For over two decades, I've been immersed in the world of gaming on Windows PCs. Starting from my school days, a gaming PC has been a constant companion, shaping my journey into the realms of computers, programming, and technology. The influence of gaming PCs on my life has been profound, driving my passions and fostering my tech skills.
Throughout these years, I've owned three gaming PCs, with the most recent acquisition dating back to 2013, followed by a few internal upgrades in 2016. Since then, my gaming rig has remained unchanged. However, over the past year, my trusty PC has begun to struggle when running games, prompting the realisation that it's time to either upgrade or replace my beloved gaming setup.
The process of crafting and constructing one's own PC holds a special place in my heart. The joy of selecting the perfect components, engaging in comparisons, reading reviews, and ultimately devising a final build is a truly gratifying experience. Acting on this impulse, I undertook the task once more. However, I was taken aback by the substantial cost associated with owning a gaming PC in 2023. While it remains reasonably priced for a 1080p gaming setup, delving into the realm of 1440p demands a higher investment, and venturing into 4K territory verges on being exorbitant. My budget allowed only for a 1440p gaming PC, and this compromise left me unsatisfied. Considering I possess a 4K monitor and a 4K television at home, my aspiration was to invest substantially and achieve the ability to game in 4K. This, I believed, would not only ensure future readiness but also meet my personal expectations.
With that specific aspiration in mind, I found myself needing, at the very minimum, an Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU coupled with a 13th generation Core i7 CPU. Piecing together the entire specification amounted to a cost exceeding ₹1,50,000 and my ideal setup transcended my wildest expectations, commanding a staggering price tag of over ₹4,00,000. The challenge I face is that I yearn for a gaming rig capable of achieving 4K performance, yet my gaming preferences are relatively limited. Over the past decade, I've primarily engaged with titles such as EA Sports FIFA, Cities Skylines, Age of Empires, and Zoo Tycoon. I don't foresee a substantial shift towards other games, but when investing upwards of 100K, I desire the capability to explore any game at will.
As my resistance to upgrading my PC intensified, I found myself exploring the possibilities presented by Xbox and Playstation. Historically, I hadn't considered consoles due to the nature of the four games I predominantly play – three of which inherently benefit from the precision of a mouse and keyboard. Nevertheless, a compromise became necessary. I found myself weighing the choice between investing well over 150K in a PC upgrade or adapting to a controller for these games. Luckily, Xbox also offers compatibility with mouse and keyboard setups, and certain games like Cities Skylines can be effectively played using these peripherals.
Also, both Xbox and Playstation are capable of delivering 4K gaming at 120 fps, all while being priced around 50K. This revelation was quite eye-opening. I faced a choice between investing three times the cost for the optimal experience or making a slight compromise in exchange for a significantly lower price tag. The tipping point came with my assessment of the time I dedicate to these other games. The majority of my gaming time, around 75%, is consumed by FIFA, and another 20% goes into Cities Skylines. These titles posed no issues on a console platform. The only concessions were for Age of Empires and Zoo Tycoon, which together make up just 5% of my gaming time. It made little sense to pay three times the price for these games when the experience on a console was more than acceptable.
Furthermore, the convenience of using and up keeping a console surpasses that of a gaming PC. Console games tend to be highly optimised, resulting in an enhanced gaming experience. The ownership of a console felt remarkably streamlined, focused, and immersive. Activating a console and delving into gameplay takes a mere 30 seconds, whereas a PC demands several minutes due to its inherent complexity – compounded by the presence of multiple stores like Steam, Epic, EA, and Microsoft. On a Windows PC, the risk of encountering compatibility issues, faulty installations, update hassles, and the ongoing upkeep of Windows and drivers is ever-present. In contrast, a console presents a more simplified and abstract experience, requiring less effort for maintenance.
Indeed, there exist several advantages to owning a PC, such as the capacity to implement patches and mods in games, as well as employing it for various general-purpose tasks. Nonetheless, as time has passed, my inclination towards game patching and modding has waned, coinciding with my transition to using a Mac for general computing purposes. This time around, the allure of a console overshadowed that of a gaming PC.
Serendipitously, when I was ready to make a purchase, the Xbox Series X happened to be on sale, allowing me to acquire it for 15% less than its typical price. I took the plunge and ordered one. It has been a couple of days since I acquired the Xbox, and I'm content to report that my initial experience has been positive. I look forward to sharing an in-depth review over an extended period in the future.