How Expensive Is Gaming Exactly? Tips for Gaming on a Budget

How Expensive Is Gaming Exactly? Tips for Gaming on a Budget


If you play free games on your mobile devices every day and you’re happy – then gaming is potentially free for you. If you step it up a little and play on consoles and PC, then it’s a completely different story altogether. This leads to the question, “How expensive is gaming exactly?” Before diving into the world of paid gaming and considering allowing our kids to get hooked on, this is something definitely worth considering.

If you agree with the need for this consideration, then you’ve landed in the right place. We’re going to try and analyze the various costs that are associated with the hobby of gaming. Let’s start with the basics.

The Basics

Here, we’re assuming that you’re starting from scratch and are considering what the absolute essentials for gaming are. The following are the equipment and hardware requirements for a gaming experience:


The console market is dominated by 2 companies – Microsoft and Sony. If the games you’re planning on playing are large-budget ones, then you’re definitely going to need their products. The latest Sony console is the PS4 Pro while Microsoft came up with the Xbox One X quite recently. You’ll find that both of these products are progressive upgrades to previous iterations, in terms of games, features, and performance.

Xbox One X is currently retailing at $499.99 while PS4 Pro stands at $399.99.


It would be quite redundant to purchase high-end consoles if you aren’t pairing it which television screens with serene 4K outputs. Other than this, some important considerations for a great gaming experience can be high-quality audio and GPU power with multiple teraflops.

If you’re not looking for anything fancy, then you should at least be aiming for 4K sets which are well-sized. Great examples of these are the LG 55SJ8500 55-inch TV or the Sony XBR55X900E 55-inch set. If you don’t already have these, then you’re facing a cost of anywhere between $500 and $1500 in procuring them.


If console gaming isn’t your thing, then you will be looking into dedicated desktop computers for your hardcore gaming experience. Buying these computers will not be as straightforward as the consideration of regular machines for everyday usage. Another option you could consider is upgrading your current computer specifications to match your gaming needs.

Gaming computers that can be classified as top-of-the-range will cost upwards of $1500.


How were you planning on gaming with the right hardware but with no games? The typical AAA classified games can cost you approximately $60. If you’re alright starting off with some old games (close to or more than a year old) then these will cost considerably less.

The Extras

While the basics have you on your way to get started, you’ll soon have to look into the extras needed for your gaming experience. This is because, as is with every assortment of technology, costs start to rack up with how old they are and how much they are used in a certain time period. Let’s take a look at some of these considerations:


There are a lot of add-on options out there and it doesn’t matter whether you’re into console or PC gaming. These add-ons will promise a better gaming experience. The list of these add-ons is endless and we recommend you to look into gaming keyboards, console stands, cameras, headsets, and racing wheels. Each of these peripherals will not cost you more than $100.

Extra Controllers

You will notice that normal editions of consoles come with only one controller. It is common for you to prefer multiplayer games with your friends and family – which is why you should consider getting extra controllers. Both the PS4 and Xbox controller cost around $60. However, you can get a good discount in the form of great deals and discounts from retailers.

Online Gaming

If you’re looking to play games on PC, then most of the games out there can be enjoyed to fullest if you go online. In order to do this, you’ll have to look into apps like Steam or the likes which are free. Console manufacturers Microsoft and Sony, on the other hand, aren’t so generous. They ask for you to apply for annual plans which are $50 for PlayStation and $60 for Xbox Live.

Micro-Transactions and Downloadable Content

DLCs (Downloadable Content) and micro-transactions have now become a common feature for most games. You’d have noticed this in most of your mobile device games too. Gamers hate these, but they have no option. If they want to play premium story modes or the best content out there, then they have to go through the paywall.

DLCs, as you would’ve guessed, are very unpredictable and can vary depending on the offering of the game. Some of these items can cost just a dollar but others can be even far more expensive than the game in the first place!

Virtual Reality

The future of the gaming industry is also something you should consider while setting the budget for your gaming experience. The Oculus Go VR Headset has been given 10 out of 10 by most tech reviewers and we would deem it a must-buy for a futuristic gaming experience.

This headset costs $200 which is great value for money. The only problem of this cutting-edge technology is that the games which are compatible with it need to be bought from the Oculus Store. These games will cost you a couple of dollars each.

However, the other extensive selection of premium games for this platform will cost a lot more. Some notable examples of these can be found in the Oculus Rift, which costs $400 and the HTC Vive which costs $500!

And The Magic Number Is…

Gone are the days when gaming used to be cheap. Also gone are the days when two games and a game boy could last you at least as long as half a year! If you’re really looking to experience what gamers consider a great experience, then you’ll have to lighten you’re wallets and purses quite a bit.

With everything that we’ve shared with you above, the magic number is close to $1,170. Now it’s up to you to decide whether to boost your gaming experience or to stay behind with outdated technologies.

About author

Marc Busby

Long time gamer with a passion for all games. For me, it's all about the experience a game delivers.

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