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Why do video game consoles exist?

Hunnybun

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I think lots of people will always want the ease and low cost of a console-like experience compared to a PC experience.

The only issue is whether streaming solutions become good enough to dispense with the hardware.
 

Hunnybun

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I think that the "exclusives bad" mentality is not a good one. Some of the best games ever have been exclusives, games that might not ever even had existed if not for their exclusivity.

As a more recent example, just look at demon's souls on the ps3, if Sony had never funded that game, it might never had existed, never creating an entire new subgenre of action rpg's.

Yeah, most of the games I play are exclusives, simply because they're better. And they're better essentially cos they're subsidised by the platform holder to get people on to their platform.

They generally make money on their own, but they don't HAVE to. So you get the insane production values of stuff like God of War, TLOU2 etc.
 
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Trimesh

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Physical music is no longer sold? I could have swore LP's are making a comeback.

And you can still buy newly manufactured black powder percussion pistols (well, depending on where you live) - but that doesn't stop them from being a technology that's pretty much entirely superseded.
 
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dano1

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For the same reason why Toyota Corolla exists.

I prefer to think my PS5 as a Tesla!
 

v_iHuGi

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My GF despises playing on Pc but loves playing Playstation on the couch.

Consoles have that mass market on lock, + Switch now which has both worlds, hence breaking all records when it's all said & done.
 

Daymos

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Currently the price for a decent graphics card is absolutely stupid. A digital ps5 is only 400 bucks! You'd have a DAMN hard time building a PC that matches the ps5 for $800 bucks. Probably the only value in PC gaming you'll find is buying a shitty gaming laptop on black friday for $450 that might match the base ps4, depending on how much it throttles down when it gets hot. Then at least you've got a portable gaming device with a display (for cheaper than a ps4+ tv).. although you could arguable drop down to $200 and less performance and get a switch lite.

If anything game consoles make more sense than PCs do..
 
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supernova8

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I can think of a few reasons/explanations:

(1) Game consoles possibly have a lot more mindshare than PCs when it comes to gaming (in other words, when you say gaming, more people would say "Xbox" or "Playstation" or "Wii" than would say "Steam!".
(2) PCs are not simply plug and play (no matter how much anyone tries to claim they are).
(3) Consoles are generally more cost effective for gaming if you're not in the market for a desktop PC and you only want a laptop or tablet for doing productivity tasks.
(4) It's true that you can put together a budget gaming PC that rivals a PS4/Xbox One but I'd wager that anyone who actually knows how to and/or would spend the time to build a gaming PC is probably not going to not be doing a budget build or they'll just buy a game console.

I'd say those are the biggest ones.
 
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bad guy

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In the Cyberpunk 2077 PC thread most people will be playing with lower specs than PS5 and Xbox Series X. That gives some notion of PC graphical superiority being more theoric than practical, most people don't want to upgrade their specs frequently, so they would ended up having a better experience playing on consoles.
What about all the console players playing Cyberpunk on PS4 and XBOne?
 

ZywyPL

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Because of Benjamin Franklin.


There's really no other reason, Sony's, MS' and Nintendo's financial reports clearly show why those companies keep making those consoles.
 

MadViking

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There is maybe another reason, but this one is a little less true than it used to be: with consoles you are getting exactly the same experience as everyone else. In this way the consoles are more egalitarian, they bring people together.
 
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Oct 27, 2012
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No. Unlike consoles PC players have choices when it comes to hardware.

Keep in mind we're talking about an hypothetical situation where cloud gaming is 100% perfect. In such a situation PC gaming would be just as redundant as consoles: all you would need is an internet-enabled screen and some sort of control device.

