Total Cost To Own An Xbox One Vs Steam Over Five Years

Posted on Aug 8 2013 - 11:00am by Bryan

xbox one steam

Last night I turned on my Steam PC, started big picture mode, and was enjoying Portal on my big HDTV.  Being stuck on the same level for what seems like forever now is another story.  But it got me thinking; how much did it cost me to buy and play Portal on my HDTV vs the cost of say a typical console.  I decided to do a break down using the new Xbox One.

Let’s factor in some items first.  Assume that when buying the new Xbox console you plan on having it for say 5 years minimum.  We can also assume that you will use a service such as Steam for the same number of years.  With that being said we will leave tax out (as that changes all across the country and world) and we will factor in buying upwards of 3 games per year for 5 years.

On day one when you pick up Microsoft’s next gen system you must of course purchase the console, say an extra controller if more than one person in the household plans on playing at the same time, 2 games to start out, and a subscription to Xbox Live.  Here is your cost breakdown:

Xbox One console = $499

Two games @ $60 each (on day one) = $120

Xbox Live subscription for 5 years = $300

Second Controller = $60

The total cost for day one, plus an extra 4 years of Xbox Live comes to = $979

If you add up a total of 13 more games over 5 years time the total changes to = $1759

Now lets do the same thing with Steam.  Unfortunately its very tough to factor in a price for the “console” so to speak, so we will assume that you have a PC and you just upgrade your video card to be able to play comparable games.

For games that will run on some of the highest settings I picked the Radeon 7870 = $229

Two new games = $60

Steam subscription  = $0

Second Controller = ranges as you can buy just about any kind available, but let’s say = $20 (logitech)

So on day one to play Steam it will cost you = $309

Lets say over the course of 5 years you buy the same number of games.  Luckily with Steam there are MANY times throughout the year they host massive fire sales that see games reach anywhere from 50% to 90% off.  Factoring this in we can safely assume that 13 more games at 50% off (and that is at minimum would come to) is $390 bringing your total cost = $699

I completely understand some of these numbers can change, for both platforms, in one direction or another, but as an average it is safe to assume that Steam at $699 can really save you money over the Xbox One at a total of $1759.

You can even look at it this way.  After 5 years you could buy yourself a brand new computer and video card that at the time will possibly blow away the graphic abilities of the Xbox One seeing as you are unable to upgrade Microsoft’s console.

Just food for thought.

About the Author

-Editor in Chief: I started GizmoFusion because I have a passion for the technology, mobile, and gaming fields. I'm a gamer at heart, mobile phone user by day and night, and all around tech geek. I hope you enjoy your stay here and decide to come back every now and again to see what we have cooking!

  • Andrew

    you should have priced out a build for a comparable pc for this, otherwise it makes no sense. try /r/buildapcforme

  • J. S

    Yes, let’s just write off the most expensive part of owning a PC and compare buying a brand new console vs. replacing a part on a machine you already own.

    I’m a PC gamer but this is just a terrible comparison.

  • Kwaad

    Ok, let me just say this. about your review… IT IS CRAZY.

    X-box-360 @ launch = 400$

    Hardware costs for minimum specs for skyrim in 2005 (x-box-360 launch year)

    Processor: (there was no processor that met minimum specs at release of x-box 360)
    4GB of RAM = 400$
    Video Card = 800$

    This is minimum specs. You wanna run it on medium/high for similar performance to the x-box 360, you would have had to have 4x the power than a 2000$ computer in 2005 had. Just saying you could “stack” hardware together like that (you can’t it’s not possible, you simply replace your computer every 3 years), you would have needed a 8000$ computer in 2005 to compare with a 400$ x-box-360, in 2012.

    • Braik

      Except the Xbox isn’t going to magically upgrade itself. So five years from now, it will still not be able to play games at as high of a resolution as my $1100 PC that I have right now. So.

      XBONE = $979 + $780 (games @ $60) Steam PC = $1100 + 390 (games @ 50% off)

  • Delta

    PC > Any console, always has been, always will be.

  • Its a no brainer. Make the switch to PC gaming. It is morphing more and more into a console like experience.