One of the key arguments that often comes when debating which platform is king is cost. The outlay for a decent gaming rig might be fairly massive in comparison to splashing out on a console but it's often been said you can save this many times over via cheaper PC games and magic that is Steam sales.
We thought the easiest way to drill to the truth of this would be to put this to the test, taking a look at the 10 most popular games on Game Debate, and comparing how much each of these would cost when bought on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, both physically and digitally.
Now then, first to those games. These are chosen from the little block a little ways down the front page which is automatically chosen based on which gamepages are the most popular. It’s a pretty hefty bunch of AAA titles, and all but one of them are available on all three platforms, although a number of them aren’t even out yet. For these we’ve hunted down the best prices we could find both digital and for a physical copy, at the time of writing, which is earlier in the week. The prices might fluctuate slightly but the point is just to see how the platforms compare within a moment in time.
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Far Cry 4
- Assassin’s Creed: Unity
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
- The Witcher 3
- Dying Light
- FIFA 15
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
PC Build Equivalent to The Witcher 3 Recommended System Requirements = ~£779
First up is PC then, which is a bit of a logistical nightmare thanks to its oodles of online stores and methods of purchasing games, but we're pretty confident we've found some of the best deals out there at the time of writing this. It's worth noting that most of these games have been cheaper than this before, but only during specific sales etc.
Picking up a brand-new PC, and the current top 10 titles on Game Debate would set you back around £1013.73 digitally or £1070.35 boxed. That sounds like a lot, but if you were to extrapolate that over the five year lifespan of a games console, you're looking at under £400 each year. Take into account the deep discounts from Steam sales and the like, and you could easily get it down to less than £300 per year.
Cost of Platform = £329
The costing of picking up a PlayStation 4 is less than half the cost of a gaming PC that can play The Witcher 3 at recommended settings. What you're getting here is ease of use though, and in the case of the PlayStation 4, the market leader. You know with confidence it'll be able to play everything out for it over the next five years, but you're going to be paying a premium for the privilege. The cost of buying the console and the 10 biggest games on GD is £805.41 digitally and £693.66 for boxed copies. This is quite a short-term saving on forking out for a PC, potentially saving you over £300 in the first year. Spread this over the lifetime of the console though and things aren't so clear cut; you're looking at £542.71 per year digitally, and £430.46 per year boxed, over a five year period.
Oh, and we should mention, the PlayStation 4 costs also don't factor in the tenth title, H1Z1, which will likely arrive on PS4 once it's F2P.
Cost of Platform = £299
The Xbox One is the cheapest console on the market to buy right now, particularly if you keep an eye out for them bundle bargains. The console can be widely had for under £300, making this the cheapest entry-level product to modern gaming. Microsoft's console will be good to go for the next five years, but how much will it set you back?
Well, buying the console and the GD community's top 10 favourite games right now will set you back £728.91 digitally or £667.92 for boxed copies. Once more H1Z1 is not included, namely because it won't be arriving on Microsoft's console. Over a five year period you're looking at the Xbox One and ten top-tier games annually costing you £489.71 digitally, or £434.72 physically.
Okay, first things first, and that's those digital prices on console games. We already know that the digital prices can sometimes be a little crazy on the newer titles, but with the PlayStation 4 you're paying nearly 31% more for every brand new title, and 16% on the Xbox One. It stands out in particular against PC, where digital reigns supreme and is markedly cheaper.
In terms of five year cheapest costs, this is how much you're looking at for each platform:
|PC||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Price of Hardware||£779||£329||£299|
|Cost Per Year||£390.53||£430.46||£434.72|
|Total Cost (5 Years)||£1952.65||£2152.30||£2173.60|
Total costs were actually far more similar than we'd initially anticipated, with only a couple of hundred pounds setting them apart from each over the five-year period. Of course this doesn't take into account the digital deals which are rife on PC, which could potentially knock hundreds upon hundreds off the price.
Which do you think is the best option in terms of value and hardware?