Okay, so 2020 is going to be a bit of a big year for gaming, with two new consoles and the launch of Nvidia’s 30xx graphics cards. But you want more, right? You wanna know what’s on the horizon beyond this year of lockdowns and political ineptitude? Alright, you hungry kids, gather round and we’ll talk about some of 2021’s biggest gaming hardware contenders.
NINTENDO SWITCH PRO
This one’s been turning the rumour mill for years now, but the whispers are getting louder and louder. Considering that the Switch originally debuted in 2017, it’s definitely due for a hardware refresh, especially with its popularity booming and Nintendo stocks soaring through the pandemic. The Switch is on track to dethrone the Wii’s sales figures even without an update, but beefier games do tend to push it to the limit, and with a much larger audience now, some extra power would serve it very well indeed.
What needs to be fixed? Well, extra graphical grunt and improved battery would certainly elevate Nintendo’s prodigal son to greater heights, but if they can just release a Joy-Con that doesn’t start to drift within a few months of play, that would probably be the greatest upgrade of all. It would be crazy to abandon the Switch now, when the player base is thriving and there’s still so many great first party games to come. Nintendo has never had to compete in the same way Sony and Microsoft do, but if they want to keep those Switch sales rolling in, they’re going to need to update the hardware.
NVIDIA 30XX SERIES
Alright, so this one’s out this year, but if scalper bots and pre-order rushes have anything to say about it, most people won’t be getting their hands on one until 2021 anyway. The 3080 is technically out now, having been released on September 17th, but good luck trying to find one unless you’re willing to drop a bomb on eBay (side note, some people have been writing bots to drop ridiculous bids on scalped cards, and it just might cheer you up a little bit). It’s started at the same price as the 2070 Super, which definitely makes me regret my choice of graphics card this year.
The 3090 is out this week, and the 3070 follows sometime in October. All 30xx cards come with a free copy of Watch Dogs Legion – probably signposting Ubisoft’s faith in this particular franchise. The pricing makes the 20xx series basically obsolete, especially when the performance gap is so huge. The 3080 delivers double the performance of its predecessor for the same price, and the 3070 outperforms the 2080ti for a tiny percentage of the price. These cards are still going to be “the next big thing” throughout 2021, and with the 3090 apparently able to run 8k resolution games at a solid 60fps, they could well be the catalyst for bigger, better games across the board.
If you’re not too worried about some of the big AAA titles though with the amazing storylines and stunning graphics, these cards will also offer great benefits for competitive gaming. They’ll be able to handle top graphics whilst maintaining high FPS, which when combined with a decent monitor that has a solid refresh rate, will mean the smoothest possible gameplay to help you on your quest for victory. And the best part, these cards will definitely keep you going strong for many years to come. So, if you manage to grab one, head over to somewhere like SBR that will keep you updated on the latest esports news and competitions you can get involved in. that way you won’t miss out on anything that you can crush people in with your new gaming rig.
AMD BIG NAVI
Details of AMD’s latest contender are still sort of thin on the ground, but it’s clear that AMD are going to want to at least try to contend with Nvidia’s astonishing 30xx series. The card will be probably built with 2 architecture the new RDNA, which is the same tech used in both the Xbox Series X and PS5. There’s a launch event on October 28th which will finally lift the curtain completely on this mysterious new Radeon card, but they’re really going to have to pull something special out of the air if they want to genuinely compete with Nvidia this time. Some leaks claim that the Big Navi will outperform the RTX 2080ti by 40-50%, placing it nicely on the starting line to compete with the new 3080 which hits similar benchmarks. If AMD can produce a lot of these cards to compensate for the massive demand, they might actually outpace Nvidia in this arena.
PS5 VS SERIES X
Yes, these consoles are out this year – but if you think they aren’t going to dominate the gaming industry throughout 2021, you’re crazy. In fact, we’re probably not going to get much more in the way of next gen news now until 2021, and most of the huge games won’t be released until then anyway. Yes, there are fairly respectable launch lineups, and Xbox users get a massive boon through an upgraded Game Pass, but 2021 is going to be the year where next gen kicks off. Availability is going to be scarce – especially for the PS5, if industry whispers ring true – but once the initial rush dies down we may well be seeing an Xbox Series in every household.