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Is It Safe to Buy Games From Steam? | MakeUseOf

Because Steam is the de facto marketplace for buying PC video games, chances are that you use it to buy at least some of your games. However, before buying from anywhere online, it's always wise to stop and ask whether an online store is safe.

Let's consider whether it's safe to buy games from Steam. We'll provide some reasons for Steam's security, plus consider some of the potential risks and how to avoid them.

Is It Safe to Buy Games From Steam?

In short: Yes, it is safe to buy video games from Steam. We'll provide some specific reasons why below, but let's think about the big picture first.

Steam stated that, in 2019, it had as many as 95 million monthly active users. At the time of writing, Alexa, which determines how popular a website is, ranked Steam at 398 globally (meaning only 397 websites in the entire world are more popular than Steam). And, Steam has been around since 2003 (though it started selling video games a bit later).

Obviously, such a major website is going to use industry-standard security measures to protect your information. If it wasn't, someone would have surely exposed this by now, which would be a huge story.

In short, if you feel comfortable shopping at other reputable online stores like Amazon and eBay, you shouldn't have any worries about buying games from Steam. There's always a level of risk that one of these sites could be compromised and expose your information. But that's something you have to accept when buying online.

Reasons Why Steam Is Secure

Let's look at more specific ways that Steam is secure, if you aren't convinced by the above fundamentals.

1. Steam Uses HTTPS to Secure Purchases

When you buy a game on Steam through your browser or the Steam client, your purchase is as secure as any other website that uses modern HTTPS encryption. The information that you sent to Steam for your purchase, including your credit card info, is encrypted.

This means that anything sent to Steam's servers is unreadable to anyone who might intercept it. Only you and Steam can see the data.

For more on this, see our explanation of website security certificates.

2. Steam Lets You Buy With PayPal or Gift Cards

Even if you trust a website, you might want to avoid entering your credit card details into it. If someone steals the credit card info that you used on dozens of sites, removing the card from them all and trying to figure out where the intrusion happened is a pain.

Thankfully, Steam supports PayPal for purchases. This lets you sign into your PayPal account to buy games without ever providing your details to Steam. If you already trust PayPal with your payment info, there's no additional risk to using it on Steam. Just make sure you use a strong PayPal password to protect the sensitive details it holds.

If you don't use PayPal, there's another option for buying games on Steam. You can purchase physical Steam gift cards at stores like GameStop, Walmart, or drugstores. That way, you can pay cash in a store and then redeem the gift card on Steam.

If you do buy Steam gift card codes online, then ensure you do so from a reputable website, as you may find yourself entering your credit card details on a scam site, receiving a fake code, or never receiving a code at all.

3. Steam Provides Solid Security Tools

We've established that Steam purchases are safe. However, that's not the only aspect of security—you don't want someone to break into your account and take it over for themselves.

This is why Steam offers Steam Guard, a security feature to keep your account for your use only. It's a form of two-factor authentication: after entering your username and password, you'll also need to enter a code from your email or Steam mobile app to log in.

Like most services, Steam also lets you add your phone number to your account. This makes it easier to get back in if anything happens, like forgetting your password or having your account compromised.

The Steam client also updates on its own, which goes a long way in keeping it secure. Check out our intro to Steam security to learn more.

4. Steam Offers Generous Refunds

Another aspect of "safety" that you might not consider is whether you'll regret buying games from Steam. It's no fun to pay for a game and then realize you hate it after playing for an hour or two.

Steam has your back if this happens for any reason. Whether your PC can't run the game or you just decide you don't like it, all you have to do is reach out to get a refund. As long as you ask for the refund within two weeks of buying the game and have played it for less than two hours, the company will honor it.

Check the Steam Refunds page for more details. The company states that it will still take a look at refund requests that fall outside the rules, so it's worth it next time you buy a game and don't love it.

Steam Security Issues to Watch Out For

While Steam itself is secure for the reasons we've discussed, there are still some security concerns to watch out for as a Steam user.

1. Beware Steam Scams

Like any legitimate platform, malicious actors impersonate Steam regularly. Using phishing and other tricks, they want to steal access to your account. It's important that you're able to recognize and avoid these scams.

Never provide your Steam credentials to anyone, even if they claim to be from the company. Avoid websites that claim to sell cheap keys for Steam games and prompt you to log in with your account, as they are likely phony. Don't click on random links that people send you in messages, and don't add people you don't trust as Steam friends.

Also, be careful when downloading game-related files; you should only do so from trusted sources. Malware designed to compromise your account could be disguised as a game hack or mod.

See a list of common Steam scams on Reddit to familiarize yourself with major fakes.

2. Practice Good Account Security

If your Steam account isn't properly secured, it will be much easier for someone to break into it. Make sure you set a strong and unique password for your Steam profile. We recommend using a password manager so you don't have to juggle these manually.

It's vital to keep the email account linked to your Steam profile secure, too. If someone gets into your email, they can reset passwords for all your other accounts. Take a moment to make sure you're following proper email security: have a strong password and two-factor authentication set up for your email account.

3. Use Steam on Secure Computers Only

Finally, you shouldn't access your Steam account on any devices that you don't trust. While the chance of attack this way is fairly low, you still shouldn't sign into Steam on random computers or purchase games on a network connection that you don't trust.

You never know if someone has a keylogger or other malware on their computer, or if a network is compromised. When you want to buy a Steam game or check something on your account, stick to trusted devices.

Steam Is Safe for PC Gamers

Hopefully you're now convinced that Steam is a safe place to buy games. Your payment details are shielded by encryption, there are several security tools to protect your account, and you can refund anything to avoid purchase regret.

As long as you steer clear of Steam scams and practice common-sense security, you shouldn't ever need to worry about security on Steam. Now you can pick up some games at a discount and get to playing!

Image Credit: wk1003mike/Shutterstock

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The 7 Best Mini PCs for Gaming

You don't need a massive gaming rig to play the latest video games on ultra-settings. You can purchase a mini gaming PC instead, packed with the same high-spec hardware as a regular gaming desktop.

So, if the size is a concern or you demand portability from your gaming PC, you should check out the best mini PCs for gaming.

Premium pick

1. Corsair ONE i164

9.80 / 10
Read Reviews

The Corsair ONE i164 is an impressive tiny gaming system. The Corsair One i164's Intel Core i9-9900K is an eight-core 3.6GHz CPU, one of the best consumer CPUs on the market at the time of writing.

Working with the 9900K is an 11GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, backed up with a whopping 32GB DDR4 RAM. One of the things that sets the Corsair ONE i164 aside from other mini PCs is the integrated liquid cooling system.

Corsair builds the ONE series of mini PCs with high and ultra-level quality gaming leading the design, and it shows. The ONE i164 packs in the external connections too. It features three DisplayPort, one VR-ready HDMI, two USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen 1, and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A and Type-C).

While this computer's physical size is in line with other mini PCs, it uses the more familiar desktop PC format. So, rather than a compact box on your table, you can put the smaller desktop tower instead.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i9 CPU
  • Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti GPU
  • Compact Mini-ITX
  • RGB lighting
Specifications
  • Brand: Corsair
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K
  • Storage: 960GB M.2, 2TB HDD
  • Ports: 1x VR-Ready HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.1 G1, 2x USB 3.1 G2, 2x USB 2.0
Pros
  • Powerful hardware
  • Excellent gaming benchmarks
  • Heaps of ports
Cons
  • Liquid cooling system makes a small audible noise
Editors choice

2. Zotac Gaming Mek Mini

9.00 / 10
Read Reviews

The Zotac Gaming Mek Mini is a VR-ready mini gaming PC that'll fit nicely on any desk. It'll look sharp, too, with dual programmable Spectra 2.0 RGB lighting strips on the front of the case, bringing some extra style to the package.

Inside, the Mek Mini hosts a decent Intel Core i5-9400F, a 2.9GHz six-core processor with up to 4.1GHz boost. There's also 16GB DDR4 RAM, along with a 240GB NVMe SSD and 1TB HDD. The dual drive combination is handy for keeping your operating system on the SSD and your games on the HDD.

In terms of ports, the Mek Mini finds space for one HDMI port, three DisplayPort, four USB 3.1, one USB 3.0 Type-C, one USB 3.0, an SD Card slot. There are also two Ethernet ports for extra networking and connectivity.

One thing the Zotac Gaming Mek Mini does well is ventilation. With all that tech packed into a small case, hardware can become hot. However, the Mek Mini uses a 360-degree ventilation system to keep cool, drawing in and circulating air from each side of the case.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i5 CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • SSD & HDD
  • RGB lighting
Specifications
  • Brand: Zotac
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9400F
  • Storage: 240GB NVME SSD, 1TB HDD
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.0, SD Card
Pros
  • Includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Lots of hardware cooling
  • Two types of storage
  • Excellent gaming performance to price

The Intel NUC 8 Hades Canyon is a powerful mini PC for gaming—although you should note that it is not the latest generation of Intel NUC. However, the CPU and GPU combination make the NUC 8 Hades Canyon worth your consideration.

The Intel NUC 8 Hades Canyon uses an Intel Core i7-8809G, a quad-core 3.1GHz CPU, with onboard Intel HD Graphics 630. However, you don't have to use the onboard graphics for gaming, as the NUC 8 Hades Canyon also packs in an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH discrete graphics card.

The RX Vega M GH offers similar performance to the Nvidia GeForce 1060, allowing for some decent gaming at 1080p. The NUC 8 Hades Canyon also features one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, two Mini DisplayPort, and two HDMI ports.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i7 CPU
  • Radeon RX Vega M GL GPU
Specifications
  • Brand: Intel
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8705G
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Ports: 2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort1x USB 3.1 G2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 G2 Type-A, 4x USB 3.1 G1 Type-A
Pros
  • Powerful CPU
  • Slimline design
Cons
  • GPU specifications are the PC's weak point

As far as aesthetics go, the MSI Trident X is up there with the best looking mini gaming PCs. The Trident X looks similar to a modern gaming console, standing tall on your desktop or next to your TV. Throw in some RGB lighting effects and a nicely crafted case, and you have a visual winner.

But gaming is about what's on the inside of the case. And in the MSI Trident X setup, you'll find a top of the line Intel Core i7-10700KF, an eight-core 3.6GHz beast. Working alongside the CPU is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, which comes with 8GB GDDR6 RAM.

Finally, the Trident X has a whopping 32GB DDR4 RAM, future-proofing your mini gaming PC for the medium-to-long term. In terms of connectivity, you'll find a Thunderbolt 3 port, three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, and three USB 2.0 Type-A ports.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i7 CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU
  • RGB lighting
Specifications
  • Brand: MSI
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10700KF
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD, 2TB SSHD
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.2 G1 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, 3x USB 2.0 Type-A
Pros
  • Powerful CPU from Intel 10th gen
  • VR-Ready
  • Awesome case
Cons
  • Tall case
  • Console-style design won't please everyone

The HP Pavilion 690-0073w is a capable mini gaming PC with VR potential. It doesn't cost the moon, which is a great start. The case is decent, too, with a striking green highlight to offset the brushed metal effect, with the same green tone featuring throughout.

Onto the hardware, the bits you want know about. Powering the 690-0073w is an Intel Core i5-9400F, a 2.9GHz six-core processor with up to 4.1GHz boost—the same as the Zotac Gaming Mek Mini. However, there is only 8GB DDR4 RAM in the 690-0073w, leaving it a little under-powered for resource-intensive applications, such as VR or 3D design work.

Connectivity-wise, the 690-0073w is decent enough. There is one HDMI port, one DisplayPort, one DVI-D port, two USB 3.1 ports, and 4 USB 2.0 ports.

All in all, the HP Pavilion 690-0073w isn't a world-beater, but you'll undoubtedly play most of the latest games towards the top end of the graphics spectrum.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i5 CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU
Specifications
  • Brand: HP
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9400F
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x DVI-D, 2x USB 3.1 G1, 4x USB 2.0
Pros
  • Nice case
  • Decent GPU
Cons
  • Not much RAM

The HP ProDesk 405 is an AMD-powered mini gaming PC with a similar style to a set-top cable box. Okay, it is slightly more appealing than your old cable box, but it certainly won't win any awards, with the black and silver design fitting in with HP's range of off-the-shelf PC designs.

Powering the ProDesk 405 is an AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE, a quad-core 3.2GHz CPU, which is decent enough. The AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE comes bundled with the AMD Radeon Vega 11 onboard graphics.

Again, the Radeon Vega 11 is decent enough but not world-beating, allowing some 1080p gaming at reasonable specs for games that are a few years old. Still, this is one of the more affordable options out there if you're looking for a space-saving mini PC but still want to jump into more than a few PC gaming sessions.

Key Features
  • AMD Ryzen 5 CPU
  • AMD Radeon Vega 11 GPU
Specifications
  • Brand: HP
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 11
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Ports: 2x DisplayPort, 5x USB 3.1
Pros
  • Decent gaming performance to price point
  • Compact, space-saving design
Cons
  • Not much RAM

The Zotac Magnus Mini Creatora is a mini gaming PC powerhouse. Under the hood, the Mini Creator packs a mighty six-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H, along with the 8GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080. Out of the box, the Mini Creator comes with 8GB RAM, although this is upgradeable up to 32GB DDR4 RAM.

The Intel Core i7-9750H is a power-efficient CPU with a thermal design power rating of 45W. The 9750H also features integrated UHD Graphics 630, which you can use to take the load off of the discrete GPU for further power savings. The Zotac Magnus Mini Creator includes two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, and a handy SD card slot.

This mini PC is ideal for gaming, but it is well-suited to other creative tasks as well. The high-performance processor allows you to perform intensive functions like photo and video editing, 3D animation, and you can even use it to stream your gaming sessions. That's not to mention that it's capable of handling home theater media centers, too.

Key Features
  • Intel Core i7 CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
  • Up to 32GB of RAM
Specifications
  • Brand: Zotac
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD
  • Ports: 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C, 1x SD Card
Pros
  • Powerful hardware combination
  • Excellent GPU
Cons
  • Not much RAM for this price point

FAQ

Q: Is a Mini PC Good for Gaming?

Of course! The size of the case doesn't matter—it's what inside that counts. The mini gaming PC options on this list include powerful CPU and GPU combinations, with some including up to 32GB RAM.

Q: Is a Mini Gaming PC Portable?

Yes, definitely. As most mini gaming PCs are small in stature, you can easily pop one in a backpack to take elsewhere. You still need a monitor, mouse and keyboard, and power outlet, but a mini gaming PC is infinitely more portable than a regular desktop computer.

Q: Are Mini PCs Upgradable?

That depends on the model. Some mini PCs for gaming come in a sealed case and are not designed with upgrades in mind. That said, that doesn't mean you cannot upgrade them. Finding the right components for an upgrade is another issue.

The most significant indicator as to the ease of upgrading comes from the case. A mini gaming PC such as the Corsair ONE i164 comes in a Mini-ITX case that you can open. Therefore, you can theoretically switch out the hardware (depending on the terms of your warranty).

Q: Can I Build a Mini Gaming PC?

Absolutely. There are various form factors when it comes to PC building. Mini-ITX is the smallest size viable for gaming at the time of writing. There are smaller options, such as the Nano- and Pico-ITX, but both restrict the hardware you can use, particularly the GPU and case size.

If you search for Mini-ITX builds on a PC building site such as PCPartPicker, you'll find many excellent mini gaming PC examples.

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The 7 Best PS4 Controllers to Buy This Year | MakeUseOf

The PlayStation 4 has a great range of games and an equally impressive range of controllers for playing them.

Whether you're looking for something more affordable than the official controller, or you want to splash out for a more luxurious model, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

Here are the best PS4 controllers available today.

If you're on the hunt for something even better than the official PS4 controller, the Piranha Performance Chrome Gold PS4 Controller is your best choice. Piranha Performance takes Sony's DualShock 4 controllers and modifies them to look amazing.

As a result, when you buy one of these controllers, you get all the functionality and reliability of an official product while also having that unique flair that comes with purchasing a third-party model.

Of course, for this product model to be profitable, the controllers have to be sold at a higher price than Sony's own. However, if you're looking for a premium controller either for yourself or a loved one, it's worth the extra money!

Key Features
  • Chrome Gold shell and available in 13 other colors
  • Uses the Sony DualShock controller as a base
Specifications
  • Brand: Piranha
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 6 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: No
Pros
  • Durable and familiar design
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Supports all standard DualShock features
Cons
  • Aesthetic changes only, no added features compared to DualShock controller
Editors choice

2. Sony DualShock 4

9.20 / 10
Read Reviews

The Sony DualShock 4 is the official controller for the PlayStation 4. As such, it's a perfect choice if you don't want to gamble with third-party controllers. Suppose you're concerned that an unofficial controller won't have Bluetooth compatibility or work on PC. In that case, you're better off getting the official one to make absolutely sure it has all the features you need.

The primary sticking point with the DualShock 4 is the price. Third-party manufacturers offer alternatives at a much lower cost, which leaves the official controller looking like an unnecessary expense. However, given that it integrates seamlessly with the PlayStation 4, it might be worth the investment.

Key Features
  • Sony's official PlayStation 4 controller
  • Comes in a wide range of colors
  • Can be used in wireless or wired mode
Specifications
  • Brand: Sony
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 6 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: No
Pros
  • Can be used for PC and mobile gaming
  • Low response time
Cons
  • More expensive than alternatives
  • Controller colors and designs aren't as interesting as third-party options

The GEEKLIN Wireless Controller isn't the cheapest controller on the market, but it does give you the best bang for your buck. It contains all the much-wanted features that the official controller has, such as a gyroscope, touchpad, and vibration.

However, despite its already-great price, the GEEKLIN controller also innovates. On the back of the controller, where your fingers usually rest, are L3 and R3 buttons. These buttons act the same as when you push the analog sticks in but are a lot easier to push.

On top of all this, the controller itself feels very well-made. It's just the right weight, and the plastic doesn't feel brittle or cheap. You might even mistake this for the DualShock 4 at first!

Key Features
  • L3 and R3 buttons on the back
  • Features a gyroscope and touchpad
Specifications
  • Brand: GEEKLIN
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 4 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: Yes
Pros
  • Affordable when compared to the alternatives
  • Premium-feel at affrodable price
Cons
  • Short, four-hour battery life

Many third-party controllers tend to only work correctly with a PS4, and on PC if you're lucky. The PICTEK PS4 Controller, however, can work with PS4, PS3, PC, and Android devices. You'll need a USB cable to play on an Android device, but the option is there!

This controller also has a turbo button, which many controllers don't have. This rapidly inputs a specific button press over and over, so you can continuously perform an action without wearing out your thumbs.

This model comes equipped with DualShock-standard features, like vibration, a touchpad, and a 3.5mm jack for wired headsets.

Key Features
  • Works with PS4, PS3, PC, and Android
  • Features a turbo button
  • Fully-functional touchpad
Specifications
  • Brand: PICTEK
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 16 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: Yes
Pros
  • Features pleasing backlights on the face buttons
  • Better battery life than the DualShock controller
  • Comfortable to hold
Cons
  • Buttons are initially quite hard, but break in over time

Often, when you buy a third-party controller, it doesn't come with every single feature on the official controller. For example, a controller may feel good to play games with but won't have a touchpad. Some of the more feature-packed controllers still miss details such as the gyroscope in the PS4 controller.

The TopACE PS4 Controller, however, does not have this problem. You name it, it has it; a gyroscope, touchpad, HD vibration, and a Share button. All this comes at a price point that's quite a bit less than the official controller.

However, this controller doesn't stop there. It does have some handy features not found on official controllers, such as a no-slip grip on the sides and a larger battery. As such, this is the best controller that's one-to-one with the official product but without the high price tag.

Key Features
  • Has a built-in gyroscope
  • Features anti-slip grips on the sides
Specifications
  • Brand: TopACE
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 10 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: No
Pros
  • Near-identical to the official product
  • Nicely textured anti-grip on the handles and sticks
Cons
  • Can't perform precise movements in FPS games

If you don't mind sacrificing a few features for a great price, try the ROTTAY Wired Controller. As the name suggests, it has no wireless functionality and has to be plugged into the console directly. It also doesn't have a gyro, a touchpad, or an audio jack.

However, if you don't mind excluding these features, there's a lot to love. The 6.5-foot cable is longer than the DualShock's USB cord, making it perfect for stretching all the way to the couch. Its stylish buttons and sleek design make it very aesthetically pleasing.

Finally, the ROTTAY controller is one of the cheapest on the market. For the same price as an official controller, you can buy multiples of the ROTTAY. This makes it an excellent choice for expanding a controller collection for friends and family to play along, all without breaking the bank.

Key Features
  • 6.5-foot cable
  • Integrated light bar
Specifications
  • Brand: ROTTAY
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: No
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Headset Support: No
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: No
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Unique, wired designs
Cons
  • No audio jack
  • Sticks aren't very sensitive

If you're after the sleekest controller on the market, it's hard to beat the TERIOS controller. It uses a modern, smooth design in different colors, so you can choose the one that calls to you the most. It also has additional buttons for easier gameplay, such as L3 and R3 buttons on the back.

Its ergonomic design and materials make it a comfy fit within your hands.
The TERIOS can connect wirelessly, but it has a spotty performance. As such, this controller is best used when you wire it directly into the console. Despite this, its competitive price makes this controller a solid choice for those on a budget.

Key Features
  • Features L3 and R3 buttons on the back
  • Comes in four colors
Specifications
  • Brand: TERIOS
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Battery: 4 hours, rechargeable
  • Connectivity: Wireless, wired
  • Headset Support: No
  • Programmable: No
  • Extra Buttons: No
Pros
  • Feels comfortable to hold
  • Unique and aesthetically-pleasing designs
Cons
  • Inconsistent wireless performance

FAQ

Q: Why Are PS4 Controllers so Expensive?

You'll notice that the official PS4 controller comes in at a higher price than most third-party offerings. This is due to a combination of factors.
First, some third-party controllers will skimp on the features that a regular PS4 controller would have.

Also, PS4 controllers are built to last a long time. Third-party controllers may only last one or two years, but a PS4 controller can keep going for much longer. As such, while PS4 controllers are pricier, they'll likely stick around for years to come.

Q: How Many Controllers Do You Need for the PS4?

The PS4 requires one controller per player. If you intend for only one person to play on the PS4, then one controller will do just fine. However, as soon as you want to play multiplayer games and add more people, you need to get a controller for each player.

This is why third-party controllers are so appealing to people. If you have a bunch of friends or family who want to play along with you, buying many official controllers can get pricey. However, getting third-party controllers helps save a lot of money.

Q: Are Knock-Off PS4 Controllers Good?

As with other electronics, you'll find variable quality among third-party PS4 controllers. Some models closely emulate the official controller, but others may feel cheap, lack features, or break after a short period.

As such, it's important to research the third-party controllers before purchase. You should consider whether it has the features you want, if it comes with vibration, and if there is a touchpad included. It's also worth checking out user reviews to see how the controller fares in the real world.

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Garmin Releases Instinct Smartwatch Made for Gamers | MakeUseOf

Garmin has shown off a new version of its popular Instinct smartwatch on Garmin.com, and this time, it's especially targeted at gamers. While most smartwatches come packed with features designed for running, hiking, and biking, the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition comes with perfect features for gaming and streaming.

What Is the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition?

The main selling point of the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition is the gaming features. After all, if you buy a watch with Esports Edition in the name, it better come with tracking modes designed for hardcore game sessions. As such, Garmin offers a dedicated esports activity function that can track and analyze heart rate and stress during gaming sessions.

Outside of the immediate information, the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition can offer a long-term trend analysis, which could help high-level gamers improve their skills. After all, if you know in which situations you need to calm down, you can improve focus there over the long haul.

Those tracking features can be useful for just about anyone who plays competitive games, but Garmin is also introducing a new tool called STR3AMUP (yes, that's how the company spelled it). With it, streamers can actually incorporate their biometric data into their broadcasts. This is actually really cool, as it not only lets viewers experience what the streamer is playing, but it provides a glimpse into how they're actually feeling.

Outside of the gaming-specific features, this watch comes with all the original Garmin Instinct smartwatch's tracking and features. That means it'll track heart rate, sleep, stress, and Body Battery Energy (which is a mixture of various metrics).

Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of sales, spoke about the value of this data for gamers. He said, "Players can also use Instinct’s data to make adjustments in their daily lives, whether it be altering sleep patterns or activity levels, which can result in increased cognitive and physical performance during play."

Another thing that makes the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition worth a look is the battery life. The company says that it will get up to 80 hours of battery life in esports mode and up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, which is quite nice if you plan to use it to track your sleep.

When Can You Buy the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition?

Garmin actually made its new gaming smartwatch available right now from Garmin.com, so you don't have to wait to snag one. It retails for $299.99, which is right around what we'd expect from a smartwatch with this sort of feature set.

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6 Things to Consider Before Buying a PS5 | MakeUseOf

It's tempting to pick up a new game console right at launch or shortly after; being one of the first to check out everything when it's brand new is exciting. But before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a PlayStation 5, you should ask yourself whether it's the right move for you.

Here are several factors to consider before you purchase a PS5.

1. Can You Afford It?

Before you buy anything, you should of course consider the price. The PS5 is available in two models: a standard edition with a disc drive for $500, or a digital-only model for $400. Neither one is cheap enough to buy on impulse.

Even if you can afford the console itself, don't forget about the additional expenses associated with the upgrade. The PS5 comes with a pack-in demo called Astro's Playroom, but that won't keep you occupied for long. As we know that next-gen games will cost up to $70, buying a few titles for your new PS5 will greatly increase the initial cost.

Games aren't the only extra outlay, either. You might want to upgrade your headphones, buy a second DualSense controller for multiplayer ($70), or get a charging stand for those controllers. You should figure those into your budget for the system too.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About the PlayStation 5

Depending on how many extras you want to buy, that initial $500 price tag could easily climb up to $600 or more. To help offset this cost, you might consider trading in your PlayStation 4 and putting the cash towards a PlayStation 5. To help with this, many trade-in sites offer a price-lock period (sometimes up to 30 days) once you get a quote.

That way, you can get an idea of how much your PS4 is worth, and aren't committed to trading it in if you change your mind.

2. Are You Done Playing PlayStation 4 Games?

The PS4 is home to tons of great games. If you picked up the system partway through its lifespan, chances are that you haven't had a chance to play them all. Thus, you should next consider if you have PS4 games you still want to check out.

When you get a PlayStation 5, you might have to move your PlayStation 4 from your entertainment center to make room for the new system. If this requires you to unplug the PS4 or constantly switch cables, you might not want to go back to playing PlayStation 4 games.

