Gaming as a whole is relatively a new sector in the African market. Slowly by slowly, more people are becoming open to the idea that gaming can be a source of income and digressing from the old mentality of being another way to pass time.

Africa Censored on YouTube did a short story on Pro Series Gaming, a very new company in Nairobi that is bringing the aspect of E-sports in Kenya.

For so long, the console market has been extremely dominant in the gaming space especially here in Africa. This is because it is more accessible and cheaper.

Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation are very prevalent with many shops selling them as well as providing the games. But there is another market to consider if you are a gamer, and that is the gaming PC market.

Some of the best gamers in the world and who make a living from playing games do so on extremely powerful PCs. Console gaming still exists but I am here to give you a perspective from both markets especially as I am also in the market for something new.

Backstory

As I write this, these are weird times we are living in with the pandemic taking a toll on the world and thereby providing a lot of free time for me to wonder about what I could be doing for entertainment.

And games are such a good way to do spend time. But I have been an avid console gamer having owned the PS2, PS3, and PS4 as well as all those weird Chinese gaming consoles from back then as a child.

I have spent a lot of time using the Xbox as well. And yes, these have been fantastic and the mere fact that they are everywhere and can even be gotten on the cheap makes it even better. These consoles have even created job opportunities for people who have opened shop to let kids play games for a small fee for a given period.

That is how I was introduced to video games. But now, I have seen a lot more of the world of gaming and I have come across PC gaming which is very amazing thanks to a friend of mine. 

I have watched countless hours of people gaming on a site called Twitch. From games like Counter-Strike, Apex Legends, PUBG, Fortnite, Rocket League among others. Most times, these games are played on PCs and that same PC is streaming live gameplay to the internet.  Let’s see if there is a good side to have a PC for gaming

Pros

  • You have control of most of the hardware

You know exactly what you are going to use the PC for and do not need more power. This is especially for people who are willing to build their PCs.

If you are planning to do light gaming like most people who play only FIFA and PES on consoles, then you do not necessarily need all the latest and greatest hardware. You just need enough for the games you will be running.

  • More than just gaming

You can do more with the PC other than gaming. If you are like and hope to get into content creation, that same PC can be easily used for that. It is all about selecting the right hardware for your needs and that same PC you use for entertainment can become your productivity setup as well.

Apart from that, there are several DIY solutions for home security just using the available PC at home. That PC will be capable enough for most surveillance requirements around the home.

  • Way better graphics.

The graphics chipsets on most consoles are not powerful enough to drive intensive graphics. Therefore most console gamers are limited to sub per graphics for the most part.

If you have the money for better graphics cards, you are capable of graphics of up to 4K and better frame rates for smoother gameplay. (Frame rate in simple terms is how many times the picture on the screen is reproduced. Most consoles can only drive 60 frames per second. PCs can go up to 300 frames per second for now)

  • The fulfilment in being your techie.

This goes for people who are willing to build the PC from scratch with all the necessary parts. The first boot up has been known to bring a smile to even experienced PC builders once the build is complete.

The troubleshooting process is also easy since it easy to find out where the problem is. There is a large community to provide the necessary help.

  • It is easy to get started.

Here, I am relatively speaking. There are certain things one needs to know like CPU and motherboard compatibility among other things. But the beauty lies in the point I made above; the communities available to help.

YouTube has vast tutorials on how to build PCs. These are constantly updated to match the current PC parts on the market. There is a site that helps you make a list of the parts that you need to build your PC. It also tells you how compatible they are together. It is called PC Part Picker.

 

I for one already have a list for my first build that I am planning to set up very soon. It is an entry build therefore not extremely powerful. However, it is very capable of 1080p gaming with reasonably good frame rates for non-intensive games.

Cons

However, there are also a few downsides to gaming

  • Price is generally high

The biggest one being price. PCs are generally more expensive than consoles and this is mainly because consoles are largely, for one thing, gaming. PCs, on the other hand, can be used for much more than gaming. For example, content creation, general productivity and possibly movie watching.

Another reason why consoles are cheaper is that they make money from other avenues. These include exclusivity rights on certain games and a new way of subscription payments for multiplayer over the internet like Play Station Plus and Xbox Game Pass.

  • Price Fluctuations for parts

RAM prices are always up and down, same goes for the storage options. These fluctuations can affect your decision making at the time of purchasing the parts. The best time to buy the parts is usually around November when Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner.

PC Part picker demonstrates the fluctuations with various graphs for different PC components. Below is just a sample. 

AMD Ryzen 5 CPU price trend
Black Line represents average price of an AMD CPU over the last 18 months. Find more graphs here
  • Availability and accessibility.

It is difficult to find these PC parts around our areas since it is currently not widely adopted. This is also one of the reasons why PCs are more expensive to find. If you do find the parts, then they are usually way more expensive and of older make from my experience.

Most people have to ship these parts in from the United States. There are companies like Kentex Cargo and Savo Store that have made this process easier. However, the shipping costs can easily pile up as you add more products with the average shipping cost being $15 per kilogram.

At the same time, parts are not always in stock. When they do get in stock, resellers usually hike the prices so as their stock does not run out as quickly. it is one of the reasons for the constant price fluctuations

  • Decent Peripherals are a must

For you to get the most out of the PC, you need good peripherals. For instance a keyboard, mouse, headsets and even a monitor. Yes, a TV will still be enough for playing a game.

But for you to experience a high refresh rate, then you most probably need a decent gaming monitor with at least a 75Hz refresh rate. Thankfully, they are getting relatively cheaper with one costing about $150 for a 144Hz panel.

  • Intimidating while starting

For a newbie, the vast array of options can be quite daunting. There are several options for different setups depending on workload and games played. It can take some time before one is comfortable and ready to order what they require in terms of parts.

  • Living Room Setup

A PC is not optimized for the sitting room setup which is where Consoles shine. It is difficult to play games in the sitting room with a PC. This is because you will need a couple of extra wires for your controllers or keyboard. Unless you get a good looking case that is low-key which are usually a little more pricey.

Conclusion

This is just a rough sketch for the PC market.

I understand it is a niche market and not everyone has an interest in it. Generally, PC gaming is something worth considering. There is a large community on the internet that is available to provide help. Provided you are willing to spend the money.

It all comes down to the games and the experience you get. If consoles are giving you just the right amount of action you need, then there is no need to even think of getting into PC gaming. But if you are like and looking for a little more out of gaming, then give the PC a try.

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