At the time of this writing, PS4™ and Xbox One madness is running rampant with some hardcore gamers waiting up to 18 hours to get their hands on a console. It’s hard not to get swept away in the wave of excitement that is accompanying these consoles, which are in short supply and high demand. Not only are these gaming machines the first to hit the market the last six to seven years, they are positioned as entertainment hubs that handle a vast array of media.
But gaming isn’t just about consoles, with the NPD Group reporting that 72% of gamers in the U.S. are playing online games via PCs and mobile devices, compared with 67% last year. This all begs the question: Why not give games the same respect as our favorite movies and enjoy them on the optimal gaming system? Here are a few tips to get the most out of your gaming experience and to help truly immerse you in the moment.
Don’t Put Up with Sluggish Onscreen Action
The unbelievable graphics on next-gen games make your display all the more important. You’ll need a high-def set, of course, and some sets are even designed with gamers in mind. Look for a dedicated ‘Game’ mode in your TV’s ‘Pictures’ setting, which minimizes or eliminates image processing so you don’t get delays in onscreen action. Don’t opt for the cheapest set you can find, either, which may fall prey to input lag and likewise slow down game play. A quick video calibration is not a bad idea, and we can definitely help with that.
For PC gamers, consider a gaming PC that will give you a better experience overall. These computers offer faster processing, enhanced video and sound cards and are designed with the express purpose of online gaming. We also recommend an ergonomically correct gaming mouse or keyboard, which makes game play easier and less taxing on your digits.
Get Lightning–fast Internet
Most consoles are connected and you will obviously need a fast Internet connection for PC gaming. We recommend a wired connection whenever possible, but if you must game wirelessly, consider a Gigabit router, which can handle the fastest Internet service speeds to sidestep a potentially sluggish connection. Also opt for a dual-band router, which uses two different frequencies—2.4GHz and 5GHz—to send information, as opposed to single-band routers, which use one band only and can become victims of household network traffic.
Immerse Yourself in Audio
Audio for gaming is a balance between playing it loud and not disturbing others. You want to be submerged in the virtual world onscreen, so good speakers or headphones are important. We recommend a full–on 5.1 or greater surround system (with subwoofer) for the very best experience. But then again, if you’re gaming while the family is in the other room, you’ll want to try a little soundproofing so that explosions won’t wake the kids; that, or a great set of gaming headphones with a mic so you can easily talk to your online gaming friends. Sound bars or other all–in–one speakers that offer virtual surround sound are another option if you don’t have the space for a full–on surround system, yet want to have a more encompassing audio experience. We also suggest a receiver that has continuous variable volume control, eliminating dips and peaks in volume and keeping dialogue and explosion at even levels so you aren’t constantly scrambling for the remote. We can help you with any of these solutions, just give us a ring.
Last But Not Least: Accessorize & App-etize
Now that you’ve dialed in your processing, audio, and video for the ultimate in gaming, give a little thought to your environment. For one, a typical gaming session could last anywhere from one hour to several, so a good seat is key. Something like a theater chair will support your neck and spine for extended game play, or try out a gaming chair which offers a sleek design and features like built-in speakers, inputs for headphones, volume and bass control and more.
Finally, we suggest downloading the latest version of your console’s app for your smart phone or tablet, allowing you to stay in touch with your online gaming community even when you are not in front of your system.
Whatever your passion, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of them with a few tweaks or upgrades. And because the next-gen consoles are such experts all entertainment—be it music or movies or apps like Skype®—all your media will be the better for it.