Perhaps one of the most profound questions in recent tech history is: Why have RGB lights become ubiquitous in gaming hardware in a handful of years?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a graphics card, PC case, peripheral equipment, headphones or other technical gadgets: nowadays everything has to light up, flash and generally have a storm of flashbulbs.
Enthusiasts of this trend speak of
decorative RGB. But what is RGB really – and why is this magical and mythical three-letter acronym (R! G! B!) a dream come true in large parts of the gaming community? Let’s go on a search for clues together!
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What is RGB?
First the basics: The abbreviation RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. More precisely, RGB is a so-called additives Farbmodell. In street German this means: the three colors are interlaced with each other – and the overlapping in turn creates new colors (for example, the intersection of red and green creates yellow). So much for the color theory from the first grade of the comprehensive school.
Many display devices today take advantage of RGB, including TVs, the monitor on your gaming computer, and even the screen on your smartphone you’re looking at. Note: It depends on the RGB mix!
Personal opinion: For example, the Mountain Everest Max is one of the few luxury items with RGB lighting, without which I would not like to do my everyday work at the keyboard.
Technological reasons for RGB
It is well known that it was technological advances in LED technology that made full-coverage RGB possible Doctor Marcus Carter from the University of Sydney to report. The lecturer for digital culture sat down with colleagues from PCWorld on the subject of RGB – and provided a few interesting answers.
Commenting on the history of RGB, Doctor Marcus Carter says:
“In the 1960s, LEDs were initially only available in red, then green was added, and later also orange and yellow. However, it was not until the mid-1990s that blue LEDs became technically feasible. And with the addition of blue, any color could ultimately be represented via LEDs.”
Incidentally, the physicists Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the blue LED!
Aesthetic reasons for RGB
In recent years, RGB lights have married gaming aesthetics. In other words: RGBs have become an integral part of how the PC and everything around it looks in many cases.
Marketing foxes continue to fuel this trend, of course, by placing the corresponding products in the foreground in the advertising context. And sometimes RGB helps manufacturers persuade customers to upgrade. Is this a sales-promoting measure RGB?
And!, said colleague Georg Wieselberger in his article on the trend topic LEDs, which is now more than four years old. An insight into the manufacturer’s website at the time on the broad gaming phenomenon:
What do manufacturers of RGBs have?
For manufacturers, RGB is a fantastic way to use it – to put it mildly exaggerated – to attach a brightly colored arrow to their product, as if to say:
Look here! And buy me! To put it more carefully: In conjunction with a PC case with a transparent side panel, RGB lights draw customers’ attention to the device parts.
Respectively, the obvious lighting signals:
This is valuable memory! or
This graphics card is world class!
Furthermore, the aforementioned Doctor Marcus Carter argues that RGBs have another utility on the manufacturer side. Carter says:
“Like custom-made cars, […]technical prowess and cultural capital are demonstrated here. […] It’s about the intimate and performance-driven joy of technological devices.”
What does psychology say?
Especially for hardcore gamers who assemble their own gaming PC, festive RGB lighting almost feels like a status symbol.
The credo often applies: The more wacky, unique and amazing the RGB installation, the more reputation it has in the gaming peer group. True to the motto:
If you want to apply, don’t use RGB very often.
It’s a truism, but a truth nonetheless: the western world is an individualistic one. That means: finding out about the clothes you wear; vehicles to drive; or RGB toys that you install on your gaming PC is a fact that can be observed day in and day out.
dr Jane Gavan of Sidney College of the Arts confirms this. She says:
“A lot of gamers buy keyboards like this [mit RGB]because they have an identity-forming effect.”
This individuation trend is no reason for shame and disgrace – it can often hardly be avoided. Especially since you can easily go the opposite way if you wish, as this article shows:
Because with the right accessories, we can bring about the desired external perception within fractions of a second. In other words: If I wear a three-piece business suit, the other person knows immediately:
Oh! A businessman!. If the RGB lighting on my keyboard tinkles and bobbles, the gaming opponent knows immediately:
Oh! You are one of us!
The latter point affects that psychological need to belong (to a particular group). So on a psychological level the two basic needs of belonging and self-realization to perform
All right, Doctor Freud. And now back down from the Psycho-Couch!
Commercial interest in RGB
Another explanation for the triumph of RGB is of course – after all, we live in a market economy – the financial interest. Because: Not always, but often manufacturers charge a surcharge for RGB-capable products.
Do you find RGB lighting an aesthetic enhancement to your desk setup? Or does the festive lighting tweak your eyes, which is why you switch off red, green and blue immediately anyway? Do RGBs offer you clear advantages that the article above left out – such as a speed advantage in competitive e-sports? Feel free to discuss it in our comments!