Having tons of PS4 games to play means you can enjoy great games for months or even years before needing to upgrade to a PS5. Those older games are still perfectly playable even with a new console out. Plus, as PS4 titles get older, you can pick them up at a discount compared to brand-new PlayStation 5 games.

Another factor to keep in mind is that the PlayStation 5 is backwards-compatible with almost all PlayStation 4 games. Sony's page on PS5 backwards compatibility confirms that all but a handful of games will work both on disc and digitally. It also states that you can use PS4 controllers to play PS4 games on PS5, and that PS4 external hard drives will work on PS5.

Also be aware that there are plenty of great games on PlayStation Now from the PS4, PS3, and PS2. PS Now will be available on the PlayStation 5, and is also playable on PC, so you can subscribe to that service if you want to catch up on past titles you missed. PlayStation Plus owners will also get access to the PlayStation Plus collection, offering some of the top PS4 titles at no additional charge.

So if you only have a few PlayStation 4 games you want to play, trading in your PS4 towards a PS5 could be a good move.

3. Are You Excited by the Launch Titles?

Historically, console launch offerings haven't been super exciting. There are usually one or two standout games that release alongside annual sports titles, cross-generation games from the previous system, and other generally unremarkable games as developers get to grips with the new hardware.

This means that you aren't missing much if you skip the PS5 at launch. One of the standout games is Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, arriving with the console. However, this game is also coming to PS4, so you can play it on current hardware.

Have a look at Wikipedia's list of PS5 games (sort by release date to see which games are launch titles). If any of them really excite you and are PS5-exclusive, then the console might be worth getting at launch. But otherwise, there will be many new games released over the following months and years that are far better.

4. Waiting Gets You Better Deals

Early adopters get the short end of the stick in several ways. When you buy a console at launch, you pay the maximum price to get a console with no extras and a paltry selection of games. If there are any hardware issues or bugs at launch, you have to put up with them.

Contrast this with buying a console a few years into its lifetime. At this stage, it's common to see price drops, a minor revision that makes the console smaller and fixes any issues with the original release, and bundles offering some of the best games packaged in. So if you wait, you can get a slightly enhanced console for less money that has a ton of games to choose from.

Waiting a few years to get a PlayStation 5 could be tough, as you watch all the new games that you can't play coming out. It's up to you whether this is worth jumping in right away for or not.

5. Is the PlayStation 5 Even Right for You?

Don't forget that the PlayStation 5 isn't the only gaming system available. Microsoft's next-gen consoles, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, launch a few days before the PS5. And you always have the option of building a gaming PC, too.

If you're a PlayStation fan, the decision is probably easy. But don't discount the other choices. The Xbox Series S is a less powerful console, but it's available for $300. If you want next-gen gaming right away while spending as little as possible, that could be a better option for you.

Both new Xbox consoles are backwards-compatible with loads of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games. If you're interested in bygone Xbox games, the new Xbox might be a better fit. And if you also play on PC, the Xbox Game Pass provides great value.

And while you can build a decent gaming PC for the cost of a PlayStation 5, you can put a lot more money into that project if you like. PC gaming has a lot of benefits, such as more control options, better graphical performance, and free multiplayer. If you're not sold on the PS5, perhaps this would be a good time to try PC gaming.

6. You Might Not Be Able to Get a PlayStation 5 Right Away

At the time of writing, PlayStation 5 pre-orders are sold out pretty much everywhere. People snapped the initial offerings up from retailers very quickly after pre-orders went live, and there's no guarantee that another wave will become available before the system's launch.

As a result, you may have difficulty finding a PS5 for purchase at launch or even shortly after. Keep this in mind so you aren't disappointed when you go to the store to purchase a PS5 and find they don't have any.

You'll have to check in regularly with your favorite sites to score one.

Carefully Consider Buying a PlayStation 5

We're not here to discourage you from buying a PS5. It's fun to buy a console at launch, and there are lots of great announced games coming to the console soon. But before you jump in, consider the points above to decide if it's best to buy one right away.

Maybe you've decided to skip both systems for now. In that case, why not consider a portable game console instead?

Image Credit: charnsitr/Shutterstock

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8 Questions to Ask Before Buying an Xbox Series X | MakeUseOf

The launch of a new console generation is always an exciting time. There are usually a couple of options to choose from, each with their pros and cons. This time around, there are four routes you can take.

Not only are Microsoft and Sony both releasing new consoles, but they also each have two different models to choose from. Microsoft has the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and Sony has the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.

This article is for anyone thinking about buying an Xbox Series X. Read on before purchasing...

1. How Much Is the Xbox Series X?

A new console is a big investment. It’s something that should last for years, whether you’re constantly using it or just dropping in for a few online games here and there. The Xbox Series X is currently priced at $499.

You don’t necessarily have to pay that much upfront though. The Xbox Series X seems to be all about choice. So, if you can’t afford the initial outlay then Xbox All Access may be the better option for you.

At a cost of $34.99/month over 24 months, you’ll get an Xbox Series X with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate included. The best part of this financing offer is that you don’t end up paying more than if you bought the console outright and paid for Game Pass separately.

2. How Big Is the Xbox Series X?

One common factor amongst the new flagship consoles is their sheer size, which might put you off at first. At 11.8 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches (compared to the Xbox One X’s 11.8 x 9.5 x 2.4 inches), the console is a little chunkier than you’d think. It might even struggle to fit into some entertainment units.

The size is more than likely due to airflow---such impressive power will need plenty of room for cooling; otherwise, that big, expensive new purchase will quickly become a big, expensive paperweight.

You need to consider the space you have and how you can fit the new console into it without it dominating the room. Will you keep it horizontal, or will it fit snug when stood vertically behind your TV?

3. Are There Any Good Xbox Series X Games?

Every new console launch needs a strong line-up of exclusives to show off the power under the hood. Unfortunately, this is one area where Microsoft is lacking right now.

Titles like NBA 2K21 and Fortnite are preset, but these are also available on last-gen consoles, as well as the PS5. Halo Infinite looks promising, but has been delayed into 2021.

The "launch window" paints a brighter picture, with Tetris Effect: Connected and The Medium due before Christmas. However, both are timed exclusives, so will eventually end up on other consoles.

Thankfully, the Smart Delivery system is a fantastic initiative. This clever idea means that certain Xbox One games will get free upgrades to the Series X version. All you’ll need to do is put the disc in and you’ll get an upgrade patch. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will use this service, as well as Cyberpunk 2077.

4. Have You Finished Your Backlog of Games?

The dreaded backlog of games isn’t as much of a factor as you’d think this time around. Microsoft spent a lot of time making Xbox 360 and some OG Xbox games compatible on Xbox One. They’re set to continue this with the Xbox Series X.

