PC vs PS4 is slating up to be the biggest question of this console generation. The next-gen Playstation débuts in November at the cost of $400 with an okay list of games, so let's take a look at the pros and cons of going either way. We've looked a lot at Xbox vs PS4, but that's really a whole different question.

First, a PC vs PS4 disclaimer: you can substitute most of these PS4 arguments with Xbox One if that's your bag. But bear in mind that Microsoft tends to have fewer exclusives (not none, mind you! Just fewer), and the ones they do have are more likely to come out for PC as well, e.g. Titanfall. It's also more expensive, physically weaker, and arguably still pretty anti-consumer. So, even though I'm currently a 360 guy, I lean PS4. But if you're a huge Halo guy, obviously X1 is your bag. The rest of these PC vs PS4 arguments still apply, though.


PC vs PS4: Power


Any PC vs PS4 argument starts with two variables: power and price. PC wins power already, even before PS4 comes out. Sure, 8 GB of memory is nice. It's also not necessary yet, not even close (in contrast to current gen's 512MB of RAM, which was outdated long before they ever came out. PC wins in every other area, especially video display. But that scales up directly with price.

Pricewise, PC vs PS4 comes down to your timeframe and your technical skill. If you can mark your own PC - buy individual parts and assemble them and make it actually work - you can make a platform with PS4 strength for about the same price right now. Most people can't do that, though. I can't. I won't! An off the shelf PC with PS4 capabilities wouldn't be hugely expensive either - much less than a grand. Five years from now, three years from now, PC will directly win on price - and the computer you could build for $500 will completely outclass the PS4 and X1.

Even now, though, PC vs PS4 price is more complicated. That's because the price structure for games is so different. Console games have much stickier prices than PC games do; just look at Steam sales. You'll probably save $10 to $20 per game you buy if you buy on PC. Over the life of each system, that's a few (or several) hundred dollars. At least it brings the prices closer together. So in the long term, PC pricing is better: you can upgrade it more easily, it's more powerful, and the games are cheaper. But the upfront cost is a little higher.


PC vs PS4: Games


But PC vs PS4 comes down to games and gameplay - two slightly different things. Thankfully, this question is a little simpler. PC gaming has a wider selection than it used to, but if you like console-style games... well, exclusives are exclusives. Sony in particular is like this: you're not seeing any Naughty Dog games on PC anytime soon, let alone something by Team ICO (ha!). It sounds obvious because it is, but if you like Sony exclusives, PS4 is obligatory. Same goes for PC exclusives, which tend to be strategy games (like Crusader Kings or Civ)

Of course, the PC vs PS4 games question isn't about exclusives, because you're not a hipster doofus and figured that part out for yourself. It's about performance. And here's the maybe ugly truth: PC is simply more versatile. Games will look better, sure. But they'll also actually be better. You can't really download mods on consoles, and that's not about to change. And mods are better than ever - just look at Skyrim mods. And more and more games allow modding; Steam Workshop makes it even easier to actually use them, too. All of that is gone on PS4.

Either way, whether you choose PC vs PS4, you're going to get and give on the games front. You have to decide what matters to you more: a game that works out of the box but probably costs a little more and can't be improved after you buy it (no graphics mods on PS4!), or a cheaper game that may or may not work with your specs or your video card but can be improved on for years. Multiplayer matters too: for now, for all but flagship Blizzard games, strategy games, or League of Legends-style whateverfests, console wins the multiplayer game hands down... in terms of community. Huge FPS fans may disagree in terms of content.


PC vs PS4: Verdict


Here's a quick cheat sheet for your PC vs PS4 decision. If you care about graphics, go for PC. It is the clear winner in the long run (of, like, a year or more). If money is an object and you're technically minded, build a PC and rejoice in cheap Steam games that are still $60 on console. If you aren't technically minded and can't tell a video card from a boomerang (guilty), PS4 is probably the way to go. If you love multiplatform games, go PC. If you love indie games, go PC. If you like sports, go PS4 (or Xbox One). FPS is a tough call.

But your best option is pretty simple, actually. Buy a PS4 as soon as the first exclusive you care about comes out. Buy a PC three or four years later; catch up on the games you missed. Or vice versa. Doesn't matter, really. You're overthinking it. PC is cheaper in the long run. PS4 is easier. Done.