Playing video games is an activity that is on the upswing. Whether you’re into offline titles and prefer to play solo or you enjoy sharing the in-game world with one or a hundred more players, it doesn’t matter. Although it may require trial and error, you’ll eventually find a title that occupies your time and attention, and perhaps eventually make money from it. If such a title doesn’t exist, nothing stops you from creating your own down the road. But not so fast. To get there, you’ll need to master the basics of gaming, which is where our best gaming tips for newbies come in. Let’s start.
1. Take it slow but establish a schedule
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Patience is a virtue. Both quotes apply to gaming, meaning you can’t expect to master something overnight. Although gaming is considered a pastime activity, it still requires work, more so when you’re starting. So, ease into it. Incorporate gaming into your daily routine, perhaps an hour before sleep or waking up a tad earlier. Remember to stop or make changes when it evokes negative feelings or boredom.
2. Read, watch, and ask for help
Unlike the early adopters of both video games and the Internet, you’re not alone. Even a new game is preceded by months, even years of discussion between the announcement and the release date. What we’re trying to say is there’s an abundance of information floating around and in multiple forms. Here are several ways to get informed about gaming:
- Gaming blogs (you’re reading one!)
- Game publishers’ official websites
- Groups and accounts dedicated to gaming or games on social media
- Technology blogs (for the hardware news)
- Game distribution platforms (we mention them below)
- Channels on video sharing platforms such as YouTube (we’re working on ours!)
- Video streaming services such as Twitch
- Gaming podcasts and audiobooks
- Gaming conventions and presentations/conferences
- Independent forums and collections of forums, such as Reddit
- Servers that consist of fans of specific games or gaming in general, such as on Discord
This entry is among the most gaming tips newbies can benefit from. It allows you to learn about gaming or games at your own pace and the way you prefer. As a side effect, you join a community of like-minded individuals of all skill and passion levels, which introduces both camaraderie and competitiveness.
3. Decide on a platform
It’s hard to decide on a platform before you start to play. Therefore, doing extensive research and deliberating is one of the top gaming tips for newbies we can give you. The choice of platform boils down to 5 things:
- Type of games and their exclusivity
- Existing equipment
- How serious about gaming you are
PC is usually the first thing people think of. It’s versatile, and both budget and upgrade-friendly. You can get a gaming computer for $200 but also for $2000, depending on which games you want to play and how demanding their system requirements are. There’s a global market for second-hand PC parts, too, so you can sell and buy components like your passion for gaming grows stronger.
Additionally, you’re likely familiar with the operating system already, and probably own the starter kit: gaming mouse, keyboard, monitor, and speakers/headsets. Furthermore, you can squeeze out extra performance by learning how to overclock or update/tweak the operating system and drivers. Although this isn’t beginner stuff, emulators, software that lets you play games exclusive to consoles and smart devices, are another advantage of PCs.
Gaming consoles are a cheap way to get into gaming when scalpers aren’t involved. You can buy them at or around MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) and even grab refurbished consoles at a massive discount. You most likely have a TV and/or a monitor, Internet, and speakers, and will get gaming controllers in the package, making consoles plug-and-play. However, their manufacturers control the specifications and there are several models released every few years. So, if you dislike the performance, visuals, and/or the user interface, well, tough luck. If you try to customize in unapproved ways, you’ll void the guarantee or brick the console.
Smart devices and tablets used to be the go-to medium for casual gamers. They still, for the most part, are. However, rapid technological advancements in mobile chips make them a serious contestant for a piece of the gaming pie. Some games, particularly in the MMO, fantasy, RPG, and battle royale genre, look outstanding today. Plus, game developers are introducing software and hardware (docks, adapters) for screen sharing, connecting to portable or regular monitors, and using wired or wireless mice, keyboards, joysticks, and controllers.
Cloud gaming, in its independent form, has the lowest and cheapest barrier of entry, making it ideal for newbies in gaming. You need any device that can stream videos in a resolution of your screen (mobile, monitor, TV). Then, ensure your Internet connection is stable, fast, and preferably without the data limit. After that, simply purchase individual ones or get a curated collection of games through a subscription and launch the title. You can also stream games from other devices using services such as Steam Link, Microsoft xCloud, PlayStation Now, and GeForce Now.
4. Ensure Internet connection is solid
This is one of the gaming tips for newbies that can prevent a headache. You see, “playing single-player games“ and “playing offline games” oftentimes aren’t synonymous. First, you’ll hardly find a game in physical form, except for consoles, and even they are slowly transitioning to digital-only distribution. Moreover, patches, content updates, texture packs, and DLCs are standard practice, and you may have to download them before you start a game. Anti-piracy tools are another common component, which requires an initial or constant connection to the server to authenticate you and let you play. Finally, you’ll need Internet for tip #2, and any guides, walkthroughs, or cheat codes.
5. Get acquainted with game distribution services
We already covered this in the “Platforms” section of learning to play online games. Here’s a summary of game distribution services based on platform:
- PC: Steam, Epic Games, Origin, GOG.com, Green Man Gaming, GamersGate, Direct2Drive, Game Jolt
- Console: SEGA Games, Nintendo eShop/Game Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store
- Mobile: Google Play, Apple App Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, Amazon Appstore, Huawei’s AppGallery
- Cloud: Google Stadia