The year 2022 was a very good year for gaming devices of all kinds. Many companies tried to innovate in this field, but only a few are easy to recommend or really stood out in the market. Without a new gaming console launch, we had to look more towards PC Gaming, where a lot of interesting moves have happened lately, especially in the mobile gaming area. Here are the most important gaming hardware launches of the year.
Without a doubt, Steam Deck is the most exciting gaming product of 2022. Although it looks like a handheld console that could compete in the market with the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck completely exceeds expectations. It is, in fact, an entire PC fully capable of running any game or software you put in front of it, as long as you consider its hardware limitations for a portable system.
The irony is that such portable gaming computers have been around for a while, but none are as capable and versatile as the Steam Deck, despite offering more powerful hardware, at least on paper.
That’s because Valve created Steam Deck with great consideration to achieve the lowest possible price, with compromises in places. So the Steam Deck has a just average IPS display, not a top-of-the-line one, and 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, but it gets excellent software support via Steam OS, a custom Linux distribution with a Steam interface dedicated to the handheld platform. What’s more, Valve is constantly working on software optimizations to ensure compatibility with as many Windows games on Steam OS as possible, as well as to improve performance on them on Steam Deck.
Last but not least, being a PC, you have Linux available to you without factory limitations, being able to edit, modify or change anything you want, and, you even have the freedom to install Windows. You can emulate any retro console or even some newer ones, turning Steam Deck into an all-in-one gaming system. Alternatively, along with a USB-C dock you can turn Steam Deck into a desktop, complete with keyboard, mouse and monitor, and the community around the device is always active.
If we had to pick a gaming product that really impressed in 2022, the Steam Deck is definitely first on the list.
ROG Zephyrus G14
The Zephyrus G14 series of laptops in the ROG range is one of the easiest to recommend, but in 2022, it reached new heights. Equipped with 100% AMD hardware, the ROG Zephyrus G14 has managed to deliver on the original promise (review) of these slim gaming laptops: top performance in a near ultrabook form factor.
This is where both ASUS’ high-performance components and design elements contribute. For example, cooling is aided by liquid metal instead of thermally conductive paste, and the computer’s construction is made of magnesium alloy for high shock resistance and light weight.
Sure, there are better gaming laptops out there, but few are as portable and versatile as the Zephyrus G14. It also helps that it has an out-of-the-ordinary design, even being available in a white version, and the LED array on the outer cover brings an element that other computers of its kind don’t offer.
GeForce RTX 4090
This year we’ve had Intel and AMD processor launches as well as graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA. But of all of them, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 4090 managed to attract the most attention, as it offers the biggest jump in performance from one generation to the next in the history of video cards.
Not only can it outperform any previous generation model with nearly double the performance contribution in traditional gaming, but it can achieve up to four times the performance through smart use of the new technologies it integrates: much higher-performance RT cores and DLSS 3 technology, which enables new frame generation through artificial intelligence. The results are impressive, and it’s almost impossible to tell with the naked eye the difference between the quality of these generated frames and the native ones.
So 4K gaming with ray tracing at over 120 frames per second is finally becoming a reality, and the next barrier is 8K resolution, which NVIDIA has been attacking for a couple of generations now.
Of course, the RTX 4090 is not a GPU for everyone, but rather one that looks to the possibilities of the future, and NVIDIA has put a prohibitive price tag on this model that will ensure that only a “privileged” few will have the opportunity to own it in their personal PCs. The good news is that all of the technologies in the 4090 are also available on cheaper models, which will also give the general public a taste of what’s possible in gaming performance in 2022 and beyond.
Backbone One PlayStation Edition
After the enormous success of the PlayStation Portable (PSP), the PlayStation Vita was considered a failure and marked Sony’s exit from the handheld console market. It seems that Sony isn’t considering a return to this market, despite the Nintendo Switch proving that there is still demand, and now Steam Deck shows that even PC gamers want such devices. Sony, however, believes the battle has been won by mobile phones, and is tentatively trying to enter the mobile accessories market via a partnership with Backbone.
BackBone One PlayStation Edition is a special edition of the accessory that already exists for iPhones and Android phones, with a PlayStation theme. That means it comes in black and white, just like the PlayStation 5, and displays the PlayStation-specific buttons on the front: X, O, Triangle and Square. This accessory is made more for streaming from the PlayStation Plus Premium service on mobile, but also for Remote Play on the PlayStation 5.
There are many such devices for phones, but few are truly licensed for use with multiple platforms. Backbone One PlayStation Edition is certified for official recognition in Xbox, PlayStation and Steam games.