Updated: The best free video editing software [August 2016]

Updated: The best free video editing software [August 2016]

Introduction

WeVideo

It’s the first law of movie-making: no matter how expensive your camera, or how skilled you are at using it, your raw footage will always be rubbish. And so, if you’re looking to add a little professional polish, then installing a video editor will be essential.

Commercial video editors can be very expensive, of course, but you may not have to go that far. Whether you want to trim your clips down to size, add a soundtrack or captions, apply transitions or special effects, there are some great free tools which can help – and these are the very best around.

Also, if you’re wondering what sort of PC you’ll need to buy (or build) in order to easily crunch through heavier duty video editing tasks (or indeed image editing), then we’ve got you covered.

Here are the 20 applications we shortlisted in no particular order of preference.

  • Blender
  • Davinci Resolve
  • HitFilm 4 Express
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Kate’s Video Toolkit
  • WeVideo
  • Avidemux
  • VSDC Free Video Editor
  • MPEG Streamclip
  • VirtualDub
  • Free Video Editor
  • Lightworks
  • Freemake Video Converter
  • Machete Video Editor Lite
  • Wax
  • Wondershare Filmora
  • PhotoFilmStrip
  • Jahshaka
  • Shotcut
  • ivsEdits LE

Also why not check out….

This article is updated regularly. If you have any comments, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section. Note that Serif no longer does MoviePlus starter edition and we’ve retired Pinnacle Videospin 2.0 as it is no longer supported.

Be aware that some developers choose to package their free applications with third party software (Google Chrome for example) in order to monetise their downloads. They usually earn a few cents or pennies for each successful download. However, these can often confuse computer users as well as security applications and may have a negative impact on performance.

Why does developer offer their applications for free then? Usually it is a way for them to improve their profiles amongst the target community with the belief that once a user will become accustomed to a particular package, he won’t mind spending extra to get either a higher value software or an unbridled version (e.g. a trial version or one that puts a watermark).

That’s the concept behind shareware (or freemium) which helped bring the likes of Doom, Winzip, Paint Shop Pro and later Evernote and Spotify to the masses.

Blender

Blender

  • Version: 2.77a
  • Release date: April 2016

Blender is best known as a 3D modelling and animation tool, but dig a little deeper and you’ll also find a powerful non-linear video editor. A strong set of core tools allow you to import, cut, splice and blend video, images and audio.

Blender’s host of effects, filters and transitions offer more creative possibilities, while an industrial-strength video masking system gives you fine control over the results.

There’s real depth here, everywhere you look. The program doesn’t just offer basic brightness, contrast and RGB sliders, for instance: you can also adjust colour balance, use curve corrections, tweak white balance, gamma and hue, apply tonemaps and more.

Blender, which is available on Windows, Linux and Mac, isn’t a consumer video editor. It doesn’t have the one-click auto-fix tools you’ll sometimes find elsewhere. You can’t produce scrolling 3D credits by typing in a box, and there’s no option to share the clip on Facebook when you’ve done.

But if you’re looking to move beyond that kind of program, to a professional editor with a stack of high-end features, then Blender deserves a closer look.

Davinci Resolve

Resolve

  • Version: 12.5 Kostenlos
  • Released: June 2016

DaVinci Resolve combines a versatile non-linear video editor with Hollywood-level colour correction technology. (That’s no exaggeration: it really is used on movies and TV productions around the world.)

The editor has a familiar, straightforward workflow. Point the program at your video folders, select a file, view it on a timeline, add transitions or apply effects: experienced users should feel at home right away.

The well-designed interface makes for speedy operations, even when you’re working with a lot of clips. You can quickly insert, replace, add, swap, ripple, extend or shorten edits by dragging, dropping, using the context-sensitive editing tools, the toolbar buttons or keyboard shortcuts.

Elsewhere, professional multicam editing can sync your clips by audio, there are useful tools for creating movie titles, and OpenFX and AudioFX support means you can extend the program with new options and effects.

That would be good on its own, but the real power here is in Resolve’s colour grading. This isn’t just about adjusting RGB, gamma, or playing with curves: it can automatically match or balance shots, even if they were made on different cameras. There’s amazing 3D object tracking – perfect for stabilising images – and 32-bit floating-point processing ensures the best quality results.

HitFilm 4 Express

Hitfilm

  • Latest version: 4
  • Released: June 2016

HitFilm 4 Express is an interesting video editor and compositor which is crammed with professional features, yet still accessible to experienced home users.

The interface gets you off to a quick start. There’s a viewer, a trimmer, a media panel, timeline, effects, layers: if you’ve used a video editor before then you’ll already understand the basic layout, and be ready to explore.

HitFilm’s highlight is probably its collection of 120 effects. There are automatic colour corrections, configurable blur and sharpen tools, simple keying options, and a good core set of transitions. Or you can have fun by inserting quick 3D effects into your clip, like smoke, rain, falling debris or explosions.

Most of these effects are extremely configurable, and the 2D and 3D-based compositing technology allows you to customise the results further with transformations, masks and more.

If this still isn’t enough, you can extend the program’s abilities by purchasing reasonably-priced add-ons. The “Starter Pack”, for instance, gives you colour correction wheels, exposure adjustment, split-screen masking, 3D extrusion, an end credits creator, and more– and it costs only around £8.

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker

  • Latest version: 16.4
  • Released: April 2014

Windows Movie Maker remains one of the best free video editing applications out there and certainly the most popular one on the market, regardless of its abilities and criticisms. We asked Microsoft about its plans for Windows Movie Maker in April 2016, we will report back if we hear anything from them.

It remains one of Microsoft’s most popular free applications and certainly one that proved to be a hit with our readers based on a survey we carried last year.

The best part is that it comes free-of-charge as part of the Windows Essentials package shipped with every version of the OS bar Windows 10. It’s designed with simplicity in mind and all users have to do is drag a selection of video clips and/or photos over to the app and they will immediately be displayed in the order they were added.

After this it’s very easy to add soundtracks, captions or credits, save it all as a video file and you can even upload it directly to YouTube, Facebook or other sites. The program has seen little wholesale change in years; sadly as Microsoft has moved away from embracing creative tools, the editing software was not part of Windows 10 when it is released last year.

If you have queries about Windows Movie Maker and would like to get your questions answered, visit Microsoft’s very own online community dedicated to the application. As expected, it is a fairly popular one.

Kate’s Video Toolkit

Kates Video Toolkit

  • Latest version: 1.8
  • Released: n/a

While there’s nothing too surprising in Kate’s Video Toolkit, it does provide some very, basic but useful editing features. So you can trim files or join them, link two videos with a transition, create a sequence of videos with a custom soundtrack, and there’s a simple file format conversion tool as well.

There are plenty of limitations, too (you can’t maximise the program window to use your full screen resolution, for instance), but Kate’s Video Toolkit is extremely easy to use. If you don’t want to read Help files and your editing needs are simple, it could be a great choice.

WeVideo

WeVideo is the only exclusively online offering on the list.

  • Latest version: 1.8
  • Released: n/a

Cloud-based video editing services are growing in popularity and WeVideo is one of the go-to offerings that has a useful free-to-use version, even if it does have some fairly harsh limitations. Users gets 5GB of cloud storage plus the ability to publish five minutes of video per month to YouTube, Facebook and another six services.

When it comes to uploading video to WeVideo’s editing suite, you can connect it to a variety of different social media sites in order to grab clips that could otherwise be hard to reach on desktop programs. Adding files is very easy and then applying special effects is just as simple thanks to a range of different options.

Whilst the five minutes of video per month is pretty stingy, WeVideo is still a useful editing program for one-off videos.

Avidemux

Avidemux

  • Latest version: 2.6.12
  • Released: March 2016

Avidemux is a small but capable open source video editor which can help you join clips, cut them (without re-encoding), and apply a lengthy list of useful filters (Add Logo, Crop, Flip, Rotate, Resize, Sharpen, Remove Noise, tweak brightness, contrast colours and more).

While this sounds basic, there are lots of options and fine controls to help make sure everything goes as you expect, and an excellent online wiki which documents everything. Overall, Avidemux is well worth a look, as long as you’re happy to spend a little time learning how it all works.

VSDC Free Video Editor

VSDC Free Video Editor

  • Latest version: 4.0.1
  • Released: June 2016

Non-linear video editors can take some time to learn, and VSDC Free Video Editor is no exception (a lack of useful documentation doesn’t help, either).

Once you get past this fairly significant hurdle it’s almost plain sailing as the set of tools on offer is definitely on a par with the other free video editing suites out there. When you have completed your project there’s even the chance to bring it to mobile devices or burn it to disc.

Export videos as almost any file format, including MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, XVID, DIVX, FLV and MPG. You can also use still images in your project, slotting them into your video. The VSDC Free Video Editor includes numerous visual effects such as crossfade and transform. Audio effects are also available to use.

MPEG Streamclip

MPEG Streamclip

  • Latest version: 1.2.1
  • Released: August 2012

With a download size of only 327KB, you’d expect MPEG Streamclip to be, well, a little underpowered. And yet, the program opens multiple files, DVDs or URLs of video streams; can trim, cut, copy or paste parts of your footage; and has options to rotate your footage or export the soundtrack, while its Export dialog provides more control over your finished video than some commercial products.

