Mobile phone technology has certainly advanced and is becoming cheaper with many mid-range Android devices on the market that are capable of gaming. PC gaming is also quite affordable, as you can put together a fairly powerful gaming PC for less than $600.
In terms of hardware power for the dollar, PC will generally win that fight. As I mentioned, you can build a 1080p gaming PC for around $600 that can run many of the latest AAA titles on medium to high graphics settings. A premium flagship mobile phone can cost you upwards $700 or more, for example, a premium gaming phone like the Razer Phone 2 is around $800.
However, not everybody cares about raw hardware power and incredible graphics, so let’s compare mobile vs. PC gaming in other areas besides cost.
PC gaming is definitely less casual
PC gamers enjoy a huge variety of AAA titles and competitive games, compared to how gaming is mostly casual on mobile. The eSports scene is obviously dominated by PC games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, and AAA single-player games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V are not available on mobile phones.
This is slowly changing as mobile versions of popular PC titles are becoming more common, such as Fortnite, PubG, and Call of Duty: Mobile, but of course the graphics are significantly downgraded compared to their PC versions.
This likely does not matter to the majority of mobile gamers, who in fact would likely identify as casual gamers. The most popular mobile games are casual titles like Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, and Subway Surfers, and there isn’t much demand for serious AAA titles on mobile devices.
Where PC gamers and mobile gamers might overlap is in casino games like blackjack, poker, and video slot machines, like the ones found on Casumo online casino which can be accessed with a PC web browser or your mobile phone.
While mobile does have somewhat of an eSports scene, particularly in the Asia region where mobile MOBAs like Mobile Legends are very popular, it is nowhere near the level of eSports popularity on PC on a global level. It is mostly developing countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia that make up the largest mobile eSports demographic.
Mobile gaming allows you to be mobile
PC gamers are generally glued to their PC. Whether they’re in a long League of Legends match, or in the middle of a dungeon raid in World of Warcraft, PC gamers are generally unable to get up and walk around. There was an old South Park episode where the boys became addicted to World of Warcraft and started going to the bathroom in buckets, and it wasn’t entirely far-fetched.
With mobile games, you can carry your phone anywhere, which means you can actually multitask and do things like cook lunch, go for a walk outside, and yes, go to the bathroom all while mobile gaming. This might sound funny but it’s important stuff, holding in your nature calls is actually dangerous for your health.
Mobile games have more privacy concerns
Many controversies about user data collection and privacy concerns revolve around mobile apps, due to the mobile game market mostly relying on freemium game models with built-in ad targeting software.
In a study by UC Berkeley researchers in 2018, they discovered that the average free mobile game has as many as 10 advertising intermediaries built into the game that tracks every move you make and additional purchase you contemplate.
Furthermore, they found that out of 3,454 children’s apps that share resettable advertising IDs, 66% also shared persistent identifiers. 19% of children’s apps also contained ad-targeting software with predatory Terms of Service that are not even legal to be included in children’s apps.
So when it comes to lack of data privacy and user tracking, mobile gaming is a big offender here. And whether or not you’re bothered by targeted ads, the fact remains that ads are simply annoying in mobile games, as many mobile games will display video ads before gameplay, after gameplay, and bombard you with video ad rewards (“watch a video to receive 2x coin bonus!”).
PC gamers do not have to put up with that kind of nonsense, generally speaking, although ad-tracking software has been found in PC games in the past. It’s just much more obvious in the mobile industry.
In the mobile vs PC gaming debate, there really is no debate. PC gaming offers superior game titles and graphics, while mobile games offer the convenience of being casual and mobile. It ultimately boils down to your lifestyle and preferences.