I did it. I’m committed the cardinal sin among PC gaming enthusiasts.
I dropped my relatively powerful gaming PC in exchange for the airy console life – and also threw in a new MacBook Pro while I was working on it.
I know what it sounds like, but give me a chance to explain. My reasons will not work for everyone, but I already love my life away from my gaming PC, even if it will not last forever.
My journey into PC gaming
I started my PC gaming journey in 2016 with the purchase of an Alienware 15 R3 after 26 years as a strictly console player. Although it was large and heavy (despite being slimmed down from the previous version), I liked to finally be able to get superior frame rates and graphics compared to Xbox One or PS4. However, the lid with desktop gaming and the ability to replace components instead of getting stuck on what the laptop was configured was too much to resist. I needed to build my own computer, and that was where my journey really began.
My first design was modest, yet decently powerful for 1080p gaming: an AMD Ryzen 5 2600, 16GB of RAM and an RTX 2060 all in one NZXT H500 cover. After a detour into the small form factor world, I steadily upgraded my rig to an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and 32 GB RAM, and was one of the lucky ones to get an RTX 3070 on launch day.
My upgraded PC allowed me to do everything from recording and editing my own YouTube videos to immersing myself in older PC games I had missed as Borderlands 2, Jade Empire, Half life, CS: GOand Defeated. I even left my happy controller on Duty calls sessions to fully embrace the mouse and keyboard.
So why in the world would I give up my gaming and productivity powerhouse and go to the “dark side” of Apple and consoles? In a word: Simplicity.
The convenience of console gaming
When I first started with PC gaming, I enjoyed being able to get higher frame rates with higher resolutions and quality than the consoles. However, having purchased both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, I have been able to appreciate the newer features that I cannot get on PC. For example, quality of life features like Instant Resume on Xbox Series X make replaying longer games more tasty since my playing time is very limited. The Xbox Series X even features AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution upscaling technology.
Instead of fiddling with many settings to try to get the perfect frame rate, I can just select “Performance Mode” on my console. Instead of dealing with unpolished PC ports, graphics card driver issues, and random problems with games that have to deal with any 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 was able to make a direct comparison of Xbox Game Pass titles since they were native to both platforms. I clearly remember playing Guardians of the Galaxy on the PC just to make it crash and corrupt my storage file. I did not experience any such issues on the Xbox. I understand that it is anecdotal. Many people have enjoyed that game on the PC, but this bothered me in particular – and it’s an example of the kind of thing that only happens a few times on the PC.
Do not get me started with all the game starters required for PC gaming.
It goes beyond just the typical complaints about PC gaming. My family and I enjoy playing games together. Recently, my daughter and I graduated It requires two, a sweet but surprisingly mature variant of divorce and the effect it has on children. You can technically play online with another person, but I can not do that with my daughter since she does not have a gaming PC. Playing on the couch together allowed us to bond and yell at each other as we tried to get past levels that required cooperation.
PS5’s DualSense controllers have been a literal game changer in some cases. Many games I have played such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Take advantage of the triggers to fine-tune shooting or carefully modulate some game mechanics that require precision. Most PC games do not have the level of integration with the DualSense controller, with the possible exception of PC ports for PlayStation-exclusive games such as god of war or Horizon Zero Dawn.
Do not get me started with all the game starters required for PC gaming. Sure, something like GOG Galaxy is a decent stop, but even that is not a perfect solution because you still have to install the separate launches. The more I played on the 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 may be wondering why I did not just buy a laptop. There are certainly many excellent gaming laptops out there, but for my purposes, the current crop of Mac Silicon MacBooks made a lot more sense. Again, it comes down to simplicity and convenience.
In my previous setup, I split my time between the game desktop and the iPad Air. I used my desktop for heavy and labor-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing and typing (because typing with a mechanical keyboard is more comfortable than Magic Keyboard for iPad). My iPad Air was used for everything else like surfing the internet and reading. This setup worked, but since my game desk was in the basement, I always had to go down there to do some proper work.
MacBook Pro solves this problem.
My chosen MacBook Pro was the 16-inch version with the M1 Pro. It’s big enough that I do not necessarily need an external monitor, but still compact enough to carry around. The M1 Pro has been more than enough for serious audio / video editing and has flown through all the other productivity tasks I’ve thrown at it. Apple eventually put back all the right ports (including a handy HDMI port), and thanks to the excellent keyboard, typing never feels like a chore.
Best of all, I can take it anywhere I want and still get the same power, even disconnected. I could not do it either on the game desktop or even the iPad Air. In a world where teleworking is more prevalent than ever, I appreciate the opportunity to take my work where I want to go.
MacBook Pro also provides the ecosystem benefits of sticking to Apple products.
Having a MacBook Pro also provides the ecosystem benefits of sticking to Apple products. Along with the iPad Air, I also have an iPhone 12 Pro, AirPods, Apple TV and an Apple Watch Series 7. My family also uses Apple products. This makes it much easier to sync everything, with the obvious exception of the Windows 11 game desktop. By switching to a MacBook Pro, I can take advantage of the ecosystem benefits while having something portable that I can use throughout the house and on the go.
Unfortunately, between work, family and other outside responsibilities, I just do not have the time (or money) to maintain a gaming PC. Having a powerful laptop that plays well with Apple’s ecosystem, along with the tangible upgrades to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, makes my life both easier and more convenient.
Not finished with PC construction
For me to sound like an Apple ad, my PC building days are not quite done. I still feel like building and still look longingly at CPUs, graphics cards and covers while I’m at the Micro Center.
In fact, since graphics card prices are finally looking to go down, I’ll probably build another computer this year for my daughter as either a birthday or Christmas present. Will I ever go back to PC gaming? Never say never. But for now, the combination of a MacBook Pro and an Xbox makes my setup far more adaptable – and for now, I’m not looking back.