I did it. I made the cardinal sin among PC gaming enthusiasts.
I gave up my relatively powerful gaming PC in exchange for the easy console life – and also threw in a new MacBook Pro while I was at it.
I know how that sounds, but give me a chance to explain myself. My reasons won’t work for everyone, but I already love my life away from my gaming PC, although it won’t last forever.
My PC Gaming Journey
I started my PC gaming journey in 2016 with the purchase of an Alienware 15 R3 after 26 years as a strictly console gamer. Although it was big and heavy (despite being slimmed down from the previous version), I enjoyed finally being able to get higher frame rates and graphics than either the Xbox One or the PS4. However, the lure of desktop gaming and the ability to swap out components instead of being stuck on the laptop’s configuration was too much to resist. I needed to build my own computer, and that’s where my journey really began.
My first build was modest, but powerful enough for 1080p gaming: an AMD Ryzen 5 2600, 16GB of RAM, and an RTX 2060, all in an NZXT H500 case. After a detour into the world of small form factors, I regularly upgraded my rig to an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and 32GB of RAM, and was one of the lucky ones to get one. RTX 3070 on launch day.
My upgraded PC allowed me to do everything from recording and editing my own YouTube videos to diving into older PC games I had missed, like Borderlands 2, jade empire, half life, CS: GOand win. I even luckily left my controller behind me Call of Duty sessions to fully embrace mouse and keyboard.
So why on earth would I give up my gaming and productivity powerhouse to go to the “dark side” that is Apple and consoles? In a word: Simplicity.
The convenience of console gaming
When I got into PC gaming, I really appreciated being able to get higher frame rates at higher resolutions and fidelity than consoles. However, after buying both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, I was able to appreciate the new features that I can’t get on PC. For example, quality of life features like Instant Resume on the Xbox Series X make playing longer games more enjoyable because my playtime is so limited. The Xbox Series X even incorporates AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution upscaling technology for good measure.
Instead of playing around with lots of settings trying to get the perfect frame rate, I can just choose “Performance Mode” on my console. Instead of dealing with unpolished PC ports, graphics card driver issues, and random issues with games that have to take into account an unlimited number of PC configurations, I can play a game specifically designed for the console itself .
Because I owned both a gaming PC and an Xbox Series X, I could make a direct comparison of Xbox Game Pass titles as they were native to both platforms. I vividly remember playing guardians of the galaxy on the PC only to crash it and corrupt my save file. I haven’t encountered any such issues on the Xbox. I realize this is anecdotal. A lot of people enjoyed this game on PC, but this one particularly bothered me – and it’s an example of the kind of thing that sometimes happens on PC.
Don’t get me started on all the game launchers required for PC gaming.
This goes beyond typical PC gaming complaints. My family and I like to play games together. Recently my daughter and I completed It takes two, a cute yet surprisingly mature take on divorce and its effect on children. You can technically play online with another person, but I can’t with my daughter because she doesn’t have a gaming PC. Playing together on the couch has allowed us to bond and yell at each other when we try to go beyond the levels that require cooperation.
The PS5’s DualSense controller has literally been a game-changer in some cases. Lots of games I’ve played like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart take advantage of the triggers to fine-tune the shot or carefully modulate certain game mechanics that require precision. Most PC games don’t have this level of integration with the DualSense controller, with the possible exception of PC ports of PlayStation exclusive games like God of the war Where Horizon Zero Dawn.
Don’t get me started on all the game launchers required for PC gaming. Sure, something like GOG Galaxy is a decent stopgap, but even that isn’t a perfect solution as you still have to install the separate launchers. The more I played on Xbox Series X and PS5, the more I realized how much I missed the plug-and-play simplicity of console gaming.
The power of the MacBook Pro
At this point you might be wondering why I didn’t just buy a gaming laptop. There are certainly plenty of great gaming laptops out there, but for my purposes the current crop of MacBooks with Apple Silicon had a lot more sense. Again, it’s about simplicity and convenience.
In my previous setup, I split my time between my gaming desk and the iPad Air. I’ve used my desktop computer for heavy, labor-intensive tasks like gaming, video editing, and writing (because typing using a mechanical keyboard is more comfortable than the Magic Keyboard for iPad). My iPad Air was used for everything else, like browsing the internet and reading. This setup worked, but since my gaming desk was in the basement, I always had to go there to do some real work.
The MacBook Pro solves this problem.
My favorite MacBook Pro was the 16-inch version with the M1 Pro. It’s big enough that I don’t necessarily need an external monitor, but is still compact enough to carry around. The M1 Pro was more than adequate for serious audio/video editing and soared through every other productivity task I threw at it. Apple finally added all the right ports (including a handy HDMI port) and thanks to the excellent keyboard, writing never feels like a chore.
Best of all, I can take it anywhere I want and still get the same power, even unplugged. I couldn’t do it on my gaming desktop or even on my iPad Air. In a world where remote work is more prevalent than ever, I appreciate the ability to take my work wherever I want.
The MacBook Pro also offers the ecosystem benefits of sticking with Apple products.
Having the MacBook Pro also provides the ecosystem benefits of sticking with Apple products. In addition to iPad Air, I also have an iPhone 12 Pro, AirPods, Apple TV, and Apple Watch Series 7. My family also uses Apple products. It makes it so much easier to sync everything, with the obvious exception of my Windows 11 gaming desktop. Switching to a MacBook Pro allows me to enjoy the benefits of the ecosystem while still having something portable that I could use throughout the home and on the go.
Unfortunately, between work, family, and other outside obligations, I just don’t have the time (or money) to maintain a gaming PC. Having a powerful laptop that works well with the Apple ecosystem , along with tangible upgrades to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, makes my life both simpler and more convenient.
Not done with PC building
Lest I look like an Apple ad, my PC building days aren’t completely over. I’m always eager to build, and I always look longingly at processors, graphics cards, and cases while I’m at Micro Center.
In fact, since graphics card prices finally seem to be coming down, I’ll probably build another computer this year for my daughter as a birthday or Christmas present. Will I ever return to PC gaming? Never say never. But for now, the combination of a MacBook Pro and an Xbox makes my setup much more adaptable – and for now, I’m not looking back.