Console, PC & Laptop -
The heart of your gaming setup is the computer. Here you can find out all the important information about the three most common platforms for gaming: PC, console and laptop.
Helpful articles and recommendations around the topic of gaming PCs.
Exciting tips and guides on Xbox, Playstation and Switch.
Laptop, PC or Console - Which is best for gaming?
It’s a debate as old as computer games themselves: Which platform is best for gaming?
Video games have been a worldwide success since the 1970s, and even then there were various ways to enjoy the new technology. For the computer the Commodore 64 made the beginning, Atari delivered the first game consoles. Since then, of course, video games have evolved immensely.
Rudimentary games like “Pong” became open world games like “Red Dead Redemption.” As the games have evolved, so have the platforms.
Various operating systems such as Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s MacOS or Linux have established themselves on computers, while on the console market Sony has excelled with Playstation, Microsoft with Xbox and Nintendo with Wii.
In addition to the classic desktop PCs, a new type of computer has emerged in the form of laptops, which have been made portable by their compact design.
All of these devices have their own advantages and disadvantages, but which platform is best for gaming? Here I’ll give you the most important information so you can choose the platform that’s right for you.
The PC: advantages and disadvantages
Many die-hard fans consider it the undisputed front-runner when it comes to video games: the desktop PC.
A long history in the video game industry and an open platform long made the PC the most important platform for game developers.
In recent years, however, that has changed. What many PC users consider to be the platform’s biggest advantage can also become a major disadvantage:
The individualization of the PC and the power of the user over the computer. Especially on Windows or Linux driven computers, users have virtually all the freedom:
Own programs can be written, the system settings can be completely adapted to the own needs.
This of course brings full freedom of choice for the user, you can set up the system completely the way you want it. It sounds comfortable and it is. If everything works as planned.
Because for enjoyable gaming on the PC you need quite a lot of background knowledge. No simple plug & play is possible, as for example with consoles.
That is the price of individualization. Since every PC user sets up their system in a different way, there is no standardized way to quickly play a game.
It’s also one of the reasons why the PC community is one of the most fanatical and connected in the gaming world. If you’re an insider and understand the system, you’ll probably have a better gaming experience than on the consoles designed for the masses.
However, it takes work and time investment to get to that point. This already starts with the purchase decision.
Generally speaking, you’ll have to pay more for a powerful PC than for a comparable console. The reason for this is again the standardization of the consoles.
All consoles of a manufacturer are delivered with exactly the same components. Only the memory capacity can be different, but this does not affect the performance.
Because the consoles have the same design, the manufacturer can purchase large quantities of the required parts and produce them quickly, which reduces costs.
For the PC it looks different. It is rather a rarity when two gaming PCs contain exactly the same parts. While there are companies that offer pre-built PCs here as well, there are still many choices.
Plus, these companies often charge a hefty margin that makes these PCs even more unaffordable. Many PC gamers therefore swear by a self-built PC.
For this you need technical understanding and manual skills, because the construction of the PC is not a self-runner. Components must be coordinated with each other.
The parts must be installed correctly. Problems can quickly arise between poorly matched parts.
Even if you build the PC yourself, you’ll have to spend even more money than you would on a console.
A PC that can play all current games smoothly and in high graphics settings can only be put together for around 800 €.
But if you take the time and get busy with your PC, you can reap the rewards of your labor.
A good PC delivers better performance than a console or laptop. The large enclosure of a PC allows for good ventilation, even assembled systems can quickly achieve better performance than a standard system.
On consoles, players don’t have the option to change the graphics settings.
On the PC you have all the freedom as a player and can push your system to the limits.
4K or even 8K gaming is possible, even more frames per second than on the console.
There, 30 FPS is often standard, players can’t tease out more than that. For playing RPGs on the console, this may not be relevant. PC gamers who play first-person shooters are often not satisfied with less than 60 FPS and even strive for 120 FPS.
With the right monitor, this makes for a much better gaming experience.
In addition, the PC continues to be the most popular console for indie developers.
The most famous recent example of this is probably Minecraft, which was designed exclusively for the PC and became a global success there.
It wasn’t until several years later that the game was released for console as well.