PCs would be still necessary as work tools and for developing, but all forms of non-streaming gaming would be essentially dead.
 

theStartupSound

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For me, it is not something rational / completely fact based, it is more of a feeling. Maybe it would be cheaper two get a good pc configured and buy games only through some key resellers. But I really like the pre-configured / not so overwhelming way of a console. I buy the console, keep track of the biggest/most discussed games and when a sale comes around, I go through the whole list of items, looking for something interesting. Its not like steam sale, where many thousand games are on sale. And I don't need to think about hardware - I buy it once and the next years, my games getting better and better visually, without doing anything. GamePass makes it even more comfortable for me - I think, this generation I will not buy much games which are not on sale or GamePass.
 

bad guy

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Keep in mind we're talking about an hypothetical situation where cloud gaming is 100% perfect. In such a situation PC gaming would be just as redundant as consoles: all you would need is an internet-enabled screen and some sort of control device.
No I'd rather talk about reality. And streaming will never be perfect, but good enough for the masses which is what the console manufacturers concentrate on.
Also I there are many other factors such as owning games, playing older games, niche games and ones not available at Sonys or Microsofts stores.
 
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Three

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A Set Standard

This question is like asking why does Windows exist when there is Linux.

The single reason consoles exist is the set standard. Lack of freedom is sometimes a blessing.

PCs are better but it comes with freedom and that freedom means lots of different hardware configs, drivers, different OS, different inputs/controllers, a bunch of stores/launchers, bots/cheats etc. If somebody curated and chose a single set standard for these things that person would just reinvent the console.
 

AJUMP23

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It wasn't very long ago that nearly everyone expected the PS3/Xbox360/Wii generation to be the last one for game consoles.

This premise is wrong, and no serious game company thought the market was going to die in that era when they saw year after year of growth in sales and dollars. Since the 80s the industry has seen steady and consistent growth. I don't even think the companies or investors at the time acted like the industry or consoles were on the decline. The only people that wrote about consoles ending wanted traffic because it makes a good headline and clearly a lasting impression. Console makers even now are working on the next gen console in the initial design phase. Consoles will not die anytime soon.
 
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QuantumZebra

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You can do this with a PC... Hell, I was JUST doing it, playing the lego games with my son.

So you can sit down and hand them a controller and the game is instantly up on the screen? Cause that's my set-up with PS5. Oh and you have to have two of the exact set-up, because that's what my wife and I have. And you have to have room to fit the PC in our entertainment center.

Nah, not practically or even remotely close.
 

Lister

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So you can sit down and hand them a controller and the game is instantly up on the screen?

Yes? It sounds like you don't know the slightest thing about PC gaming. so why are you even talking about it?

I literally picked up a gamepad, hit stream games on my shield and I was able to play the game coop with my son in like 3 seconds, with the PC in another room entirely.

Welcome to like 2016 or so when we could do this shit.
 

namekuseijin

Nintendo is for soys and kids. But my tears about them are for men.
Jun 10, 2020
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comfort, ease of use

I don't care for pc gaming at all. Tons of settings, configurations, looking up troubles, cleaning up the board, applying thermal paste, upgrading, screwing, unscrewing, dealing with cables, virus, spyware etc. I can't bother at all. Very much prefer a sealed box with a ready walled garden.

And btw, once game streaming is widespread, I'll kick that box out the window.
 
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Topher70

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A Set Standard

This question is like asking why does Windows exist when there is Linux.

The single reason consoles exist is the set standard. Lack of freedom is sometimes a blessing.

PCs are better but it comes with freedom and that freedom means lots of different hardware configs, drivers, different OS, different inputs/controllers, a bunch of stores/launchers, bots/cheats etc. If somebody curated and chose a single set standard for these things that person would just reinvent the console.

PC gaming can be as simple as you want it to be though. Someone can buy a gaming laptop and a controller and it is nearly as simple as a console. I won't say "as simple", but nearly. Extra step: install Steam.
 
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StormCell

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Yes? It sounds like you don't know the slightest thing about PC gaming. so why are you even talking about it?

I literally picked up a gamepad, hit stream games on my shield and I was able to play the game coop with my son in like 3 seconds, with the PC in another room entirely.

Welcome to like 2016 or so when we could do this shit.

I did this for a bit using Steam. It worked flawlessly until they rolled the next update. Then came the infamous hiccup, which I was never able to resolve. I reinstalled Steam. I went back to the version where it worked flawlessly. I tried many things for the sake of having tried. Never got rid of the f'ing hiccup.

