Is 4K Gaming Worth It?
The gaming industry has never stayed in one place for too long. New advancements and breakthroughs have constantly occurred, making gaming a fast-growing, ever-evolving form of media. The whole thing moves so fast that it can be hard to keep up sometimes, and it can also be quite expensive, leading many gamers to stop and ask themselves if the latest upgrades and enhancements are really worth the expense.
One of the latest big things in the gaming world is 4K gaming. Since the industry began, both game developers and gamers themselves have longed for the day when video games would look and feel just like real life. Graphics have come a long way, especially in recent years, and many people will stop at nothing to see the crispest visuals in the games they love. They’ll invest in cutting-edge components and elaborate gaming rigs just to get the highest fidelity graphics, but in the case of 4K is it really worth it?
Well, there’s no single answer to that question. As with many gaming dilemmas, the answer to this particular question depends on a lot of different factors. 4K gaming will definitely be worthy of an investment for some people, but it’ll be overkill for others. Not only that, but buying a 4K monitor without the right preparation can actually be disastrous, hampering your computer’s performance and ruining your gaming sessions.
This is why it’s vital to look at the issue from every possible angle before taking the plunge on 4K gaming. When it works and everything is set up nicely, it can be simply breathtaking, but there’s a lot more to 4K than simply buying a new monitor and hooking it up to your computer. To better understand this new screen style, let’s take a look at some simple pros and cons.
The Pros of 4K Gaming
The number one pro of investing in 4K gaming is simple: these high fidelity monitors can offer a truly exceptional visual experience that regular full HD screens simply can’t compete with. For many people, a big part of gaming is immersion. A lot of folks play games to lose themselves in a fantasy world, and it’s much easier to feel fully immersed in a game when it looks as good as it possibly can. There’s no better feeling than loading up a AAA game and being blown away by the visuals on your screen.
With each year that passes, game companies are finding new ways to push the limits of this medium and make their titles look even better than before. Graphical fidelity is always on the rise, and you only have to compare the beauty and detail of a modern title like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to a game from five or six years ago to see just how quickly the industry moves. And even though games have never looked better, there’s still room for improvement.
That brings us onto the second major advantage of 4K gaming: future-proofing. This is an important part of building a good gaming PC; it can often pay off to think a few steps ahead, investing in components that are going to serve you well for several years, rather than saving cash on low-cost hardware that might be outdated much more quickly. Even if 4K gaming isn’t all that relevant to you right now, it’s set to become the norm in the years to come, so it makes sense to consider buying a 4K monitor.
The Cons of 4K Gaming
So if 4K gaming is so wonderful, why isn’t everyone jumping on board with this new technology? Well, statistics show that an extremely low percentage of PC gamers have actually invested in 4K monitors. This is because that in spite of the obvious pros, there are plenty of troublesome cons when it comes to 4K gaming that you need to be aware of and consider before buying a monitor.
One of the first issues with 4K monitors is the price. When building a PC, many people tend to focus the majority of their budget on components like the processor and GPU, often leaving little cash left over for something like a monitor. With 4K monitors costing several hundred dollars and good quality full HD alternatives being found for $150 or less, it makes sense that many users just don’t want to hand over all that cash for the 4K experience.
And that’s not the only price issue when it comes to 4K gaming. Buying a monitor isn’t enough. You also need a PC that can handle it. In terms of GPU, for example, nothing less than a GeForce GTX 1070 will really be enough to run games in 4K. This means that if you do go out and buy a monitor, you might hook it up and find that your PC starts struggling, leaving you with two options: return the monitor or spend even more cash upgrading your rig.
Is 4K Gaming Right for You?
Given the various pros and cons of this technology, should you run out and buy a 4K monitor today? Well, the answer really depends on several different factors. By considering each of these factors and looking at your own needs, you can effectively decide whether or not 4K gaming is right for you. First of all, you need to look at the kinds of games you play and what you want to get out of them.
Are you more interested in AAA releases or do you play a wide variety of games, including highly popular eSports titles like Fortnite, PUBG, and Overwatch? These games are some of the most-played titles in the world right now, and the truth is that they don’t really benefit from 4K monitors at all. In fact, in some cases, like with PUBG, performance can actually worsen on higher resolution monitors and settings because the game just wasn’t optimized with 4K in mind.
This means that if you’re more of a competitive gamer, interested in getting the strongest gaming performance out of your machine to have the best chance of winning multiplayer matches, 4K will be more of a hindrance than a help. The same can be said if you’re someone who wants to stream their gameplay on sites like Twitch or YouTube; a 4K monitor will simply slow you down in most cases unless you have a really expensive gaming rig to support it.
Simply put, if you’re interested in hardcore, professional-grade gaming, there are better options out there right now. Unlike 4K, monitor features like G-Sync, FreeSync, and high refresh rates will actually improve gaming performance, giving you an edge over the competition, especially in FPS titles like Overwatch or CS:GO. Not only that, but these monitors are also often cheaper, so you can buy a good quality monitor with smart tech and a refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher for less than you’d spend on an entry-level 4K screen.
If, however, graphics are extremely important to you and you’re not as interested in jumping on board the pro gaming train, 4K could be a good choice. If you’ve got the processing power and GPU to support it and you really want to lose yourself in highly-detailed gaming worlds, 4K will help you do just that. In addition, as we mentioned earlier, it’ll also ensure that your system is future-proof as 4K is bound to start becoming more popular and important in years to come.
What About 4K Gaming on Consoles?
If you’re unsure about 4K gaming, trying it out on a console could be a good compromise. Microsoft and Sony have both released updated models of their current generation consoles: the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro. These consoles are limited to 60 frames per second and offer very different gaming experiences to a high-level PC, but they can at least give you an idea of what 4K gaming looks like and help you decide whether or not the additional graphical fidelity if worth the investment.
Of course, you’ll need a 4K TV for either of these consoles to run properly, but if you already have one, the consoles themselves can be found at decent prices. An Xbox One X or PS4 Pro will run modern releases like Rise of the Tomb Raider or Red Dead Redemption 2 in crisp 4K, allowing you to see just how good games can look at this kind of resolution. Some players don’t even notice much difference, whereas others are astonished by the upgrade, so it’s worth taking a look for yourself.
Who Should Invest in 4K Gaming?
As we’ve seen, 4K gaming isn’t for everyone, but it can make a lot of sense for certain people. Essentially, there are three major conditions that could make you want to invest in a 4K monitor and gaming rig to match:
- You play AAA games all the time and want to enjoy the very best graphics.
- You want to future-proof your machine.
- You already have a cutting-edge GPU and want to get the best results out of it.
If you meet one or more of these conditions, it starts making a lot of sense to consider investing in 4K gaming. New screen technologies often take a little time to catch on, and 4K has followed the same path. It was very expensive when it first game out, but the costs of monitors have dropped over time and more games are being developed with 4K in mind. If you want to enjoy these games on ultra-high graphical settings, 4K is the best way to go about it.