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Opinion: PC Versus Next-gen – which future should I invest in?

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The differences between playing games on PC versus consoles have become even more indistinguishable since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, making it a difficult decision over whether or not to invest in a powerful gaming PC or throw your lot in with Sony or Microsoft.

What does Russell think about this decision? Help him definitively make up his mind as he sorts through his thoughts below.

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During the course of my gaming life I have had quite a few consoles and PCs, and I like to consider myself a ‘platform agnostic’ gamer (a term used by my friend Oltman). Basically this simply means that I like gaming and I am not too fussed with the tools I use to play my games.

In saying this, however, I do have a very special place in my heart for the Xbox 360. This is the console that introduced me to a vibrant gaming community (both online and off) and allowed me to meet some fantastic people whilst playing some pretty awesome games (present company most definitely included).

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- Services like Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network have radically improved multiplayer gaming on consoles


Despite all of this, I do love playing on the PC. I don’t know why I have the preference for PC but it definitely exists. Perhaps it is the fact that I have been playing PC games for more than 25 years, or the fact that I had such a good time playing co-operative games like Counter Strike, Civilisation, Age of Empires, DOTA and others.

I hear you asking: Why did I become a console gamer and move away from the PC? Well, the choice was primarily a financial one. Maintaining a PC that is capable of playing the best games at the optimum settings was an expensive proposition.

Consoles provided a nice change of pace, a once-off payment (less than the once off for a PC) and the assurance of a platform that would last a good couple of years and be capable of performing regardless of the games developed for them. The Xbox was simpler and an easy decision because my main gaming friend recommended the Xbox over the PlayStation (and the controller was better).

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- Until recently, strategy games and multiplayer shooters have long been dominant on PC


Enter the phase of the ‘next-gen.’ The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have dominated the gaming press and focus for a year now, and with the imminent arrival of the Xbox One in South Africa, I am finding myself asking whether or not I want to buy one. Well, let me rephrase: I want to buy one, but would a PC just be better considering the price of the new Xbox and also the fact that the games for this platform are, in my view, exorbitantly priced.

One of the issues I have is that the Xbox One is just more than what I want. I want to play games… sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. The Xbox 360 provides that perfectly, with no hassles and no increased effort. The Xbox One, on the other hand, offers so much more than I’ll ever use, and if I do use that functionality, then I would prefer to do it on a laptop or PC. A gaming console shouldn’t aspire to be more than that.

Oh, and the integrated Kinect? I hate Kinect, so why should I pay for it? The PlayStation 4 is another alternative but it is also trying to be more than what I want.

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- Talk surrounding the PS4 and Xbox One has become an unwavering focus in the gaming world for over a year


So the question is simply this: To Xbox or not to Xbox?

What is a simple gamer to do? In my view, the best course of action is to send out a blanket email to your buddies and get their view on the situation… so that’s exactly what I did and I got some very good, well informed answers. I also received some pretty weird answers, but these are my friends that we are talking about so I didn’t really expect anything less.

Thanks to Oltman, Bryan and Oliver for the following. I highlighted the ones that influenced my decisions…

PC Gaming Pros

- PC is backwards compatible (I can still play my DOS games on my Core i7)
- PC is upgradeable (at seemingly great cost, but don’t be silly and upgrade all the time and don’t go for the top of the line stuff)
- PC games are cheaper than console games (example: Watch Dogs: PC – R499 | PlayStation 3 – R649 | PS4 – R749)
Keeping up with PC games is difficult and expensive
- PC has Steam sales! But then again, both Xbox and PlayStation also have some pretty good sales…
- PC is much more than gaming console, it can be turned into media centre, gaming station and work station without actually changing anything
- Keyboard and mouse for shooters > all… plus we can stick Xbox controllers in our PC anyway if we want
- PC has more quirky indie games than all other platforms combined
- PC supports mods
- PC graphics can be better if you are willing to pay for them

Console Gaming Pros

- Consoles still have some exclusives that PC won’t get. But to get all exclusives you will need PS4 and Xbox One.
- Consoles have more of a face-to-face social aspect
- Consoles have cooler names
- You can easily trade console games between your mates (harder to do with Steam games)
- Xbox gives away free games every month and has some crazy good sales nowadays too
- Console games are guaranteed to work just as they should
- Console simplicity pips negligible technical advancements
- PC has more variables, thus more prone to bugs. Consoles don’t change, so you know what you get

Our esteemed editor Oliver had this to add…

- “Playing on a PC is also an entirely different experience to console – you can play PC games with a controller and hook the machine up to a TV, but there’s something about relaxing with a console game that’s different altogether.”

- “I keep coming back to multiplayer and the console community – it always seems as though it’s much easier to get into games and there’s less of a barrier, which I always appreciate. It’s got a lot better on PC (joining in on Titanfall matches is just as easy on console), but it seems more effortless to patch and play on console.”

Both these points are very valid and needed to be taken into account.


The ‘problem’ (#firstworldproblem) I have is that I have my Xbox One money saved already and I want to spend it on a new gaming system, so the question can’t be postponed until later. I can buy the PC now or I can wait until September when the Xbox arrives.

Of course, I could also do what Oliver recommended at the end of his email – get a PC now and start saving again for Xbox One and try get it at the end of the year.

So what do you all think?


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