The gaming industry experienced a boom during 2020, but as we move into the new year, it continues to go from strength to strength. Runaway titles like Fortnite and Among Us are bringing people together through multiplayer modes that bring strangers together over the internet.
Hits like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon for the Switch, and hotly anticipated drops like Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt, have garnered a lot of media attention as well as attracting huge audiences of gamers to their respective platforms.
So, if you’re looking at the gaming world and thinking, ‘I want a piece of that!’, then you’re probably also wondering just how to get started. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide for newcomers and beginners, detailing how to decide on the right hardware, software, and social channels for your individual needs.
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You’ll be relieved to know that not all games require expensive hardware. In fact, many popular titles are available as apps to download to your smartphone or another mobile device. However, if you want to get serious about gaming and spend multiple hours immersed in the world of Dota 2 or Minecraft, then you’re going to need some equipment that can handle it.
A good place to start is your PC or console; there are even specially developed gaming phones now with customised controls, high spec screens, and heavy-duty processors. The best gaming consoles on the market currently are the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, with the Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series S earning honourable mentions. Some machines are definitely more affordable than others, but all of them will be priced lower than a decent gaming PC.
If you decide to invest in a gaming PC – which is, arguably, the highest quality option for most games – then you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of change. However, you will receive a top-spec and, most importantly, highly customisable machine in exchange. Whether you build your own gaming PC or have someone build it for you, components like cooling fans, LED lights, GPUs and RAM can be modified to suit your needs and your budget.
Sites and Platforms
Once you have the hardware set up, you need to think about where you will be playing your favourite games. As the potential capacity for online games and cloud gaming has gone up, developers have risen to the challenge. You can now play everything from indie multiplayer titles to epic first-person-shooters to traditional board games online using your browser due to massive technological advancements.
Alternatively, you can still download software through digital distribution services like Steam and Origin, or through client-specific platforms like PokerStars. This bypasses the need for physical discs or plug-ins and guarantees smoother gameplay whether or not you are connected to the internet whilst playing. Of course, the parameters differ between every title, but the quality of gameplay has increased exponentially year on year.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when gaming is security. Whilst accessibility and variety are of paramount importance, so is the trustworthiness of a site or platform.
Providers such as PokerStars use security measures like independently verified RNG to maintain gaming integrity and ensure a high level of security through their websites and software. This enables users to put their trust in the platform and concentrate on enjoying the game, rather than worrying about security issues. Multi-factor authentication is another method used to stop new logins to your gaming account without additional authorization.
Of course, the best aspect of gaming online is the real-time connection you can foster with other gamers, whether they are people already known to you or strangers with the same interests. Social channels such as Mumble and Discord, as well as WhatsApp, Zoom and Skype, open up the potential for greater cooperative work whilst gaming and add to the fun of playing with friends.
Many developers have also created their own in-game communication channels, with titles like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Overwatch relying on this feature to guarantee optimal gameplay. The main thing to remember here is to keep any in-game dialogue light-hearted and fun, and not give out any personal details or use inappropriate language. After all, gaming is designed to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for everyone!