My top 3 QoL hardware upgrades for gaming

When I recently updated my blog’s About-section, I thought back on my earliest days of gaming in the mid-80ies. Many of us share gaming as a life long passion and even if I don’t spend 20 hours a week playing with other people anymore, it is and always will be an important part of my personal life. Love and friendships have been facilitated by this hobby of mine, even a few cool job opportunities back when I was a penniless student. Not to mention the decades of social engagement and fun that gaming has brought me, the education and creative boosts, the great talks and fond memories of which there are too many to ever count.

Yet a sedentary hobby such as ours also has its downsides. For some the impacts become noticeable much later in life but sitting at a desk for longer periods of time (when you may also have an office job) just isn’t ideal. I’ve talked about my own posture problems in the past and how raiding in WoW wrecked my back until I decided to give it up. It was one of the better decisions I have made.

Since becoming aware of the health impacts PC gaming has had on me personally, I started upgrading the most essential hardware items and peripherals that I use each time I sit down to play. It’s really made a world of difference towards my recovery in recent years and I would never go back. There are 3 items in particular that I wouldn’t trade for the world and can only recommend to anyone struggling with similar issues or just looking to make their game time more comfortable. While it’s true that some of them are not exactly cheap, it’s worth looking into a good setup for yourself and there’s always sales going on when you stay on the lookout. When it comes to my physical wellbeing and gaming, I’d rather save up on other things than skip these essentials. (This post is obviously not being sponsored by any of the named brands but I feel it makes no sense to not mention them here).

1. Custom cut-out desk

By far the greatest improvement towards my neck, shoulder and back problems has been the custom desk that my partner made for me some four years ago. Materials for this were in fact fairly cheap; you can look into any type of wood board, desk frame and color finish you prefer. The most important part is the cut-out area which enables you to slide closer to the keyboard while your arms rest comfortably on the table. No more stretching your arms out in weird angles and constantly carrying their weight with your shoulders – this was the number one killer for me and has been completely ameliorated since. If you regularly experience pain in your upper body after gaming sessions, I really recommend looking into a custom desk like this.

My custom gaming desk

My custom gaming desk

2. Dedicated gaming chair

There are a couple of brands for dedicated gaming chairs out there and not all of them are great. While they often look shiny and colorful, you don’t want to skimp on quality because nothing goes to hell faster than a flimsy gaming chair. It’s just not worth it and you’ll end up paying twice, trust me I’ve been there.

I spent quite a lot of time comparing offers before getting an Omega chair by Secretlab and I can’t say I’ve regretted the decision. While the chairs can be on the more expensive side (depending also on the required size), Secretlab often run sales which is how I got my own chair several years ago. The materials are sturdy, the chair is comfortable and comes with many individual settings for your arms as well as upper and lower body. I can’t speak for everyone as my chair is within the regular bracket but my partner who is very tall and heavier uses the Titan version and is happy with it. There are different models for people of different height and bodyweight on their webpage.

3. Wireless headset

To say that my life has changed after getting the Arctis Pro Wireless 7 by Steelseries in 2019 would be an understatement. Everything about the way I sit at my desk has changed for me, including more frequent getting up, walking to the kitchen to get a drink etc. while still talking to someone on the other end. The change a wireless headset has brought to my lifelong habits was drastically unexpected and it took several weeks until it had sunk in that I am no longer tethered to the desk while gaming or socializing on Discord. It’s great for remote work too and all those unnecessary Teams-meetings as I can at least do other things in the house now while “listening”.

The best wireless headset for gaming

The headset really is worth every last dime; not only is it lighter than others I’ve used (I am prone to headaches from heavier headsets), the fabrication is top notch, the sound quality excellent, the setup is super easy and the twin-battery docking station just knocks it out of the park. At no time do you ever run out of juice because there’s always a second fully charged battery waiting for you to swap in. In fact I’ve perfected this process, it takes me less than 3 seconds to do these days – sign me up for the Olympics! I have recommended the Acrtis Pro to all of my friends of which many have gotten it since and never looked back. There’s a newer version out since last year (Arctis Nova Pro Wireless) that looks a bit different but has received similar raving reviews. The quality has its price but if I count all other headsets that have gone before, the Arctis Pro has already outdone them in terms of bang for the buck and longevity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *