon model. Now, I am not saying visuals are everything, but the point is this, now you can have the best visuals experience for less than what the best available HD consoles cost.

    http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1359809
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    I like how you start by saying "let's just talk about the gaming merits" and then throw a $400 margin on it because "you'll have to buy a computer anyway."

    I stopped reading right there.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    It's a fact that a console gamer will own a computer as well. He/she need two devices to cover their needs.

    With a gaming PC, they need only one.

    It's an intelligent point.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    You also neglected the costs that are removed when you buy a ps3 (for example). you now have a htpc. and a blu-ray player. if you were considering buying those you should probably add that to the cost of the pc.

    Why not include a monitor? you've already got a tv. If you want anything 1080p ish, add a few hundred to the cost of your pc.

    I agree with snark about "you have to buy a pc anyway". wtf?

    thrax: that's fine, but if you want a machine that can do only email/internet/docs, you don't need $400.

    edit2:

    and
    To be fair to the console, let’s not factor in things like displays and surround speakers for each platform. Yes, the PC has less expensive display and speaker tech for a close proximity experience, but it does not necessarily preclude anyone from purchasing a home theater, so those peripherals are not a valid part of the value comparison. Point being, you will likely have a TV set, a computer monitor, and speakers for each regardless.

    If you have a computer monitor around already, how do you not have the rest of a pc around for the boring day-to-day stuff.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Even if you took the $400 stat, and reduced it to $300 for the absolute cheapest most junky OEM PC's available, the PC still wins.

    Let's just ask this. Does talking about it this way at lease dispel the old paradigm that PC gaming costs a fortune compared to consoles? I think anyway you fudge the numbers, the argument is still valid, perhaps skewed a little in a different direction, but the point still remains, the value of PC gaming hardware has come a long way since 2003, and if you dig gaming on PC, you should not let the perceived price of owning a gaming capable system scare you away today.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    You still haven't addressed the fact that buying a ps3 gets you bluray and a htpc. Toss those on top of the pc price and we can talk.

    I'd like to hear exactly what you're assuming everyone has. You're assuming that everyone has a tv and a monitor. I'm saying that if you have a monitor, you have a pc.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    shwaip,

    The PS3 offering a blu-ray player does add value to that platform. I won't deny that, still, at max, its a $90 argument against the PC, because that is what a drive that plays blu-ray costs there. If I wanted to, I could argue that on either platform blu-ray is a dead end tech that nobody should buy, but that is a different op-ed altogether.

    Calling the PS3 a HTPC implies that it is a PC, and frankly, its not that flexible. Its an amazing entertainment platform, but it is not a replacement for ones personal computer.

    Once again guys, rule #1.

    This is simply an attempt to display the added value of the PC as a gaming platform. It is not intended to be the end all argument for which platform you ultimately prefer. They all have merits, they all have certain exclusive content. The only mission here is to dispel the common misinformation that gaming on PC costs far more than gaming on console.
  • KoreishKoreish KCMO Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    This is the way I look at it, and I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up yet. Which titles do I want more. Each system has it's own exclusive titles that you can guarantee will be coming out on that platform. Do I want Final Fantasy or Smash Bros. over Crysis or Starcraft? I know I'll be dropping some significant cash regardless of whether I buy a new console or new computer parts, so I would rather know what games I can be expecting from my investment.

    I suppose however my point will be moot in 10 years when exclusive titles no longer exist because it's just not practical.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    < Rebuttal forthcoming >
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    shwaip,

    The PS3 offering a blu-ray player does add value to that platform. I won't deny that, still, at max, its a $90 argument against the PC, because that is what a drive that plays blu-ray costs there. If I wanted to, I could argue that on either platform blu-ray is a dead end tech that nobody should buy, but that is a different op-ed altogether.

    Calling the PS3 a HTPC implies that it is a PC, and frankly, its not that flexible. Its an amazing entertainment platform, but it is not a replacement for ones personal computer.

    Once again guys, rule #1.

    This is simply an attempt to display the added value of the PC as a gaming platform. It is not intended to be the end all argument for which platform you ultimately prefer. They all have merits, they all have certain exclusive content. The only mission here is to dispel the common misinformation that gaming on PC costs far more than gaming on console.