It’s not all good news – we had problems playing back some MP4 files – but if you’re just looking for trimming and file conversion features then MPEG Streamclip is definitely worth a try.

VirtualDub

VirtualDub

  • Latest version: 1.10.4
  • Released: October 2013

It looks a little dated now, and only works fully with AVI files, but if that’s your format of choice then VirtualDub has plenty to offer.

A clean and clear interface helps you navigate through and trim your clips, there are plenty of filters – sharpen, blur, resize, rotate (at any angle, not just 90 degree increments), brightness, colour and contrast tweaks – and optional plugs add even more capabilities.

Learning how to use all these functions can take a little while, as you’ll need to explore some very lengthy menus to find them. But if you need an AVI processor, though, VirtualDub is still worth the effort.

Free Video Editor

Free Video Dub

  • Latest version: 1.4.49.627
  • Released: May 2016

Formerly known as Free Video Dub, at first glance Free Video Editor looks like just another video trimming tool: step through the source movie, select the left and right points, cut that section from the video and save the results.

What’s different here, though, is that the program doesn’t re-encode your movie, so no matter how much trimming you do, no video quality will be lost. And if you have a lengthy clip which requires a lot of work then that could be very useful indeed.

Lightworks

Lightworks

  • Latest version: 12.6.0
  • Released: February 2016

If it’s real editing power you need, then Lightworks has the biggest set of features among the free pack. Its feature-packed timeline, strong multicam support, realtime effects and smart trimming tools are so impressive, in fact, that the program has regularly been used to help produce top Hollywood movies such as Mission Impossible and Batman.

Editshare’s baby is constantly updated and the latest version offers users the chance to edit videos with resolutions of up to 720p, has a modern looking UI, better export controls and content management, and the best part of all is that it remains completely free-of-charge.

A paid-for version is also available and the just released v12.5 rc1 adds a number of features and squashes a few known bugs as well.

There is a price to pay for all this functionality, though: an extremely steep learning curve. This is not a tool for beginners, and you should expect to spend plenty of time reading the documentation before you can do anything useful at all.

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter

  • Latest version: 4.1.9.19
  • Released: May 2016

As you’ll probably guess from the name, Freemake Video Converter is primarily a video conversion tool (and a very good one, too) – but it can also double as a simple video editor.

Drag and drop your clips onto the program and you can arrange them into order, cut each one to suit your needs, flip or rotate individual clips and convert them to your preferred format (or even upload the finished movie directly to YouTube). And all in a polished, professional and very easy-to-use interface

An extremely versatile program with a crucial disadvantage: the installer provides no way of escaping the included adware. You might like to consider Free YouTube to MP3 Converter instead..

Machete Video Editor Lite

Machete Video Editor Lite

  • Latest version: 4.4
  • Released: May 2016

Machete Video Editor Lite is a specialist tool with just one main function – to trim all the unwanted bits out of your AVI or WMV videos.

While this sounds basic, there’s a twist. The program does its work without re-encoding your files, so there’s absolutely no loss of quality, no matter how many edits you make.

Machete is extremely easy to use. Open a video, mark the start and end points of a section, then either hit Delete (if it’s a scene you don’t need) or Save (if it’s something you do).

There are one or two small bonus features – like the ability to save video frames as images – but Machete is really all about trimming. And if you have an AVI or WMV to slice, then it’s a great choice.

Wax

Wax

  • Latest version: 2.0e
  • Released: May 2012

Wax is an interesting video compositing tool, short on editing features – and strictly AVI-only – but absolutely packed with special effects.

We’re not just talking about a few boring “sepia” or contrast-tweaking filters, either. Wax can map your movie onto 3D objects, display it with a professional video wall effect, create explosive or particle effects, paint over your video with custom masks, and more.

The results can be impressive, which is why the program worked as a plug-in with Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Pure Motion EditStudio and more. (This was a while ago, of course – whether you can use it like that now depends on the individual application.)

Figuring out how all this works can be a problem, but there are some great sample projects to help you get started, and if you need more assistance then check out the tutorials and user forum on the author’s site.

Wondershare Filmora

Wondershare Filmora

  • Latest version: 6.7.0
  • Released: May 2016

Some video editors are targeted at beginners, others are strictly experts-only, but Wondershare Filmora has something for everyone.

The program’s “Easy Mode” interface keeps complexities to a minimum. Import your clips by dragging and dropping, choose a transition style, a soundtrack, and the finished movie is generated for you. It looks great and there’s no technical knowledge required at all.

If you have time to explore, though, the “Advanced” interface gives you complete access to the program’s many filters, transitions, overlays, lighting and split-screen effects. A host of options and settings help you fine-tune the results, and your video can be saved locally, burned to DVD, or uploaded directly to Facebook or YouTube.

The catch? The trial version adds a big ‘Filmora’ watermark to its movies. Still, you can at least explore the program’s many features, and licences are reasonably priced at $39.99 (around £25, or AU$55) for free lifetime updates.

PhotoFilmStrip

PhotoFilmStrip

  • Latest version: 2.0
  • Released: November 2013

It’s not as much about editing videos as producing them, but if you’d like to create a video slideshow from your favourite digital images then Photo Filmstrip is a great place to start.

We’re not talking about ordinary static slideshows, either. PhotoFilmStrip animates your videos, smoothly zooming and panning across an image to follow your preferred motion path. The effects can be amazing, yet they’re very easy to set up – just resize and position a starting rectangle in one frame, the finish point in another, and PhotoFilmStrip sorts out everything else for you.

If you’d like to tinker anyway then there are a few settings to play with: Rotations, transition speeds, along with one or two simple effects. And when you’re done, the Render option saves the results to your preferred format: MP4, FLV, AVI, MPEG or still images for easy reuse elsewhere.

VideoPad Video Editor

VideoPad

  • Latest version: 4.0.2
  • Released: January 2016

VideoPad is a powerful video editor which stands out immediately for its wide file format support. Not only can the program import all the main video, audio, image and subtitle files, it can also capture desktop activity, and record from microphones or webcams.

The program’s export options are just as flexible. You’re able to save movies as videos (including 3D), burn them to disc, save them to image sequence, or share your work directly on Facebook, YouTube and more.

The editing process in between isn’t quite as outstanding, unfortunately. The interface looks much like many other editors, but it’s cluttered, with lots of tabs, menus and tiny icons and buttons to explore. If you’re a novice then it’ll take a while to find your way around.

The free version has plenty of restrictions, too, although you shouldn’t let this put you off. There’s more than enough power here to be useful, and no annoying watermarks or other hassles to get in your way.

Jahshaka

Jahshaka

  • Latest version: 3.0
  • Released: April 2013

Jahshaka is a compact open source program with big ambitions. It wants to be a complete digital content creation system, and supports playback, 2D and 3D animation, video compositing, colour correction, editing, effects and more.

The package has more than enough power to handle some very complex tasks. You can animate your image, use Chroma key to remove or manipulate objects, apply and layer a host of special effects, and generally produce results that you won’t be able to achieve in any of the other packages here.

Making this happen can be difficult, as Jahshaka doesn’t follow the usual Windows video editor conventions. You can’t drag and drop to import your source videos, the media library works differently, even the File > Open dialogs and toolbars don’t work quite as you expect.

If you need Jahshaka’s extra functionality then it’s worth persevering, though, and the developer’s site has some tutorials to help you find your way around. It’s not been updated in a while, unfortunately, but there’s still plenty to explore.

Shotcut

Shotcut

  • Latest version: 16.06
  • Released: May 2016

A popular open source video editor, Shotcut has matured into a very powerful application, with a pile of features, wide file format support, and a good set of audio and video filters.

If your needs are very simple then the program could be overkill. Although not difficult to use, it’s not aimed at beginners either, and the interface – packed with buttons, tabs and menu items – might intimidate the novice.

More experienced editors will find a lot to like here, though: Shotcut can import almost anything (and record video, too), is more focused on practical tasks than gimmicks (fixing colour issues, sharpening your picture, stabilising shaky video), and gives you total control over the exported movie with one of the most comprehensive “Encode” tools around.

ivsEdits LE

ivsEdits LE

  • Latest version: 3.1.500
  • Released: December 2014

ivsEdits is a professional video editor which comes packed with high-end features: HD, 2K and 4K support, live multicamera mixing, real-time video I/O from various external devices, and a whole lot more.

The free version has some restrictions – in particular, import is mostly restricted to AVI or MOV videos – but if you can live with that, there’s plenty of power left. You get 3D transitions, cropping, video borders and page effects, sharpening and colour tweaks, brightness and contrast adjustments, even a capable Chroma key (green screen) tool if you’re feeling particularly creative.

ivsEdits isn’t always as reliable as it should be, and the documentation isn’t great either, but if you need the program’s advanced functionality then it’s certainly worth taking for a spin.

