Why buy an Xbox now instead of a PC? The same reasons as always

Since Microsoft announced at E3 that the rest of its first-party exclusives currently on the table will also be coming to Windows 10, there have been murmurings. Some from fans, some from the media. You may have heard them. You might have even uttered it yourself:

"Why would you buy an Xbox One now and not a PC? Microsoft just shot itself in the foot."

Or words to that effect, anyway. It's true, Windows 10 PC gamers will get to enjoy titles that would have otherwise been console exclusives; Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Halo Wars 2 are among the big names hitting the desktop soon.

But I think that response is incredibly short sighted. The reasons for buying an Xbox One, or any console for that matter, haven't really changed.

Using myself as an example. I've played consoles since I was 8 years old. I've owned most of the major releases in that time, aside from the Sega Saturn and the PS4. I love console gaming. Now that I'm older I can afford to buy a proper gaming PC, and indeed I have purchased one. But I still have an Xbox One and use that for at least 90% of my game time.

So, why would you buy a console instead of a PC that can do everything an Xbox can — and more?

GTX 1080

GTX 1080

Price, for one. The new Xbox One S will sell from $299, play every Xbox One game and also 4K Blu-Ray discs as well. You won't get that from a PC for that money. Using my own example again, I needed a £150 graphics card upgrade to play Forza 6: Apex on my PC close to the level I can already play Forza 6 on the the Xbox One.

I spent not quite twice that amount on buying the 1TB Xbox One console I currently own. That's just the graphics card — there's a whole rest of a PC you have to put around it. Whichever way you look at it, you're guaranteeing a generation's worth of gameplay from a console.

With a console you don't have to worry that your hardware is up to snuff

Going with a console you may sacrifice resolution or frame rate, but for the most part you get a consistent experience. You don't need drivers, you don't need to worry about whether your hardware is up to snuff. You buy a game from the store, and you play it.

Games consoles are also far more accessible to the masses. Casual gamers, kids, aren't having to do anything more than plug in a box, open a game and play it. Probably having a great time, too.

That's not to say I don't see the value and the appeal to PC gaming. There are some games that just flat out-have a better experience on a PC than on a console. I'm likely going to play Halo Wars 2 on PC rather than console because I'll be able to guarantee a good, comfortable mouse and keyboard experience.

Xbox One is supposed to get mouse and keyboard support, but I'm not keen on the idea of playing like that on the couch.

Xbox Play Anywhere

Xbox Play Anywhere is also a great way to leverage the power of Microsoft's ecosystem, perhaps introducing a whole new generation of PC gamers. Being able to play the same game across two different machines is enormous. It's already making me care way more about gaming on Windows 10 PCs than has ever been the case before.

Microsoft might well make a few new PC gaming fans here

But the two can live together in harmony. You don't have to choose one or the other, and it's ridiculous to suggest anyone should buy a PC over an Xbox One. If you want a console, you go buy one. That'll be the best for you, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

What Microsoft is doing here is more likely to invigorate Xbox as a platform yet further and introduce something new to a generation who previously passed it off. It's probably not going to turn PC gamers into console fans, but it might well create a few going in the opposite direction.

Both are fantastic in their own way. They can, and will both live together, side-by-side. There's never been a better time to be interested in a new Xbox console, no matter what the naysayers may suggest.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine