“Under no circumstances are you to buy me an Xbox One or a PS4 for Christmas.”
That was my teenage son’s response when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. His reply astonished me, because he spends much of his free time playing video games. With two new consoles released this holiday season, I thought he’d be carefully reviewing the specifications of both, deciding which one to ask for.
With my curiosity piqued, I asked him to explain his statement. I was completely unprepared for the logical, yet frugal answer he gave:
- Game consoles are expensive: The Xbox One costs $499, and the PS4 $399. That’s a lot of cash for something he’d only use to play games, and in the case of the PS4, maybe watch movies.
- Game consoles are under-powered: Game developers like to create, and gamers like to play games that push the current technology to the edge. The hardware in the new consoles lag behind the computer industry’s latest technology.
- Game consoles can’t be upgraded: Upgrading to the next generation gaming console requires complete replacement, which is expensive. Plus, you either go through the hassle of trying to sell your old console, or it collects dust on your shelf.
I then asked him what his plan was to keep up with his gaming hobby. He smiled, cocked his head, and pointed his eyes at the PC sitting on his desk (that he’d recently purchased with his own savings). He went on to explain how his PC is better than a game console:
- PCs are multipurpose: His PC cost a little more than the Xbox One ($600, not including a monitor we already owned), but he can use it to play games, do schoolwork, check email, interact on social media, plus infinite other activities.
- PCs last longer: He purposely bought a PC with a fairly powerful processor — but even more important to his gaming, the graphics card is upgradable. As the requirements of new games increase over time, he can keep up for quite a while by upgrading just the graphics card.
- PC games are cheaper: He purchases most of his games from a website called Steam. Games can commonly be found there on sale much cheaper than video games for consoles.
My son’s PC will provide him with a better gaming environment for a longer period of time. Between not having to ditch the whole gaming system as often, and games being less expensive, he’ll also save money in the long run.
After our conversation, I put him in a head lock, patted him on the back, and told him I was proud of him. I honestly think it’s the first time I’d ever heard him talk about saving money.
Maybe video games can teach you something.
Are you planning on buying a video game console this holiday season? Or do you prefer computers as well?