The gaming industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. Earlier, gaming was considered only to be a leisure activity but now it has also become a major source of income for many, thanks to the rise of esports professional gaming.
In India, video games were not popular until around 2019, as a professional career. The popularity of PUBG Mobile introduced a lot of people to the professional gaming world where they can play and earn for themselves.
However, gaming enthusiasts do not consider mobile gaming as a true gaming experience and insist on playing their games on either a game console or gaming PC/laptop.
One of the main criticisms about gaming is that it is quite an expensive hobby. Gaming consoles, laptops, and desktops can cost a fortune if not careful. This is why today we are going to be comparing console, desktop, and laptop gaming platforms.
We will be taking a deep dive into how all these platforms work, what are their benefits, and what are their disadvantages.
The Beginning of Gaming
A video game or computer game is defined as an electronic game that involves interaction with the dynamic visual interface on screen with the help of input devices such as game controllers and joysticks.
The first video game ever was developed in the early 1950s for academic research. These were a series of board games like checkers and chess. However, the first video game that was meant for entertainment purposes was the game Tennis for Two in 1958.
No one would have ever imagined that gaming would take the world by storm and video games reached mainstream popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. There were different types of gaming consoles that were manufactured which could be connected to the TVs.
The Odyssey was the very first home gaming console that was commercialised, it was launched back in 1972 and was manufactured by the company Magnavox. This gaming system was developed by Ralph Baer who was a German-American Engineer.
Gaming became even more popular when Japanese video game company Nintendo launched its first console the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) which is an 8-bit video game console. This console was then succeeded by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
These gaming consoles ran on cartridges that would store all the game data. Cartridges are still used by Nintendo for even their latest game console, the Nintendo Switch.
The first gaming console to utilize CDs was the Sega Genesis in 1988. CDs became a more popular format for storing games after the launch of Sony’s Playstation.
While on the other hand gaming on PC was much more different. Games used to be loaded on floppy disks, there were multiple floppy disks for installing a game and this also changed to CDs in the 2000s.
PC gaming is also quite different from console gaming because now games require a graphics card that lets you run the games on a PC. These graphics cards can cost as much as a gaming console or even more expensive.
Currently, mobile gaming is also quite popular in the world because everyone has smartphones and it is one of the easiest ways to capture a wide range of customers for game developers.
India ranks 6th in the world ranking for the countries that play mobile games.
But mobile gaming is not the topic for today and instead, we are going to be talking about and comparing desktop gaming, laptop gaming, and gaming consoles.
So let’s get to know about the three gaming mediums.
By desktop gaming, we mean gaming on a computer. Gaming computers or PCs have been quite popular in India for the past few years.
More and more people have been introduced to the gaming world and this has piqued the interest of many consumers and one of the ways that gamers have chosen to play games is by building gaming PCs.
Desktop gaming might as well be one of the most popular mediums for gaming in India but the initial investment can be quite expensive.
The thing about desktop gaming is that users have a wide range of options to choose from based on their budget. Users can build a gaming desktop according to their requirements and needs.
The degree of freedom offered when building a desktop is quite high. You can choose your parts according to your requirements.
The two most important and expensive parts of a desktop are the graphics card and the processor. The graphics card and processor combined can cost more than a gaming console.
Users have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to the graphics card and processor but if you are looking to build a PC in 2021 it can cost upwards of Rs.1,00,000 for even a mid-range gaming rig.
A gaming desktop has the potential to be the most powerful when it comes to gaming however sometimes convenience can also be of more importance than just powerful specs.
Frankly, laptop gaming is quite similar to desktop gaming but the degree of freedom offered is quite less on a laptop.
A laptop is a portable computer. It is meant for those who are looking for the performance offered by a PC in a more compact form.
However, the fact that some laptops can achieve high-end desktop specifications in such a small chassis itself is a feat in terms of engineering.
The thing about laptops is that the GPU and CPU are fixed, unlike a desktop PC. But the functionality is pretty much the same plus you also get the advantage of portability.
Nowadays some laptops are on par with gaming desktops. If you are someone who travels often but would want to game then a laptop can be a good choice.
Gaming laptops are quite new when you consider them with desktop and console gaming. It was only a few years ago that companies started manufacturing laptops that were powerful enough to play games.
It had always been an issue of how a laptop could match the performance of a desktop and not overheat. Companies came up with excellent cooling solutions that made it possible to have desktop-grade specs in a small and compact form.
Like desktops, users also have a wide range of laptops that they can choose from in terms of the specifications that they offer.
Gaming laptops are manufactured by a wide range of companies. Some of the popular companies in India that manufacture gaming laptops include Asus, HP, Acer, Dell, and Lenovo.
Console gaming is quite different from desktop gaming and laptop gaming. Consoles are made strictly for gaming, unlike desktops and laptops.
Gaming consoles come in various forms. We have handheld consoles and TV consoles. Handheld consoles are usually consoles that are stand-alone and do not require a TV or monitor.For example the Gameboy, Nintendo Switch, PSP, etc.
TV consoles on the other hand are a unit that needs to be hooked up to a TV or monitor to play the games for example a Playstation 5 or an Xbox.
The thing about console gaming is that it is generally cheaper to buy a console than buying a gaming desktop or gaming laptop.
Gaming consoles are generally sold at a loss by companies and these companies try to cope up with the loss through selling games for their consoles.
In terms of convenience, gaming consoles are more preferred because these are plug and play devices while handheld consoles don’t even require anything else since it already includes the screen and all the buttons on it.
But the problem with gaming consoles is that you have options to choose from companies like Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo. These games are meant to be run on that specific console and you cannot play them on another console.
Some people prefer playing games on desktop or laptop while others are loyal to their gaming consoles.
Since we have a brief idea between desktops, laptops, and console gaming. Let us compare them with each other and find out which is the best one?
The thing about desktop gaming is that it can either be the most powerful or the weakest gaming PC.
Desktop gaming is based on how much money you are ready to spend on your build. If you are fine with spending a premium then you can get an extremely powerful PC while on the other hand if you cannot spend a premium then you might have to stick to a budget gaming desktop.
Hence versatility is a great option when it comes to gaming desktops but if you are looking to build a PC in 2021 even a budget PC can cost a fortune because of the shortage of graphics cards and processors.
To make situations worse, miners are also purchasing GPUs for crypto mining which increases the shortage of GPUs and people resort to scalping because of the increase in demand and shortage of supply.
Furthermore, you will also have to purchase a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Once you have built a gaming desktop then after a few years when you feel the parts on your build are obsolete then you can upgrade the parts rather than changing the whole desktop.
In the long term, a gaming desktop can be more feasible compared to gaming laptops but the initial investment is a lot.
Compared to consoles, the games on desktop and laptop are much cheaper. This is usually because most PC games provide regional pricing. Console games generally cost around Rs.4000-5000 at the time of launch and the cost of games eventually does come down later.
But PC games usually cost around Rs.1000 which means you get new games at much cheaper prices. Some games are exclusive to PC and cannot be played on console same goes with consoles, some games are console exclusives and cannot be played on PC.
Online multiplayer is free on PC however most gaming consoles charge a subscription to play online.
A drawback of desktop gaming is portability whereas this is not the case with a laptop and also with some handheld consoles. Moving a desktop around can be quite a tedious task since they are generally quite big and heavy.
So if you are looking for something that is more portable then you should go for a laptop or handheld gaming console.
When comparing desktop and laptop in terms of performance, when both the desktop and laptop have similarly matched specs in most cases the desktop is going to rise on top. This is because there is no limitation in terms of the power in a desktop, the processor and GPU can be maxed out.
You can also have excellent cooling solutions which further boost the overall performance. This however is not possible on a gaming laptop.
- Cheaper games
- Can be used for productivity
- Graphical powerhouse
- Allows for personalization
- Free online
- PC exclusive games
- Expensive to build a desktop
- No portability
- Requires some technical knowledge beforehand
Laptop gaming is most comparable to desktop gaming since both of these essentially run on the same hardware and software but the laptop has limited upgradability options.
Gaming laptops like desktops are also available at different price ranges. You can find gaming laptops for a budget of around Rs.60,000 and this can go upwards of up to Rs.3,00,000 if you are looking for the best-in-class gaming laptop.
But compared to building a desktop the prices of laptops are currently less. You can find a laptop with Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU for around Rs.80,000 but if you go to buy the GPU alone for the desktop then it will cost you nearly Rs.60,000 which is absurd.
Hence, currently, the more affordable option for gaming when comparing between desktop and laptop is the laptop.
However, upgrading is limited compared to a desktop. You cannot upgrade your processor or GPU in the future but it is possible to upgrade the RAM and storage.
But recently external graphics cardholders or docks have become a thing. This lets you connect your laptop to an external GPU dock where you can then insert a graphics card to the dock and then play your games. This requires your laptop to have a Thunderbolt 3 port.