Buying Guide: 10 best gaming laptops 2016: top gaming notebook reviews

Buying Guide: 10 best gaming laptops 2016: top gaming notebook reviews

Gaming laptops we recommend

Investing endless hours finding all the right components and locking them into place sounds like a chore. You don’t want to “build” a computer. You’d rather get to the fun part: actually playing games. Luckily, there are more than enough gaming laptops on the market to choose from.

The convenience of taking your rig on the go, complete with a built-in monitor and keyboard isn’t cheap, however. On the low end, a decent notebook will set you back about $1,400 (about £900). For the best PC games at 4K with consistent frame rates, you can expect to shell out over $3,000 (around £1,900, AU$4,000) for qualifying hardware.

Fortunately, this could soon change thanks to AMD’s low-cost Polaris GPUs and high-powered Zen processors. Plus, with Nvidia producing tiny supercomputers efficient enough to power self-driving cars, surely the perfection of mobile graphics is next in the cards.

Here you’ll find the gaming laptop that’s best for you, from the ever-evolving Asus ROG Strix GL502 to the ostensibly immortal Alienware 17.

Best Gaming Laptops

1. Origin EON15-X

A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 120GB – 1TB SSD; 500GB – 2TB HDD; 1TB SSHD

Great value
Desktop-grade performance
Razor thin viewing angles

The Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. Packing a desktop Skylake processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch notebook that, Origin’s greatest offers even more performance than some full-size gaming rigs.

This extra CPU power is handy for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can’t handle. You’ll also get an extra kick of performance no matter what game you’re running. Combined with a powerful GPU and a not-so-shabby battery life, the Origin EON15-X is definitely worth consideration over all others.

Read the full review: Origin EON15-X

Best gaming laptops

2. Asus ROG Strix GL502

It’s hard not to love a gaming laptop this good

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Rocks Full HD gaming
Deliciously vibrant screen
Middling battery life

The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween all-year-round. But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the settings all the way up in Overwatch without taking a hit below 60fps. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

best gaming laptops

3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch

An attractive and long lasting 15-inch gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 2GB – 4GB DDR5 VRAM | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD LED AntiGlare Backlit Multitouch (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400 RPM)

Stylish look
Ample battery life
Gets hot
Terrible trackpad buttons

Entry-level gaming laptops are a great introduction into the glorious world of PC gaming, and from performance to looks, it’s hard to beat the Lenovo Ideapad Y700. It’s an inexpensive machine that stands out amongst other budget gaming machines with its all metal chassis and included SSD. It also comes packed with enough power to run modern games at decent settings.

Read the full review: Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch

best gaming laptop

4. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro

The best thin-and-light gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3GB – 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3840 x 2160) eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD

Performance pusher
Stupendous keyboard
Fleeting battery life
A bit expensive

With a knack for style and a featherlight exterior, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is among the slimmest gaming laptops you can find. That said, don’t confuse thinness with compromised performance, as the Skylake CPU perfectly marries the still-impressive GTX 970M so long as you’re playing at 1080p on medium to high graphics settings. Sure, it’s not a top-end pick, but your wallet will thank you for that.

Read the full review: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro

best gaming laptops

5. Gigabyte P57X

Top-notch graphics and frame rates at 1080p

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 memory) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS LCD | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Owns everything at 1080p
Plenty of ports
Overpowered for 1080p
Plastic build quality

The Gigabyte P57X v6 is one of the hardiest, single-GPU Pascal performers money can buy at the moment. Nothing about the Gigabyte P57X is a tough sell until you get down to the price, similar to what you would have paid for two GTX 970- or 980Ms in years prior. Of course, on a laptop, you don’t want to dual-wield GPUs, which is what makes the P57X so enticing. The P57X v6 isn’t the most stylish or innovative gaming PC, but it offers more than enough power to get you through a 1080p gaming session.

Read the full review: Gigabyte P57X

Best Gaming Laptops

6. Asus ROG G752

This mobile PC gaming powerhouse throws a hefty punch

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M – 980M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, full HD 1,920 x 1,080, IPS LCD | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)

Distinguished design
Top-end specs and performance
No 4K screen
Poor battery life

The Asus ROG G752 has an aggressive design that sets it apart from many of the world’s sedate gaming laptops. Instead of donning the typical appearance of black plastic, the ROG G752 sports a shell with brushed aluminium panels, angular lines and the glowing red segments. On top of its in-your-face styling this 17-inch gaming laptop delivers a hefty performance and it can play modern games at a smooth clip even if you put the graphical setting to max. The only thing the Asus ROG G752 is missing is the option of a high-res 4K display.

Read the full review: Asus ROG G752

best gaming laptop

7. Razer Blade

A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD

Hugely improved battery life
Thunderbolt 3 a smart add
Minor graphical upgrades
Limited part options

For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word. But, it doesn’t have to be, and this is evident the first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade. With a battery life of 3 hours and 35 minutes while gaming (or six hours of non-stop video), Razer Blade puts the laptop back in gaming laptop. While it does compromise as far as graphics are concerned, you can hook up a Razer Core and strap a Titan X inside if you want.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best gaming laptops

8. Origin EON17-SLX

The ultimate gaming laptop built with desktop-grade power

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 – 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Matte Display with G-SYNC | Storage: 120GB – 4TB SSD, 500GB – 1TB HDD, 1TB SSHD

Nearly unrivaled performance
Sharp, aggressive styling
Awful battery life
Astonishingly heavy

The Origin EON17-SLX takes gaming laptops to their ultimate conclusion of being portable desktops. This 17-inch notebook comes packed with a desktop-grade Intel processor and Nvidia GPU chip, making it one of history’s most powerful mobile machines. Of course, it comes with the sacrifice of portability in both weight and battery life. If these are worthy trade-offs for greater performance, you won’t find a better machine whether you’re a hardcore gamer to in the media creation business.

Read the full review: Origin EON17-SLX

best gaming laptops

9. MSI GT80 Titan

An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop

CPU: 5th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB – 24GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)

Authentic mechanical keyboard
Easily upgraded
H-E-A-V-Y
Impossible to use on your lap

The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. For all the strain it’ll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. This gaming behemoth proved to be a monster with the best in class mobile GPUs so we can’t even fathom what it could do with a Nvidia GTX 980.

Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan

best gaming laptop

10. Alienware 17 (2015)

The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 – 980M | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)

Flexible desktop mode
Excellent large screen
Still quite expensive
Slightly bottlenecked Amplifier performance

The Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that’s actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of desktop graphics through the GPU Amplifier it can play almost any game on Ultra settings.If you’re looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 (2015)

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

  • Only interested in light gaming? Try a Surface Book on for size

Buying Guide: The 10 best PCs of 2016: which computer should you buy?

Buying Guide: The 10 best PCs of 2016: which computer should you buy?

Introduction

Despite experiencing a sharp decline in popularity, the traditional PC tower still goes strong. Even with the rise of devices set to “replace” the PC, with a desktop, you don’t have to worry about a dead battery or replacing the system as a whole when one part goes up. PCs are modular by default.

There are a wide variety of form factors to choose from as well when buying a new PC. The compact simplicity of an all-in-one computer, for instance, is sure to appeal. Inexpensive mini PCs, often used in the living room as a way to stream content over Netflix or Plex, are a popular choice as well. You can even buy a server PC (or several) if you’re urging for something cheap and powerful.

With the exception of our Apple examples that naturally ship with macOS Sierra and the Chromebase, which beautifully packages Chrome OS, you can expect any of the PCs on this list to come with Windows 10 as standard. Despite a handful of instances of bricked PCs with Microsoft at fault, for the most part, all three of these operating systems are worthwhile.

Here we’ve listed 10 of the best PCs, ordered by price and spec starting first with only the most expensive and powerful machines money can buy. Note that our list is subject to subject to change as the next Mac and Microsoft’s rumored Surface PC will undoubtedly make a dent.

Apple iMac

1. Apple iMac with 5K Retina display

A stylish all-in-one with a stunning screen

CPU: Intel Core i5-4260U | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 5100 | RAM: 4GB 16GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 196 x 196 x 36mm

Bright IPS screen
Few wires or cables
Tough to upgrade

The unique selling point of the iMac is its essentialism. Easy-to-use hardware combined with the famed accessibility of macOS makes for a nigh-perfect experience. A built-in screen, speakers and 802.11ac wireless networking are only complemented by the fantastic Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. All you need is a power cable to get it up and running.

There’s quite a range of iMacs, starting at £899 (around $1,365 or AUS$1,943) for an entry-level 21.9-inch model with a dual-core processor that’s okay for basic tasks, up to 27-inch iMacs with quad-core processors and even a 5K display. If want a faster, quieter and more reliable storage option, you can opt for a hybrid solid state drive as well.

Even on the low-end model, the IPS display is bright and vivid, with a clever design where the edges of the aluminum chassis are thinner than many standalone monitors. And as standard, the iMac runs macOS, although it’s very easy to install Windows alongside if you want to continue using your existing Windows software.

Read the full review: Apple iMac with 5K Retina display

Apple 4K iMac

2. Apple iMac with 4K Retina display (21.5-inch, Late 2015)

CPU: Intel Quad-Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) | Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 | RAM: 8GB 1867MHz LPDDR3 | Storage: 1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400RPM | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 45cm x 52.8cm x 17.5cm

Display
Accessories
SSD not standard
Pricey

Featuring a vibrant Retina 4K display that’s packed with color, Apple’s new 21.5-inch iMac is a small bundle of aluminum joy. Its display’s massive, 4,096 x 2,304 pixel-resolution is great for surfing the web in comfort with multiple windows side-by-side in El Capitan’s Split View, image and video editing, watching 4K video content and just about everything else.

As expected from an Apple computer, it’s a typically well-built machine that, in true iMac tradition, barely takes up more space on your desk than a large laptop. Apple is bundling the 4K iMac with a superb set of accessories, including the latest versions of its Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and its all-new Magic Keyboard.

Just make sure you upgrade the standard spinning hard drive to a 1TB Fusion Drive (or even better, the 256GB SSD) if you want to shell out a bit more cash to eliminate lengthy loading times.

Read the full review: Apple iMac with 4K Retina display (21.5-inch, Late 2015)

Dell Inspiron 3000

3. Dell Inspiron 3000

A slim mini-tower which is a decent performer

CPU: Intel Core i3-4170 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB hard disk | Communication: Dell Wireless-N 1705, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 178 x 388 x 431mm

Slim tower design
Core i5 is surprisingly powerful
No SSD option
Core i3 only dual-core

Dell’s Inspiron desktop computers aren’t quite as small as a PC like the Acer Revo One, but they still come in a mini-tower, and therefore won’t take up too much space either on a desk or underneath it. With a black design and a silver trim, Dell has gone to some length to make this standard PC chassis look quite sleek and a bit more exciting than a mere black box.

As standard, it has a dual-core Intel Core i3 processor rather than a Celeron, and 8GB of memory – so it’s a lot more powerful than the Revo One.

For an extra bit of cash, you can upgrade the processor to a quad-core Intel Core i5-4460 and the graphics card to a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT705, for a decent all-round performance boost. Dell also sells complete packages with a bundled 23-inch S2340L display.

Apple Mac Mini

4. Apple Mac mini

The cheapest way you can go Mac

CPU: Intel Core i5-4260U | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 5100 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB hard disk | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 196 x 196 x 36mm

The most affordable Mac
Internal power supply
Few expansion options
Upgrades get expensive

The Mac mini exhibits the luxury of an Apple desktop without the price tag to match. Starting at a mere $499 (£399, AU$779), the Mac mini is barebones yet affordable. Though it ships without the otherwise expected Magic Mouse and Keyboard peripherals, getting to choose your own accessories is liberating (plus you can buy used and save a trunkload of cash if you’re so inclined).

And, while it hasn’t been updated in quite some time on the hardware front, the Mac Mini’s Haswell-based i5 processor still chugs along nicely. Plus, with Iris Graphics onboard, you’ll get a bit more juice than expected. Combined with 500GB of storage space and 4GB of RAM, the Mac mini is arguably the best starting point for OS X newcomers even if a contemporary makeover is long past due.

With an aluminum shell and simplistic industrial design, the Mac mini represents Apple at its very core. Where it mainly lacks, however, is in performance. Luckily the option for a Fusion Drive, which marries the power of both HDD and SSD technology, somewhat makes up for this inadequacy. A configuration sporting 8GB of RAM is an option too, but if you don’t want to shell out the extra cash, the base model will do just fine.

Read the full review: Apple Mac mini

Asus K31ADE

5. Asus K31ADE

A compact desktop machine for everyday computing

CPU: Intel Core i3-4170 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 1TB hard disk | Communication: 802.11ac | Dimensions (W x D x H): 180 x 350 x 390mm

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CPU boosts to 3.7GHz
Blu-ray drives available
No SSD option
Only 4GB of memory

Asus is a unique PC maker in that it offers a wide range of computers for a variety of different types of users. The K31 desktop towers in particular the company describes as “all you need for daily computing.”

So, you shouldn’t expect them to run Crysis with the Intel Core i3 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. However, you can get a Core i5 or Core i7 processor instead for an added cost. Other configurations include discrete graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, along with USB-C for increased data transfer rates.

Acer Revo One

6. Acer Revo One RL85

A compact media PC with plenty of storage

CPU: Intel Celeron 2957 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 2TB hard disk | Communication: 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 107 x 107 x 220mm

Small, sleek, smart design
Plenty of storage
Fairly weedy performance
Lacks 802.11ac Wi-Fi

If you’re looking to share your PC with an entire household rather than locking it behind a desk in your home office, Acer’s Revo One accomplishes just that. Though it doesn’t have the most powerful processor on the market, don’t underestimate its versatility.

The Revo One packs in not only two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort, but it also comes with a 2TB hard drive in case you’re worried about running out of space for your massive movie collection. Plus, thankfully, it has a built-in wireless card meaning there’s no need to reconfigure your entire house’s network wiring just to keep it underneath the TV.

Read the full review: Acer Revo One RL85

HP Pavilion Mini

7. HP Pavilion Mini

The Windows-toting answer to a Mac Mini

CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-40255U | RAM: 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM | Storage: 1TB 5,400rpm HDD | Communication: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 144mm x 144mm x 52mm

Nice design
Small footprint
Limited upgrades
Excess bloatware

If you’d rather prevent a computer from occupying your entire desk space, the Mac Mini is worth your consideration. However, if Apple’s OS just doesn’t do it for you, HP offers a stunning Windows alternative. The Pavilion Mini as it’s called won’t blow your mind in terms of specs, but it will get the job done if you’re not planning on doing any intensive gaming or video editing.

Plus, it’s still faster than a lot of mini computers on the market, and with plenty of storage space to boot. And, if you don’t need a mouse and keyboard, most retailers are selling it for downwards of $300. Not a bad deal if you just need a compact computer to get you through the day to day.

Read the full review: HP Pavilion Mini

HP 260 G1

8. HP 260 G1

The tiny computer that can

CPU: Intel Celeron 2957U | RAM: 2GB to 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM | Storage: 32GB M.2 SSD | Communication: HP 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 17.5 x 17.7 x 3.4 cm

Two memory slots
DisplayPort and VGA
No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Storage capacity

For the money, the HP 260 G1 is a surprisingly speedy performer. Sure, the Celeron chip isn’t exactly hardy, but it boasts specs more comparable to an Intel Core i3-4020Y than what you’d normally expect from the Celeron moniker. And, of course, as a mini computer focused on business, the HP 260 G1 entitles you to special treatment when it comes to customer support. Run into a hardware problem? You can expect attentive care within the next business day. Need phone support? It’s available 24 hours a day.

Sure, the HP 260 G1 is a year old now, but it still runs like a charm, especially if you’re on a budget. However, if the included 2GB of RAM isn’t enough, HP was generous enough to allow for memory expansion up to 16GB using a pair of 8GB twin modules. Keep in mind, though, that this is still a budget PC, so don’t be surprised when you find out that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities aren’t built into the device.

Read the full review: HP 260 G1

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190

9. Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190

A micro PC which you can mount on the back of your display

CPU: Intel Celeron 1017U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB hard disk | Communication: 802.11n Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 22 x 192 x 155mm

Versatile design
Enough memory
Sluggish CPU
Poor graphics

Let’s face it: most of us don’t need a tricked out desktop rig with the fastest processor and the flashiest case. If you’re looking for a computer that can pull off the basic necessities like web browsing, email, social media, watching videos and word processing, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 kicks tail.

As one of the lowest-cost offerings on this list, Lenovo’s offering doesn’t impress specs-wise, only bolstering a mere 1.6GHz dual-core Celeron 1017U processor and 4GB of RAM but it shouldn’t matter for the price. Bang for buck is Lenovo’s game with the IdeaCentre Q190, and it unabashedly succeeds in our book.

Plus, if you appreciate the design of the Q190, but your day-to-day demands something a bit more powerful, upgrades with faster Pentium and Core i3 processors are also available.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190

LG Chromebase

10. LG Chromebase

An easy to use and excellent value all-in-one

CPU: Intel Celeron 2955U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB flash | Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 528 x 43 x 320mm

Astonishing value
Simple to use
Annoying keyboard

Chromebooks are Google’s reaction to cheap laptops that can barely run Windows 10, but for some reason still do. As such, there’s no reason the Chromebook operating system, Chrome OS, can’t be applied to all-in-one PCs as well. That’s why LG devised its Chromebase PC, an affordable all-in-one with the simplicity (and fluidity) only Google Chrome can offer.

Being an all-in-one, it bears the same benefits as Apple’s far more expensive iMac – no need for loose cables spread across the floor. The speakers are built into the display, and it’s all very straightforward. At the same time, the LG Chromebase hardware is cleverly constructed, with an IPS display built directly into the computer.

Chrome OS is intentionally designed to work with files stored in the cloud rather than locally, with Google Apps serving as the ostensible alternative to Microsoft Office. It takes some getting used to, but when you do get into the swing of things, the LG Chromebase works, and it works well.

Read the full review: LG Chromebase

  • Find out how HoloLens will change computing forever

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Updated: 40 best PC games: the must-play titles you can’t afford to miss

Updated: 40 best PC games: the must-play titles you can't afford to miss

Introduction

Best PC games

With the gap in graphical capabilities widening every day, there’s never been a better time to make the switch from consoles to PC. Unlike the Xbox One S or PS4 Pro, a PC lets you configure your system however you want it, on any given budget, complete with the best processor and graphics card to suit your exact needs.

At the moment, PC is the only the only place to get native, no-frills 4K gaming as well thanks to graphics cards like the GTX 1080 and Titan X. Plus, unlike with consoles, you get the choice between Oculus Rift or HTC Vive for some of the best VR game experiences as well.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdL3zHePsdw

Regardless of if you’re on mouse and keyboard muttering “boom, headshot!” in your sleep or breaking combos with a gamepad, PC gaming is all about a personalized experience on a machine that’s built-to-order, DIY or otherwise.

So, with PC in-hand, boot up Steam and ready your wallet as we’ve prepared a list of the best games on the platform, currently available at your disposal.

Disagree with any of our picks? Sound off in the comments below!

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

PC games on our radar

System Shock 3

Titanfall 2

Even if you didn’t like the first Titanfall, don’t pass on its multiplatform sequel just yet. While the original Titanfall was well-received, it quickly tumbled off the face of the Earth no thanks to the absence of a single player campaign. Fortunately, Titanfall 2 rectifies the series with a handful of unique twists, including – but not limited to – a story mode. Developed by some of the key figures behind the first two Call of Duty: Modern Warfare titles, e.g., Jason West and Vince Zampella, Titanfall 2 introduces a plethora of improvements over the first. Pilots, for example, will be equipped with grappling hooks which will assuredly help balance out the human/Titan dynamic in the game. We’ll find out for sure when it hits Origin this fall.

Expected: October 28, 2016

System Shock 3

There’s nothing quite like a sequel to a 90s classic to really get our juices flowing. Released in 1998, System Shock 2 was one of the defining survival horror games on the PC that decade. The main antagonist from that game, the psychopathic AI SHODAN, is returning for System Shock 3. Little else is known about the third game in the series, which is being developed by Otherside Entertainment, other than it could feature VR support. As if System Shock 2 wasn’t scary enough without it…

Expected: TBA

Best PC games

Cuphead

Few developers bolster concepts as unique and charming as Studio MDHR, with their 1930s cartoon-inspired run and gun title Cuphead. Featuring an art style reminiscent of the original Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willie classics, Cuphead is a blend of old and new-era entertainment. Adorable yet potentially disturbing due to its deranged, fullscreen-occupying bosses, Cuphead continuously has us thirsty for me.

Expected: 2016

best PC games

Forza Horizon 3

Historically, the Forza franchise has been Xbox-exclusive. That all changes this year when the third entry of Playground Games’ arcadey Forza Horizon sub-series makes its way to PC via the Play Anywhere program. Featuring four-player online co-op, improved vehicle customization and a map twice the size of its predecessor, exploring Australia in Forza Horizon 3 is bound to be best experienced on PC, especially with a 4K-capable machine. Plus, if you’ve ever launched a Halo game from your Xbox Live account, you can drive the Warthog, and who doesn’t want that?

Expected: September 27, 2016

1. Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines is SimCity updated for the modern era (and for those dissuaded by always-online DRM), proving a breath of fresh air for would-be mayors. Its core gameplay lets you dig deep into the various aspects of running a sprawling virtual city – from economics to macro and micro management and land planning. But Cities: Skylines really shines when it comes to mods, which allow you to create custom maps, assets and tools to share with other online players.

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2. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition places you in the heart of a huge, vibrant world on a far greater scale than its predecessors, and it does an excellent job of making you feel in command. Packing in a huge 90 hours (and the rest) of gameplay into its storyline, Inquisition’s smart dialogue, compelling plot, savvy progression system and massive sandbox world will have you engrossed for months on end. Think the Elder Scrolls games meets the Diablo franchise and you’re halfway there.

Dragon Age: Insquisition is all about putting you in the heart of a huge, vibrant world while somehow managing a far greater scale than its predecessors. The increased world size doesn’t affect the amount of content, however, as there is over 90 hours of gameplay in its storyline alone. Inquisition – with its clever dialogue, compelling plot, savvy progression system and massive sandbox world – will keep you engrossed for months on end. The Elder Scrolls meets Diablo? Count us in.

3. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

From the makers (and universe) of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone is easy to learn, but hard to master. Like the MMO its inspired by, Hearthstone combines classes, characters and a bit of random fortune when pitting you against either computerized or online opponents. Stick with and you’ll not only be rewarded by improved skill, but by in-game rewards as well. Keep in mind that, though, that while its accessibility might lead to addiction, don’t expect to be a world-class Hearthstone champion right off the bat. Practice makes perfect, right?

4. Dark Souls 3

best pc games

Though it’s arguably not as difficult as previous entries in the series, From Software’s Dark Souls 3 takes everything you like about the Souls series and combines it with elements found in Bloodborne, the developer’s more recent game for PS4.

Don’t get us wrong — Dark Souls 3 is no walk in the park. It still takes skill to master its complex combat system, but it plays fair too, inviting more casual gamers to take part in its bleak, fantastical world. Plus, on the bright side, it brings remarkably better PC optimization than that of the first game.

5. Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity is a sprawling RPG in the vein of Baldaur’s Gate or Icewind Dale that combines highly detailed technical combat with hundreds of hours of gameplay. It has refreshingly low system requirements on the PC but still looks incredible thanks to its simple but effective art style, which harks back to those aforementioned isometric fantasy RPGs of the 2000s. But it’s not all about nostalgia: Pillars of Eternity has enough interesting characters, baddies and clever writing to make it a modern classic of its own.

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6. Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most anticipated console ports to ever hit the PC. You probably didn’t need telling twice to head back into Los Santos’s hugely detailed and interactive world, but it’s ten times more fun with the PC’s richer graphics and smooth 60 frames per second gameplay. Once you’re done with its 31-hour storyline or had your fill blazing around the city causing chaos, an ever expanding list of GTA V mods – from fine tuning cars or throwing vehicles around with a Gravity Gun – are bound to keep you entertained for some time.

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7. BioShock

best PC games

Originally released almost ten years ago, BioShock is recalled as one of the greatest narrative-driven gaming experiences of all-time. The story in BioShock is told primarily through its eerily bleak atmosphere, paired with some unique dialogue, characters and themes inspired by the holy grail of libertarian philosophy, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

BioShock is a first-person shooter that takes Rand’s concepts, such as Objectivism, and tosses them underseas. To be exact, BioShock takes place in an underwater city called Rapture, free from government regulation, designed for artists and entrepreneurs to thrive. Of course, not all goes well in a city where the residents have all the power and, well, stop what you’re doing and play it right now if you haven’t already.

You’re in for one of the great games if you play BioShock, one that balances story elements with horror nigh-perfectly. There’s a remastered version out there now, too, which is free of charge if you own the original.

8. Alien: Isolation

Alen: Isolation

Set 15 years after the events of the first Alien film from 1979, Alien: Isolation is the suspense-packed game that fans of the franchise have been crying out for. Playing the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley, your mission is to track down and recover the flight recorder of the Nostromo spacecraft from the first Alien film which has been located aboard the Sevastopol space station. First and foremost a stealth game, Isolation ramps up the tension by providing you with minimal weaponry. Its excellent graphics shine on high-end PCs and clever AI helps ramp up the dread, leaving you to quiver when turning every corner.

9. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive remains a fantastic update to a timeless classic that continues to live on thanks to its vast online communities. A well-rounded tactical shooter that builds on the simple Terrorists vs Counter-Terrorists gameplay mechanics of Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source, CS: GO updates classic maps such as Italy and Dust while keeping adding new modes in Arms Race and Demolition. Simpler than Battlefield but more nuanced than the Call of Duty franchise, it’s a shooter for those who like to run, gun and think – if only a little bit.

10. Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4

Ubisoft’s latest shooter marks Far Cry’s most beautiful outing yet. Its graphically-rich world is eye-popping on high-end PCs, and you’ll see plenty of it thanks to a 30+ hour-long campaign. Aside from the main campaign, there are plenty of things to do in Kyrat – from hostage rescue and assassination missions to escort quests, resource collecting and, of course, avoiding being killed by bullets or rampaging animals. Whether you’re tearing across the savanna in a rickety car or slinging grenades around like tennis balls, survival has never been such a blast.

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11. FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL (Faster Than Light)

FTL (Faster Than Light) puts you command of running a spaceship and looking after its crew. Featuring a complex game mechanism that involves maintaining weapons, engines, shields and other areas, in addition to tactical combat, FTL can get extremely in-depth over time. Whether you’re ordering your crew to quite literally put out fires on deck in the heat of battle, or are navigating through asteroid fields, FTL is as much about long-term progression and satisfaction as it is quick fixes. Don’t let its indie stylings fool you: this is game with untold depth and scary levels of addictiveness.

12. Grim Fandango Remastered

Grim Fandango Remastered

A 90s classic brought back to life (unlike its main protagonist), Grim Fandango Remastered is a successful attempt at reviving one of the PC’s best adventure games of all time. Combining writing that matches the funniest dark comedies with clever puzzles and a still-impressive art style, Grim Fandango was the most entertaining work of art to take place in a Mexican setting for years until Breaking Bad came along. Now with updated graphics, sound and better controls, Manna Calavera’s adventure has never looked so good.

13. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Skyrim

Four years after its initial release, Skyrim is going as strong as ever thanks to a vast selection of mods and high-resolution texture packs. Even if you’re only interested in playing the vanilla version of the RPG, it offers more than 100 hours of gameplay.

Throw in three action packs DLC expansion packs (Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn), and it lasts even longer. That Skyrim has been compared to graphically superior but similar RPG blockbuster The Witcher 3 is testament to its enduring popularity. Step into Skyrim and you too can be an adventurer – just try not to take an arrow in the knee.

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14. DayZ

Grim Fandango Remastered

Originally launched as an Arma II mod, DayZ is a standalone zombie shooter with a difference. Not only do you have to mind the undead when wandering around its sprawling maps, but other online players too. Armed with a lead pipe and carrying nothing but a backpack and a flashlight, you’ll need wits and guile to survive.

Pretty much the opposite of adrenaline-packed zombie fests such as Left4Dead, you’ll spent half of the time evading the undead and the other using a shovel to fend off any humans who are bent on trying to steal your last box of matches. And take it from us – they will try.

15. Minecraft

Grim Fandango

The phrase “build it, and they will come” quite literally rings true when it comes to Minecraft, the game that has been bought by more than 19 million people. The survival-themed sandbox RPG lets players build their own worlds or explore others, using the game’s multiple block types to construct anything from small huts to extravagant castles and beyond.

Minecraft’s ultimate appeal revolves around its open-ended nature. Creative types can build and destroy to their hearts’ content, while solo players can concentrate on not being eaten by the zombie hordes that emerge at night. A modern-day classic that has spawned its own genre, it’s not to be missed.

16. The Orange Box

The Orange Box

The Orange Box may be showing its age, but it remains a must-play collection of games – particularly for FPS fans. Half-Life 2, technically still the most recent game in Valve’s franchise (excluding its Episode 1 and 2 add-ons), remains a modern masterpiece and is famed for being the first game to intelligently apply physics to its puzzles and combat set-pieces.

The collection’s other titles aren’t too shabby either: Portal takes gravity-based puzzles to the extreme by equipping the player with the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (also known as the Portal Gun), which places two portals for objects to pass through, while Team Fortress 2 continues to go from strength-to-strength thanks to the introduction of custom gear and well-balanced team combat.

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17. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3

Gorgeous graphics? Check. Huge explorable environments? Check. Enthralling combat? Of course. The Witcher 3 stands tall as one of the most ambitious open-world RPGs yet, combining Skyrim’s unrestrained epicness with Grand Theft Auto 5’s scale. While the game has been criticised for its inventory niggles, less-than-enthralling plot and not quite matching the graphics shown in its promo materials, it’s so ambitious and jam-packed with detail that the package lives up to the hype. Huge, beautiful and an absolute time-sink, you’ll want to scour every inch of The Witcher 3’s glorious world.

18. Doom

best PC games

Id Software’s Doom was a phenomena for PC gamers in the 90s. The crudely rendered first-person shooter series was as controversial as it was beloved, largely thanks to its cutting-edge depictions of gore and violence that only a computer could deliver. Parents be damned, the franchise has made a comeback in 2016 with a fresh restart, appropriately titled Doom. Although the multiplayer might not appeal to shooter fans regardless of age, the single player campaign will pit you against demons in Hell for a lengthy experience that’s as bloody as it is satisfying.

19. Project CARS

Project Cars

Project CARS is a racing simulator that guns for realism without leaving excitement back in the pit stop, as some racers tend to do. Slightly Mad Studios’ graphically-stunning title has enough car customisation and handling options to keep the keenest of petrol heads happy. Car types on show range from F1 to road, retro, kart, Le Mans, GT and more. Throw in realistic weather effects and driving assistance by Le Mans driver Ben Collins – formerly BBC Top Gear’s Stig – and the smell of burning rubber will be floating up your nostrils in no time.

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20. Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous

Modelled after the 1984 game Elite, Elite: Dangerous is one of the most ambitious space sims around. Featuring an in-game galaxy based on the real Milky Way (how’s 400 billion stars for depth?), the ultimate goal is to advance your rankings to Elite status by levelling up combat, trading and exploration.

Starting out with a rickety ship and 1,000 credits in your space suit’s back pocket, you’ll need to turn to piracy, trading, exploring, mining or bounty hunting to rise through the intergalactic ranks. Doing so takes time and requires serious graft, but the experience provides a level of satisfaction that few other titles can match. And then there’s the Oculus Rift

21. Inside

best PC games

From developer Playdead, the same team that devised the acclaimed (and platform ubiquitous) Limbo, comes another eerie tale. Like Limbo, Inside follows another nameless boy in a bleak world that’s apparently out to get you. Only, this time, there’s at least a few shades of color to keep you from complete despair. It’s not clear why, but the mute protagonist in Inside is being chased down by what appears to a group of shadowy men.

Nothing is explained in either spoken dialogue or text, so for the most part you’re on your own when it comes to figuring out the story. Nonetheless, Inside is bound to be an instant classic; although, revealing anything about it would inch into spoiler territory.

22. Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Described as “achingly beautiful” by Unity Engine boss John Riccitiello, Ori and the Blind Forest borrows its game mechanics from old-school 2D games such as Metroid and Castlevania while adding a modern twist. If any word can describe Ori’s atmospheric world, it’s alive. You’ll have to think fast and use new abilities gained along the way to bash, stop and manoeuvre your way through its gorgeous locations, and with no automatic saving system or easy difficulty level, it’s no walk in the park. As satisfying to master as it is to look at, Ori and the Blind Forest will re-open your eyes to what 2D games still have to offer.

23. Grow Home

Grow Home

Grow Home is an experimental PC platformer that looks like an “indie” game but is in fact the latest release from Rayman developer Ubisoft. Similarly charming thanks to its distinctive 3D art style, you play as BUD, the game’s robot protagonist, whose main job is harvest seeds and grow a beanstalk-like ‘Star Plant’ by grabbing its branches and connecting them to nearby floating islands in the sky.

There’s a fair bit of trial-and-error involved, and while having to climb all the way back up again after a fall is frustrating, grabbing a passing vine at the last minute by the tips of your fingers can be equally as exhilarating. The ability to move BUD’s arms and legs independently helps put you in control – just try not to get them tangled up. Because you will – a lot.

24. Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea

A 2D exploration game set on a boat can’t be that creepy, right? Wrong. More gothic than a Cradle of Filth concert, Sunless Sea throws all manners of joyless themes your way: death, insanity and cannibalism to name a few. Sailing from port-to-port in the monster-filled underworld of Fallen London, you’ll have to manage fuel and supplies while battling sentient icebergs, Zee-beasts and other water-dwelling nasties to remain afloat. Top-notch writing gives Sunless Sea an absorbing storyline that’s up there with history’s best text-based adventures.

25. Rocket League

Rocket League

Already familiar to millions before they’ve played a played a second of it, Rocket League turns the age old game of football (or soccer, depending) on its head. Played with rocket-propelled cars in futuristic low-gravity environments, the aim is simple: knock the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Doing so is harder said than done because there could be up to three cars on the opposing team trying to steal the ball off you – or ram you into submission – at any one time. Gorgeous to look, simple to learn but difficult to master, Rocket League is the surprise smash hit of 2015 – and a wonderfully addictive one at that.

Read: 8 real-life footballers in Rocket League: which one are you?

26. Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

As inevitable as sandals in summer, Blizzard finally launched its first MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game in June. Featuring a ton of characters from Blizzard games such as Warcraft, World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2, Heroes of the Storm sees two teams of five attempt to destroy the other’s base. When not sounding out enemy units to destroy, its expansive maps give you room to take on secondary objectives such as finding skulls or unlocking special siege units to help your team.

Accessible to newcomers while packing plenty of depth, Heroes’ finely balanced gameplay mechanics, shorter matches (compared to League of Legends) and ability-based levelling system make it a refreshing alternative to established MOBA titles and a fine game in its own right.

27. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V

The new Metal Gear, which is likely Hideo Kojima’s final game in the series, is a hugely ambitious title. Its massive open world setting lets you tackle missions using stealth, but it won’t punish you for going in guns blazing – which is often the most tempting option.

Set nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain’s story unravels through its main missions and more than 100 Side Ops tasks. The action is interspersed with gorgeous cutscenes, and while you sometimes have to decode annoying military-babble to understand what’s going on, TPP’s fast pacing and gorgeous Afghanistan settings never make the game feel like a chore.

28. SOMA

SOMA

A gripping horror game in the vein of Amnesia: The Dark Descent (it’s from the same developer), SOMA has its fair share of “NOPE!” moments. But it’s not really about jump scares; the game’s most compelling aspect is its philosophical story arc, which unravels as you encounter a series of confused robots. Suffering from existential stress, the decaying machines believe they are human.