It’s already been confirmed that Microsoft is aiming for full backwards compatibility with Xbox One games. You can select which games to download from your dashboard for any digitally-owned games, while physical gamers just need to insert the disc and download a patch.

Older games can also take advantage of the extra grunt behind the Series X. Shorter load times are a given, and some titles will automatically add HDR support.

Saves carry over through the cloud too, so your 300-hour Skyrim save won’t be lost to the ether.

5. What Is the Xbox Game Pass?

This is the real jewel in Microsoft’s crown and something that you can’t get on other consoles. The Xbox Game Pass allows you to download and play more than 100 titles any time you like for a set monthly fee.

It’s a fantastic way to experience lots of different genres, and because new games are constantly being added (with others removed, admittedly), you’ll probably never run out of things to play.

It’s not just indie games either. If you’re looking for a racer, it’s there. Shooters? They’re there. Platformers, fighting games, horror? All there. If you don't know where to start, our article lists the best games on Xbox Game Pass.

All of Microsoft’s first-and-second-party titles hit the service on launch day, and big-budget blockbusters are always showing up. The recent acquisition of Bethesda means we might get the legendary developer's best games included. And EA Play is also being rolled into the service too.

After dropping $499 on a new console, Game Pass is a fantastic way to save a little extra cash while you’re waiting for some big new games to release.

6. Can I Play Xbox Games on My Phone?

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers more than just the ability to play a ridiculous amount of games. If it’s the kids’ turn to play, you can head to your PC and play Game Pass titles there while they take over the console.

In the middle of an epic single-player adventure and need to head out into the real world? Just take your Android smartphone and your Xbox controller and you can carry on playing through the xCloud service while you’re out and about.

While there’s currently no way to access the service through iOS, Microsoft is hoping to sneak xCloud onto the App Store, so this should also be an option soon.

Basically, as long as you have a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate and a decent internet connection, you’ll have a way to play. But this also means you don’t necessarily need to buy the actual console.

7. Will My Old Peripherals Work on the Xbox Series X?

You can use your Xbox One controllers---as well as other peripherals---on the Xbox Series X. This is another great idea from Microsoft and one that could help bring the initial cost down a little more.

Not only does this give your current controllers a longer lifespan, but it also means that you don’t have to buy a second (or third) Series X controller for when friends come over for a game of Madden. Couch co-op is possible from the minute you hook your new console up, provided you have a still-working Xbox One controller to use.

8. Is the Xbox Series S a Better Alternative?

Not every gamer needs the ridiculous amount of power Series X is offering. Not every gamer uses physical media anymore. In these situations, the Xbox Series S might be an alternative worth looking at.

With a launch price of $299, it’s the cheapest way to jump into the next generation of consoles, and still offers a lot of the same benefits of the Series X. There are obviously negatives to this option, though. You’ll have to give up a disc drive, and it won’t have the same capability as the flagship offering, so older games won’t be enhanced.

However, you’ll still be able to enjoy every game the Xbox Series X has to offer, as well as the fantastic Xbox Game Pass service, at a much lower initial cost.

Should You Buy an Xbox Series X?

If having the latest, greatest console doesn’t bother you, then no. At the moment, almost everything being released can also be played on Xbox One or elsewhere. Maybe it’s worth holding off for a little while or just dipping your toe into next-gen with the Series S.

However, if you want to get the most out of your new games, the Series X could be a smart investment. Plenty of titles are offering free upgrades with the Smart Delivery system, and Xbox Game Pass is only going to grow. So if you can afford a new Xbox, go for it.

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How to Create and Join Parties on Your PS4 | MakeUseOf

Creating or joining a party with your friends on PS4 used to be a pretty simple affair. However, in October 2020, Sony released system firmware version 8.00 for the PlayStation 4, which completely changed the way that parties work.

In this article, we explain the new setup and show you how to create and join parties on your PlayStation 4. It's still simple enough, just different than before firmware update 8.00 landed.

How to Create a Party on PlayStation 4

Once you're updated to version 8.00 of the PS4 system software, you'll still see the same Party icon at the top of the main menu. However, you can no longer create a party and simply leave it open for your friends to join as they wish.

Instead, on the Parties screen, you'll now likely see that there are no parties you can join. Select Start Party to create a new one.

When you do, you'll see the same list of your messages accessible on the Messages tab. The latest system update only allows you to create a party with a group of people you have an open message conversation with. Thus, you'll need to select a conversation to start a party with everyone inside.

If you want to start a party with a different combination of people or someone that you've never messaged before, you'll need to add those people to a new conversation.

Select Create Group at the top and you'll be able to add people through several methods on the left side, including scrolling through your list of All Friends, running a Search, or using a Custom List.

You can also start a party chat with an existing group without going through the Party screen. Open up an existing conversation with someone and select the Party option on the left side to begin party voice chat with them.

Once you're in the party, it works just like it did before, allowing you to chat with everyone inside no matter what game they're playing. Select Party Settings on the right-hand side to adjust a few options, including the balance of party chat and game audio.

Meanwhile, if someone invites you to a PS4 party using the above methods, you'll see a notification to join as you would have before firmware update 8.00 changed the way PS4 parties work.

A Tip for PlayStation 4 Parties

This move from Sony doesn't make a lot of sense, as the old party system worked just fine. The new setup is unnecessarily complicated and more restrictive, so the company will hopefully reverse the change before long.

Until then, there's one way to slightly improve this system: adding groups to your favorites, which is one of the essential PS4 organization features. Go into the Messages tab and find (or create) any conversation you expect you'll want to use for party chat often. While highlighting it, press Options and choose Add to Favorites.

Once you do this, the conversation will appear in the Favorites tab, which also appears when you're creating a new party through the Party menu. Having only your most important groups in the Favorites tab will reduce the clutter when you're trying to quickly start a party with your friends.

PlayStation 4 Parties Can Still Be Fun

Now, you should know how to create or join a party on your PlayStation 4 starting with system firmware 8.00. Unless Sony changes things back to the way they were.

Until then, there's no longer the option to create a private party or be in a party by yourself, so the update definitely removed some functionality. So the chances are that you'll be opening a lot more groups for the time being.

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Xbox Series X and S Will Feature Amazing Backward Compatibility

The Xbox series is the one to invest in if you care deeply about backward compatibility, and the new Xbox Series X and S are no different. If you like digging through your old favorites, you're going to want to hear what Microsoft has planned for its new consoles.

How Xbox Series X and S Backward Compatibility Works

You can learn more about how the enhanced backward compatibility works over on the Xbox Wire. While Microsoft wants its new consoles to play older games without a hitch, it also wants to enhance the classics further using new technology.

For one, the new consoles won't downclock to handle old games. Downclocking is when a system devotes only a portion of its resources to run old software. This means the powerful modern-day system specifications don't cause the software to run oddly.

