During this complete meltdown of a year that is 2020, we’re all spending a lot more time at home – for most of us, that means a lot more time gaming. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Gaming industry sales have been up over 70 percent from last year and gaming sites are seeing record engagement. Even the World Health Organization has been encouraging people to play more video games.
For a few of us on the team, all this gaming made us realize we needed to kick our setups up a few notches and invest in some new gear. Not only is it smart to take advantage of some of the best deals on record, but you should also consider how ergonomic your setup is. If you’re reading this while hunched over your laptop – or if you’ve been nursing chronic neck pain during the entire pandemic – we’re looking at you.
Think it’s time to upgrade your gaming setup, too? You’ve come to the right place.
The right monitor
If your monitor’s best years are behind it, now’s the time to upgrade. The right monitor for you depends on whether you’re looking for an anti-glare screen to protect sensitive eyes, an extra wide curved monitor for an immersive experience or a system that can support 4K graphics. To help you compare options and decide, we like the picks on PCGamer’s guide to the best gaming monitors of 2020.
An RGB mechanical keyboard and padded wrist rest
If it’s time to upgrade your mechanical keyboard, you’ve come to the right place. Element is the first content-reactive keyboard that syncs dynamic RGB effects for customized illumination with any PC game, sans developer integration. Complete with our constantly expanding library of patented game integrations for customized experiences and reactive illumination, and our open-platform lighting software that offers extensive customization with 16.8 million colors per-key, it’s the only gaming keyboard you’ll ever need. Also, if you aren’t using a memory foam gaming wrist rest, you need to #gethappierwrists.
A gaming chair (and everything chair)
While a gaming chair might seem like an unnecessary piece of gear, don’t write it off just yet. Most gaming chairs are designed ergonomically to provide lumbar and neck support, and to prevent slouching. If you’re currently gaming from the couch or an old-school desk chair, you’re going to feel a dramatic improvement in your posture once you upgrade to a gaming chair. Plus, they double as the most comfortable desk chair around which will come in handy for those of you still working from home. Check out a solid selection of gaming chairs here via IGN.
Some upgraded speakers
If you’re still using your monitor’s measly built-in speakers, it’s time to upgrade. Audio is a critical aspect of so many games, and too important to ignore in our humble opinion. If you’re enjoying a killer lightshow across our RGB peripherals, know that it pairs even better with solid speakers. There’s a wide variety of options to suit your budget, space and current rig – whether wired or Bluetooth will work best, and if you’re interested in dual speakers or a soundbar.
An environmental simulator for PC
If you’re after increased immersion, customize your battlestation with our environmental simulator. Vortx produces physical effects like wind and heat synced with game conditions in real-time to help users experience the on-screen environment and intensify immersion. Pairs well with your new speakers and other sick RGB peripherals for immersion you can hear, see and feel.
Customized RGB lighting
There’s nothing like LED strips to reinvent your gaming setup. Our FX Strips allow you to experience dynamic RGB lighting on a whole new level, extending the possibilities of our custom ambience technology and synchronized reactive illumination across your entire rig. Set up your custom lighting design, plug in, daisy-chain up to 80 inches, sit back and enjoy the show.
A wireless mic’d headset
If you have a dedicated gaming room, speakers might work best for you – but for the rest of us who want to keep the peace with our roommates/families/girlfriends, headphones were invented. If you’re playing online with a team, you’ll need a headset with a solid mic either way. Our favorite gaming headsets are wireless for the flexibility they provide, but do your research before buying to make sure your pick has ample battery life. Aim for at least 10-15 hours. If you plan to use your headphones with other gaming systems in addition to your PC, make sure these are Bluetooth compatible, too – otherwise, go with wired. If you’re not still not sure, Reddit has the answer.
Another gaming setup, because why not?
For the ultra-dedicated gamers who appreciate variety (or for those willing to invest for an upcoming console-specific release), consider switching it up and adding an alternative gaming console setup to your man cave. This might be one to hold on until the holidays if you’re willing to wait for the latest and greatest as both Xbox and PlayStation have new systems launching.
That home theater life
If you have a streaming setup handy (and the space for a big screen), there’s no better time to build a legit home theater. It’s going to be a while until indoor movie theaters are a thing again, but given so many new releases are going straight to VOD, we’re okay with it. Now, the real question is: giant TV or projector and screen? This depends on the lighting in your area (projectors need a dark room for optimal viewing) and your budget. In terms of brightness and overall versatility, a TV is probably the best bet for most. Plus, you can find solid big screens these days without breaking the bank. But, if you’re seeking an eye-friendly option, or if you want to go straight-up wall size, you’re a projector guy. If you’re still deciding what’ll work best in your space, weigh more pros and cons here.
Smart home controls
Equip your space with a smart speaker or hub to use voice control across devices, control the lighting (all you need is a WiFi smart plug and hub) and thermostat, see who’s at the door (add a video doorbell) and so much more, without interrupting your game or Netflix binge. These range in price and capabilities, but there are plenty of options out there. Depending on what you’re looking for in a speaker setup and your budget, you can likely kill two birds with one stone here, as there are some sweet smart soundbars on the market this year.