If you're unfamiliar with the hiccup, it's a hitch in the framerate that occurs every 45-60 seconds. It's not limited to certain games or performance. It just is and happens with anything I stream from Steam. Totally ruined it for me, so I threw in the towel.

That was back in... 2016! Probably works flawlessly now. Probably...
 

B0xel-new

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I think the only thing that can really kill consoles is cloud gaming. And I know people around here dismiss it . But once all the kinks are worked out and High speed/low latency internet becomes ubiquitous I can see Playstation/Xbox transition from hardware to Netflix-like networks. I mean how many people still have bluray players and watch movies/TV shows through anything other than streaming.
 
Oct 27, 2012
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No I'd rather talk about reality. And streaming will never be perfect, but good enough for the masses which is what the console manufacturers concentrate on.
Also I there are many other factors such as owning games, playing older games, niche games and ones not available at Sonys or Microsofts stores.

That's perfectly fine, but that's not what we were discussing at the time so yeah. We were talking hypotheticals.

And in reality, the PC will never kill consoles, one of the reasons being the same here that you argued: there are and will be many games not available on PC. So they're forced to coexist.
 

bad guy

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That's perfectly fine, but that's not what we were discussing at the time so yeah. We were talking hypotheticals.
I quoted you saying streaming will kill PC gaming too if it kills consoles. Which I totally disagree with.
I never said PC will kill consoles.
 
Oct 27, 2012
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I quoted you saying streaming will kill PC gaming too if it kills consoles. Which I totally disagree with.
I never said PC will kill consoles.

And I was in turn answering to someone that asked if "game streaming could kill consoles if it did what it promised". If it did what it wants to do, that is, lossless perfect streaming, sure, it would kill consoles, and PC gaming, and arcade machines, and everything. Dedicated hardware would stop being a necessity.

But that's not happening anytime soon, so neither PCs nor consoles are in danger.
 

SlicedBread3

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  • Exclusive games
    • This one has to be mentioned, but it's probably the worst reason for a video game console to exist. Exclusive games add value to a platform only because they are kept off of others. It's not a real value add, but keeping value off other platforms.

One point I do want to bring up about exclusives that I think is overlooked. Is that arguably platform owners have more of an incentive to invest in more niche products than other publishers.

For example, say there was an audience of 100,000 or so who would buy a new AAA arcade racing game. For a company like Activision or EA a user base of that number probably isn't worth investing in. 100,000 sales probably wouldn't even make them a profit , even with DLC and micro-transactions factored in.

But for a platform owner, the aim is to get consumers onto your platform. If having a new arcade racing game on the market exclusive to the console convinces people to buy the console. Well then anything they buy on that console, the platform owner gets a royalty cut from. So they don't necessarily need to worry as much about selling a high number of copies of games.

While they're not niche, I think it's why Sony had a lot of success doubling down on "cinematic" action adventure games this gen, while third party publishers realised they could make money on GaaS and focused on those. Sony won over the market that wanted that sort of product. And even if those games don't make as much profit as something like Fortnite. If any of those players buy any mtx on Fortnite via their PS4, Sony gets a cut of that as well. So it still works out well for them.
 

MacReady13

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Physical music survived some historically difficult periods as well.

But when your time is up, your time is up.

Records being broken for both new consoles. Switch selling like crazy. Please tell me why consoles times are up? When and if streaming games becomes mainstream (streaming games is so much different to streaming movies/music) then I will give up gaming completely. Relying on the internet to play ANY games is complete horse shit. Fuck streaming. Fuck subscription services.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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Records being broken for both new consoles. Switch selling like crazy. Please tell me why consoles times are up? When and if streaming games becomes mainstream (streaming games is so much different to streaming movies/music) then I will give up gaming completely. Relying on the internet to play ANY games is complete horse shit. Fuck streaming. Fuck subscription services.

Yup, and physical music probably broke some records in the 1990s too. Then digital went big time a few years later and decimated the physical market.

Same thing will happen to games. The question is when.
 

Neat Machine

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I don't remember that.
What was the reason that nearly everyone expected that? Streaming?
There was a lot of talk about it leading up to the PS4/Xbox One launch. Once those came out and sold well, it kind of faded into the background where it is now.

