Interview: Jeff Kuo on how MSI is keeping ahead of the game

Jeff Kuo, general manager of MSI Notebook UK talks about how MSI is keeping on top of the fast-evolving trends in the gaming world.

 What are the hottest trends in gaming?

On the digital distribution front of gaming, we’ve seen a continued rise of game subscription services that offer large libraries of games to players for monthly or annual fees.
I see this as a really positive trend from a variety of perspectives. This new way of accessing your games presents an abundance of titles and genres that players may not have considered purchasing in the past. From AAA titles to indie games, there’s more choice now than ever before right at your fingertips.

The recent surge in games supporting cross-platform play is another positive trend which means players have the ability to connect and play with others regardless of the hardware or platform. I’m an advocate for the breaking down of barriers that tie players to a single platform. It’s great to offer players the choice to use their preferred gaming setup – hopefully a PC or laptop-based setup – and still be able to chat and connect with those playing from their couches.
In line with the rise of online video platforms, the ever-evolving gaming and sharing culture is clear to see. It’s now easier than ever for players to start recording their own gameplay clips and reactions. Hardware and software availability has empowered content creators to capture, edit and publish video content. All that’s needed is a laptop for a gamer to start showcasing their best gaming moments and create new forms of community. The rise of playing, broadcasting and simply watching video games is a trend we expect to see continuing.

What is the current state of the gaming industry?

We have noticed a trend in preference for portability within the gaming industry where games and hardware are becoming more accessible and optimised for everyday and anywhere use. Without a doubt, AAA games are the leading gaming production classification with an ever-growing niche market, however, arguably, all-accessible games such as mobile gaming and online/cloud games are taking the market majority, as it is the more affordable option that can be offered to almost all demographics.
We have also seen the stance the gaming industry has taken in relation to diversity and representation in video games. With macro developments in reductionist mentality, users are not succumbing to the rudimentary character creations that were previously offered to them. From this, the gaming industry has had to develop in order to offer a variety of skin/appearance options, game expansions or even whole new game modes to further inclusivity.

How are gaming peripherals advancing to keep up with gaming trends?

There have been mass advancements in VR gaming headsets. With the promise of the Metaverse – a virtual world where users can interact with computer-generated environments and other users, it’s key that the right ingredients are in place to allow this to become a reality. Affordability and availability are often quoted as a barrier to entry. Luckily, we’re continuing to see an abundance of powerful hardware entering the market. High competition and a range of price points will be key to mass adoption. And the advancements don’t stop there – there have been developments in the external aesthetics and composition of VR headsets downsizing to provide a higher quality user experience.

On a more grounded level, there is of course progression within more known and user-friendly peripheral components such as monitors and mice. End-users are more in-the-know about what they want from their peripheral component and they have an industry-level understanding of what will suit their needs as gamers. There is also a direct correlation with trending games and releases so companies like MSI must keep up with end-user demands.

A great example of how we’re keeping up with gaming trends is through the incorporation of NVIDIA Reflex. This is technology built to deliver the lowest latency and best responsiveness across our graphics processing units (GPUs) and gaming monitors. We have found from personal experience, massive improvement in hit rates with internal MSI users seeing their hit rates go from 20ms off to 4-5ms. However, with these technologies users need compatible monitors.

Who has been making the biggest noise in the gaming world this year?

Other than MSI, I’d say our key partner NVIDIA has created a lot of noise this year for the right reasons.
Firstly, the introduction of the GeForce 40 Series of GPUs paves the way for a generational leap not only in PC gaming performance but also for creators and efficiencies in their workflows. To put it simply, hardware creators like us are now in a position to deliver more life-like graphics, at 4K resolution and at higher refresh rates than ever before. All whilst maintaining or even lowering power consumption compared to previous generations.

NVIDIA’s commitment to pioneering in AI-powered graphics technology must be mentioned.  Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS 3) is simply fascinating – how the technology is able to predict how the scene in a game is supposed to change and then generate entirely new frames for the image. This will enable massively faster gameplay and higher resolutions on any form factor – be it a laptop or a desktop.

What can we expect to see coming in the gaming world next year?

Mainstreaming of the familiar is what we expect to see in the gaming world – reboots and remakes have been growing in both trend and popularity with consumers and within the gaming industry. This goes back to the idea of familiarity – for the gaming industry, everything is known and what was once a success can be a success again. This is because reboots are divisive consumer strategies that offer consumers a modern edge to much-loved childhood shows, films, games etc. However, what seems to generate viewership and user-ship are the renditions and divergences in characters and storylines. This can be seen with upcoming games such as Hogwarts: Legacy, TV series like The Witcher, and film adaptations such as World of Warcraft.

How has cybercrime been affecting the gaming industry?

Security and privacy have always been of high importance among users. With fears of data theft, identity fraud, phishing, and malware attacks, the gaming industry has had to become savvy to the predispositions of hacker motivations and cyber-attack techniques. It can be argued that gamers are the most susceptible to such acts of cybercrime, especially among those who greatly invest in digital items and empires – which is why MSI offers protection to their users with features such as Tobii Aware that can detect external ‘peekers’, continually authenticate ID, and provide digital well-being insights, to promote a safer gaming and browsing experience.

What developments or announcements has your company made in gaming this year?

MSI has established itself as one of the world’s top laptop brands, with a reputation for industry-leading innovation and an ambition to create the perfect gaming laptop. And our consumers agree. In the 2022 PCMag Readers’ Choice Award, MSI was voted the #1 laptop brand with a score of 9.5/10, bagging the highest ranking for overall satisfaction, cost, reliability and more. What makes that achievement particularly impressive is that it’s the first time Apple haven’t topped the list for over a decade.

In terms of announcements this year, our latest Titan GT77 laptop sets the tone with the most high-end components available in the market. The mantra is desktop-level performance in a laptop form factor. What sets us apart is strong partnerships and fast time-to-market. Being one of the first to equip our devices with Intel’s 12th generation HX processors, coupled with proprietary MSI OverBoost technology, we’ve unleashed unprecedented power and have brought one of the most powerful laptops in the world to the masses.

There have also been some world firsts such as our Raider GE67 HX laptop with the world’s first 240 Hz OLED panel that has won high praise from professional screen calibrators and product reviewers.

Where is the future of gaming headed?

We have seen AR and VR advancements in the gaming world with VR peripherals rising in popularity among our customers. More games are now incorporating VR/AR elements and gaming experiences, which has immensely pivoted the gaming laptop/PC industry. An example of this is with the MSI 12th gen Intel and RTX 30 series that are tagged as ‘Meta Ready’. This, combined with the recent trends in the Metaverse and consumer demand for advanced ‘life-like’ experiences with AAA games, will mean a need for powerful PCs and laptops that can drive greater performance and higher resolution.

This article and more can be found in PCR’s March 2023 issue:

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