The Best PC Gaming Experiences for 2021
Who would’ve predicted just a decade ago that video gaming would become the world’s most popular form of home entertainment? In 2020, more than 2.7 billion people across the globe participated in gaming activities, helping the industry to generate over $150 billion in total revenues. By 2025, that figure is expected to grow even further to over $256 billion, making gaming more popular than both the cinema and music streaming industries combined.
With such a growing daily audience and plenty of revenues pouring in, gaming manufacturers have been able to invest in creating cutting edge, immersive gaming experiences for all platforms, particularly the PC.
As mobile gaming began to increase in scope last decade, PC gaming, unfortunately, took a bit of a backseat in terms of popularity with gamers. However, recent advances in both gaming hardware and PC games have meant that once more, computers are on the rise.
If you’re looking for the latest gaming experiences for your new gaming PC, stay tuned for our round-up of the best ways to play in 2021.
MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online) are an absolute mainstay of the industry. Often set in the fantasy realm, these huge multi-player games bring together hundreds, sometimes thousands of players from across the globe to collaborate and compete.
One of the longest-running MMOs, World of Warcraft has seen over 100 million gamers venture into the land of Azeroth, who, collectively have played for a total of over 6 million earth years. The game’s appeal lies in its ability to allow any player from any country to exchange their everyday, humdrum lives for ones that are filled with adventure and danger.
WoW, certainly still has its die-hard fans. However, here in 2021, today’s MMOs have come a long, long way from that text-based, RPG pioneer. Amazon’s much-awaited New World, for example, combines the traditional MMO format with an open-world gaming environment for enhanced levels of immersion and discovery.
Recent gaming industry statistics indicate that iGaming is quickly becoming a favourite gaming genre with global adults. Encompassing real money casino and poker gaming, sports betting, bingo, and lotteries, this is a diverse gaming market that is also closely linked with technological advancement.
The iGaming genre is highly saturated in 2021, providing gamers with a wide choice of various different free online casino games to try out, online poker tournaments, freeroll and play money games, numerous betting opportunities, as well as virtual lotteries and real money competitions.
Like MMOs, iGaming experiences in the 21st century have advanced considerably since the early days of online gaming platforms. Instead of having to download client software, gamers can quickly log in to gaming platforms and access a full library of different slots and table games.
Additionally, 3D games, live dealers, and VR tech enhance the experience of real money gaming even further, putting gamers right in the thick of the casino action.
Meanwhile, up to the minute digital betting opportunities and markets make it possible to wager on international sporting, cultural, and political events, irrespective of location.
In less than half a decade, eSports, the competitive arm of the gaming industry, has attracted a massive following, lucrative endorsements, and hosts thrilling tournaments with eye-watering prize pots. Elite players have been able to turn their hobby into a substantial career, while the market itself has injected a new lease of life into PC video gaming (according to Newzoo, by 2022 eSports will generate over $1.70 billion annually).
While not everybody has the time or ambition to become a professional gamer, eSports games, nevertheless, are still on-trend as a hot gaming experience for 2021. There’s a huge amount of choice in this genre, even just among those games that have official tournament support from their publishers. When you factor in indie games that have a competitive multi-player element, the choice becomes even greater.
League of Legends, for example, is a long-running eSports game that is just as relevant in 2021 as when it was first released in 2009. Additionally, publishers like Take-Two have partnered up with league sports to produce games such as the NBA 2K e-League, which is even played by NBA athletes themselves. Then, of course, there are the epic battle royale games that are still topping PC gaming charts.
As a concept, Virtual Reality (VR) has been floating around the fringes of technological industries for a few decades now, but it’s only in recent years that VR hardware has become accessible to the average consumer.
With the advent of innovations like HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and Valve Index, VR users are becoming less and less reliant on expensive external hardware, which, combined with more choice of first person games, puts VR gaming experiences in the hands of gamers from all demographics.
However, while these cheaper headsets are more accessible, to fully enjoy the gaming experiences on offer you will need a powerful gaming PC or a VR-ready laptop. Your gaming system needs a meaty GPU and quick CPU in order to get the most out of headset displays, as well as plenty of USB ports for the necessary peripherals.
The good news is, once you’ve got the right kind of gaming rig to run VR games, there are, quite literally, all sorts of new worlds available to you. There are, of course, more traditional simulation experiences – even games like Job Simulator with its different career paths becomes a must-play gaming event in VR – as well as renowned titles like Half Life: Alyx and the one and only Goat Simulator.