Example:

One point I do want to bring up about exclusives...
There have been a few good counterpoints about exclusives in this thread, I think you guys are right. I only really saw them as a good thing when they are developed with unique hardware capabilities in mind, but I guess there are legitimate business reasons why exclusivity can be good for everyone in some cases. I'm going to pick "timed exclusives are bad" as my hill to die on now.

Because of Benjamin Franklin.

There's really no other reason, Sony's, MS' and Nintendo's financial reports clearly show why those companies keep making those consoles.
Well of course, but in order for game consoles to be a profitable business they have to be desired. The question of "Why do they exist?" or "What purpose do they serve?" comes before an industry can develop around them and make money by selling them. Cars exist because people enjoy the freedom of being able to travel over long distances quickly, not just because Chevrolet manufactures them to make money.

My GF despises playing on Pc but loves playing Playstation on the couch.
Well to spill the beans if it wasn't apparent, I'm definitely a console fanboy myself. In the past 6-7 years I've built two gaming PCs and both times I ended up selling them because I kept migrating back onto the couch with a controller and at that point the PCs were just really expensive and really inconvenient game consoles. Every now and then I get an itch to plan a PC build and think about how I might enjoy it more. The problem is that after building a couple of PCs I've learned that what I'd really love to put together, if it was possible, is a game console. The major limiting factors there are the OS (haven't found a way to replicate a console experience, SteamOS is the closest thing but I think there are still some compatibility issues) and the price. If PS5 components were on pcpartpicker and you could buy them all for $500 and snap them together in a small case, that's exactly what my build would end up being because of the price/value. I didn't mean to ask "Why do game consoles exist?" to imply that they shouldn't. Just curious about how people view them and like to think about what the future could hold.
 
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QuantumZebra

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Yes? It sounds like you don't know the slightest thing about PC gaming. so why are you even talking about it?

I literally picked up a gamepad, hit stream games on my shield and I was able to play the game coop with my son in like 3 seconds, with the PC in another room entirely.

Welcome to like 2016 or so when we could do this shit.

Lmao, been PC gaming since 1996.

Exactly, you have to involve a third device.

I've worked in IT for 20 years, I know how PCs work. It's never as streamlined and never will be as streamlined as a dedicated Linux box optimized for gaming.

I tried the Steam Controller, Link, PC behind the center, etc... it's never as simple as people want to pretend it is.

Not to mention if you don't have the PC near you then VR is out. PSVR is right there.

Oh and by your "durr its easy you just dont get it" post, I can do this on the TV next to mine that my wife uses? With the same Shield tablet? Sharing out the same games?
 
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MacReady13

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Yup, and physical music probably broke some records in the 1990s too. Then digital went big time a few years later and decimated the physical market.

Same thing will happen to games. The question is when.

Big difference is you need to play games with a controller. Requiring the net to play introduces lag. If you're fine with lag then go right ahead. I prefer to play on the big screen with a small box near my tv. Streaming games will only take off if enough idiots allow it.
 

Topher70

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Lmao, been PC gaming since 1996.

Exactly, you have to involve a third device.

I've worked in IT for 20 years, I know how PCs work. It's never as streamlined and never will be as streamlined as a dedicated Linux box optimized for gaming.

I tried the Steam Controller, Link, PC behind the center, etc... it's never as simple as people want to pretend it is.

Not to mention if you don't have the PC near you then VR is out. PSVR is right there.

Oh and by your "durr its easy you just dont get it" post, I can do this on the TV next to mine that my wife uses? With the same Shield tablet? Sharing out the same games?

Personally, I don't bother trying to play PC games in the living room. PC gaming is best with a comfy chair and a big monitor on a desk.

Big difference is you need to play games with a controller. Requiring the net to play introduces lag. If you're fine with lag then go right ahead. I prefer to play on the big screen with a small box near my tv. Streaming games will only take off if enough idiots allow it.

Yeah....I don't get the comparisons of non-interactive streaming to interactive streaming. I can watch a game being played right now on youtube or twitch. Playing a game on a computer many many miles away....I don't ever see that being ideal. That is why I think local gaming will always be here.
 
