At some point most console gamer’s will wonder if the grass is greener on the PC side. In this post we will evaluate some key points and see if crossing over to a PC is right for you.
From a pure value perspective, the Xbox One X is a nice piece of hardware and performs well for what it costs. Due to the current high prices in the RAM and GPU market, it’s not easy to build a PC that matches XB1X spec without spending a few hundred dollars more (though this was not always the case).
However, the reasons that PC is better have to do with more than just raw performance per dollar in like-for-like situations. The #1 reason to go PC is always flexibility and usability – a PC simply has many more functions and use cases than a console, and is more adaptable in pretty much every way.
On PC, you have an immense amount of choice that you do not have on console.
Choice of input device – you can use a keyboard or a controller. Hell, you can even use some other kind of input device if you want – with the Steam controller configuration software and third-party software like Joy2Key and Xpadder, you can use anything you want to control your games.
Choice of resolution, graphics options, and frame rate – on PC you can choose between playing at a high resolution/level of detail at a lower frame rate, or at a lower resolution/LOD at a higher frame rate. Or, you can throw more money at it and have both. On console, most of the time, you’re stuck with what they choose to give you. Don’t like Destiny 2 at 30 fps because it’s a first-person shooter? Too bad, on console 60 fps is off the table. On PC, you could just turn settings down and get 60 fps.
Ability to fix problems yourself – on PC, you can tweak games to solve issues that the developer hasn’t bothered to fix. For example, Assassin’s Creed Origins is a game that’s recently become notorious for poor performance, on both PC and console. On Xbox 1 X, it’s not bad, but it still suffers from choppiness due to dropping below the 30 fps line during cut scenes and when walking through the CPU-heavy streets of Alexandria. Now PC does have the same problem – Alexandria is a very demanding area and even top-end rigs sometimes have trouble sustaining a locked 60 fps. I had this issue. However, because it’s PC and I can adjust things, I was able to change my screen refresh rate to 50Hz instead of 60Hz, and lock the fps there instead. At 50Hz, I get a perfectly even 50 fps and the game is very fluid. It’s better than an uneven 60ish fps that I had with a 60fps cap, and it’s still miles better than the 30 fps with some drops that you get on Xbox 1 X. This is running at 1080p with a 160% render scale enabled, so the actual pixel count is around the same as Xbox One X. Now, my PC does cost twice as much as an Xbox One X, I’ll admit that. But I’m getting a vastly improved experience with nearly doubled frame rates, essentially no stutter, and increased draw distances, shadow quality, and effects quality. I paid more, but it’s a lot better. I wouldn’t have been able to fix those problems and get this great experience in AC:O if I weren’t on PC.
Mods. On PC you can use mods to either change how a game plays, effectively getting more game for your money, or to change how a game looks. This is great especially for old games. On console, if you want to play an old game with improved visuals, you have to wait for a remaster or remake and then buy the game again. On PC, you can just mod better graphics into the game. Skyrim Remastered? Lol, on PC you just mod the original and it looks better than the “remastered” version.
Number of games available. Sure, consoles have some exclusives. If you want to play a game that’s a console exclusive, go ahead and buy that console. Some PC purists might judge you for that, but they’re idiots. That said, there are more games available on PC than on any console. First, there are entire genres that don’t really appear on console, like RTS or management sims. If you want to play a lot of those sorts of games, you have to play on PC. Also, on PC you can basically play any game released on the platform since the dawn of gaming. Sometimes with really old games you have to make modifications to run them on modern operating systems, but, see point #3. Also, through emulation you can run basically any console exclusive that released before the 7th gen era, and even some 7th gen titles. In other words, the number of games available on PC has always and will always vastly outnumber the games available on any given console.
Greater non-gaming functionality. Your PC is also a PC and can be used for whatever non-gaming functions you want – work or play. Any of the multimedia options offered by the Xbox One X can also be handled by a PC, oftentimes with a greater amount of flexibility. Also, you of course have the PC’s capabilities as a workstation. If you need a powerful computer for work, any machine that’s good at gaming is also probably going to be good at most production tasks too.
So, in short, while it’s true you will pay more for a PC that’s significantly better than an Xbox One X, you also have to keep in mind the fact that a PC can just do more.