The tension builds as you venture deeper into the underwater research facility that you wake up aboard, avoiding murderous creatures, solving clever puzzles and checking voice memos to unravel the mystery. Expertly weaving elements of survival and psychological Sci-Fi horror, SOMA is a little less action packed than Alien: Isolation but engages more of the old grey matter. If that’s what you’re looking for in a fright-fest, SOMA doesn’t disappoint.

29. Prison Architect

Prison Architect

if you think you’ve learnt a thing or two about prison life watching films like The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption over the years, cuff-em-up Prison Architect lets you put your knowledge to the test. Playing as wardens, you’re tasked with keeping prisoners in check, preventing riots from boiling over and foiling The Great Escape-style plots. And yes: it does involve sending men to the electric chair. Gnarly. Alternatively, a second mode called Escape lets you unleash your inner Bronson by hatching a plot to lead your fellow inmates to freedom. (Until you get arrested again, anyway.)

30. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

Warhammer: End times

Five heroes, many Skaven. That’s the basic premise of Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, a hack-and-slash fest that plays – and feels – a lot like Valve’s Left 4 Dead series. With a deep focus on co-operative gameplay, Vermintide’s melee-focused combat, random loot, level-based progression system and humanoid rat enemies make for a refreshing alternative to gunning down endless hordes of zombies.

Although it’s fun attempting to talk tactics over voice chat with players online, Vermintide is often too chaotic to try anything other than bashing or shooting the nearest Skaven between the eyes — and that’s fine — from giant Ogre Rats to stealth Gutter Runners, there’s enough variation to keep things interesting. And if you do start to get get bored, unlike the Skaven, ratcheting up the difficulty makes sure Vermintide won’t get long in the tooth any time soon.

31. Fallout 4

Best PC games

It’s official: Fallout 4 has lived up to the hype. Despite feeling a little bit like Fallout 3 but with nicer graphics at times, its tighter shooting, in-depth crafting system and well-thought out story make it a wholly more enticing affair.

As the Sole Survivor (the first fully-voiced protagonist in the Fallout series) in Boston’s post-apocalypse wasteland, you’ll take on Feral Ghouls, Raiders, Syths and Bloodbugs and more with high-powered weaponry that includes the Fat Man mini nuke cannon and the fusion cell-powered Laser Musket.

PC gamers can take Fallout 4 to even greater highs through a growing number of mods. They range from the Enhanced Wasteland Preset, which makes the wasteland look more vibrant on beefy PCs, to the sensibly named Fallout 4 Configuration Tool, which makes the game run smoother on wimpier PCs.

32. Rainbow Six: Siege

Siege

If the Call of Duty series is the poison that dumbed down the FPS genre with its run-and-gun gameplay, then Rainbow Six: Siege is the antidote. Working as a team to out-wit the enemy, Siege plays out like a thinking man (or woman’s) Counter-Strike that doesn’t simply encourage cooperation if you want to win – it requires it.

When you’re not peering down your gun’s iron sights, you’ll be laying traps, scouting ahead using drones, strategising with your teammates and building walls that could keep a herd of demented bulls at bay. While Siege’s heavy reliance on tactical team-based gameplay can prove its biggest weakness if you’re hoisted into a server with a particularly uncooperative bunch, when it does click, it provides a level of satisfaction rarely found in online multiplayer games.

33. Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider

“Console port” is no longer a dirty phrase thanks to efforts like Rise of the Tomb Raider, which gets the treatment it deserves on PC. Featuring stunning and varied locations, exciting combat and effective stealth mechanics, Lara’s epic outing often feels movie-like in its execution and scope.

Crystal Dynamics has kept the soul of the original games intact too – there’s pistols aplenty, amazing architecture and angry animals that would quite like to gobble you up – meaning you’ll never get bored once you’ve soaked up Siberia’s amazing architecture. If you’re into adventures, it’s easily one of the best PC games around.

34. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

best PC games

After Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise in 2014, it came as no surprise that a full-fledged sequel would be making its way to Xbox. What we didn’t see coming, however, was a complete remake of the first game developed from the ground up for both Microsoft’s console and Windows 10.

Featuring over 3,000 original art assets, revamped motion capture and a refined control scheme, the original Gears of War is only bettered by its adoption of DirectX 12 and support for resolutions up to 4K. If you ever wondered where to start in this critically-acclaimed third-person cover shooter series, look no further than Gears of War: Ultimate Edition available on the Windows Store.

35. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

best PC games

Picking up two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, released back in 2011, Mankind Divided centers once again around the story’s protagonist Adam Jensen who is now outfitted with augmentations that allow him to turn invisible, punch through walls and hack stuff.

Like a more refined Watch Dogs, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided proposes a strikingly realistic cyberpunk alternate reality, but doesn’t go so far as to make a statement about it. Fortunately, the savory (and stealthy) gameplay makes Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s campaign well worth the 30 hour campaign. For more insight, you can read our review here.

36. Superhot

Superhot

Originally created as an entry to the 7 Day FPS Challenge, Superhot’s Polish developers were inspired by a top-down game called Time4Cat where time only moves when the player does. They took this concept one step further and turned it into a FPS. Falling somewhere between Portal and Max Payne, nifty reflexes, patience and an eye for puzzle solving is required.

The aim is to defeat a finite number of enemies by dodging bullets and returning a few yourself. The game is now available to buy and download on Steam, but you can head back to where it all began by playing the flash version of Superhot online for free. You’ll need the Unity Web Player plugin which is currently not supported by Chrome.

37. X-COM 2

X-Com 2

X-Com 2 is one addictive game, and we still can’t put it down. Following up from 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which reimagined the 1994 cult classic UFO: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 has delivered everything we wanted in a sequel. Bigger, deeper, faster and even easier on the eyes, the turn-based tactics game takes place 20 years after its predecessor.

It pits you in control of the Avenger, a converted alien ship that serves as your mobile base of operations used to devise strategy and execute fight plans against otherworldly enemies. With a greater focus of stealth, more intelligent alien AI and deeper customization options, XCOM 2 is bound to end up one of our games of the year.

38. Battleborn

X-Com 2

Battleborn is the product of a recent influx of “hero shooter” games. Down to the basics, this means in the case of Borderlands developer Gearbox’s latest hit, you get to choose between 25 characters each resonating with one of five factions.

The heroes range from hulking giants like El Dragón, who body slam their way to victory, to long-range snipers like Marquis. Unlike Borderlands, Battleborn is all about its three competitive multiplayer modes, although there’s a single-player/co-op-driven story mode to boot.

I mean, who doesn’t want to play a game where your character is quite literally referred to as a badass within the actual canon?

39. World of Warcraft: Legion

best PC games

Anyone familiar with World of Warcraft knows that it’s among the most successful and influential massively multiplayer online role-playing games (or MMORPGs) of all-time. Comprising over 12 years of content, with over thousands of hours just waiting to be invested, there are few better games to spend your money on than World of Warcraft.

With the new expansion pack, however, dubbed “Legion,” you’ll not only get access to an entirely new continent, but Blizzard has completely overturned its leveling system as well. Instead of each zone having a predetermined level, zones actually adapt dynamically to the level of your character.

This way, no matter where you are in the game, you’ll be able to incur new challenges without the endless grinding required by the World of Warcraft of yesteryear. Not only that but the new class-specific “Artifact” weapons add even more replayability to the game like never before.

40. Obduction

best PC games

In 1993, Myst was released by two brothers – Rand and Robyn Miller of Cyan Worlds – to an audience who likely didn’t expect what was about to infest their computer screens. Myst was a groundbreaking staple for the adventure game genre, and it still is today (it’s just a little harder on the eyes).

Fast forward 13 years and the same team is back again with a similar, albeit distinct formula that resembles the game we all got stuck in and rage-quit years ago. Obduction revives the instruction- and UI-less exploration of Myst and adapts it to the 21st century, converging inspiration from the more recent trend of “walking simulators” like Firewatch and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture with contemporary puzzle games such as Jonathan Blow’s The Witness.

Hence the name, Obduction features overlying themes of science fiction and intentional misspellings. Be warned that you may need to jot down a few notes to solve puzzles, and if you want an authentic reproduction of how it would have been playing Myst in the 90s, refrain from using online walkthroughs as a bonus challenge. No, you won’t rack up achievements that way, but those didn’t exist back then either.

Updated: Nintendo NX release date, news and rumors

Updated: Nintendo NX release date, news and rumors

The path to the Nintendo NX

For the past couple of console generations Nintendo hasn’t exactly been a traditional console manufacturer. While Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One have continued the traditional battle over graphical fidelity and processing power, Nintendo has been content to do its own thing, and that looks set to continue with the Nintendo NX, which looks set to be its most experimental console yet.

But despite this excitement, what’s amazing is the sheer amount that we don’t know about the new console aside from a vague March 2017 release date.

That little information we do have about the console makes it sound like the most ambitious merging of the console and handheld that there’s ever been.

In recent years Nintendo has developed a bit of a problem with its attention being split across its consoles and its handhelds. What we’ve heard so far about the Nintendo NX suggests that this console will be a hybrid between the two, and might just solve this problem.

In other words what the console will be able to do is allow you to take it on the go, and then ‘dock’ it when you’re back home in order to seamlessly transition to using it like a traditional console.