However, the new Xbox Series X and S won't do this. Instead, it will use its powerful new technology to help older games load faster, run at a smoother framerate, and feature the best visual quality possible.

This will go so far as to allow older games to run at 60FPS when they could previously only manage 30FPS. For instance, the video below shows Fallout 4 running on an Xbox Series S at 60FPS.

Speaking of visual quality, the new Xbox consoles will retroactively apply high dynamic range (HDR) to old games. The technology is called "Auto HDR," which gives a post-release touch-up to all games developed before HDR's invention.

That's not to say that Microsoft is slapping new technologies onto a library of thousands of games and calling it a day. Microsoft has a team of backward-compatibility testers that have clocked in 500,000 hours on past titles to ensure they run smoothly on newer hardware.

Microsoft's Unique Trait in the Console Market

This may seem like a lot of effort to allow gamers to play older games, but Microsoft takes a unique stance compared to its competitors.

For example, some of the best games on PlayStation Now are older classics, but the service doesn't feature every game released on PlayStation consoles. Furthermore, Nintendo's habit of changing up its game storage media makes backward compatibility tricky.

As such, it makes sense for Microsoft to invest a lot of time and effort into its backward compatibility. While other consoles force its gamers to rebuy old games as remastered or emulated versions, Microsoft wants you to dig out your old Xbox library and play them without repurchase.

Looking Backward While Moving Forward With Xbox

If you're a big fan of rummaging through the attic for your old childhood favorites, Microsoft wants you to continue your hobby for years to come. When we get our hands on the next generation of Xbox consoles, hopefully, we won't be disappointed with the results.

Microsoft has always made it easy to play your old games on newer hardware. For instance, the Xbox One can run Xbox 360 games with the utmost ease.

Image Credit: Shuang Li / Shutterstock.com

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35 Common Gaming Terms You Should Know by Now | MakeUseOf

Like any hobby, gaming has its own set of terminology that will sound foreign to outsiders. If you've decided to get into video games and want to learn the jargon so you aren't confused by it anymore, you've come to the right place.

We'll explain common gaming terms to you in simple language. While many games and genres have their own lingo (some of these terms can even have different meanings depending on context), these general definitions will get you up to speed with essential gaming terms.

1. AAA (Triple-A)

AAA games refers to titles produced by large studios, such as Ubisoft or EA. They typically have large budgets and a lot of marketing surrounding them. AAA games contrast with "indie" titles, which are made by small development teams.

2. Adds

This term refers to "additional enemies" that appear during boss encounters. You typically have to balance taking care of adds and doing damage to the boss.

3. AFK

AFK stands for "away from keyboard." This means that a player is temporarily unavailable.

4. Bots

Bots, CPUs, and "computers" all refer to non-human opponents in multiplayer games. Some multiplayer titles let you play the game modes by yourself or with friends in local multiplayer against bots.

5. Buff/Nerf

A buff refers to a change that makes a character more powerful in some way. Conversely, a nerf is a change that reduces the character's power. These are typically used to refer to the balance among characters or weapons in online games.

6. Bullet Sponge

A bullet sponge refers to an enemy that takes an excessive amount of damage to kill (because it "sucks up" damage like a sponge). For instance, an enemy that you expect to go down with a few bullets which ends up taking several magazines to defeat is a bullet sponge.

7. Camping

Camping refers to players who sit in one place (referred to as campers) to get the drop on other players, as opposed to roaming around the map. It's typically used in online shooters like Call of Duty.

8. Cheese/Cheesing

Cheesing something means that you employ a cheap tactic to complete an action. For example, you might repeat a certain powerful combo against your opponent over and over to beat them. You can also cheese something in a single-player game by finding an easy workaround to a challenge.

9. Clans

In many team-based multiplayer games, clans are groups of players who play together. Titles like Call of Duty allow you to add a clan tag to your username and join a clan. Typically, these are low-key; they aren't properly organized professional teams.

10. Cooldown

In many games, once you use an ability, you have to wait a certain amount of time before using it again. This is called a cooldown period.

11. Crafting

Crafting refers to using materials gathered in a game to make other useful items, like weapons or healing potions.

12. DLC

DLC stands for downloadable content. It refers to any extra elements that you can download separately from the main game, including characters, levels, cosmetics, and similar. DLC sometimes, but not always, comes at an additional cost.

13. DRM

DRM, which stands for digital rights management, refers to tools that manage copyright protection for games. Often, DRM measures are overzealous and can affect legitimate users.

14. Easter Eggs

Easter eggs, like their real-life counterparts, are hidden messages or features in games. This can include a small nod to another title in the series, a funny message hidden by the developers, or similar.

15. FPS

An FPS is a first-person shooter game. This refers to a genre where you see the world through your character's eyes. Shooters usually show you a weapon in your floating hands, as if you're the character.

16. Glitch

A glitch, or bug, is an unintended issue in a game's coding. Glitches could cause your character to get stuck in a wall, make enemies behave in strange ways, or even freeze the game entirely. Check out the best video game glitches for examples.

17. Grinding

Grinding is the act of taking repetitive actions in a game to achieve a desired outcome. For example, a player might fight monsters over and over in an RPG to level up or earn materials to upgrade their weapons.

18. Hitscan

Hitscan refers to weapons, usually in first-person shooter games, whose ammunition immediately hit what they're aimed at. This contrasts to projectile weapons, where bullets take time to travel to their target.

19. HP

HP, which means health points or hit points, measures the vitality of your character. Usually, when your HP drops to zero, your character dies.

20. HUD

HUD stands for heads-up display. It refers to graphical elements in front of the gameplay screen, like a health bar, money count, or map.

21. K/D

K/D, or kill-to-death ratio, is a common measure of your performance in online shooters. You'll have a higher K/D with six kills and one death than 10 kills and five deaths, for example.

22. Lag

A common online gaming term, lag is a delay between your input and that action happening in the game. This typically refers to online lag caused by excessive ping.

23. MMORPG

This acronym stands for massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It refers to a game with RPG elements where thousands of players all exist in the same game world simultaneously. World of Warcraft is a great example.

24. MP

MP, which is an acronym for magic points, is the resource you need to use spells and other special abilities in some games (often RPGs).

25. Noob

A noob (sometimes spelled as n00b or newb) refers to someone who is clearly new at a game. It can be used as an insult (such as when someone makes basic mistakes) but it's not necessarily a pejorative.

26. NPC

Standing for non-player character (or non-playable character), NPC refers to any character in a game that you don't control. NPCs usually have preset actions and behaviors.

27. Ping

Ping is a measure (in milliseconds) of how long it takes for information from your system to travel to the game's server and back. Low ping is better, as high numbers will result in noticeable lag.

Read more: What Is Ping? Is Zero Ping Possible?

