Skip to main content

There’s no reason to buy a gaming PC anymore thanks to new consoles

Desktop computing has long been considered the golden standard for gaming — the “PC Master Race” being a cornerstone meme of the industry. However, the new consoles have not only closed the performance gap in some extraordinary ways, they now have features that make PC gaming feel antiquated by comparison.

As someone that has had a complicated history with playing games on desktop, I’m here to tell you: The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are worth a considerable amount more of your time and money, and there’s no need to buy a PC if your only interest is to play video games.

The new consoles achieve the best aspects of the PC

There are a few reasons that you might want a PC to play video games, and the consoles achieve nearly all of them.

Xbox Series X

One of the simplest is that both new console systems support mouse and keyboard for a large swath of their games, although advancements like Sony’s DualSense make the input feel incredibly boring, now more than ever.

Another primary rationale is that games on PC aspire to a next-level graphical fidelity that consoles could only dream to shoot for. For decades this had been the case, with new consoles already feeling dated in the eyes of pixel peepers the moment they’re launched.

That’s not the case anymore. Consoles have slowly been playing catchup, and with Xbox Series X and PS5, they’re on a level of near graphical parity to PCs that no average person could glean a difference. Both new systems make 4K a standard, and often times, are able to achieve that resolution at 60 frames per second.

Consoles even allow for graphical customizations like PCs. Spider-Man: Miles Morales allows the player to toggle between a frame rate targeted performance mode and a fidelity mode that favors resolution. The former allows Miles Morales to run at 4K60 and the latter brings that frame rate down to 30 fps but adds in the incredible visual tweak of ray-tracing — injecting true-to-life lighting and reflections to every frame.

Miles Morales Graphical Comparison
Top: ray-tracing onBottom: ray-tracing off

On the PS4 Pro, I rarely played games in their performance mode — I often found the drop in resolution to be too steep for the increase in frame rate. In the case of Miles Morales, the resolution is identical in both modes, and while playing in fidelity mode, there are times my jaw drops when I catch neon reflections in pools of water. The higher fps performance mode provides a level of fluidity to the motion that Spider-Man deserves.

Other games take this graphical prowess even further. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War runs at 4K60 minimum with ray-tracing turned on, and with it off, it can achieve 120fps, something last generation’s mid-cycle refresh couldn’t even do at 1080p.

Demon’s Souls uses an upscaler to allow its performance mode to run at “fauxK” and 60 fps, and upscaling technology has gotten so good, I can only tell the difference between it and native 4K by actively hunting for it in the frame and going, “well I guess that rock is slightly fuzzier.”

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
I can’t tell the difference between how Call of Duty looks on my console compared to my PC, and it often runs better more consistently on the former.

And that’s the thing about PC gaming: Its future isn’t as much about hardware improvements as it is about the software. It’s becoming increasingly clear that technology like DLSS, which uses machine learning to create “fake” resolutions that look as good if not even better than their native counterparts, is how video games are going to achieve 8K, and eventually 16K, performance. These technologies are going to allow the new consoles to do things that were previously impossible.

Consoles don’t fail in the same way PCs do

That brings us to another aspect of PC gaming, which is hardware customization. I’ve owned a couple of PC rigs over the years, and have frequently found myself sliding back into the comfort of console gaming. One of the reasons that keeps being touted to me as to why I should stick with a desktop is the ability to customize it over time, but this argument just rings hollow now.

Nvidia’s lowest-end card, the GeForce RTX 3070, is the same price as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and it’s just the graphics card. Often, in order to upgrade one PC part, you are required to tweak other elements of the rig. Perhaps a new CPU to unlock the true power of the GPU, or a beefier power supply to run the whole thing.

rtx 3070
This thing costs as much as a new console, and you need a lot more parts for it to run games.

It makes less sense than ever before to see this as an upgrade. Even if in a few years we see another mid-cycle refresh and I feel compelled to buy a PS5 Pro, I will likely have spent less than half on it plus my initial PS5 than what I would on my PC gaming rig — something I have sunk over $2,500 from the jump between monitors, accessories, and the desktop itself. Yes, this changes if you invest in a lower-powered machine, but there’s no $500 PC that can touch what the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 can achieve graphically, so what would be the point?

The other thing about PC gaming is that computers are just disastrously less efficient than consoles, especially the new systems, in almost every way. Not only in power consumption, but in the moment to moment experience. Booting up my PS5 from a complete shut down to being in a matchmaking lobby for Black Ops Cold War takes a matter of seconds.

Doing the same action on the PC can take over a minute, which also doesn’t have the luxury of downloading updates while in a rest mode, so heaven forbid another 30GB patch drops when my friends ask me to hop on immediately.

This jilted performance extends to the rest of the entire PC experience. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare frequently had performance issues where it would run at a nightmarish 20 to 30 fps, even at 1080p. On the latest Intel I7 CPU and before RTX 2080 Super GPU? It’s offensive.

This would result in me scouring the internet for sporadic forum posts that seemed to match my issue, often with “solutions” that provided no relief that required me to shadily jump into a random file deep within the game and adjust some digits like I’m Tank from The Matrix. 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Excalibur
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks incredible on Xbox Series X and PS5.

Two of the biggest releases of the year, Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, more often than not refused to even run on my machine, often crashing unless I tweaked the graphics settings just right. This probably stems from Ubisoft Connect, the software formerly known as UPlay, being terribly optimized for PC, an issue that has never been resolved according to the years and years of complaints I’ve found on forums.

The PC experience may offer some incredible highs, but if often achieves lows that the consistency and streamlined nature of consoles rarely, if ever, stoop to.

I’m not saying don’t buy a PC

If using a PC sucks, why even bother? Well, the thing about computers is that they offer an almost infinite number of other uses compared to consoles. Whereas the PS5 is there for me to play games and watch Netflix, I use my computer to write articles such as this. I use it to edit videos. I use it to browse the web. I use it to livestream. And yes, on occasion, I use it to game.

There’s no doubt what the PS5 can do is limited to what a PC is capable of.

If you make music, edit videos, create digital art, etc., there’s a huge incentive to own a powerful computer outside of gaming, and in these cases, purchasing a desktop or laptop not only makes sense, but is a necessity.

If this is you, by all means, invest in a machine that can help you in these areas that you also use to play games. But if you’re someone that is simply looking to purchase a high powered rig to game, take it from someone that owns one and the new consoles: There’s no question that the latter is the better investment 10 times out of 10, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Editors' Recommendations

This console generation isn’t about games or hardware. It’s about services
A character stands below a ship in Starfield.

It’s been over two years since the start of the current console generation, which launched with a rocky start at the end of 2020. You'd think it's been more than long enough to understand what it's all about, but for many, there's still confusion. That might be changing this year. As Tomas Franzese wrote earlier this month, 2023 could be the year where we finally see what games define this generation’s consoles, at least in terms of exclusives. He also noted that games could stop being cross-platform, launching on just current-gen consoles instead of simultaneously on last-gen ones.

While that'll finally give us some memorable games, it doesn't bring us closer to defining the hardware itself. Besides a few extra teraflops and new ultra-fast SSDs, there isn’t much that helps the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S stand out from their predecessors. Sure, the PS5 looks like a giant spaceship, and the Xbox Series X is built like a fridge, but we didn’t know what these devices could offer that the PS4 and Xbox One couldn’t besides some pretty lighting effects and virtually non-existent loading times.

Read more
Move over Zelda: Tchia is officially my most anticipated game of 2023
Tchia glides through the air.

There are many big-budget games to look forward to in 2023, like Starfield, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. But after going hands-on with a much smaller indie title, I have a new most anticipated title of 2023. The game in question is Tchia, a vibrant, cheerful, and free-flowing open-world game about a girl exploring a tropical archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
Tchia - Commented Gameplay Walkthrough
Tchia first caught my attention in a hands-off preview of Kepler Interactive's Gamescom lineup last year, but it took me going hands-on to really understand the magic of Tchia. A freeing open-world game in the same vein as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Elden Ring, or Sable, Tchia lets players loose on beautiful islands in the Pacific and gives them tools to explore by climbing, gliding, possessing animals and objects, and sailing wherever they want. Its deep understanding and respect for the culture it represents enhance the experience too. If you're wondering what indie darling will wind up becoming this year's critically acclaimed game of the year dark horse, you'll want to keep an eye on Tchia.
What is Tchia? 
Tchia is an open-world game following a little girl (named Tchia) trying to find her missing father on an archipelago inspired by New Caledonia, a tropical archipelago in the Pacific Ocean where some of the game's developers are from. While players have the stamina to climb up buildings and trees, swing from them, and even swim, dive, and sail around these islands, they can also soul-jump into lots of different animals and objects. These each add even more gameplay gimmicks that enhance exploration and help Tchia solve puzzles.

I had the chance to play some main story missions during my preview where Tchia befriends a young girl and explores one of the game's biggest islands, completing various objectives and even hunting for treasure. The story was fairly light in what I played, but the gameplay really shined. Although I had some objectives, it was just as fun to climb up the trees near the starting town and fling Tchia into a glide to travel a longer distance.
I could then let go of that glide to do tricks in the air or soul-jump into an animal, allowing me to explore the world in a new way. Tchia makes exploration feel fantastic, as you'll immediately feel like you have all the tools to make this world your oyster.
Oh, and did I mention you can play the ukulele? Because Tchia features a fully playable ukulele.
At a couple of narrative beats during my preview, I encountered rhythm-game-like segments as Tchia performed specific songs, but I could also play the ukulele at any time while I was exploring if I wanted to. While you can play whatever you want, specific melodies have additional effects, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time style. The results of these tunes range from simply changing the time of day to giving Tchia a buff that allows her to breathe underwater infinitely.

Read more
PS5 and Xbox Series X need to show us what they’re capable of in 2023
Miles Morales and Peter Parker stand together in Spider-Man 2.

True current-gen console exclusives have been few and far between this generation. Over two years in, even great games like Halo Infinite and God of War: Ragnarök are still shackled to the consoles that came before the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S. While they still look fantastic and benefit from better load times and DualSense gimmicks, there haven’t been enough exclusives to give this new console generation a true identity just yet.
That's going to be one of the most important tasks for Microsoft and Sony in 2023. This year, we'll see a much larger number of PS5 and Xbox Series X/S exclusives, especially from first-party studios. Games like Forspoken, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Forza Motorsport, and Starfield will be just some of the games this year that will demonstrate what exactly a ninth-generation console game feels and looks like. That means that the stakes are high for this year's biggest releases, as they need to prove that the games industry hasn't plateaued. 
A slow but steady start
It’s hard to believe we’re already over two years into this new console generation, considering that we're still seeing high-profile games launching on old platforms. That looks like it will change this year, though, as more games will release exclusively for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S to give those consoles more of an identity. Still, that’s taken more time than it did for the eighth generation of game consoles: the PS4 and Xbox One.
Even the Xbox One, for all its faults at release, had games like Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, and Ryse: Son of Rome early on to show what Microsoft wanted that new generation of games to look like. They did so through both impressive visuals for their time and via Xbox One gimmicks like SmartGlass and Kinect. We haven’t seen that as much with the Xbox Series X/S because early-generation games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 were intentionally cross-gen, and its more ambitious exclusives have suffered delays.
On the PlayStation front, the PS4 admittedly took a few years to get going on the exclusives front. Games like Infamous Second Son, Driveclub, and Bloodborne eventually impressed, though, and fantastic exclusives were consistently launching throughout each year by 2017. The PS5 is following a similar cadence, as Astro’s Playroom remains an outstanding PS5 and DualSense showcase, while Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, and The Last of Us Part 1 show what the system is capable of.

Still, last year’s two biggest PlayStation Studios releases, Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarök, came out on PS4 and still felt "last-gen" as a result. One can’t help but think what both games could have done had they launched solely on PS5. That's a question I hope to see answered more firmly over the next 12 months.
The importance of 2023 console exclusives 
As we enter the PS5’s third year, its upcoming exclusives will be some of the most pivotal on the system. Forspoken could demonstrate some impressive visual effects early on, but Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is in an even more crucial position. It will be the first sequel to a PS4-era hit that isn’t tied to the PS4. The PS5’s high frame rate and adaptive triggers already enhance Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Spider-Man: Remastered when played on PS5.
I’m intrigued to see how Insomniac Games can push the visuals further, make more parts of New York City explorable, and take swinging around as the Spider-Men even further on PS5. Hopefully, any other PS5 exclusives launching this year will do similar things.

Read more