Even then, controlling with the controller is often not very natural, as games like Minecraft are designed to be operated with a mouse and keyboard.
The gaming experience is then even more limited on the console.
Individualists - also among the publishers
But it’s not just the users of the PC who are known to be individualists, it’s also the developers and publishers of gamers for the platform.
So on the PC, there are several different launchers for different games, which adds unnecessary complexity. Steam is by far the biggest platform, but EA only offers their own games on the Origin Launcher, Epic Games recently caused some discussion with the release of the Epic Games Launcher.
Like so many things on the PC, this aspect is complicated.
The consoles: advantages and disadvantages
Many experts agree: we are currently in the age of consoles. Sales for games on consoles continue to rise, while PC market sales are declining.
Sony in particular is celebrating huge success with the PS4 and PS4 Pro, but Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One X and the Nintendo Switch also have many fans.
All consoles convince by user-friendliness and favourable prices.
Simple and cheap
What is expensive and complicated on the PC is easy and cheap on the consoles: buy and use.
For 300€ you can buy the PS4 Pro, also the Xbox One X is available for just under 300€. The Nintendo Switch is already available from 200€.
If you already have a TV or suitable screen, a console can be installed in minutes. Power on, HDMI cable in, hit the on button and you’re ready to jump into the game.
Of course, this is incredibly easy, especially compared to the PC, and is a big reason for the success of consoles.
Less tech-savvy gamers in particular are quick to pick up the console. Otherwise, if you already have a stressful day and just want to play a video game to unwind, the console offers straightforward fun.
Starting the various games is also kept as simple as possible: insert the disc or download the game from the store and you’re ready to go.
There are no different launchers, no drivers you need to install additionally, only the console software needs to be kept up to date.
You won’t be able to change many settings in the game, but if high graphics settings aren’t very important to you, you can do without these additional settings.
Running costs and exclusive titles
Still, consoles have some disadvantages. For one, you’ll have to pay for online access for your games.
For example, if you want to play FIFA or Call of Duty online against other players, you have to pay a monthly fee to the console manufacturer.
For 45€ per year an online access can be purchased on the Xbox, on the Playstation the service costs 51€. For Nintendo users the online access costs only 20€ per year.
Here the PC has a big advantage: online access is always free.
The competition between consoles also has some disadvantages for the users of each console.
Many manufacturers offer games exclusively for one console, players on other consoles then have no way to play the game.
Examples include the Forza series, which is only available on Xbox, the Uncharted series, which is only playable on Playstation, and the Legend of Zelda series, which is exclusive to Nintendo.
PC gamers, meanwhile, also get to enjoy Xbox-exclusive games, since both Windows and Xbox are made by Microsoft.
Laptop: advantages and disadvantages
The laptop is similar to the desktop PC in everything except one aspect: mobility. While a PC is a big, bulky lump that is not suitable for transport, a laptop usually weighs a few kilos and is built very slim.
The range of games is the same for both laptop and PC, again you have plenty of indie games to choose from.
Mobility vs Performance
But the high mobility of laptops does not only have advantages. Due to the small space in a laptop, the components are often less powerful, especially the ventilation is worse.
This causes problems especially in graphically demanding games, because a laptop quickly overheats and the performance quickly drops.
In order to achieve the same performance with a laptop as on a PC, a restriction in mobility is necessary. Laptops are also more standardized than desktop PCSs, as homebrewing is less feasible and components are often more expensive.
Ready-made systems for laptops that are comparable in performance to PCs quickly become very expensive. Expenditures clearly over 1000€ are possible.
But if you occasionally want to play less graphically demanding games, Hearthstone or Counter Strike being examples, and are on the go a lot, the laptop is the device of choice.
Conclusion: Which platform is best for gaming?
This question cannot be answered unequivocally for all players. If you’re a gamer who’s all about performance and gaming experience and aren’t afraid to put together the system yourself, the PC is the choice for you.
If you want to play the latest games without hassle, at a low price and without unnecessary stress comfortably on the couch, a console is the right platform.
If you’re on the go a lot and don’t have particularly high graphic demands, the laptop is your platform.