Five lies about consoles that it is time to forget

Contrary to what some of my deepest detractors think, the truth is that I’ve always liked consolesIn fact, I have been enjoying them for almost 35 years, and almost all the models that have come to the market have passed through my hands. I still have some pending accounts, such as the 1982 Colecovision, but in general I’m quite happy because I’ve been lucky enough to try almost everything that’s hit the market.

Xbox was, without a doubt, one of my favorite consoles because it offered a totally new experience, and because it had extreme power for the generation in which it was placed, but without a doubt my favorite of all time is Dreamcast, the latest SEGA console and a true turning point in the sector, both for the innovations it introduced and for the excellent catalog of games it had, among which are some of my great “fetishes”, such as the Shenmue saga or Resident Evil Code Veronica.

I was also always a PC lover, and thanks to this I have been lucky to be able to combine both worlds for many, many years. I have lived through the evolution of consoles and gaming on PC, I have constantly delved into each of the changes that occurred, and also into the most important technical innovations that made these possible.

Throughout all that evolution I have seen changes and generational jumps really impressiveand I have also witnessed how the console sector, and video games in general, went from being something considered mainly for children (the eighties and mid-nineties) to becoming a market of billions of $ that excited people of all ages.

It has been quite an adventure, but unfortunately not everything has been positive. Along the way, they produced quite toxic situations, and numerous myths and lies derived from them that still exist today, and that make us have a completely wrong image of the consoles. All this has been precisely what has encouraged me to write this article, where I am going to share with you five lies about consoles that we have to overcome at once.

1.-Consoles are equivalent to a top-of-the-range PC

This is the PS5 APU.

This is one of the biggest, most problematic and most harmful to consumers but it is also one of the most beneficial for those responsible for each new generation of consoles. It is not difficult to understand, think that when you manage to convince the media and users that a console has a power that it really lacks in the end you are boosting their salesand you’re generating a sense of price-performance value that is totally unrealistic.

I have experienced this situation on many occasions. I remember when an acquaintance told me many years ago that his Sega Saturn was more powerful than my PC, a Pentium at 133 MHz and ran to teach me quake. I invited him to my house to see said game running on my computer and didn’t know what to say, the difference was huge and yes, it obviously worked better on my team. The same thing happened to me in different generations with other consoles, because although this “war” between PCs and consoles may surprise some in the end it has always been there.

A console is a closed system that uses components that must work in a very limited space, with very contained consumption and temperature values, and that must also have an adjusted cost so that the sale price does not skyrocket. This simple description should be more than enough for anyone, even the least tech-savvy, to understand that a console can’t keep up with a top-of-the-line PC by simple logic.

With this I do not mean that a console does not offer an interesting value, in fact the opposite is true. Consoles are often an excellent performance-to-cost option during the early phase of their life cycle., which is when they offer more power within the context of the technological situation of the moment, and when they have a better adjusted price in that sense. As time goes by, that value is diluted because the world of the PC is evolving, and because new, more powerful components are arriving that make the previous ones drop in price.

What I am denying, and criticizing, It is that lie that they sell us that a console has a GPU that performs like a 1,200-$ graphics card, or that its processor is as powerful as a 400-$ chip. It is not like that, and the only thing behind it is an absurd marketing campaign that both companies, media and users are guilty of. In the end, each one believes what he wants to believe, that is clear, but this does not change the fact that objective reality is and will always be what it is.

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2.-They use exclusive components and technologies

Xbox inside.  Image courtesy of

This was true a few years ago, but It ceased to be with the arrival of PS4 and Xbox One, and also with PS5 and Xbox Series X-Series S. All these consoles use an AMD APU that integrates an x86 CPU whose architecture exists in PC, and a Radeon GPU whose architecture has also been used in the PC world. Yes, it is true that they have semi-custom designs because there are no APUs as powerful at the GPU level available in compatible, but neither their components nor their technologies are exclusive.

Nothing better than an example to illustrate it. Xbox 360 used a three-core PowerPC processor called Xenon at 3.2 GHz, and was accompanied by a GPU called Xenos, developed by the extinct ATi, which was undoubtedly one of the most advanced of its time, not so much for power it offered, but because it was the first general consumer graphics core to use a unified shader architecture. think that this console arrived in november 2005and that NVIDIA’s Tesla architecture would not hit the market until November 2006, so at the time it did not have a graphical equivalence on PC.

The other side of the coin we have on Xbox One, a console that used an AMD APU with a CPU based on Jaguar architecture low consumption, direct equivalent to the criticized Intel Atom, and which included a Radeon GPU based on GCN architecture, the same one that we could find in the Radeon HD 7000 series, and that was configured with only 768 shaders. This, coupled with its 128-bit bus and the use of DDR3 unified memory, made Microsoft’s console a much less powerful solution than PS4.