    1) All these little "$90 arguments" are adding up. (Also, a quick amazon search isn't yielding much in the way of a $90 bluray player. I'm not going to put that much time into trying to find it though.)

    2) What does a PS3 lack compared to a true htpc?

    You don't get to "end" discussions about claims of your article by saying that it's just an article about the PC being viable for gaming. I know that it is viable. I'm saying that the claims in your article are specious.

    I'd still like to hear about who has a monitor (that would be suitable for HD gaming) but not the rest of a pc.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    shwaip,

    #1 Everyone knows if you want the best value in PC components you click the icrontic newegg affiliate link. Oh wow, its even less than I thought, $60. Okay, so put $60 on vs. the PS3, and PC still wins the dollar for dollar value comparison. You searched Amazon, common dude.....

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106325

    #2 - I don't know, the ability to browse the internet, do office tasks, replace your need for a personal computer altogether??

    Listen, we could argue the cost of an entire home theater vs. a good HD monitor and speakers or high end headset for a close proximity experience, but I did not because I felt it would unfairly skew the argument to my point of view. A full home theater surely will cost more, and the PC will not necessarily preclude anyone from buying that, nor will a home theater preclude anyones purchase of some kind of PC to browse the net, send email and print stuff. You just need a PC, neither console negates its necessity in the home, its a great argument on the TCO.

    Koreish,

    I don't disagree, but that is not the point the article was trying to make. Once again all, point #1. In 2003 it was amazingly expensive to build a gaming PC vs. buying an Xbox. Its no longer the case, and frankly, there is nothing you can reasonably do to argue with that fact. PC component prices have fallen so much that building a reasonable spec gaming PC is just as within reach as buying either the Xbox 360 or PS3. You can still purchase the console based on merit of the exclusive content you may desire, absolutely nothing wrong with that, I have no beef with anyone that makes that decision.

    I only want to make one point, and one point only, if you thought building a gaming PC still had a higher TCO than gaming on console, it does not.
  • NemikanNemikan Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Just to highlight my point (since I'm assuming my post is too long for most to read) on the issue of buying a comp even if you have a console:
    Cliff states his approximation for a basic PC is $400. Normally I'd agree with this, but he also stated he wasn't factoring in peripherals. With that in mind, a basic PC without the monitor or speakers, costs less than $400. According to dells site, it costs about $270 for a cheap computer, add in another $30 for keyboard and mouse, so its sitting at around $300.
    http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/desktops/inspndt/ct.aspx?refid=inspndt&s=dhs&cs=19&ref=dthp
    Now looking at a budget PC +a Console vs. a Gaming PC over a 4 year period, the numbers change. A Gaming PC you buy to last 2 years, (Maybe the computer you have listed will last longer for gaming I do not know) will then need to be repurchased. A budget PC and a console on the other hand... do not.
    And like Cliff keeps stating.... and I'll emphasis in agreement.

    Xbox (the original) when it came out was ~$300 while a gaming PC was ~$1200-$1500. This margin of cost required for gaming is steadily equalizing over time... getting close and closer. Now the perception of "a console is cheap compared to a gaming comp" is not quite the case. Its not to say shwaip is wrong about it being cheaper and more practical in some senses... its just a comparison of times and how they have changed.

    Now-a-days looking at the BASE requirements, it averages out to be approximately equal.

    (Cliff's estimate + some controllers)
    Console = ~$500
    Gaming PC = ~$700

    each having added features / costs and various benefits. That is the point... no need to argue about the little details of what each entails in terms of price.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    My main disagreement stems from your decision to spot the pc $400 because "you need to buy a computer anyway." What I'm trying to get you to see is that you need to spot the console on a few features too. You're making your "one point only" on uneven ground.

    1) Bluray drive. So, you're going to huddle everyone around your gaming pc so they can watch a bluray movie? I was looking for a standalone player that I could hook up to my TV.

    2) But I have that in my $300 crappy computer that you insist I buy. Or my < $200 netbook. Or the $0 machine that I was thinking about upgrading from.

    3) It doesn't skew it if you have the tv already. I think it makes a huge difference in your calculations. I'd guess that most people who are thinking about this choice (and reading your article) already have an older computer for surfing / email / whatever it is you old people do. And they're probably come home, have a bowl of total, and put on the 6pm news on their TV that they've bought within a few years. Maybe it's not 1080p, but it'll do. They're trying to choose between building/upgrading (i'm willing to bet they already have a machine) a desktop and buying a ps3/xbox/nextgenwhatever and plugging it in to their tv.
  • ButtersButters CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    I only want to make one point, and one point only, if you thought building a gaming PC still had a higher TCO than gaming on console, it does not.

    It's a another "your mileage may vary" situation. Cliff has a point within the scope of his particular case. Though the article does use initial costs as determination, what about cost per hours of usage.

    I'm am going to pull some stats out of my ass, but there is almost 3 categories to analyze. What if you found the average hours a console gamer uses the console (not just for games) vs a hours a pc gamers uses the pc vs those with both the time spent on both pc and console.

    Me, for an example, I don't have a console in the house (lie I have a PS1 somewhere), but I phyisically sit and use my PC at home for 5 hours a day (not including folding, downloading, installing, encoding, etc when pc is on but not being used) for a year I'd get 1825 hours of usage. I'll just say for everything the cost of pc gaming for a year is $1000 which includes everything, games, hardware. My cost per hour ratio is: $0.55 an hour to use my PC.

    Theoretically, if I had a console, it would be a PS3, I'd probably spend $800 at Costco for their current bundle & other games & accessories. I'd probably average 800 hours a year on it since my TV is shared by my wife and assuming I'd watch BR movies on it. So my cost per usage ratio is $1.00 an hour for the PS3.

    This would be my budgeted case if I would see the true value of one over the other, assuming I had 1 and not both, since thats more budgeting and calculations. PS3 is purely theoretical, while PC is more real-world in my case, and does show better value.
  • ledbetterledbetter Chattanooga, TN
    edited Aug 2009
    This topic will vary from case to case, so it's hard to generalize and put a price tag on enjoyment. I was born and raised on console gaming, mainly because I didn't have an option. PC's where just too expensive for my household and because of that, they where never a viable alternative to consoles.

    My view slightly changed when I got my first PC in 2002, an Intel P4 2.4 Ghz, 512 mb RDRAM, and like a ATI 9250 or something. I loved it until I tried to play the first Far Cry, which pretty much looked like stop-motion animation on my rig. Lesson learned. From now on, if you want the lastest game to look great on your PC, you need an expensive rig. Not an issue on my PS2 which is still hooked up in my bedroom.

    So from my experience, if you get a console somewhat early in it's life cycle, you seem to get more longevity and more bang for your buck. Having to not upgrade anything (except controllers that meet an untimely ending) is a BIG plus in my book. Again, this is just from my point of view.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Call of Duty World at War currently 24.99 on Steam!!

    Its 59.99 for the 360 and PS3 at Gamestop. Chalk up another victory for PC in the value comparison.
  • ledbetterledbetter Chattanooga, TN
    edited Aug 2009
    Birthday present, FREE! Victory for me! :wink:" alt=":wink:" />
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Not playing a crappy game - chalk up another victory for consumers in the value comparison.

    Street Fighter IV was $20 for consoles at Gamestop the other day - and still going for $40 on PC. WEIRD, you can find deals everywhere!
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2009
    This argument can't fairly include the cost of software, it's completely unpredictable. Launch title games off the shelf are basically the same price for PC's and Consoles. Any other way of purchasing software is totally messed up when trying to draw a comparison.

    Lets look at some of those other comparisons though for interest sake.

    PC's have Steam and other Digital Deliver Services.
    Consoles (all 3 currently) also have digital sales and Xbox 360 just introduced digital distribution for new games as well. Pricing in all those markets is comparable.

    Used PC game sales are now almost non-existent, however the used console game sales market is still increasing.

    PC's have freeware games or LimitedFree games, which is pretty much exclusive to the PC. You can get some demo's for consoles but they are much more limiting.

    Almost every PC game now requires some kind of license agreement or security software. Which singular purpose is preclude you from selling that game, installing it to many times or in other ways crippling what you can do with that game when your are done with it. This is the main death of the used PC sales. But it also hampers your ability to trade games with friends. Which is utter @!#@!@#. No other media - let me repeat - NO OTHER MEDIA. Has this restriction when you physically purchase something. In this respect Console gaming PWN's PC gaming. Grab a game bring it to your friends place and your good to go. Trade games with friends etc.... this gives significantly more value to the purchase of a Console game beyond it's initial cost.

    Rental Games. Consoles have them - PC's don't. $5 and you've got a game for a week, rent it 4 times if you want. Seriously this ability is a huge benefit to console gaming that is not available to PC's. It's probably the counterpoint to Shareware gaming or LimitedFree play.

    Last but not least Piracy. It's a wash. For consoles you have to mod your console, usually there is some nominal cost here in the $50-100 range. Once that's done though you download your game burn it to disk and your good to go. For PC's the process isn't much different. However the risk of getting viruses is increased. Also Pirated PC's games are far more finicky due to the various security counter measures employed. Pirated Console games are just more stable. Though with the Xbox360 you do have to be cautious about how they exist with your live account.

    My personal experience for acquiring games leads favorably towards Console gaming. I find it easier to get games, I feel better about how much I'm spending on the games I buy and my purchase value feel like it stretches further. YMMV.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ @TheButterflyman Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Just to make a semi-related side point here: Selling your games to a used games shop is technically against your EULA for 99% of all software, including console games. Places like GameStop have built a business around violating those rules. The only reason they exist is because the game publishers don't want to take their chances in court, since their EULA would likely then be deemed unconstitutional (due to a 1800s precedent that told book sellers that they are not allowed to stop people from reselling their books).
  • KoreishKoreish KCMO Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Cliff I think my point has almost everything to do with your article. According to your article I could buy a gaming PC for just as much or a little over the cost of a console. If that's the case it really only comes down to what games I want to play, and how I want to play them (keyboard/mouse vs. controller).

    We shouldn't be arguing over a TV/Monitor issue. If I'm buying a console I need a TV if I'm buying a PC I'll need a monitor, in both cases I'm forking over extra money to play a game. Either way in an inch by inch comparison TVs are more expensive than monitors. To use Newegg as per Cliff's stipulation the cheapest 22" TV is 50USD more expensive than the cheapest 22" monitor and the TV had poor reviews while the monitor had excellent reviews.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    kryyst wrote:
    This argument can't fairly include the cost of software, it's completely unpredictable. Launch title games off the shelf are basically the same price for PC's and Consoles. Any other way of purchasing software is totally messed up when trying to draw a comparison.

    Lets look at some of those other comparisons though for interest sake.

    PC's have Steam and other Digital Deliver Services.
    Consoles (all 3 currently) also have digital sales and Xbox 360 just introduced digital distribution for new games as well. Pricing in all those markets is comparable.

    Used PC game sales are now almost non-existent, however the used console game sales market is still increasing.

    PC's have freeware games or LimitedFree games, which is pretty much exclusive to the PC. You can get some demo's for consoles but they are much more limiting.

    Almost every PC game now requires some kind of license agreement or security software. Which singular purpose is preclude you from selling that game, installing it to many times or in other ways crippling what you can do with that game when your are done with it. This is the main death of the used PC sales. But it also hampers your ability to trade games with friends. Which is utter @!#@!@#. No other media - let me repeat - NO OTHER MEDIA. Has this restriction when you physically purchase something. In this respect Console gaming PWN's PC gaming. Grab a game bring it to your friends place and your good to go. Trade games with friends etc.... this gives significantly more value to the purchase of a Console game beyond it's initial cost.

    Rental Games. Consoles have them - PC's don't. $5 and you've got a game for a week, rent it 4 times if you want. Seriously this ability is a huge benefit to console gaming that is not available to PC's. It's probably the counterpoint to Shareware gaming or LimitedFree play.

    Last but not least Piracy. It's a wash. For consoles you have to mod your console, usually there is some nominal cost here in the $50-100 range. Once that's done though you download your game burn it to disk and your good to go. For PC's the process isn't much different. However the risk of getting viruses is increased. Also Pirated PC's games are far more finicky due to the various security counter measures employed. Pirated Console games are just more stable. Though with the Xbox360 you do have to be cautious about how they exist with your live account.

