One of the primary advantages of console gaming vs PC gaming is the significant cost differences between the platforms. A quality gaming PC could run you anywhere from $1000 to $3000+ depending on the hardware you choose. Whereas a console, even for early adopters, would only run you at the maximum around $600. Are the days of that cost differential over? Some folks over at Futuremark seem to think so.
“There’s some irony here in that consoles are now being threatened with the same sort of hardware obsolescence and upgrade cost issues as the PC was previously,” producer Jaakko Haapasalo explains, most likely referring to things like Microsoft’s Natal, Sony’s motion controller and miscellaneous upgrades like larger hard drives, extra controllers etc which drive up the actual costs of owning a console.
Streaming services like OnLive and GaiKai could potentially change that, he said, but even then there may be obstacles, “With streaming, there’s an undeniable convenience advantage for the player if it’s done right, but the loss of control or ownership over parts of the platform and content may prove too much for some.”
Futuremark CEO Jukka Mäkinen also chimed in on the subject, “With proper execution cloud gaming will seriously lower the barrier for entry into high end gaming. It will not lower the number of expensive entertainment gadgetry around our gaming sofas though. There will always [be] a better monitor, better audio system or a better cloud-gaming-resolution-booster-lag-reducer to buy.”
While we see the point of console gaming’s actual cost with all the extras players have to buy and services to subscribe to being higher than the initial console purchase, we’re not quite convinced that the cost gap between PC gaming and console gaming has closed. Between the cost reductions in PC hardware and the increasing costs for console hardware and addons, we do however believe that the gap is shrinking, however it will be a long time before the two converge.