The 10 Best Video Game Hardware and Technologies of 2021

2021 may not see a new generation of consoles, but the technology and hardware for video games has steadily advanced gameplay and other aspects.

In the first year of a new console generation, it can be difficult for advances in gaming technology to transcend enthusiasts looking to get their hands on a new console. But in 2021, there have been plenty of new updates to our gaming hardware to enhance the experience for PC and console players with new audio devices, monitors and control peripherals, without looking for a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S to restock.

A lot of the new hardware for 2021 will include new controllers and monitors, but some take previously released systems even further. Others are unique and others make some experiences better. Overall, it’s a pretty solid lineup of technological advancements in the gaming industry this year.

switch OLED
One of the biggest releases of 2021 was the latest major update to Nintendo’s Switch console with an upgraded screen that gives players significantly improved visuals when playing mobile games. The biggest change comes from the name of the Switch OLED, a new organic LED screen that can deliver the best color and contrast available in modern monitors. However, the new screen isn’t the only thing added to the Switch with this new upgrade, and there are a few changes that make it better as a home console than the previous version.

As for the physical hardware, the Switch OLED has improved the previous stand, making it easier for players to rest on uneven surfaces that they might bump into when taking the console with them on the go. Aside from the screen, what’s most impressive is that it adds an Ethernet port, giving the new console a stronger internet connection than its predecessor. Given how much of the Switch’s catalog of games is centered around multiplayer, better connectivity has improved to a point where it feels almost like it should have been included in the original model.

Backbone Mobile Controller
Implementing controller support in mobile games has been one of the biggest hurdles the medium has to overcome while transitioning to games on the go. The new Backbone mobile controller is the 2021 answer to mobile gaming, featuring both plug-and-play and a mobile mount that turns your phone into a handheld gaming system. It’s an impressive new gaming technology that allows you to integrate a player’s game into an embedded app that makes the controller useful for both mobile and PC gaming.

Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gen 2
When it comes to audio improvements, Turtle Beach is often the best at getting the full range from audio design to gaming. The 2021 Recon 200 Gen 2 from Turtle Beach will deliver impressive quality and will also feature new sound technologies found on next-gen consoles, such as the PS5’s 3D audio. It’s on par with the headsets from Turtle Beach, but an impressive show of how personal audio technology has advanced with the latest generation of headsets.

With the release of next-gen consoles last year, 2021 saw the first steps from third-party hardware developers introducing upgrades and new peripherals for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. One of the biggest upgrades these third-party developers have brought to these consoles is the new PS5 SSD, which usually introduces new and larger storage space. Some of these SSDs, like the Seagate FireCuda, offer terabytes of storage with a huge improvement that can more than double the space offered by the base PS5 model.

Arcade 1-up Infinity Game Table
Arcade1Up’s new hardware lineup culminates with the 2021 Infinity Game Table. This gaming table is a seemingly simple concept that uses a large tablet as the top of a coffee table. Players can connect to the Internet and find new games to play on the touchpad. The most popular games are not only simple family titles, but also recreations of classic tabletop games.

NZXT Capsule Microphone
In a world of isolation where gameplay has shifted more online over the past few years and physically isolates friends, a high-quality microphone can be the difference between talking to friends across the country or feeling like you’re in the same room. NZXT’s PCs and modern capsule microphones provide a quality way to communicate online with friends and other players. This can also be a cheap starting mic for anyone who wants to stream or play online with high quality audio recordings.

Asus 3080Ti
In terms of graphics cards, Nvidia’s 30-series has become the best of the game, and in 2021 Asus has entered the space with high-quality products offering equally impressive performance features. Unfortunately, this is still a very rare technology, often requiring customers who want to purchase to check for restocking and take advantage of early store notifications. However, if players can get their hands on an Asus 3080 Ti, the new card could offer some of the best graphics enhancements available on the market today.

ViewSonic VX3218-PC-MHD Curved Gaming Monitor
The vogue of curved monitors has given new life to players looking to provide the most immersive viewing of their most popular titles, especially in PC gaming, but it hasn’t been able to sustain itself in the mainstream market. The new ViewSonic Curved Monitor may not be an absolute top-of-the-line option, but it’s a cheap and quality introduction to the curved concept for players who may not have embraced the fad before. Anyone looking for a new monitor right now will want to check out this one to see if the immersion of a curved monitor is for you.

Corsair K70 TKL Keyboard
The Corsair K70 keyboard offers a comfortable intermediate position between the comfort of a full-size keyboard and the portability of a mini-keyboard. It’s a great option for players who regularly carry their PC on the go or don’t have much desk space for a full-size keyboard. As a result, players can choose an affordable option when they are mobile or have limited personal space.

SteelSeries Rival 5 Mouse
Rounding out the list is the Mouse from SteelSeries, which has released quite a few quality products in 2021, including the Rival 5 mouse. This is another affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice quality for a price drop compared to some of the more advanced options available to PC players.

Overall, 2021 was a good year for players looking to upgrade their gaming skills, especially PC gear on a budget or looking for top-of-the-line gear.

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