How to set up the ultimate video gaming system
Video games are big business – very big business. In a recent study from late 2019, the video games industry was estimated to be worth a colossal $152.1 billion, generated by around 2.5 billion gamers worldwide.
Indeed, gaming is now so big it far eclipses other forms of popular entertainment like music or movies (worth $19.1 billion and $41.7 billion respectively, in the same period). Video games and gaming are now the biggest entertainment industry in the world.
Gaming systems can be broadly split into three main categories – mobile, console and PC. While mobile gaming is now the fastest-growing sector (due mainly to convenience), nothing can rival PC or console games when it comes to offering a fully immersive experience.
However, if you’re serious about gaming, to get the full spectrum of effects, you need to invest in the right equipment and tech. Here are a few guides for putting together the ultimate video games set-up.
Start with your room size
Clearly, there’s little point trying to cram top-end technology into a small space. Likewise, if your room is too big, you may lose a lot of sound or image quality (especially if you’re sat too far from the screen). As a general rule, when it comes to screens, you should aim to sit at a distance 1.5 times the screen height away from a 4K TV.
Invest in a surround sound system
No matter how much you spend on a TV, most have substandard speaker systems. As companies battle to produce thinner and thinner screens, it’s becoming well-nigh impossible to provide sets with decent in-built sound quality. Modern games are produced with surround sound in mind, so buy a system with multiple channels to fully appreciate the sound element of games.
Different types of game will benefit more from surround sound than others. For example, high-stress or atmospheric first-person shooters will evoke considerably stronger feelings if you feel completely immersed in the soundscape. At the other end of the scale, life simulation or strategy games will likely only benefit very slightly from surround systems. Nonetheless, as most gamers play a wide variety of game types, you’re still probably better off investing in a good sound system. Click here for a breakdown of common game types and how they induce emotion.
Speakers come in 2:1, 5.1, 7:1 and 9:1 channel format – aim for 7:1 or 9:1 for the best effects. Also, most modern systems feature wireless connections to save tripping over cables.
Choose the right screen
The right screen is vital for a high-quality gaming experience to fully appreciate the bleeding-edge graphics and high frame rates common in modern video games. Choosing the right solution will be as much determined by your room size as anything else; however, you should have some base requirements in mind.
Definition: Choose a 4K or 8K TV to get the best out of graphics. 8K content is almost non-existent right now – even though both the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 technically support it. For the majority of users (and the majority of rooms), 4K will be more than enough for now. Also, 8K is still so new that sets remain prohibitively over-priced. Unless you have a massive budget, you’re probably better sticking with 4K and instead investing the extra in your sound system.
Refresh rate: Games these days feature fast frame rates, so be sure to choose a screen with an equally high refresh rate to avoid ‘ghosting’ or stuttering images. Choose a minimum of 60Hz – although 120Hz is preferable.
HDR-compatibility: HDR gives considerably richer, brighter colors and higher contrast.
OLED: OLED screens tend to look noticeably better than their LCD counterparts.
Video gaming has come a long way from being just the preserve of teenagers, and the industry is now a legitimate form of entertainment enjoyed by young and old around the world. Investing in the right set-up will vastly increase your gaming enjoyment – plus the tech will also enhance your other general TV and movie viewing.