What comes to mind when someone mentions the term “gaming” to you? You probably immediately think of all the major gaming systems on the market, right?
Platforms like the PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and maybe even Nintendo’s WiiU. But there are tons of other gadgets and devices that fit into that world, some you might not have even heard of before.
There are consoles, games, controllers, peripherals and accessories, companion devices, apps, and much more. Out of all those categories, we’re going to take a look at some of the most compelling gaming gadgets you might find.
5. Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9
One facet of the gaming industry that is expanding in ridiculous proportions is mobile gaming. There are so many games out there for smartphones and tablets it’s not even funny. Some are good while others not so much. We can probably all agree on one thing though, touch-based controls are not all that great.
How many times have you played a mobile game and felt that it would benefit from a physical controller? Sure, you can always pick up a Bluetooth gamepad to sync up with your phone, but nothing compares to the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9.
It is a “hybrid” wireless controller that is designed to fold up so that’s it’s portable when you’re not using it and fill out to simulate a full-size gamepad when you are. It has a mount on the top of the controller too that can be adapted to fit any size smartphone, tablet or mobile device up to 7 inches. You can hook it up via Bluetooth to mobile phones or PC, whichever you prefer.
It ships out with a keyboard module that plugs into the bottom of the controller as a bonus. The module is strikingly similar to the chat pads you might see for Xbox or Playstation controllers. There’s an optional trackpad module to cover your mouse too if you’re connected to a PC.
The controller is $299 and is available now if you want one.
4. Smach Zero or Steamboy
This little gadget was originally named the Steamboy but has since been relabeled the Smach Zero. It’s a portable Steam Machine that’s akin to a PS Vita or one of the many Nintendo DS models. The idea behind it is you will be able to stream your PC games to the device — via Steam — from anywhere.
The company claims it is the “first handheld console to play Steam games on the go.” That is if you don’t count the Nvidia Shield or Shield tablet.
At launch, the Smach Zero will be compatible with “more than 1,000 games” through Steam. How, you ask? It’s all thanks to some decent hardware specs.
The Smach Zero is packing an AMD G-Series SoC “Steppe Eagle” with a Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon GPU, 4GB of RAM and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. There will also be a pro variant available that offers 4G mobile support. It will have 32GB of internal storage space, and there’s an SD card slot for when you run out.
The handheld is set to ship in the fourth quarter of 2016, and was available for pre-sale at $299. Apparently, after launch this thing will cost more than that, but there’s no telling by how much. Still, it’s all very alluring if you’re the kind of gamer who wants access to your Steam library from anywhere in your home, or outside it.
3. Sony PS4 Projector
If you’re going to be traveling or you just want a larger display than what you have currently, you might want to look into the Sony PS4 projector or MPCL1. It’s designed to be small and portable and can be hooked up to your PS4 via HDMI or Wi-Fi.
Now, the MPCL1 is not supposed to be a top of the line projection system — it can handle a maximum resolution of 1920×720 projected up to 120 inches — but it will work just fine for anyone that wants something portable. It has a brightness rating of 32 lumens, which isn’t all that great compared to the 200+ lumen projectors that are available.
The biggest issue is going to be price, since Sony is selling the MPCL1 mini-projector for $350. When all is said and done, that’s about the cost of a brand new PS4, so it’s just as much as the console. No doubt, some folks are going to find that price hard to swallow. When you compare it to the cost of even cheap projectors on the market, however, it’s not all that bad. A decent projector for home theater and gaming applications would cost you in excess of $700.
The Sony PS4 MPCL1 mini-projector is set to launch this October.
2. Razer Forge TV and Turret
The Razer Forge TV is a small Android gaming console and the Turret is a gaming mouse and keyboard designed for use in the living room. The Forge TV might not be anything special in terms of local gaming potential, however, it’s the use of Razer’s Cortex streaming software that makes it so enticing.
Like the Smach Zero, you’ll be able to stream your PC games to the Forge TV for playback anywhere in your home. This would essentially allow you to place your desktop in an office or man cave and then setup a remote gaming center elsewhere in your home. You don’t have to worry about giving up your mouse and keyboard either, because that’s where the Turret comes in handy.
As you’d expect, the Razer TV can also serve as a media playback device with support for a multitude of apps including Google Chromecast, Google services, YouTube, Plex, Crackle and more. There’s even an option to control the device remotely with a smartphone thanks to a compatible app.
It’s powered by a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Quad-Core (Krait 450) CPU and Adreno 420 GPU. It has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. In addition, you can connect it to your network using Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet and it also supports Bluetooth peripherals.
The Razer Forge TV bundle — which comes with the console and a Bluetooth controller — is $149.99. The Turret lapboard is $129.99 and must be purchased separately.
1. Virtuix Omni
With VR devices like Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and the HTC Vive — among many others — it’s beginning to seem like the time has truly come for virtual reality lovers. Of course, these headsets can only immerse you in the virtual worlds so much. They’ll track your head movements, envelope your senses and even take input from your hands or other parts of your body. That said, they will never truly make you feel like you’re moving or positioned in another world.
That’s where the Virtuix Omni comes into play. It is a virtual reality system that actually allows you to step into the virtual worlds you love, and even lets you walk and run in place. Currently, the device is only compatible with the Oculus Rift and PC games. In the future, it may be expanded to include console VR devices and additional equipment. We certainly hope so anyway!
The Virtuix Omni is $699 and comes with everything you need to get started, including the VR system, tracking software, a support harness and even unique footwear for use with the device. There’s no release date yet but it should be available sometime by the end of 2015.
You’ll need to purchase the Oculus Rift separately if you want to take full advantage of the Omni.