Well, err, for a start... a £500 PC in 2012 will run Skyrim much more smoothly, at a higher screen res, on higher settings than either console - unless you've been ripped off. In fact, you could build a £300 PC that would run it better.
However, that's unsuprising as the consoles are getting a little dated, sooo, if we rewind a couple of years, you're right; the PS3 when it was selling for around £300, would have been able to compete in gaming terms with a gaming PC rig costing £800+.
Why? Couple of reasons really... for one, the console manufacturing process involves the mass manufacture of exactly the same components. And in any manufacturing process... the more you make, the more economical it is per unit. Whereas with a PC, most of the time, you'll be paying the individual component costs yourself. Also, IIRC, Sony / Microsoft don't make much in terms of per-unit profit early in the console's life cycles. They're more focussed on "getting them out there", and making profits on software, than turning a huge profit on the item itself. In the case of PC components, the companies aren't generally making software profits; they have to make their profit on the component sale itself. They also tend to use SOME fairly cheap components, for certain things, cutting costs again.
So, that's PART of why they're cheaper.
However - they do also run games better than a "like for like" PC with components of comparible speeds, for a couple of reasons. Basically... "a PC with the same specs as a PS3" won't run games like a PS3. For one, a PC is running an OS like Windows, and multiple other processes, in the background at the same time as it's running a game... all competing for system resources. Mainly, though, it's down to optimisation... all PS3's are basically identical, so the games can be designed to use every last bit of processing / graphical potential, and it'll run the same on every PS3. PC's use any number of different combinations of components, by any number of different manufacturers, and so the games have to be designed to cater to an infinitely wide variety of hardware configurations.
Either way, it tends to only last a couple of years. My PC will play ANY multiplat game at almost double the screen res of the consoles (I run 1920*1200, consoles are mostly 720p), at a better framerate, with higher texture settings, better lighting... etc. etc... and most components in my PC are almost 5 years old.
Oh and the reason your laptop won't play games well, is because most laptops are not designed for gaming; i.e. it'll have crappy on-board graphics.
Last edited by Bhumbauze; 29-06-2012 at 22:04.
I agree - I was arguing with this part of the post: "even a £500 pc from 2012 would have trouble running it"
(Original post by CurlyBen)
But he couldn't have done that for the price of an Xbox 360 when the Xbox came out - how many 7 year old PCs with 512mb of RAM could compete with an Xbox?
Ooh but just to add something: I always think the cost of gaming on a PC should be calculated by the difference in price from a normal PC that you'd buy if you didn't want to game, and one that is capable of gaming. It's not fair for someone to say they need to spend £600 on a gaming PC when in reality they'd have spent £300+ for a regular PC anyway.
Last edited by Intriguing Alias; 30-06-2012 at 11:18.