Console Gaming Vs. Computer

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In the world of video games, there are really only two options: console gaming and computer gaming. Console gaming involves hooking up a game console (such as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3) and controllers to your TV. Computer gaming involves games played on a computer such as a PC. Both formats are popular, and many games are available on both formats. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Cost

  • Consoles are significantly cheaper than PCs capable of playing games at high quality settings. The average cost of a modern gaming console such as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is around $300. Purchasing a PC capable of playing games with a similar graphical quality will easily run twice that amount, with some gaming PCs soaring well into the $1,000-plus range and higher.

Simplicity

  • Consoles are all-in-one units that attach to your television via audio and video cables. Every manufacturer uses the same hardware in every one of their console brands, so they all play the same games no matter what. With PCs, however, strict system requirements must be met, which pertains to hardware space, graphics cards, RAM memory, etc. Games such as "Roller Coaster Tycoon" have minimal graphics and low system requirements that do not require an expensive computer. Other games, however, such as "Crysis," require top-of-the-line computers to be played at their highest quality settings.

Control

  • Control advantage really depends on the game being played. RPG games with complex control schemes may not be well-adapted to the single controllers of consoles and will probably be better suited for keyboard-based control. There are also numerous external controller options available for PCs, including game pads that are nearly identical to those found on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, giving PCs the full range of control options.

Life Cycle

  • Because a console is an all-in-one piece of hardware, the whole system will need replaced when it's outdated. However, with PC gaming, you can simply add on the necessary components, such as graphics cards and RAM memory, to make newer games playable.

Screen Size

  • Consoles are played on TVs, which are typically much larger than PC monitors, giving consoles the advantage in that department. However, with modern HDMI and VGA cables, most newer PCs can connect to new flat screen LCD or plasma TVs, essentially turning them into a large computer monitor.

Number of Games

  • Because PC games are far easier to program and publish, there are many more games available for the PC. Consoles are also replaced every few years (the average life span being around five to eight years), and may not be backwards compatible, meaning that your older games will not play on your newer console. With a PC, these are really non-issues. Games on a PC can also often be downloaded from online retailers, though this is quickly becoming commonplace in the console market as well.

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  • Photo Credit black and blue game pads image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com
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