If three years ago you had told someone that 2016 would be such an important year for new gaming technology, they might have balked- and yet, here we are in 2016, less than three years since the launch of the PS4 and the Xbox One, and we saw so much new technology and hardware launch this year. From three new VR headsets, in HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, to Sony launching two new consoles in PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, to Microsoft launching the Xbox One S, and announcing the Scorpio, to Nintendo announcing the Switch, to NVIDIA and AMD both launching new GPUs, gaming technology enthusiasts had an embarrassment of riches this year. Let’s look at some of the best of the best that gaming tech had to offer this year.
If VR is to ever take off, it needs a mass market friendly product- only the PlayStation VR, which is half the price of the higher end VR headsets, and which requires only a PS4 to run, meets that criteria. That it delivers a hell of a VR experience along the way somehow makes it even more impressive. If 2016 is the year of VR, then PlayStation VR is the face of VR in that year of VR.
Xbox One S
The original Xbox One is a bulky, ugly, unappealing console- with the Xbox One S, Microsoft have created a gorgeous, svelte, sexy system, that probably takes the crown for the best mid life slim revision for a console yet. Its incredible gains in how small it is, coupled with the new features it throws into the mix, such as HDR and UHD Blu Ray compatibility, make it the best Xbox One model out there- and one of the best consoles currently on the market.
The most powerful console ever made, the PS4 Pro is a marvelous bit of engineering that can see some great improvements to PS4 games if used right. Combine that with its ability to run PlayStation VR games even better, its ability to even achieve 4K on quite a few games, andits incredibly low price, and the PS4 Pro becomes a proposition too alluring to resist.
Nvidia GTX 1080
Nvidia released the follow up to their GTX 980 this year, and unlike last year, there was no controversy this time around about false advertising- just an incredibly fast, incredibly powerful, extremely well priced GPU that has become the standard, go-to GPU for anyone looking to build a PC gaming rig at the moment. Add in Nvidia’s exemplary driver support, and the GTX 1080 becomes hard to beat.
The VR war began in earnest earlier this year when Oculus Rift, the first consumer VR headset to be announced, launched at last. Oculus Rift is an amazing bit of technology, and it demonstrated the tantalizing possibilities that await in VR- once the format has been entirely mastered, that is.
Inarguably the best VR offering on the market, the Vive is the most expensive, but with good reason. It comes bundled with its room scale tracking solution, which is a legitimate game changer as far as VR goes. If VR is ever to truly tap into its latent potential, it will need the HTC Vive, or something like it, to be able to do so.
Nvidia GTX 1080
Every other entry in our list of nominees has some caveat or the other. Yes, the Xbox One S is great, but it still retains the Xbox One’s weakness in processing power. Yes, the PS4 Pro is great, but it lacks a UHD Drive. Yes, the VR headsets are great, but there’s no software to justify them yet. The only actual well rounded product on that list? The Nvidia GTX 1080, which has set a new standard for PC GPUs. Offering 4K compatibility for almost every major game, and debuting the new Pascal architecture, it is a great offering at an incredible cheap price and our Technology of the Year.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.