Question Gaming PC vs Nintendo switch


Oct 8, 2018
Ok so not a question for me but for my son. I have a 6 year old which I put together a cheap system for him to toy around on. I have stuff in place to monitor what he's doing and denied access to the internet for the most part. He plays Minecraft, Roblox Mario Bros and watches kids YouTube. To do all this I'm running a nes emulator and BlueStacks which I do not have to open or get going for him so he's fairly competent with the PC. So now my problem. The kids at school all have the Nintendo switch. I myself have not been a Nintendo fan since the original. But he really wants one. I told my wife i'd rather upgrade the PC and give him access to steam and he can have thousands of games at his disposal. The system is an optiplex 7010 with an i5 running some cheap GPU that can atleast run a shader pack on Minecraft with all high settings at 720p around 30fps. I can upgrade to an i7 quad and maybe like a gtx1660 and make it a decent mid gamer system. Also be upgrading the old monitor I had lying around to a decent tv for his room. She doesn't like the idea because he wants the Nintendo. Does anyone think I should push through and do the PC and maybe after a couple weeks he'll be happy with what I did or is there no satisfying a young kid without a console system that everyone else has. Anyone with a switch can chime in and tell me they aren't half bad. I just don't know. I do hate wasting money on a console that's obsolete damn near as soon as you buy it.


Convenience is the only thing going for the consoles and associated devices. You have far broader options with a PC based gaming system, WAY more potential titles available, usually across MANY years of development and platforms, and the ability to always be able to simply upgrade any aspect of the build as you go along if it becomes incapable of running things the way you want it to.

I'd tell her that always doing things the way a 6 year old wants them to be done isn't always the best way to handle situations. If it was, we'd all be eating pizza and ice cream for dinner every night. Well, scratch that part, it actually sounds ok, but you get the idea.

I'm with you, a PC is likely to not only take care of the desire for gaming, but will also become a relevant learning tool, and won't be obsolete in it's entirely a year later. Plus, when you upgrade periodically, for the most part games you've bought previously will likely continue to be playable afterwards, unlike many consoles that don't have backwards or forwards compatibility with different models.
The sensible thing to do I would think, is if you have your own gaming PC, install some of the types of games he would have access to were you to upgrade (plants vs zombies for instance). At least then he can have a look at the possibilities.

However this is a much bigger issue than just what system to play on. It's about being social with his friends. No matter what any of us PC gamers think, that is very important. More important than which system is best to play on.

I know it seems kinda silly to some of us adults what kind of things kids relate to these days, but hey, it's a different world now. The last thing you want to do is turn your kid into a loner. His social health should take precedence here IMO.

Eventually he'll have enough friends familiar with PC to play with them on that platform, that typically doesn't happen before age 10 to 12. You've no doubt watched over him content wise, and coached him well on PC. By the time that day comes, he'll be passing that knowledge on to those friends. That's a win win scenario for everyone IMO.

The bottom line is, your kid may be brilliant compared to others his age regarding PC use, but he's still a kid. Let him have some fun with other kids too. He needs time to get to the stage of a full on PC gamer. Besides, I would think the price of a Switch on a holiday sale wouldn't be any more than a PC upgrade, probably less.
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While a PC can be great, he is six after all, and while I don't yet have a Switch, it does seem like might be a bit more user-friendly and family-friendly for someone of that age.

There's also the portability of the system to consider. A switch can be run as a handheld device and taken on trips in the car and so on, while a desktop PC, not so much.

Of course, a PC certainly has some benefits, like a large selection of inexpensive and free games stretching back decades, including titles that can be picked up on sale or in bundles for next to nothing, whereas games will likely cost more on the Switch.

As far as being a gift is concerned, I fully suspect that a six-year old would be much more appreciative of a Nintendo Switch than some vague circuit boards that just improve the performance of something they already have. Even if they end up not getting as many games out of it. Especially if this is like a Christmas or birthday gift or something.

You could of course upgrade the PC a bit too (maybe at a slightly later time). What exact hardware does it currently have (CPU, GPU, RAM)? If the graphics card is really low-end, it might be holding back gaming performance more than any other component, and something like an RX 570 or GTX 1650 in the sub-$150 range could go a long way toward giving it decent performance in modern games. Moving to an i7 is likely to have less benefit in the short term, at least in any games a six-year old would be playing.


I don't know about you guys but I know six year olds, now, that are more capable when it comes to using a PC or tablet than half the older adults I know. My nephew, who is 7, just had a gathering at his house for his birthday with four other friends and they were all playing PC games. I guess it depends a lot on what kind of six year old we are talking about as obviously they are not all introduced to tech at a young age, while others are and are comfortable with it.