It's not that expensive.
You can build a gaming PC that can handle most if not all games at max settings for 400-500 dollars, which is about the price of a new console (PS3 was 600 dollars at launch by comparison).
Not near max settings for that price. A decent gpu and cpu will be 400 alone that can run games maxed, let alone motherboard, case, monitor, harddrive, power supply, mouse, keyboard. The build will usually end up closer to 800+.