Views Columnist Haneul Lee makes the case for a games console as a productivity hack.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the decades-long fight between digital cameras and smartphones, with one slowly declining in sales each year because of the advancement of the other. During this era of technological advancement, it seems only fitting that we prepare ourselves for the next battle: console v PC.
I’m particularly interested in the topic as, just last December, I decided to bite the bullet and finally invest in a console. Call it procrastination or lack of self-control, but getting a console was (though subjective) a necessary lifestyle change. My issue? When I used to open my PC to do some work, I always found my mouse subconsciously clicking the latest game I was obsessed with. When I caught myself as the “Loading” page started up, the urge came over me to just, screw it, play anyway. Since getting a console, my compartmentalisation of work and play has much improved. Technically, I could still turn on my PC and click on another title. However, mentally identifying that each device has a different function gets my head in the (figurative) game.
The speed at which products are developed nowadays ensures that no company or brand can be complacent with their position in the market. Consistent development and upkeep are essential, otherwise, they will be left behind. PCs have gone through astonishing forms of development over the past years; you can now get touch-screen laptops that emulate the experience of a tablet with all the capabilities of one, plus more.
But consoles aren’t dying out anytime soon. The speed at which the new Xbox and the PS5 sold out should tell us that much. People are still finding it incredibly hard to get their hands on them, and I am genuinely sad to say that on eBay I have seen the Xbox Series X being sold for about the same price as the console itself. People are desperate for these consoles, so it seems rather ridiculous that the question, “Is it even worth buying a console?” is being asked in the first place.
It is a reasonable question to ask, however, because graphics are undeniably far better on a PC, and gameplay is also much easier with a keyboard and mouse. Sure, you need to remember standard keyboard functions that go beyond the usual Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C but you can appreciate the animations and immerse yourself into the story much more on a PC as you don’t need to restrict yourself to just one screen – or, if you only have one, the quality is impressive enough to get you hooked anyway. So why aren’t we playing on PCs?
For some, the cost outweighs the benefits. Though it is important to note that games are much cheaper on PCs due to the existence of sites like Steam and GOG, it is extremely expensive to get a gaming rig set up and requires some basic technical knowledge (even with a pre-built PC). With the speed at which games are coming and going, PC system requirements are going to change. Do I have the confidence to keep up with these constant changes? No. Consoles are simple and have fixed system specifications figured out by the manufacturer already.
Ultimately, both PCs and consoles need upgrading eventually. Consoles, at least, require less time investment and are relatively more forgiving on your wallet. Consoles are also a more social way of playing video games than any other method of gaming. Not many students have good gaming rigs or know other people who have a decent PC set-up for gaming. With a console, you can just give them a controller and sit them on the sofa next to you and socialise for a couple of hours over the game you’re playing. When I have a lifestyle where I have the time, energy and resources to invest in putting together a good gaming set-up, I might rethink it, but for now, consoles are good enough. They are a more convenient and accessible way of playing games and especially in the case of students like myself, they are the only way to play.