The Ultimate Guide to Games, Consoles and Gaming PCs
Gaming is quickly becoming one of the most popular pastimes. Whether PlayStation, Nintendo or Xbox, on the PC or with handheld consoles – games let you immerse yourself in fun, virtual worlds. You can be a hero on the battlefield, win the world cup or find your way out of adventurous labyrinths. Complementing the consoles themselves are accessories and hardware that have been tailormade to suit the needs of gamers. Everyone has their own way to play. Whether you sit down at your gaming PC, play with friends with your Xbox One or PS4 or pass the time with a game on your smartphone – it’s all down to your personal taste. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about gaming: How to get the most powerful hardware, how the different consoles differ from each other, and what accessories are essential to get the best gaming experience possible.
eSports – Entering Centre Stage
We can no longer talk about the "phenomenon of eSports". It has become the linchpin of gaming and has professionalised itself with its structure of various leagues and tournaments. Giant stadiums like the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, which offer 18,000 seats, are filled. Via platforms such as Twitch, millions more people from all over the world watch these live events and compete with "classic sports formats" today. Come on, we take you into the world of eSports and show you what you’ve always wanted to know.
You can't earn money with eSports? This might change your mind: let’s look at some numbers. By 2022, eSports revenue will grow to $1.79 billion, compared to 1.1 billion this year, according to a Newzoo report. Revenue is split between media rights ($251.3 million), advertising ($189.2 million), sponsorship ($456.7 million), merchandise & tickets ($103.7 million) and game publishing fees ($95.2 million).
eSports are popular all over the world. The Newszoo Global eSports Market Report took a closer look at viewer numbers and published the following numbers. A distinction is made between "casual viewers" and hardcore fans, the "enthusiasts". These amount to 454 million in 2019, thereof 253 million casual viewers and 201 million enthusiasts. The Asia-Pacific metropolitan area alone accounts for 57% of all enthusiasts, with China in the first place (75 million spectators).
How do German players compare internationally? Although Germany is very successful and strongly represented in individual disciplines, the following map shows just how much more other countries benefit from identifying talented players when they are still very young. Alongside China and the USA, South Korea is another Asian country in the top 3. The European top 3 are Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Football is a popular sport – this is no different in eSports. In recent years, German clubs have begun to expand and promote these programmes. By investing in professional gamers such as Benedikt "SaLz0r" Saltzer, David "DaveBtw" Bytheway and Timo "TimoX" Siep, VfL Wolfsburg, for example, has shown since 2015 that eSports is an important topic for football.
Here is a number to think about. Twenty-two million four hundred and sixty-eight thousand euros (!) in prize money were awarded at the world's largest eSports competition "The International 2018", a tournament for Dota 2. Even the prize money for the UEFA Champions League Final, the prestigious tennis tournament Wimbledon or the NBA Championships cannot match this. And this is not even looking at the Tour de France, the World Snooker or the Handball World Cup...
The German eSports athlete KuroKy, a Dota 2 player, has already received $ 4.2 million in prize money in his active career and is thus the best-paid player in eSports. The graphic below shows Dota 2 and the top earners for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL), Fortnite and Starcraft II. The prize money of these tournaments isn’t too shabby either...
In 2018, 79.5 million hours of "The Overwatch League" were being watched on Twitch. This is the same as 9,075 years on earth! Looking at the numbers alone, it seems that League of Legends and CS:GO are being watched a lot more, this is because here we didn’t just count the pure “league” hours, as we did with the other games.
The History of Gaming: From Single Pixels to Entire Worlds
Most of the first games could be found in arcades, with some home consoles being available to only the very few. The first games had simple premises: you could play table tennis with Pong or shoot down alien invaders with the famous Space Invaders. Even at this early stage, the first video game genres were beginning to appear: the shooter Space Invaders and the first jump 'n' run Donkey Kong were to find numerous imitators.