Nintendo should have just one piece of hardware to focus its attention on, and this should help it maintain a better level of focus.

The weirdness of the NX is the great thing about Nintendo. When it comes to the PS5 and the Xbox Two we can be fairly certain that the consoles will be controlled through some fairly typical controllers, and they’ll feature a graphical upgrade from the last generation.

But Nintendo is different. It has a way of embracing new technologies, and while it might not always work out for them, it nevertheless makes for some fantastically interesting pieces of hardware.

The Wii introduced motion-controls to the mass-market, the Wii U brought a second screen to console gaming for the first time. The DS was unique for its use of a touch-screen, and the 3DS is the only handheld to have a 3D screen built in.

Nintendo has proven willing to try literally anything in order to reinvent the console, and the Nintendo NX, and its rumored detachable controllers, is no different.

While we’re on the topic of controllers, another source has claimed that the Nintendo NX’s will deliver a couple of Nintendo firsts, a split D-pad and a ‘share’ button, similar to those seen on Sony’s PS4.

Nintendo NX release date

Currently Nintendo is targeting a March 2017 release date, according to an earnings call earlier this year.

The Wii U was first teased ahead of E3 2011 and debuted in 2012. The 3DS was first announced in early 2010, a year before it came out. The DS was teased in 2003 and revealed in 2004. The Wii is the rare exception because it was teased at E3 2004, shown for the first time a year later, and released over a year after that.

Nintendo NX

We’re hoping for a big reveal later this year if Nintendo wants to build up a good amount of steam for the console’s launch next year. The only other option would be to pull an Apple-style announcement on the day of release, but we don’t think Nintendo has quite the same abilities as Apple in that regard.

The continually-shrinking portable landscape has led to Nintendo’s first major third-party game development, and the Wii U’s poor sales performance has likely sped up the NX’s timeline.

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Nintendo NX Price

In addition to their unclear identities and unexciting launch slates, high initial price tags were the biggest roadblock for Nintendo’s most recent portable and home consoles.

For the NX to succeed at launch, it needs to be the cheapest video game hardware on the market, and by a large margin. Whether it’s due to creating the next control innovation or breaking tradition by selling hardware at a loss, you can rest assured Nintendo won’t bungle launch pricing for a third consecutive console.

A recent product listing on Tesco’s online store priced the product at £349.99 (around $450 / AU$595), but this was quickly removed, indicating that the price was just a placeholder, rather than being official.

We’re also inclined to dismiss the listing, which was unearthed by Nintendo Life, because it gave a placeholder release date of 31/12/16, which is a far cry from the March 2017 release date that we’ve been given so far.

Nintendo’s previous generation of consoles, the DS and Wii, gained traction by launching at $150 and $250 (£99.99 and £179.99) respectively, so whether it’s focused on dominating your living room or your public transportation commute, Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays for pricing its consoles.

Tantalising details

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime knows what he has to do with the Nintendo NX.

“One of the things that we have to do better when we launch the NX – we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product. We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience. And we have to do a better job from a software planning standpoint to have that continuous beat of great new games that are motivating more and more people to pick up the hardware and more and more people to pick up the software,” Fils-Aime told Eurogamer.

The company has hinted at a dramatically different system in the NX, and that will mean it will take extra effort on Nintendo’s part to sell it to the already-leery gaming public.

Another interesting fact that came out of the last few months is that Nintendo might have its eye set on making the NX the company’s first VR console. In a shareholders meeting the company admitted it was “researching” VR technology, according to someone who was present.

Twitter’s NStyles attended the meeting in Kyoto and claims Nintendo’s Shigeru Minamoto said Nintendo was researching VR but has concerns about users playing for long periods of time.

He also added that Nintendo wants to release a device that carries value, is affordable, and wants parents to “feel at ease”. Typical Nintendo to care about our eye health while the rest of the market charges forward haphazardly.

Further, the Nintendo NX may support some form of heart rate-monitoring hardware. According to Commercial Times, a Chinese integrated circuit design company called Pixart has been ramping up production of itsCMOS-based hear-rate monitoring sensor that will go into several next-gen VR headsets and – more interestingly – Nintendo’s next home console.

What we know so far:

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doaae3yrCM

While some might not be ready to move on past the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, there’s good reason for the expediency: while Sony (and to a lesser extent, Microsoft) can potentially match their earlier successes with their latest batch of consoles, the Wii U will almost definitely go down in history as Nintendo’s worst-selling console.

Just how dire is Nintendo’s need to jump ship on the Wii U? It’s currently sitting at around 10 million units sold, and even a new Legend of Zelda game won’t likely double system sales to the point where it can match the GameCube’s near 22-million sales mark, let alone the Wii’s 100 million unit high-bar.

The path to the NeXt Nintendo system

Nintendo NX

Nintendo’s greatest successes were due to the company taking its biggest risks. Its top-selling portable was the Nintendo DS, a portable console with a second, touch-enabled screen that many scoffed at before it revolutionized handheld gaming.

Likewise, the original Wii far outpaced every previous TV-tethered system, and it did so by treading its own path, eschewing the standard controls with a revolutionary motion-controlled setup that some competitors are still attempting to mimic.

If Nintendo wants to see the NX succeed it’ll need to etch these lessons into memory. Should it follow in the footsteps of the 3DS or Wii U, however, all hope may be lost.

The Nintendo 3DS originally stumbled, and Wii U has outright failed is truly differentiating themselves from their direct predecessors. Both assumed that the previous generation’s record-breaking install base wanted more of the same, so they both came with extensive backwards compatibility and names that recalled the previous generation.

The 3DS only broke out of its funk after drastically dropping its price while also debuting a new Zelda and 3D Mario game. The same might be in-store for the Wii U, though the reveal of the NX means its clock is ticking.

Nintendo NX

How will the NX be different?

For the NX, a new control method is in the works after the Wii U’s controller/touch-screen hybrid failed to inspire widespread developer support.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata even said as much when first announcing the console, saying it will incorporate a “brand-new concept.” When you take into account the other major change Nintendo revealed during that same event (a commitment to develop smartphone games), Nintendo’s 25-year-old dual-pronged strategy of leaning on both a portable and home console could come to a close this decade. Even though the 3DS is currently Nintendo’s saving grace, developing a games-only portable device is becoming more and more of a risk in this day and age.

Ever since the release of the GameCube Nintendo has consistently had the least-powerful system on the market. Given how much stock Sony and Microsoft put into creating cutting-edge tech, that’s not likely to change. They’ve done touchscreens, they’ve done motion-controls … heck, Nintendo was doing VR two decades ago, so what’s the next possible realm to tackle?

With the NX, currently rumors are suggesting that Nintendo will create a console-portable hybrid. The Wii U dipped its toe in letting users take their games on the go by letting them play on a Gamepad as long as they were in proximity to a Wii U console. But if Nintendo creates an Xbox One/PS4-level system that you can take on the go, then you’re playing with power.

How powerful will the NX be?

Without an official announcement from Nintendo, it’s hard to say exactly how powerful the Nintendo NX will be, but we can make some assumptions based around the reports that are available.

According to the Eurogamer report, the NX is set to contain a version of Nvidia’s Tegra chip which was last seen in the company’s Nvidia Shield. Unfortunately the nature of this chip means that it’s not possible to draw direct comparisons between it and the competition from Sony and Microsoft.

The Tegra X1 (which reports suggest is currently running inside NX dev kits) might be the most powerful mobile chip currently on the market, but at the end of the day it’s a mobile rather than a desktop chip, and this means that it’s unlikely that the console will match the power of the PS4 or Xbox One.

However, we should stress that we currently don’t have any more specific information on the exact specifics of the Tegra chip that will make it into the final console, and as such all of this information is subject to change.

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What does the Nintendo NX need to succeed?

Nintendo NX

So what does the Nintendo NX need to win the next console war? Well, if we had to pick one thing, a fat stack of better launch games wouldn’t hurt.

We’ve heard rumors that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be there on Day One, as will a few Dragon Quest games, but Nintendo needs one or two more of its hit franchises there to cut the opening ribbon if it really wants to steal the show.

Historically speaking, the Nintendo DS was the rare exception to the rule that successful Nintendo consoles debut with an all-new Mario or Zelda game (remakes and 2D Mario retreads don’t count). Nintendo was smart to hedge its bets and shift development of Twilight Princess to both its old and new hardware, and it could do the same with the NX to maximize exposure of the next Zelda game.

Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy were amongst the highest-profile releases for their respective Nintendo consoles, and there’s no surer bet to launch a Nintendo console alongside than an all-new Mario game. If a game with a name “Super Mario Universe” debuted the same day as a new Nintendo console, the hordes of lapsed Nintendo fans could likely return to the fold.

Nintendo NX

However, Wii Sports and Wii Fit proved that Nintendo doesn’t need to (and perhaps shouldn’t) lean on a new IP to become a smash hit if new tech is impressive enough. If Nintendo creates a console-portable hybrid and can come up with a simple concept that encourages players to both take the tech on the go and tether it to a TV, a good pack-in game can offer proof to the casual crowd, while the launch day Mario or Zelda game will capture the hardcore.