In the games industry, the lines have really started to blur between PC and console gaming. Sony is now porting its most popular exclusives, like Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn, to the desktop and Microsoft has decided that its future first-party titles will launch on console and PC at the same time, negating the need for an Xbox Series X if your rig has the power.
It’s a bold but ultimately necessary shift as more and more players start to see the benefits of consolidating their home computer into a gaming machine. Nvidia has been one of the major beneficiaries of this shift – I remember slotting a GTX 660 Ti into my first gaming rig back in 2012, trying to figure out Teamspeak as my friends and I made the shift from Xbox 360 to PC in our early teens. We marvelled at how much better games looked and the fact that we didn’t have to pay for multiplayer. And once we made a Minecraft server… the rest was history.
Eight years later, Nvidia has advanced from 660 to 3090; Minecraft is on every platform under the sun and PC gaming has become a lot more accessible and enticing. Back then it felt like a rewarding investment, but with the pricing of the latest range of RTX 3000 GPUs, I’d argue that the graphics card company has just provided an existential dilemma for those in the market for next-gen consoles.
My focus is of course on the low-end card in the range: the RTX 3070. The 3070 provides access to ray-traced visuals and, according to Nvidia, performs quite a bit better than 2018’s RTX 2080 Ti. That high-end card can handle 4K gaming at 60 FPS and above with ease, and is already more powerful than the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X. Yet, to get your hands on the stopping power of the 2080 Ti, you’d have to shell out a heart-stopping £1,149 for the privilege.
The RTX 3070? That’ll only run you £469 at launch in October.
This means that you’re paying a fraction of the price for a quantum leap in performance. The card’s affordability slots right in line with the rumoured price range of the next-gen consoles, which I’m sure is intentional. We’ve yet to hear about how much the PS5 or the Xbox Series X will cost, but if you’re a console diehard, this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Sure, it’s going to cost you another £500 to build a computer around the RTX 3070 from scratch, but given the wide use case of a PC, that might be a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to tap out of the console war and have digital hobbies beyond gaming. The best part is that you can always replace the parts inside of it after years of play without having to buy a whole new device.
Yet if you’re the sullen owner of an aging rig, picking up the 3070 to rejuvenate your machine feels like a no-brainer. You won’t be missing out on any Xbox games – the only aspects of next-gen consoles that you’ll have to skip are Sony’s PS5 exclusives and the DualSense. Personally, this is something of a dealbreaker for me. I’ve decided that I need access to games like Bugsnax and the remake of Demon’s Souls. Plus, the novelty of the controller technology excites me greatly.
But given the success of Sony’s PC ports, console exclusivity (barring Nintendo) may become a thing of the past. Hell, maybe games will support DualSense functionality on PC in the future too. All I’m saying is that those of you who value patience may see an opportunity here…
This power play from Nvidia has lit a fire under the next-gen console price war. For PC owners, the ball is now in Sony’s court.