The 80s was to see the introduction of even more gaming icons. Super Mario Bros first appeared in 1985, bringing the famous Italian plumber to TV screens and arcades everywhere. In the same year, Tetris was released – a game to which modern puzzlers like Candycrush draw their inspiration from. As the 80s progressed and video consoles became more affordable, home gaming began to slowly steal the Arcade’s crown. Devices from names like Atari and Commodore began to find their way into sitting-rooms around the world. The first PCs found their way into households at the end of the 1980s and were must-haves for hardcore gamers by the mid-1990s. The 90s also saw huge leaps for sound and graphics: instead of 2D-pixels and subtitles, the characters began to speak, and gamers could interact with 3D worlds. First-person shooters like Doom, Tomb Raider and Counter Strike began to take their place at the top of gaming food-chain.
It was with the turn of the 21st Century that gaming really began to take off. A video game console became a staple of most family’s households, with an Xbox or PlayStation being at the top of most children’s wish lists for Christmas. The Nintendo Wii introduced a new element to gaming: designing the gaming controller to be motion-sensitive let users play tennis with Wii Sports or rock out to their favourite tracks on Guitar Hero. The release of World of Warcraft in 2004 introduced the idea of interacting with thousands of other players simultaneously. In 2010, it broke world records when it recorded twelve million people playing the game simultaneously. More powerful mobile technology in the form of smartphones made mobile-gaming far more attractive. Higher resolution, more contrast, and better colours meant that the mobile was no longer the console’s poorer cousin. Mobile games have even at times proven to be the most innovative. Pokemon Go caused a sensation in 2016, with the virtual-reality game letting players move through the real world and catch Pokemon they see on their phone screen.
Today, the gaming scene is more diverse than ever: simple mobile games stand alongside high-tech consoles that deliver lifelike graphics in virtual reality. Specialised equipment and accessories for gamers maximise fun and increase comfort. We’ll break down everything that the modern world of gaming has to offer in the rest of this buyer’s guide.
Choosing the Best Console for You
It’s the ultimate question for all gamers – which console is the best? Everyone has their favourite, with the most bitter rivalry being fought between Xbox and PlayStations fans (despite the similarities of the PS4 and Xbox One’s hardware). Here you can find a detailed description of the four major gaming systems and which one is best suited to your needs.
The Xbox One: A Solution for All Sizes
Microsoft released the latest version of the Xbox console in 2013, with the Xbox One proving an instant hit with gamers. Microsoft now sells their console in two versions – the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. While the S has similar tech specs to the original One, the Xbox One X has an upgraded graphics card and processor. This lets you get enhanced graphics and physics on selected titles, as well as play in native-4k resolution (if you have a 4K TV). Over 2,000 titles are available for the console, with backwards compatibility available for titles from the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox (you won’t even have to buy these titles again if you already own them). As with all consoles, the Xbox One has some exclusive titles, with the Halo series being Microsoft’s flagship exclusive. Other popular series including Gears of War, Forza and State of Decay are also only available on the One. You’ll need to buy an Xbox Live subscription to play online, with 3-month and 12-month subscription models being available.
The PlayStation 4: Impressive Exclusives and Hardware Power
Sony launched their 4th-gen console to compete with One, with the PlayStation 4 hitting shelves in February 2013. It has 1,600 titles available to play, with around 100 of these being exclusive to their platform. Sony offers their PS4 in two versions, with the regular PS4 being complimented by the PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro has additional processing power, with a more powerful graphics card making it capable of playing games in 4K. The PS4 has some seriously impressive exclusives, with the Uncharted series being one of the major reason people decide to buy Sony’s console. Other exclusives like The Last Guardian (a puzzle-adventure game) and Horizon: Zero Dawn (an RPG) have also received acclaim from critics. While you could play online with others for free on the PS3, you’ll need to buy PlayStation Network to play online with PS4. Sony also offers backwards compatibility on the PS4, albeit via the premium-subscription service PlayStation Now. You’ll also have to stream titles you pick up on PlayStation Now, so you’ll want to a fast internet connection if you want to use the service.
PS4 Pro Showcase Video
Nintendo Switch: Innovative, Family-Fun
The newest console in town, the Nintendo Switch was released in 2017 as a successor to the Nintendo Wii U. It changed the way we think about consoles by being a home and handheld console in one. You use the two Joy Cons to play on your TV while attaching the screen to the Joy Cons lets you pick up the console and take it with you to play anywhere. Nintendo Switch Online lets you play online and chat with other players (although you’ll have to pay to access this feature). Its exclusives attract a lot of fans, with classic figures like Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong only being found on Nintendo’s platform. The flip side of this: many titles found on other consoles won’t be available on the Switch, so be aware of this if you want a console that can play conventional titles like Battlefield or Grand Theft Auto.
