Next-Gen Esports: Double The Frames, Half The Price.

Posted by Kane Hocking December 12, 2020 in Esports

It’s no longer a secret that Esports are a big deal. With numerous events every year and tournaments for prizes that can reach millions of dollars, the days of competitive gaming being scoffed at are well and truly behind us. Despite all of this however, there remains one issue with Esports. It can be an expensive hobby. Like, really expensive.

This comes down to one reason in particular; Esports tends to revolve around PC gaming (With some exceptions). In-fact, even Call of Duty’s CDL (Call of Duty League), recently announced that “…it will move pro team competition to PC + Controller beginning with the 2021 season.” A big move given Call of Duty’s reputation as being a console-based Esport. Now at a first glance, this doesn’t seem that problematic but when you realise that the cost of a PC at the “competitive” required specs for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War costs £1000 without including a monitor, peripherals, & the game (while also assuming you can get your hands on an RTX 3070)…Things start to become a lot more concerning. While we used Call of Duty as an example, This is true across the board for PC gaming at high levels. Be it competitive or otherwise, a good gaming PC easily crosses the £1000 threshold and if you want to really go for the top-end components, £2000+. If you have a deep passion for gaming, this may not be that big of an issue. For a person wanting to try their hand at competitive gaming though…that’s a big investment to make. Even more so for a specific game. Esports needs to be more accessible and luckily for us, now it can be.

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Going into 2021 we have two shiny new consoles that, in my opinion, should be used as the new standard for entry-level and non-professional Esports. The PS5 and the Xbox Series X both sit at £450 for their standard models and are both making big promises for major Esports titles that could change the landscape for competitive play. Let’s start with Call of Duty as that’s the example we’ve been using so far. The newest instalment has two graphical options on the PS5 and Series X. This being a 60fps mode that supports ray tracing and an impressive 120fps mode. Meanwhile, the PC’s competitive mode doesn’t really specify what framerate is the target, though it’s safe to assume that it’s 60fps if not 120fps.

So both can achieve the frames but it’s important to remember that price differential here. A PS5 with Black Ops Cold War comes to around £520. That’s a little over half the cost of that “competitive” PC on it’s own without the game or any of the extras required. Even if you include the cost of a brand new monitor and headset to play the game with, it is still more affordable than it’s PC counterpart would be. Competitive Call of Duty doesn’t even use Mouse and Keyboard but even if it did, the game supports that on consoles too.

It doesn’t end there though. Many popular Esports titles look to be getting “next-gen” upgrades that’ll make high-level competitive play on the consoles more viable going forward. Fortnite already has a 4k 60fps mode available on the new consoles (1080p 60fps on the Series S). Rocket League announced in a blog post that it is set to get a next-gen upgrade for the Series X adding “Quality” and “Performance” options that’ll allow the game to run at 4K 60fps or sub 4K and 120fps respectively (No similar update for PS5 as of writing) and Rainbow Six Siege is set to get a similar upgrade for both systems. 

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Combine those with keyboard and mouse support slowly becoming a frequent occurrence on the new machines and well, we may start to see the Esports world begin to change and open up to more platforms in general. Cheaper events and tournaments in a post-pandemic world. Bright-eyed young gaming talents able to break onto the scene without breaking into a bank to finance it first. These new consoles could very well be the Esports Renaissance if used properly.

I do love my PC and spend a lot of time gaming on it but as the technical gap shrinks with each generation, the cost gap gets larger and even I, a person who has been PC gaming for the better part of a decade to some extent, am finding hard to justify spending so much to “keep up” when it’s really not that necessary anymore.

Now if only there were enough PS5’s and Series X’s in stock…