    My personal experience for acquiring games leads favorably towards Console gaming. I find it easier to get games, I feel better about how much I'm spending on the games I buy and my purchase value feel like it stretches further. YMMV.

    kryyst,

    You raise some very compelling arguments. We can slice and dice the argument a number of ways and it will never be a one size fits all scenario. Rentals for a week at $7.99 may be a good value for some, I don't find that it is personally because most of the multi-player content I like, I want to play with some repetition. Also, the used argument is compelling, not a bad thing to point out, still, I have never considered selling back my content at a fraction of the value I paid a good value for the consumer, especially when you were dealing with an inflated margin to begin with. Still, I won't begrudge you the argument. A compelling analysis can be made using those points. Once again, Rule #1, I'm not looking to pick a direct fight about what platform everyone should prefer. I don't consider myself anti-console. Hopefully this analysis at least breaks the paradigm that PC gaming rigs require a 2nd mortgage. I think it at least accomplishes that much, even if some disagree with the methodology of the analysis, its still pretty amazing how far the cost of high quality gaming grade PC components have fallen in the last few years, especially in 2009. So, even if you could shape the numbers a bit to get console on the winning side of the equation, I think I am at least displaying how close the platforms are. I still hold that the PC offers a better value proposition over a couple years total cost of ownership, but even if you don't agree because you found some value in the console that was lost on me, we may at least agree that the two are significantly closer than you may have thought they were.

    Pointing back to the Don Clark WSJ piece. I am not very fond of the marketing developed to make people think that a real gaming rig starts at over two grand. Those days are long behind us, and people should know it so they can make the best informed decisions on how to spend their entertainment dollars.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2009
    Yes, I'm not begrudging you the point that quality gaming on a PC is no longer cost prohibitive.

    I guess where the sticking point is for most of us is in the application of $ to the article, exclusions were made and comparisons were drawn without painting a full picture. You did cover one scenario. But there are others as well as other factors.

    I think perhaps another common situation that is perhaps more valid to address is one in which the person has an aging computer and is debating between upgrading it to play games or purchasing a console.

    I think very few people are at a place where they don't have a computer, don't have a console and are flipping flopping between which one to get.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Snarkasm has hit back with a counter-point which sells consoles as the better deal. Read it here: Sorry, PCs! Consoles are the better deal
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    I'm staying out of this one. But it's very fun to watch, keep at it guys, this is golden.

    But I must interject:
    Snarkasm wrote:
    Street Fighter IV was $20 for consoles at Gamestop the other day - and still going for $40 on PC. WEIRD, you can find deals everywhere!

    moot point. SF4 has been out on console for over 6 months, it was released on PC one month ago.

    Consider that SF4 was still retailing at $50 on consoles and the PC release was priced at $40.

    Sure you can find deals anywhere, that's store dependant though, and can't be made for an arguing point for price effectiveness of a platform. If that is the argument, the PC version is still cheaper, and it's still the normal for PC games to be priced cheaper.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    UPSLynx wrote:
    I'm staying out of this one. But it's very fun to watch, keep at it guys, this is golden.

    But I must interject:



    moot point. SF4 has been out on console for over 6 months, it was released on PC one month ago.

    Consider that SF4 was still retailing at $50 on consoles and the PC release was priced at $40.

    Sure you can find deals anywhere, that's store dependant though, and can't be made for an arguing point for price effectiveness of a platform. If that is the argument, the PC version is still cheaper, and it's still the normal for PC games to be priced cheaper.

    If I'm reading this right, you're saying that console games always come out sooner than PC games.

    (i kid).
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    I don't understand your troll.

    (I am sick, and on medication, thoughts are fuzzy, pay no attention to the tall guy with PC games)
  • DocFrazierDocFrazier Gladbrook, IA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    With my PC, i have the freedom to do what i want, be it change to a different brand of GUP, Motherboard, etc. whenever i want, to upgrade as i please. I have the freedom to play just about any game ever made, INCLUDING console games. (Emus are great) The multiplayer capacity that exists on a PC system is vastly superior to a console because, if i don't like the douche bags i have to play with on a server, I can get my own server to control and dictate whatever i want.

