May 27, 2022

What is the Best Device for Gaming?

Gaming has never been as popular as it is today and the number of people taking up the hobby continues to grow at speed. Back in 2020, there were around 2.77 billion people enjoying games on their computers, consoles, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. But by the end of 2021, that figure had risen by almost half a billion people, reaching 3.24 billion. 

There are many factors that are influencing the rise of gaming, such as the growth in demand for casual and hyper-casual titles, the increase in non-traditional demographics taking up the hobby, and the proliferation of the free-to-play model. 

But there is perhaps no bigger driver in the democratization of gaming than the adoption of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Over the last decade, these hand-held computers have found their way into the pockets and bags of just about every adult in the developed world. 

For this reason, you may be wondering whether smartphones and tablets are the best gaming devices. But is this correct? Let’s take a look at the merits of each form factor to see how they stack up. 


PC gaming is the oldest form of video gaming. There is some debate over what counts as the first-ever game created, but all three contenders were played on a computer. In the decades since computers have continued to be a popular choice among players, and for good reason. 

Firstly, PC gamers have the most choice of titles. This is because of platforms like Steam which add tens of thousands of new games to their catalogs each year, in addition to the many years of previous releases already available on them. 

On top of that, PC gamers have access to decades of retro titles that can be acquired from sites like Good Old Games or use tools like DOSBox to play ones that they already own but are no longer compatible with modern hardware. 

That’s still not all though, because PC owners can enjoy the millions of games that are available through web browsers. In the early 2000s, there was a boom of Flash-based games on sites like Miniclip which, while quite primitive by today’s standards, were incredibly fun. Many of these have evolved into huge titles today, such as Runescape which offers large online communities, an ever-expanding world to explore, and a continuous stream of new features. While they run in the browser still, these games have grown to rival the ones that a player might install directly onto their machine. 

Around the same time as these browser-based games were finding their feet, the iGaming industry was also taking off. In the two decades since it has grown in several ways. Firstly, online casinos have diversified their offering by creating interesting new variants of their games such as adding the blackjack insurance feature to the standard version to create a new strategic dynamic for players or by creating uniquely-themed slot games to cater to different tastes. With these options, many online casinos now have several hundred different titles for their players to choose from. 

With all of this in mind, PC owners have access to well over a million different games. That’s not the end of their choice though, as the customizability of gaming computers means that players can design their machine to meet their needs and budget, or they can buy an off-the-shelf gaming laptop to enjoy content on the go.


Console gaming is another popular choice and has been around for almost as long as the PC alternative. The first-ever console was the Magnavox Odyssey which was released in 1972 and a lot has changed since then. 

Traditionally, these machines were designed to offer high performance on a budget, requiring their own bespoke architecture. But since the first Xbox was released, the gap between gaming PCs and consoles has been shrinking.

That said, consoles are still much cheaper than computers since the manufacturers subsidize the hardware in the hope of locking you into their software ecosystem. As a result, console gaming has often been the choice of people that don’t have thousands of dollars of spare cash to spend on a PC but still want the AAA experience. 

Consoles are typically easier to set up and use too. There’s no complicated build process, no tedious configuration, or long boot sequence to hold you up. You just plug it in, switch it on, and off you go. 

The downside to consoling gaming is that there are usually fewer titles to choose from (around 2,000 titles per platform). For the average player, this doesn’t matter too much though as there is still typically enough to keep them entertained. The selection has also been expanded in recent years as Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have all improved the backward compatibility of their latest machines. 

Mobile Devices

Smartphones and tablets are the relative newcomers to the gaming world, but they’ve had a big impact in that time. The quality and complexity of mobile games have come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, moving from simple casual affairs to titles that can rival the releases for computers and consoles. Mobile gamers also have a similar level of choice as PC gamers, with both main app stores having around a million individual titles available for download. 

It’s also much cheaper than either of the two other options, mainly because most people already own a smartphone and/or tablet that is capable of playing just about every game available to download for it. Whereas, the average computer or laptop sold to consumers won’t have the hardware capable of running big PC games, meaning they’ll need to spend $1,000 or more on a powerful graphics card and processor to enjoy modern releases. Similarly, no one is going to have a $600 console going unused, so it would have to be an intentional purchase for the express purpose of playing games. 

On top of that, most mobile games are free or cost only a few bucks, whereas the majority of AAA releases for consoles and computers will set you back at least $60 apiece. 

With this in mind, it’s difficult to say one form factor is explicitly better than the other. Instead, it is fairer to say that they each have their own merits and your preference will depend on your priorities as a gamer. 

About the author 

Elle Gellrich

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