Gaming PCs and Laptops: An Option for All Kinds of Gamers
A gaming PC or gaming laptop is a great option for all kinds of gamers. It’s also often the cheapest way to play games, as you can use the computer or laptop you’ve already bought (that’s true even if you have a Mac or Linux device). It also offers the greatest amount of flexibility for someone looking to build a really powerful PC. You can decide which components you want, letting you get exactly what you need. You’ll also find gaming laptops that you can take with you anywhere – although expect less performance than compared with a desktop.
The Right Solution for 3 Different Kinds of Gamers
So now you have everything you need to know about the platforms available to you. But the question still remains: which console is right for me? The answer lies in what kind of gamer you are determined by the kind of games you want to play and how much you want to spend on gaming. We’ve broken it down into three main categories:
Casual Gamer – This is the kind of gamer who just wants to play their console every once in a while. If this is you, your first choice should be the Nintendo Switch. It has a range of really fun titles that can be enjoyed with multiple players (making it perfect for families). It also has the cheapest online play available of the 3 main consoles available right now. If you just want to play some fun puzzlers, it might even be worth having a look at playing games on your normal laptop and desktop via a service like Steam.
Mainstream Gamer – The gamer who wants to play big titles like Call of Duty, FIFA and Fortnite with friends. If this fits the bill, look no further than the PS4 Slim or Xbox One S. In terms of raw technical power, there isn’t much difference between them, so choosing between the two of them will be determined by other factors. If you’re looking to play online with friends, the price for an online subscription is virtually the same, so you’ll want to choose the platform that most of your friends are using. Microsoft is the clear winner for backwards compatibility, with many titles on offer via the Xbox Live store for less than £20.
Hardcore Gamer – If you’re looking to seriously get into gaming, the platform you go for will mostly be a matter of price. If you’re happy to go for slightly less power than a PC, then the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro is your best bet. You’ll still get enough power to play the latest games in top quality without breaking the bank. You should go for the PS4 if you plan to play in Virtual Reality, with the PlayStation VR Headset allowing you to completely immerse yourself in your games. Of course, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, then look no further than a Gaming PC. You’ll get the most up-to-date graphics and performance and also have a lot more choice when it comes to the hardware you’re gaming machine runs. You’ll also have several VR options, including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Gaming Hardware Explained: Know Your CPU From Your GPU
The central question for anyone thinking about buying a high-end console or gaming PC is the hardware the machine has inside. To someone who doesn’t know the first thing about computers, the terminology might be confusing. Here’s a quick breakdown of what all the key terms you’ll encounter mean and the relevance they have for gaming performance. We also have a few tips for those looking to select components for their gaming computer:
RAM – Random Access Memory (RAM) is where your computer stores the important data that it needs right now. Most modern consoles have about 8GB of RAM, which is what you’ll need to guarantee smooth performance when playing high-end games. DDR5 RAM currently the gold standard, so get this if you want a PC that lasts. If you plan to play the latest games with top graphics on your gaming PC, RAM is one thing you don’t want to have too little of.
Processor – The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the beating heart of the computer. In terms of gaming, the processor is where the physics of a game will be controlled. You’ll want a machine with at least a 4-core processor for gaming, with top-end models even offering 16-cores.
Graphics Card – A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is probably THE most important component for gaming. Anything to do with visuals is going to be handled by the graphics card, so a high-end one is needed to play newer games at their highest settings. The two terms to look out for here are the card’s ‘core clock’ and ‘video RAM’. Anything clocked at over 1,000 MHz with 8GB RAM will be enough to play any game available.
Motherboard – The motherboard is what connects all your components together. While some gamers swear that there are major differences between the most expensive and middle-of-the-road boards, you won’t find much of a performance advantage by buying a super-expensive board. Just stick to top brand names like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte and you should be good.
Hard Drive – Where everything gets permanently stored. You’ll want a larger hard drive if you plan to have a large game library. Most video game consoles come with at least 500 GB, but 1 TB is what you’ll need if you plan to own more than 20 games at a time. PC gamers should also consider buying a Solid State Drive (SSD). While these have less storage, they’re considerably quicker, giving you better performance when you game.
Tower – If you ever wondered what the official name is for the box that holds all the components, now you know. Of course, the tower is more than a mere storage unit. It’s also essential for keeping the rest of your computer well ventilated so that they don’t overheat and break. Your options from a conventional box with a fan to higher-end options with liquid-cooling systems (a good shout for anybody who’s looking to overclock their GPU or CPU).
The Essential Gaming Accessories for Consoles and Computers: Gaming Chairs, Gaming Headsets, and 4K Monitors
There’s a wide range of gaming accessories available for gaming. Whether it’s improving the sound that accompanies your games, speaking with other players online or equipment made with PC gamers in mind, you’ll find it at the hotukdeals listings.
Speakers – While a lot of gamers opt to use the speakers found within their TV sets, a powerful set of surround-sound speakers can give gaming that additional element of immersion.
Headset – Essential for anybody who wants to successfully play online. A headset can be used to simply chat with friends while you play together or can be essential for getting through games that require a lot of teamwork.
Gaming Chair – A necessity for anybody who wants to game for long periods of time without destroying their neck, back and shoulders. Gaming chairs have higher backs, which help to make gaming more comfortable, while you can also recline in them to take the weight of your legs and abs.
Gaming Monitor – A relatively new addition to the market are gaming monitors available for gaming PCs. These often feature curved screens that create more of a three-dimensional effect to the game while also being easier. You’ll also find monitors which are can display in 4K resolution for gaming in ultra-high definition.
Computer accessories – PC gamers have a much wider range of gaming accessories available to them, owing in no smart part to the greater variety of genres found with PC gaming. Aside from gaming keyboards and gaming mouses, joysticks or control wheels help you to get better control in games that involve flying or driving.
Gaming Deals and Bargains: How to Game for Less
While gaming is one of the most popular hobbies today, it’s also easily one the most expensive. This is particularly true if you’re completely new to gaming, with a brand-new console setting you back £250 at the very least. That’s not to mention the price of games, with titles on their release dates often retailing for around £70. Thankfully, there are a few tips that will have you enjoying the latest titles without breaking the bank.
When it comes to buying your console, look out for console bundles. These come with console plus a few games to get you started. More often than not, you’ll save a good bit over buying everything individually, so if you see one with the games you want don’t pass up on the opportunity. This is also a great option for anyone buying a console as a Christmas gift – you’ll get everything that your loved one in one purchase.
In terms of buying games, waiting a few months after the initial release means you’ll pay a bit less than what was originally being asked for on a release date. If you’re really patient, the price of a game usually sinks to about half of the original after a year or so. Of course, if you’re new to a console, they’ll be a great library of older games waiting for you that will cost £30 at the very most. Buying games second-hand is a way to really save money. Going to a physical merchant like GAME or Cash Converters will let you pick up titles for less than £10 (just make sure that the disc is in good condition before you buy!)
Microsoft and Sony are also offering subscription services that give you access to a back catalogue of games at once. The PlayStation Now service gives you access to a massive library of games (including PS2 and PS3 titles) that you can stream on to your PS4 console. The Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 100 games at a time, with Microsoft always offering special offers to anyone signing up for the first time.
Of course, if you’re looking for deals on Day 1 releases, consoles, hardware and accessories, then look no further than hotukdeals. Our gaming listings bring together discounts from all of the UK’s biggest gaming merchants, including Very, Amazon, Gamestop, Smyths, Tesco and eBay. Timing your purchases can also be a great way to save money on gaming. Prices will always dip on Black Friday in November or during summer’s Amazon Prime Day. Waiting to buy until around these times can mean significant savings with zero effort, so a bit of patience can go a long way.
Find the Best Deals on Games, Consoles and Accessories at hotukdeals
It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a console, hardware for your gaming PC, or looking for the latest releases, you’ll always a find a bargain on hotukdeals. So if you’re looking to game on a budget, then the hotukdeals gaming listings should be the first place you look.