If you’re a passionate gamer, you’ll want to get the best out of your system, be it console or PC. There a lot of ways to improve your experience, from tweaks, upgrades and maximising your chances in online multiplayer titles, to making sure you have the accessories that best suit your play style. While they won’t make you a better player, these six tips will make sure you are getting the most out of your valuable gaming time.
- Upgrade to SSD
As anyone who has played Skyrim or Fallout will know, loading screens can take up a large amount of your gaming time. While they can’t be avoided, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the time you are waiting. One of the most effective is to upgrade your hard drive to SSD.
They have been around for a number of years, but now the prices of solid-state drives are dropping enough that all but the most casual gamers should be considering the upgrade. Faster and more reliable than traditional disk drives, SSDs can be easily installed in PCs and the PS4. While it can also be done on the Xbox One, if you are not comfortable opening up your console, you can simply add the drive to a USB 3.0 enclosure and connect it that way. Not only will this offer more storage space, you should immediately notice some improvements in load times.
- Use controllers that suit you
While some games benefit from keyboards, that is not always the case. With Microsoft’s Play Anywhere feature, users can purchase selected titles and play them both on Xbox and PC. However, most of these games are designed primarily to be played on a console, and do not always lend themselves to a mouse and keyboard. Thankfully, the solution is simple. Any Xbox One or Playstation Dualshock 4 controller can be used, plug and play, on PC. So if you already own a console, you can dig out the controller and by ready to use it with your PC in moments.
Steam are also working to bridge the gap between console and PC. With controller support and button mapping for most games, the use of ‘Big Screen’ mode allows you to play PC games on the sofa with a controller, so whatever way you want to play, you’re covered.
Gaming accessories are a wide and diverse field. From thumb grips for well-worn controllers to expensive chairs and ergonomic keyboards, it can be difficult to tell what will actually help to improve your experience and what is just snake oil.
The truth is that a good player is a good player, and they will likely beat you sitting on the floor with a cheap third-party controller, so don’t invest in accessories just because they promise to improve your performance. Instead, look for things that will improve your experience. Charging kits, protective cases and comfortable seating will make gaming far more enjoyable than spending a fortune on an LED-filled mouse covered in buttons you will never configure.
- Use a VPN
While there is a lot written online about how a VPN can slow down online gaming, there are actually many benefits. A VPN service is primarily a security tool that provides end-to-end encryption for your connection, providing an additional layer of security over your online activity. This can help to prevent you becoming the victim of targeted attacks such as distributed denial of service (DDoS). This anonymity can also help to sidestep internet service providers throttling your connection to try and upsell gamer-specific internet packages, as they will not be able to detect what your traffic is being used for.
One of the key features of a VPN is the ability to appear to be browsing from a number of servers based around the world. By positioning yourself closer to the game servers, you can reduce issues surrounding ping and latency. Appearing to be from another country can also allow you to evade geo-restrictions, allowing you to get your hands on new games earlier than everyone else, and to secure titles not available in your region.
- The little things
Now you have the hardware all ready to go – it’s time to play. It is here where the little things really matter. There are countless little adjustments you can make to ensure you are comfortable and focused for as long as the gaming session lasts.
Improve your focus by wearing headphones or not listening to music, and set your screen brightness to a level that reduces a fatigue on your eyes. Avoid disastrous crashes by regularly backing up your saved games.
Getting the most out of your audio and visual experience can also often come down to tweaks. Be sure to not leave your devices on default settings and ensure that your output resolution, audio mix and frame-rate are all set correctly.
- Decide what gaming means to you
In 2018, the video games sector accounted for more than half of the UK’s entertainment market, making it worth more than the music and film industries combined. The result of this is that gaming is becoming an increasingly broad church. From casual mobile players to trophy hunters and completionists, there are games and play styles for everyone.
Fanboys and YouTubers may like to act as if gaming is high art, but the truth is that turning the difficulty down does not make you less of a gamer. (Actually, it might mean you get to enjoy a story that you never would have seen if you had rage-quit.) Family party games can be great fun and are not just for children, and there is no shame in Googling answers if you are stuck on a mission.
Put simply, whether it is a multiplayer Battle Royale, 70-hour single player epics, or the occasional round of Mario Kart, the best way to improve your gaming experience is to play how you want to.