28. PvP/PvE

PvP means player versus player. It refers to games (or modes) where human players compete against each other. This contrasts with PvE (player versus environment) modes, where you play against computer-controlled opponents instead.

29. Pwned

Pwned (rhymes with "loaned" and pronounced "poned") is a derivate of "owned" used to express superiority over another player. You could say someone that you crushed in an online match was pwned.

30. QTE

This acronym stands for quick-time events. These are segments in games where you have to suddenly press a button or some other input to avoid damage or a game over.

31. Ragequit

Ragequitting refers to someone getting extremely upset at a game, after which they immediately stop playing.

32. RNG

RNG stands for random number generator. This refers to elements in games that aren't the same every time you play. See our full explanation of RNG for more info on this.

33. RPG

An RPG, or role-playing game, is a broad genre. Typically, they are story-rich games with immersive worlds, where your character has a variety of stats that you increase through battling monsters and completing quests.

34. Sandbox

A sandbox game refers to a title that's extremely open-ended and thus allows the player to do whatever they like.

35. XP

XP is short for experience points, a common measure of your progress in lots of genres. When you gain enough XP, you typically advance to the next level, which brings new abilities, stat increases, better weapons, or similar.

Now You Know Your Video Game Lingo

With a field as wide as video games, it's impossible to cover all gaming terminology in one list. But now you have grasp on the most common gaming terms. Chances are, if you get involved in a particular genre or title, it will have its own terms for you to pick up.

If you're new to games, why not learn more about some of the many game genres available?

Image Credit: Giuseppe Cammino/Shutterstock

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Is It Worth Buying A PlayStation Camera For The PS4? | MakeUseOf

The PS4's camera accessory, officially called the PlayStation Camera, is sold separately from the console. If you don't have it, you might wonder if the PS Camera is closer to an essential accessory or a silly toy.

Let's take a look at uses for the PS4 camera to see what you can do with this accessory.

PlayStation Camera Basics

The PlayStation Camera for PS4 is a small black unit that should fit nicely into most TV setups. You can place it either below or on your TV, depending on how your room is set up. The Camera includes a stand you can use to adjust its angle.

It's a decent device, with each of the two cameras having a resolution of 1280x800. It captures a maximum frame rate of 240FPS. You simply connect the camera to your PS4 using a proprietary cable that connects to a port on the back of your console.

In September 2016, Sony released a second revision of the camera. The newer model is cylindrical instead of rectangular, though it's almost the same otherwise.

The PS Camera has several functions. The simplest is acting as a traditional camera for filming you in your living room. In addition, it can record audio, thanks to the built-in microphones. This allows you to chat with teammates in online games, even if you don't have a headset or other mic.

It also functions as a Kinect-style device for motion-controlled games, used in conjunction with the light bar on the back of the PS4 controller or the PlayStation Move controllers.

Because it has a microphone, the Camera lets you command your PS4 using voice controls, with functions such as launching a game or returning to the home screen by saying "PlayStation." However, you can also do this with any other microphone, including the basic earbud included with the PS4.

Finally, it also offers a somewhat secure way of locally logging into your system using facial recognition. But what other perks do you get by owning a PlayStation Camera for PS4?

PlayStation VR Requires the PS Camera

While it obviously wasn't available at the system's launch, PlayStation VR is the biggest reason to buy a PS Camera if you don't already have one. It provides one of the least expensive ways to dip your toes into true virtual reality, as it doesn't require a beefy PC.

Aside from the headset itself, PS VR requires the PS Camera. For many games, you'll also need two PlayStation Move controllers.

PS VR is available in a variety of bundles, many of which include the headset, a few games, the PlayStation Camera, and sometimes the PS Move controllers. You thus likely won't have to buy the PS Camera on its own unless you buy second-hand components separately.

The Playroom

http://youtu.be/vv5uI2vlXE8

The Playroom is a free app that comes pre-installed on to all PS4 consoles, but requires the Camera to actually play. If you don't have the PS Camera, opening this game just plays a trailer.

The Playroom contains a collection of mini-games designed to show off the both capabilities of the PlayStation Camera and DualShock 4 controller, offering some simple fun.

There's a flying robot called Asobi, a collection of little critters called the AR Bots, a motion-controlled Pong clone, and some free DLC too. These offer occasional entertainment and are worth a look, but you probably won't spend much time here after the initial fun wears off.

PS4 Camera Games That Aren't VR

Even if you don't want to get PS VR, there are a handful of games that have special features for the PS Camera by itself. Wikipedia has a list of PS Camera compatible games; highlights include Alien: Isolation, all Just Dance games since 2014, LittleBigPlanet 3, Surgeon Simulator, and Tearaway Unfolded.

Of course, none of these games require the camera, and unless you love motion controls, you probably won't get much additional enjoyment from it. If you like party games, it might be worth the price of admission for an evening with friends messing around on Just Dance, though.

PS4 Streaming With the Camera

The PS4 makes it easy to stream video of yourself sitting in front of your TV using Twitch or YouTube. Players can also watch others broadcast their play using the Live from PlayStation app.

You don't need a PlayStation Camera to broadcast gameplay, but if you want to record yourself as you play, you'll need the Camera. If you're serious about upping your Twitch viewers, this is a must.

If you stream, check out how to build an audience for your channel.

Adjusting PS Camera Options

Finally, let's look at where to access some of the options mentioned above.

To set up facial recognition for your PS4 profile, head to Settings > Login Settings > Enable Facial Recognition. This will walk you through adding your face to protect your profile.

To start broadcasting your play via Twitch or YouTube, hit the Share button on your controller and choose Broadcast Gameplay. Then walk through the steps to sign into your preferred service and adjust options before going live.

Finally, if you don't want to use the microphone inside the PS Camera, go to Settings > Devices > PlayStation Camera and choose Mute Microphone for PlayStation Camera.

Is the PS4 Camera Worth It?

It's safe to say the PS Camera is far from an essential PS4 accessory, unless you have PlayStation VR. If you're picking up the VR headset, make sure you either get a bundle or a Camera separately, because you must have it for VR.

For everyone else, it's tough to recommend the PlayStation Camera. The Playroom is a minor distraction that you probably won't spend much time with, and the games with Camera integration are both slim and underwhelming. Having the system log you in automatically by facial recognition is neat, but if you're the only user on your PS4 it's a moot point.

And the voice commands for launching games and similar are available with any headset or microphone, so they're not a reason to pick up a Camera. You're better off putting the money towards a better gaming headset instead.

So unless you're buying it for VR, we only recommend the PlayStation Camera if you regularly stream your gameplay. The PS4 already makes streaming a simple affair, and adding a Camera so your viewers can watch your face is also easy.

Otherwise, the investment doesn't get you enough to justify the cost. This is especially the case as the PS4 is phased out and accessories aren't available at a reasonable price from official sellers any more.

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