For NVIDIA, 2015 was about continuing the good work that’s its Maxwell graphics architecture. Enthusiasts and those with deep pockets will remember the crazy-fast GeForce GTX Titan X we saw in March, as well as the also-very-fast GeForce GTX 980 Ti that featured a GM200 GPU with eight billion transistors like the Titan X in June. But that wasn’t all. For those with more modest needs, the GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 950 also arrived last year, the latter specifically targeted at multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) gamers. If your pride yourself on living on the edge, the current word on the street is that NVIDIA's next-gen Pascal-based Titan GPU will be unveiled in the first half of this year, maybe even early as April. With better performance per watt, and higher memory capacity and bandwidth of Maxwell expected in Pascal, 2016 looks to be another exciting year for NVIDIA fans.
With 26% of the votes, ASUS is our readers’ favorite gaming monitor brand. The 2014 Swift ROG PG278Q, the world’s first 27-inch WQHD G-Sync monitor with rapid 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, was highly regarded; and the company followed that up in 2015 with the PG279Q, but this time with an IPS panel. And if curved monitors are your thing, the ROG Curved is a large 34-inch curved gaming monitor with a 3,440 x 1,440-pixel resolution that also supports G-Sync. For owners of AMD cards, ASUS didn’t forget you either. The TN-based MG278Q and IPS-based MG279Q are two 27-inch gaming monitors that support AMD’s FreeSync tech. In second place is Samsung with 21% of the votes.
The contest for our Best Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Brand award involves more than 20 brands, but the top three already garnered 70% of the votes. At the end of the day, the trophy goes to Razer, which received 41% of all votes cast. Late last year, Razer upgraded its Naga Chroma gaming mouse with a true 16,000 DPI 5G sensor with no interpolation, and a Chroma lighting with an iconic 12-button mechanical thumb grid. Alongside the new Orochi, the long-time crowd favorite Diamondback mouse also received an overhaul in 2015. And of course, the Blackwidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard got another upgrade, with the latest 2016 version now sporting individually backlit green LEDs that can each be customized through the Razer Synapse software.
With 31% of the votes, Aftershock is our readers’ favorite gaming desktop PC brand. A surprise really considering that Aftershock is arguably more well known for its fine line of gaming notebooks, such as the Aftershock Titan v2.1 for enthusiasts, and the S-15 and M-15 v2 for gamers on a budget. That said, Aftershock’s custom desktops in the Tremor (small form factor) and the SLI-capable Hypergate (mid-tower) series are packed with the latest PC tech, too, such as 6th-gen Intel Core processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti or Titan X graphics, and tons of storage options, just to name a few.
For those unaware, Alienware is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dell, Inc., and it specializes in putting together high-performance desktops and notebooks for professional and gaming purposes using third-party components and custom enclosures. In early 2015, we saw the thinner and lighter Alienware 15 and 17 that are powered by the Intel Haswell processors and the latest NVIDIA and AMD graphics; though later in the year, they’ve all (including the Alienware 13) been upgraded with new hardware, such as USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 support, and of course, Skylake chips. In second place behind Alienware (28%) is local outfit Aftershock (21%), maker of well-spec’d and well-priced gaming notebooks, such as the Aftershock Titan v2.1, S-15, and M-15 v2.
(Editor's note: This year also sees the inclusion of video games merit categories, for the first time presented in collaboration with GameAxis.com. In addition to the Best Gaming Console Brand award introduced last year, a Best Gaming Publisher award was available for public voting among this year’s Readers’ Choice brand nominees.)
Sony PlayStation 4 vs. Microsoft Xbox One. This is a battle that started before both consoles came to market, is still on-going at the moment, and is expected to continue for at least a couple more years. Once again, our readers have chosen Sony as their favorite gaming console maker. Not too long ago, we had Sony announcing a price drop for the PS4, as well as new console SKUs, a new firmware, and plenty of accessories and game titles. The Playstation VR headset is also due soon, so there's quite a bit of stuff to look forward to in 2016 if you're in Sony's camp.
Owner of multi-million dollar video game franchises like Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Warcraft, Activision Blizzard is our readers’ favorite games publisher, with 24% of the votes. In 2015, the company published the next iteration of the Skylanders franchise, Skylanders: SuperChargers; Bungie’s Destiny: The Taken King; as well as announced its intention to buy Candy Crush Saga maker, King Digital, in a US$5.9 billion deal. In second place is Electronic Arts, which is well known for its EA Sports titles like FIFA and NBA Live, with 22%.