Online gaming is more popular than ever before.
The quality of multiplayer games has improved vastly, with more compelling storylines and mission objectives to boot. The graphics have improved too, with faster rendering available owing to improved internet providers, and far better image quality than the old days (See also, the original Runescape platform.)
Most of us have a preferred console of choice. Some will swear undying loyalty to Xbox while others vow never to stray from their PlayStation. While the war between consoles continually rages on, the PC gamers amongst us will generally be too immersed in their own game to care about either. But regardless of whether you’re an Xbox, PlayStation or PC gamer, there’s one thing we can all generally agree on, and that is the enhancing power of accessories available on the market to improve our gameplay.
One of the most basic gadgets you can buy is one of the most crucial for any console gamer: the controller. Gone are the days of tangled wires as wireless controllers are now the norm – and the market has been opened up to endless possibilities. Now it’s no longer just a case of “should I get the black controller or the white one?”, but rather the ever-pressing question of “should I go for the controller with an 8-way D-pad, or the switchable concave to convex thumb pads?”
For those who do like to switch between consoles and find it hard to adjust to the difference in the feel of Xbox, PlayStation and PC controllers, a solution has been designed. The ‘ALL’ controller is aimed to launch next year with the intention of being completely universal. Whilst the product is still in testing stages, we think it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
While PC gamers can choose to purchase PC-specific controllers, many prefer the use of a keyboard. Considered more complex by many owing to the lack of handheld portability, it’s no surprise that choosing the right keyboard is a crucial decision for PC gamers. Our personal choice as a decent all-round contender would be the Razer Blackwidow x Chroma which boasts highly responsive inputs (with the drawback that you can never again blame your in-game deaths on a jammed key) and the individual backlights on each key look beautiful as an added bonus.
There are a multitude of online gaming options for PC that aren’t available to Xbox and PlayStation gamers. Many online games don’t require the use of downloadable content and can be played directly from the websites in question. Some good examples are flash games. Similarly, online gambling platforms can generally be played directly from the site in question. These sites offer straightforward games such as video slots which require the press of a single button to participate. While you don’t need top of the range peripherals to play most of them, it’s nice to feel fancy while you do!
Another tool for PC gamers to swear by; the world of PC mice has expanded hugely since the basic trackball mice we used to hook up with our dial-up connections. Nowadays, mice enable you to perform hundreds of functions, and seem to be just a few steps off tidying your house and cooking your dinner for you with one click. Our top picks would be a toss up between the incredibly named Hyperion Fury from Logitech — which sounds more like an enemy from Borderlands than a PC peripheral — or the equally awesome-sounding Razer Deathadder; a mouse which is designed for heavy duty gamers and features an ergonomic design and a scroll wheel with 24 different positions available.
Now here’s one we can all agree on regardless of our gaming platform. Headsets are not only great for those who share a house with others who don’t like the constant sound of gunfire or sword-clashing, but many enable you to communicate with your team members, which is a great way to improve your chances of winning. The best headsets on the market offer a high quality microphone and are noise cancelling so as to enable you to fully immerse yourself within the game. A good, modestly priced option for console gamers would be the LucidSound LS30, a great quality mid-priced wireless headset. A more budget-priced option would be the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO, which retails for around £50 but is incredibly comfortable and works with any platform.