    With a console, you make a one time investment, (the earlier, the more expencive) you get a non-upgradable unit, which in 3 years TOPs will be outdated and they'll be trying to sell me another one that might not even play the games i already have. so i'll have to buy a whole new unit, probably at an inflated cost compaired to my privious one. I'm limited to the proprietary content that is released for the game system, can't play x-box games on a playstation.

    anyway, the point of the article, was to show the decrease in the cost difference between PC and console in the last 6 years.
    Being a computer gamer since i was little(go commodore, woot!) i may be a little bias, but i do enjoy alot of the titles that consoles have to offer. But i sold my 360 to build my game rig because i have so much more versatility with a PC. Period. a console's range of function is nothing compaired to a PC. Computers Win, hands down in my book.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    The article wasn't about comparing overall functionality, at least according to Cliff's first rule:
    Cliff wrote:
    The only mission here is to dispel the common misinformation that gaming on PC costs far more than gaming on console.

    Sure, you can do other things with a PC - but the article was about the gaming experience and the cost of such an experience on two platforms.
  • DocFrazierDocFrazier Gladbrook, IA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    DocFrazier wrote:
    anyway, the point of the article, was to show the decrease in the cost difference between PC and console in the last 6 years.

    :) Functionality is just what wins the ongoing discussion that the article sparked, IMO. because functionality is a big part of my considerations when i buy something. how much am i going to use this item, and how much does it give back to me.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    DocFrazier wrote:
    a console's range of function is nothing compaired to a PC. Computers Win, hands down in my book.

    I was just pointing out that your final statement had no place in the argument Cliff was making. :) :)
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2009
    DocFrazier wrote:
    With my PC, i have the freedom to do what i want, be it change to a different brand of GUP, Motherboard, etc. whenever i want, to upgrade as i please.

    Your right. PC's allow you to spend as much money as you want and as often as you want on eeking out that next 1% speed boost. Hurrah.
    I have the freedom to play just about any game ever made, INCLUDING console games. (Emus are great)

    Now where did I leave that xbox360 or ps3 emu, or working xbox or ps2 emu for that matter....hmmmm yes emu's indeed.
    The multiplayer capacity that exists on a PC system is vastly superior to a console because, if i don't like the douche bags i have to play with on a server, I can get my own server to control and dictate whatever i want.
    No argument there, but then again most consoles allow you to host your own room and invite friends sooooo.......
    With a console, you make a one time investment, (the earlier, the more expencive) you get a non-upgradable unit, which in 3 years TOPs will be outdated and they'll be trying to sell me another one that might not even play the games i already have. so i'll have to buy a whole new unit, probably at an inflated cost compaired to my privious one. I'm limited to the proprietary content that is released for the game system, can't play x-box games on a playstation.

    Difference is that in 3 years the game requirements don't increase for the consoles they stay the same. Your console doesn't need to be upgraded and then even once the 3 year mark hits you can keep your old console as games usually keep coming out for some time. Even then when you do upgrade to your new console as long as you stay in the same brand they've all been backwards compatible for the most part since makers jumped from cart to disk.

    anyway, the point of the article, was to show the decrease in the cost difference between PC and console in the last 6 years.
    Being a computer gamer since i was little(go commodore, woot!) i may be a little bias, but i do enjoy alot of the titles that consoles have to offer. But i sold my 360 to build my game rig because i have so much more versatility with a PC. Period. a console's range of function is nothing compaired to a PC. Computers Win, hands down in my book.

    This isn't an argument of which is more versatile, there's no argument there PC's win. The argument originally put out was the cost of gaming on a PC vs the cost of gaming on a console. Not which one is better for surfing the net.

    While the cost for PC gaming is has significantly dropped, they aren't comparable despite what Cliff's intentions show.
  • ZuntarZuntar North Carolina Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    I say everyone shut up and go play a game, sheesh!! :screwy:
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Also, just to stoke the fire:

    The PS3 runs Yellow Dog Linux and accepts keyboard and mouse inputs. You CAN, in fact, compute on your console. :)
  • KoreishKoreish KCMO Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Also, just to stoke the fire:

    So can the X-bawx 360.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Aug 2009
    Snark, you know as well as I do, that solution is not easily accessible to the masses.
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