As wonderful as gaming laptops can be nowadays — and as many people as there are that own one — there’s no denying that traditional consoles still get more attention. This is due in some part to habit. People are simply used to discussing PlayStations, Nintendos, and Xboxes more than different varieties of laptops. However, it’s also due to some genuine improvements in the console class. Today’s top gaming consoles provide variety, incredibly high-end tech, and even portability, in some cases.
This is unlikely to change, at least in the foreseeable future. The main console providers are entrenched atop the gaming world, and there are no signs that they’re going anywhere. However, there are some developments that could conceivably boost gaming laptops, and make them even more popular.
1. A Game-Changing PC Exclusive
While it may not be entirely fair to say in an overarching sense, many gamers will agree that the realm of PC gaming has lacked game-changing exclusives. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of titles; numerous PC exclusives have made the rounds in the past decade, and several of them are quite good (we’re particularly partial to Total War Shogun 2 and Sid Meier’s Civ V). But they’re not the kinds of sensations that might persuade the average gamer to ditch the console and buy a laptop.
When you think of game-changing exclusives, you think of Nintendo’s Super Mario titles, or PlayStation’s God Of War series, or Halo on Xbox. When titles like that come to mind, it’s relatively clear that the PC medium hasn’t seen quite the same sensations (though some in the eSports orbit may disagree, pointing to games like Dota 2). This should be viewed more as an opportunity than anything else though. It’s possible that a fascinating new protagonist, a groundbreaking shooter or action game, or even a definitive series based on a beloved fictional franchise might draw people to gaming laptops the same way some of the aforementioned titles have drawn them to major consoles.
The best bet? Who knows, but in our estimation, a big, beautiful Game Of Thrones series — true to the story but distinctly better than the lackluster GoT games we’ve seen to date — could do the trick. For that matter, even a massive Harry Potter game could work; there really isn’t a go-to series based on the iconic tale, save for the LEGO games.
2. Legal Online Casino Games
Legal online casino games have been something of a distant dream for a lot of U.S. gamers for a long time now. While legislation can vary from one state to another, and there have been ebbs and flows regarding what’s allowed and what isn’t, most are used to the idea that internet casino games are mostly forbidden throughout the bulk of America. That might not be the case for too much longer though, and that could be a very good thing for the gaming laptop business.
Having taken root a few years ago, online casinos are growing steadily in New Jersey and generating a fairly massive amount of activity. A variety of available gaming platforms are providing all of the classic casino games (slots, blackjack, poker, and so on) to gamers throughout New Jersey — as well as to many who cross into the state specifically to play. Significant revenue has been generated for the state, more or less helping to prove two points: There’s a massive market for online casinos, and this market can make the state a lot of money.
This doesn’t guarantee that more states will embrace online casino activity. Politics come into play, and some states will be more resistant than others. However, if New Jersey’s success does inspire the rest of the nation, online casino gaming will become far more popular and far more widespread. And because the genre almost certainly won’t migrate to major consoles anytime soon, it could inspire more laptop gaming as well.
3. Direct Support For New VR
PCs. What may change, however, are the prices involved. Right now, the average gamer who has only loosely explored VR likely views PC/headset combinations as being very expensive. A high-end gaming PC can easily cost more than $1,000, and an accompanying headset like the HTC Vive can be another $700 or more. Soon though, gaming laptops supporting newer VR headsets may offer much more manageable prices.
As you’re likely aware, there are excellent gaming laptops for under $500 already. And in VR, a whole industry is working to provide more options at varying price points, so as to make more consumers comfortable buying in. It’s not just possible but fairly likely that a major company involved in VR will soon produce an affordable but high-powered headset that is directly tied to a given brand of a reasonably priced gaming laptop. This won’t necessarily drive a massive herd of gamers to switch to laptops, because there will be plenty of alternatives. If a laptop/headset combination proves to be one of the best affordable options on the market though, said laptop (or family of laptops perhaps) would certainly generate some attention.
As is, gaming laptop providers are doing just fine. There are innumerable games available, and plenty of gamers already prefer computers to consoles. Something like one of these developments, though — a smash hit title, the spread of casino games, or a VR breakthrough — could drive something of a laptop gaming revolution.