With the arrival of PS5 and Xbox Series X nothing has changed, both consoles they use an AMD APU again with massively cut Zen 2 CPUs, both in terms of FPU, clocks and L3 cache, and have a Radeon GPU that has also seen a huge cut, as they run at much lower clocks than their PC counterparts and have no cache infinite, which obviously ends up weighing down performance, especially when using high resolutions.

3.-They age better because games are more optimized

Like I said, a console uses closed hardware, and the same applies to software. It is true that this has a positive side, and it is that it is easier for developers to carry out their work on hardware delimited and immutable that will be maintained for eight, nine or even ten years. However, this does not mean that games will always be better optimized.

We must not confuse concepts. Optimizing is when a game has been developed in such a way that it is capable of offering a good experience on a specific hardware, which is squeezed to the maximum. This happens during the first life cycle of the consoles, but sooner or later it ends and what we find are sacrifices and stagnation at a technological and playable level that we have been noticing for years.

Reduce the resolution from 1080p to 900p, use qualities lower than the low level equivalent on PC, include dynamic resolution that can even drop to 720p and move a game at 30 FPS with a geometry typical of PS3 It’s not optimizing, it’s trimming and dicing a game to shoehorn it into the hardware of a PS4 or Xbox One. Obviously this doesn’t make a console age better either, it turns it into a zombie that always receives the same games (in style, approach and gameplay.)

The same story applies to many other games, such as la version of Crysis for PS3 and Xbox 360, or DOOM III and Half-Life 2 for Xbox, Even though it was a noteworthy achievement, in the end they were still super cropped versions that didn’t offer a really good experience, especially the Valve title, which had huge FPS drops. I can attest to this, I bought both at the time, in fact I opted for the special edition with a metal case in the case of DOOM III. I played both on the original Xbox and on a PC with a GeForce 6600 GT, and there was a world of difference. No, we cannot talk about optimization, but about cuts and sacrificesa practice that still dominates the world of consoles today.

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4.-They are more profitable than an equivalent PC

psn plus

This is partly true, but also partly false, and for this reason it deserves to be in this article. A console can be more profitable than a PC if we limit ourselves to taking into account the price-hardware relationship in that first stage of its life cycle, and if we compare it directly with an equivalent PC. In this case, yes, the difference can be big, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

To enjoy a good experience with a console you need a television that is up to itso you’ll probably have to end up spending money on a new TV, as I don’t think everyone has a 4K model with VRR support. On the other hand, you will also have to buy games and you shall pay a monthly fee to be able to play online with your friends, and to enjoy the online features of your favorite games.

console games they are almost always more expensive than PC ones, they take longer to drop in price and they are not usually the target of massive offer campaigns. On the other hand, it must be taken into account that a console does not offer the same possibilities of use as a computer, and that therefore this should also influence that idea of ​​profitability that, in the end, is very diluted as soon as we begin to deepen a little in everything that is behind the daily use of a console.

With the difference that represents the higher cost of console games, and the added fee of online mode, an average user could accumulate enough money per year to build a cheap mid-range PC. I’m not exaggerating, do numbers: purchase of two games per month with an average price difference compared to the PC of 20 $ plus 40 $ per month, which multiplied by twelve months gives us 480 $, plus 50 $ for online mode (one year) leaves us a total of 530 $. The Game Pass would be an exception to all this, but it is also available on PC.

5.-Games work better on console than on PC

controls PS4 consoles

Image courtesy of DigitalFoundry

This lie is related to point three, although there is also a part of the truth. We are at a time when developers start from the base of the consoles when carrying out any projectwhich means that depending on the model that forms that base, said game will have more or less marked limitations.

It is also true that this has made developers have fallen into highly objectionable practices, that they do not optimize the PC versions as they should, and that they end up with shader preloading problems, which ends up producing stuttering, with huge bottlenecks at the CPU level, which prevents a correct use of top-of-the-range GPUs, or even with errors and serious failures that affect the playable plane more.

However, just because they focus their efforts on consoles does not mean that the games work better on consoles. These are trimmed and adjusted in everything that is necessary to fit in a console, even with a shoehorn, and even if this requires ultra-low quality settings that turn the title into a blurry canvas, but even then it’s not uncommon to run into stuttering and frame rate issues Very low.

One of the most notorious cases was Control, which had moments where it turned into a slideshow on PS4 and Xbox Oneand recently also happened with Cyberpunk 2077, a game that looks great even on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Don’t be fooled, a game does not work better on console than on PC, it can simply be better adjusted (trimmed) so that it can move it with fewer problems despite its limitations, but this does not mean that it works better, since it will have more marked cuts to maintain that fluidity that makes it seem superior.

Yes, playing on consoles still has advantages, and this is not going to change in the short or medium term, but many of the classic advantages that surrounded this type of system have disappeared, or have become so blurred that They no longer have anywhere near the same value as a few years agoand this will end up going more and more.

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