If you are considering feasibility though it is better to just build a desktop rather than getting an external GPU dock.
Some people prefer gaming laptops because of their portability, you are not limited to a place and you can carry around the laptop along with you wherever you go. This in itself is a marvel of technology because you can carry such a powerful device in such a small chassis.
Ideally, those who travel often would prefer going for a gaming laptop rather than a gaming desktop.
If we were to compare a gaming console to a gaming laptop then it is somewhat similar to comparing it with a desktop minus the portability.
Gaming laptops might be more powerful than a gaming console but there are different types of gaming consoles. You have the Nintendo Switch which is an extremely portable handheld gaming console that is capable whereas on the other end of the spectrum we have the Sony Playstation 5 which is a powerful gaming console that is capable of outputting resolutions even at 4K.
But a gaming console is limited only to gaming whereas a laptop can be used for productivity purposes as well.
- Can be used for productivity
- Does not require any additional accessories
- Feasible than building desktop
- PC exclusive games
- Cheaper games
- Can use external GPU
- Limited upgradability
- Games are not optimized for a specific laptop
- Can be expensive
In gaming desktops and gaming laptops, the core experience and gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same except for one of them allowing upgradability and the other allowing portability.
Gaming consoles on the other hand include an extensive library. There are handheld gaming consoles and TV gaming consoles from various companies that offer different experiences.
Consoles like the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are in actuality gaming desktops that have been masterfully crafted into a small unit that you can carry around and just plug into your TV and play games on.
The latest PS5 and Xbox have specifications that match some high-end gaming desktops yet have cut-throat pricing. These new consoles let you output video at 8K resolution which is not even possible on some gaming desktops and laptops.
If one was to build a gaming desktop equivalent to the PS5 then you would have to spend around Rs.80,000 to 90,000 if the prices of GPU and processors were normalized but in the current scenario, it can cost more than Rs.1,50,000.
This is because as mentioned before consoles are sold at a loss and companies then gain profit through sales of games. Games on consoles generally cost more than PC games and they cannot be shared across different consoles.
Most people also buy gaming consoles because of their exclusives namely the PS5 is known for its exclusive games which cannot be played on any other platform. Gaming consoles also charge a subscription fee for playing online which is disappointing.
A TV gaming console is preferred by those who want to just sit back, relax and plug in the console to your TV. There is no hassle in building a gaming desktop.
In terms of convenience, a gaming console is much better than a gaming desktop or laptop.
Video games on consoles are optimised for the console whereas since all laptops and desktops have different specs it is quite hard to optimize.
These consoles also come with their controllers which provide haptic feedback which is not possible with a keyboard and mouse. Although you can always connect a controller to a desktop or laptop it needs to be purchased extra.
Handheld gaming consoles like the Switch let you play graphically intensive games on a compact device. The console also features a dock mode where you can insert the console in a docking station that is connected to the TV which lets you seamlessly move from handheld to TV gaming.
This sort of integration is not possible in desktop and laptop gaming since they are not devices that are dedicated only for gaming and are also productivity machines.
Consoles generally have a lifespan of around 7 years and after that, the newer generation comes in and they become obsolete. However, a desktop can be upgraded to fit the newest hardware.
If you are someone who prefers upgradability and not just sticking to one piece of hardware then a gaming console might not be of interest to you.
- Easy to use
- Console exclusive games
- Handheld consoles offer portability
- Long life
- Includes game controller
- Optimized games
- No upgradability
- Requires subscription to play online
- Expensive games
Which one is the best?
There is no one answer to this question. The answer can vary depending on your needs.
If gaming is your only priority then a gaming console might as well be the best choice to go for however there is no upgradability in a gaming console and the games can also be quite expensive.
Gaming desktops, however, offer you games at a considerably cheaper price and even upgradability is possible but the initial cost of building a gaming desktop itself can cost a fortune considering the current market prices of desktop parts. But a desktop is not only for gaming and can also be used for productivity-related purposes.
Unfortunately with a desktop, you are limited to a single place which is where a laptop can come in handy.
If you are looking for a desktop experience plus added portability then a gaming laptop is an excellent choice. You can play games on your gaming laptop, work, and also bring it along with you. However, there is limited upgradability and they are much more expensive than a gaming console.
All in all, each of these three mediums has its pros and cons. One might excel at something while the other might excel at something else.
But the thing about gaming is that regardless of the medium you choose to play your games on, in the end, you can expect to have a good time.
As always thank you for reading and have a great day ahead!