Console vs. Online Video Games


Business Insider

Console vs. Online games—what are the pros and cons of each type?

Karyss Park, Photojournalist

Over the years, video games have taken on many forms, two of the most prevalent being console games and online games. Nowadays, many video games are hybrids of the two types or cross-platform. Both are enjoyed by many, but there are a few pros and cons to playing one kind over the other and benefits that can only be provided by hybrids of the two.

Console video games are considered more traditional, with some of the most popular systems being Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation. Most are played with remote controllers, but handheld systems like the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch Lite, and PlayStation Vita utilize built-in buttons. As videogame technology has advanced, many consoles now offer downloadable software and games as an alternative to the standard discs and chips, and at a lower price too. However, the catch is that some downloadable games offer only some of the features that the original, physical copies do, their data can be erased or software entirely deleted. They cannot be resold, lent, or used on another console. Many fans like to collect physical copies of games for sentimental reasons or resale value—despite their accessibility; downloadable games lack the appealing, visual cover art and other goodies that physical documents offer. Although less of a common practice with the modern convenience of online shopping, the exciting, refreshing feel of walking into a store to purchase a long-awaited game definitely cannot be replaced. Watching the employee unlock the glass case on display or remove the security lock around a box almost feels akin to purchasing something luxurious like jewelry, making your heart beat with anticipation.

Often, console games are considerably expensive, with most popular titles’ starting prices set around at least $39.99, even years after release. Nevertheless, they make up for this through higher-quality graphics, a more comprehensive array of in-game features, and more extensive content. In a sense, though subjective, console games are essentially considered more “real” video games than downloadable ones. Mainly, console games’ most significant limitation is being platform-locked. Certain games are only made for specific consoles; even games from the same line or brand of consoles cannot be played on their predecessors or successors after a model if their parent company feels generous. This causes many games to become obsolete and prices for older consoles to increase due to discontinued production and collecting value.

[Online] games tend to be more competitive, while console games are more leisurely.

— Zander Ngo (12)

Another factor to take into consideration is the playing experience of console games vs. online games as well. Student gamers like Zander Ngo (12) note, “[online] games tend to be more competitive, while console games are more leisurely.” Online games often pump out massive amounts of content consistently, with ranking systems or limited-time characters that create a great sense of FOMO (feeling of missing out). This spurs many gamers to break their wallets and invest much time into attempting to come out on top in their favorite games. Although many console games also offer online features in current times, most can be played with a more relaxed pace without players having to worry about overcoming gacha systems or co-op competition.

Overall, there are many pros and cons to console games and online games, and it is really up to one’s resources and preferences to decide which is most suitable for an individual.