Whether you have recently gotten into gaming or you have been mashing buttons for decades, you have likely wondered why PC gaming is so expensive compared to console gaming.
At the current moment, the ongoing computer chip shortage has made PCs that much more expensive for gamers as well as employees, students, and everyone else who uses computers.
However, even if the supply chain were to be returned to normal, PC gaming would still be more expensive than console gaming.
There are plenty of half-truths, myths, and lies about why PCs are so expensive.
Let’s shine the spotlight on the truth by providing a quick look at the top 10 reasons PCs are more expensive than video game consoles.
Why Is PC Gaming So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. More Profit Is Made When Selling PCs
Buy a gaming PC, and the hardware maker will likely be in the black right away.
Alternatively, some gaming consoles are sold for a slim profit, no profit, or even at a loss.
While video game console makers recoup their hardware losses by selling expensive games, PC hardware makers enjoy a comparably fat margin right off the bat.
It is interesting to note Microsoft and Sony obtain a certain percentage of the licensing fee for each game played on their video game consoles.
PC hardware makers don’t have a similar opportunity to recoup potential losses on hardware sales.
Therefore, the initial upfront cost is that much greater than that of a video game console.
Don’t feel so bad about lining the pockets of PC hardware makers.
You are certainly paying a pretty penny for a brand-new PC, yet it supports thousands of games with top-notch graphics and processing power.
You will spend less on PC games than you would spend for the top titles on conventional video game consoles.
Keep in mind that the profit made on the sale of your new gaming PC might be quite slim.
Even if the hardware maker makes a profit from the transaction, it might not be more than a couple of hundred dollars, if that much.
Take the temporary financial hit right off the bat, and you will save money down the line through comparably cheap game prices and the minimal number of peripherals necessary to have a blast playing your favorite titles.
2. PCs Have More Functionality Than Video Game Consoles
PCs can be used for gaming, web surfing, watching online videos, streaming sports, completing academic projects, performing work, and so much more.
This extra functionality partially justifies the high price of a PC used for gaming as well as additional activities.
Even if you do not currently use your PC for anything but gaming, there is a good chance you will eventually use your PC for schoolwork, work, research, creating a budget, or for another purpose at some point down the line.
Furthermore, someone in your family is likely to need to use a PC for something aside from gaming.
When you opt for a PC, you will find its multifunctionality proves quite helpful while the limited functionality of a video game console only serves your entertainment desires.
3. Nearly Everything You Need Is Included In Your Gaming PC
Buy a gaming PC (or a regular PC and use it for gaming), and there is a good chance it will also come with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
The same cannot be said of video game consoles that are comparably affordable to purchase, yet only include one controller and no other accessories.
Your video game console will require additional controllers for multiplayer games along with several peripherals in order to use the entirety of gaming features.
Alternatively, PCs provide nearly immediate plug and play, albeit at a higher initial price.
You can always add a wired or wireless controller to make the gameplay of certain PC games that much easier.
However, if you strictly want to play traditional PC games with the mouse and the keyboard, you can do exactly that without spending additional money on extra controllers and other specialized equipment to play individual games.
4. A Lengthier And More Complex Supply Chain
The supply chain is currently slowing to a snail’s pace as there is a worldwide shortage of computer chips.
Those chips are used for both gaming PCs as well as video game consoles.
However, the PC supply chain is inherently more complex and lengthier to start with.
Robots are used to automate much of the work necessary to manufacture video game consoles.
PCs have more configurations and nuances that make their supply chain and manufacturing process that much longer.
Unlike PCs, video game consoles have a single shared RAM set and combine the CPU with the GPU into one component.
Costs for video game console storage are reduced even more than that of PCs as the Nintendo Switch relies on affordable flash memory and the PlayStation and Xbox consoles have hard drives instead of SSDs.
Add in the fact that PC distribution is more complex as there are more players in the game along with more relationships to manage, and the challenge of distributing PCs for gaming in an economically efficient manner becomes that much more difficult.
It must also be noted that many of the robots and machines used to automate the production of video game consoles cannot be used when constructing PCs which are customized for individual customers.
More expensive human labor is necessary to make PCs, ultimately driving up the sale price of the hardware that much more.
The hope is that the current supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be resolved in the next year or less.
If the production of computer chips returns to normal levels within the next year, there is a chance the prices of new PCs used for gaming and other purposes will decline.
However, there is also the potential for the supply chain issues to last well into 2022, resulting in elevated PC prices for the next year or two.
5. The Latest Tech Innovations
A large part of the reason PCs for gaming are more expensive than video game consoles is that PC hardware is quite dynamic.
PC makers are constantly adding new components as industry technology improves.
Gaming PCs perform that much better than video game consoles and are arguably of a higher quality as more metal than plastic is used, and the internal components of PCs represent the latest in industry innovation.
In contrast, video game consoles rely on cheap processors to keep costs to a minimum.
Compare the look and frame rate of the latest games for PCs with those of video game console titles and you will find the PC games are superior.
If you want responsive gameplay, impressive graphics, and flawless frame rates, you need a cutting-edge PC tower or laptop for gaming.
This is not to say video game console titles look significantly inferior.
Rather, PC games look and run slightly better than those on video game consoles, ultimately justifying the higher price tag on the hardware.
6. Cooling PC Hardware Is A Hidden Cost
PCs generate a considerable amount of heat, especially when positioned in a cramped space or when used in a hot apartment without air conditioning.
The CPUs and GPUs used on gaming PCs are sometimes upwards of 300% of the power of the average video game console.
In other words, there is a significant amount of power behind the amazing graphics, elite frame-rate processing, and superior resolutions of the PC games.
This additional power uses that much more electricity, ultimately generating heat that necessitates internal fans and other cooling mechanisms.
Such cooling mechanisms increase the hardware costs of PCs all the more.
Though PC makers could reduce costs by decreasing the size and power of internal fans, doing so would increase the temperature of the hardware, ultimately threatening the long-term viability of the internal components.
Therefore, don’t feel bad about paying for the cooling components of your new PC used for gaming.
These important cooling mechanisms ultimately ensure the tower or laptops function exactly as designed.
7. Extensive Customization Options
Though there are a couple of different versions of some video game consoles, the number of options is usually limited to two.
In contrast, a PC can be customized exactly as a gamer desires.
Perhaps you would like an abundance of RAM, a large hard drive, a silent fan, or another feature.
You can have those nuanced features built into your customized PC, so it works exactly as you wish.
Continue to add features to your PC, and you will find it is quite expensive when all is said and done.
PCs for gaming that are loaded with features have the potential to be two times as expensive or even more expensive as video game consoles.
Take some time creating your own PC with the specific components you have in mind, and you will agree the higher cost is worth the money.
Once your PC for gaming is completed, it will be uniquely yours, made in accordance with your detailed directions.
The same cannot be said of video game consoles that are uniformly the same across the board, meaning the video game console you own will be exactly the same or nearly the same as that used by your neighbor, co-workers, classmates, etc.
8. Superior Performance
Compare the graphics, frame rate, and other subtleties of the top gaming PCs with those of the latest video game consoles, and you will find the industry’s best gaming PCs are superior.
PC games look better thanks to their superior graphics cards, and they run faster as a result of their elite processing power.
This next-level performance justifies the comparably high prices of gaming PCs to a certain extent.
Some players do not want to play a video game console where frame rates are limited to 30 or 40 per second.
Higher frame rate processing speeds are necessary for multi-player games especially when they are played online.
In particular, those who are into eSports gaming need a powerful PC, meaning the higher price tag is worth every penny.
Keep in mind that graphics processing, memory, digital storage, and other components of PCs are rapidly evolving as time progresses.
The dynamics of PC components present an opportunity to implement cutting-edge chips and other components directly to the latest PCs for maximum performance.
The implementation of these breakthrough chips ultimately increases the price of PCs used for gaming all the more.
In contrast, it would take a completely new generation of video game consoles for the internal components to change.
This means the chips and other components currently used in the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox consoles are static.
In other words, the same chips will be used in these video game cycles across the current generation’s lifespan, ensuring costs are kept under control.
The end result is a lower upfront hardware cost for video game consoles yet inferior performance in terms of gaming graphics, frame rate, speed, etc.
9. The PC Chip Shortage
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused a wide array of shortages.
Perhaps the most important shortage is that of computer chips.
People and businesses alike are scooping up PCs for elevated prices as they are well aware of the fact that the computer chip shortage could last into 2022.
The rise in demand combined with the limited supply has made PCs that much more expensive.
However, there is also an argument to be made that video game consoles should also be increasing in price as they also use computer chips.
The difference is PCs can be used for gaming, work, and school while video game console functionality is limited to gaming, streaming video, and a few other capabilities.
As a result, the particularly high demand for PCs is driving up the purchase price for computer users who are gamers as well as those who use PCs for work, school, or other purposes.
10. PCs Include Online Support
The comparably high cost of PCs is partially justified as support for online play is typically included without an extra fee.
Though some PC games require an additional fee for online play, many have online support built in at no additional cost.
Alternatively, playing online with video game consoles requires an annual or monthly subscription fee, so don’t be so quick to bypass PCs because they are more expensive than video game consoles.
The money you spend upfront for your PC won’t sting so much down the line as you use the machine for a wide array of purposes and don’t have to shell out even more money for online play.
What Can You Do To Minimize The Cost Of PC Gaming?
You can save money when gaming on a PC by selecting hardware with components that are reasonably priced.
There is no need to have the most expensive graphics processing card or a massive hard drive.
If you opt for a PC that has solid specifications, you will find it performs just fine for PC gaming.
It will also help to play games that use a mouse and keyboard as opposed to an external controller, headset, or other specialized equipment.
If you want to save even more money and learn about the nuances of PC construction, consider building your own PC.
You can save a ton of money by using old parts from your current computers to construct a new one.
If you are missing a part or two and want to build your own PC, buy used parts rather than comparably expensive new ones.
Above all, be sure to shop around before buying a brand-new PC for gaming.
Check out the same tower or gaming laptop on several other websites to see if there is a meaningful difference in price.
Keep in mind that buying a gaming PC online has the potential to backfire in the event that you need to return it due to a malfunction or other problem.
Shipping a computer back to a merchant is not exactly easy or cheap.
If you want to avoid the potential expense and hassle of shipping the PC back to the seller, consider buying locally.