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QuantumZebra

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Personally, I don't bother trying to play PC games in the living room. PC gaming is best with a comfy chair and a big monitor on a desk.

Yup.

And I used to be all about it, but after enough years doing it for a job I just can't sit in front of a monitor at a desk when I come home.

Plus I feel it separates me from my family and couch-time.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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Big difference is you need to play games with a controller. Requiring the net to play introduces lag. If you're fine with lag then go right ahead. I prefer to play on the big screen with a small box near my tv. Streaming games will only take off if enough idiots allow it.

Lag is constantly improving. It'll improve to a point where players don't notice the difference.

I have a preference to buy physical albums. The market doesn't care about our individual preferences.
 

Moogle11

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1. They make more profit for the platform holders than just being third party PC game publishers as they can sell controllers and other accessories at high markups and take a cut of all third party games sold in their digital store fronts.

2. Many people, myself included, just prefer the simplicity of consoles to PC gaming. PC gaming is way more streamlined than it used to be, but I still used the gaming PC I bought in 2016 way less than I thought I would. Just still ran into more issues, too often got sucked down the rabbit hole of tweaking settings and monitoring FPS rather than just playing, and just a few extra minor but annoying steps to get PC games running on my TV vs. one remote button press and one controller button press on my consoles. None of that is any objective knock on PC gaming, just personal annoyances that made me not enjoy it much, along with not liking any PC exclusive games I tried and hating keyboard and mouse controls meaning that I don't get a couple of the big benefits of the platform. As with QuantumZebra of, I just can't stand sitting at my desk when not working, even more so after being work from home since March and likely until next summer. Just can't relax there after 8+ hours of work vs. moving over to my reclining love seat and lounging.
 
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Topher70

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Yup.

And I used to be all about it, but after enough years doing it for a job I just can't sit in front of a monitor at a desk when I come home.

Plus I feel it separates me from my family and couch-time.

I've been in IT for 20 years myself. Web application developer. But for me, that hasn't affected my PC gaming. I can understand your perspective as well though. Makes perfect sense.


 
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Airola

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  • Exclusive games
    • This one has to be mentioned, but it's probably the worst reason for a video game console to exist. Exclusive games add value to a platform only because they are kept off of others. It's not a real value add, but keeping value off other platforms.

This only tells about modern consoles being unimaginative and stale. Back in the day each console had their own things that set them apart from each other. Different sounds, different graphics, different speed, different skills.

Only Nintendo tries to do something different but even they are getting closer to being like everyone else.

Cerrently there really isn't much of a reason to have more than one console developer. I wish things were different but they aren't and probably never will be again. To fight this insane staleness, exclusives are the only thing to give any identity to any console anymore.
 

OrtizTwelve

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The constantly floating idea that "why do consoles exist if we have gaming PCs" is a pretty dumb and ignorant.

The average consumer (which is basically everyone who doesn't post here, 99.9% of the population) wants to buy something to connect to their tv and play. That's it.

No tinkering, no optimizing, no downloading drivers, no installing OS updates, no switching out graphics cards, no overclocking, no messing around with cables on the motherboard, no running OC benchmark software -- none of that nonsense -- they just want to connect and play,

THAT'S IT.

That's why game consoles exist.

"BUT BUT BUT... PC can do this...."

NO - Shut up.

The average consumer isn't Linus from Tech Tips.
 

Topher70

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The constantly floating idea that "why do consoles exist if we have gaming PCs" is a pretty dumb and ignorant.

The average consumer (which is basically everyone who doesn't post here, 99.9% of the population) wants to buy something to connect to their tv and play. That's it.

Let me say I don't endorse this "why do consoles exist if we have gaming PCs" argument. But I'm not certain I follow your statement after that. It would seem to suggest 99.9% of "average consumer" gamers (well....non-mobile anyway) are console gamers? That doesn't seem right to me, but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.
 
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Krisprolls

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Consoles exist because a dedicated custom gaming hardware is what's best for gaming.

Spiderman already running an open world with RT at 60 fps dynamic 4K on a $399 PS5 kinda shows it's the way to go vs general purpose non dedicated hardware.