All the gaming go-alongs your thumbs desire.
In our living room, the standard video game accompaniments are a Red Bull and a bag of Doritos (and, let’s be honest, one or two items off of this list), but when new gaming systems come out, we can’t help but poke around to find the newest gear. Here’s our rundown of the accessories and peripherals you might want to consider if you’re one of the millions of people upgrading your gaming gear this holiday season.
Mad Catz Arcarde Fight Stick
We don’t care what generation it is, there will never be a time in gaming history where we won’t want a proper joystick for some arcade action. This Mad Catz Fight Stick is branded with Killer Instinct but it will also work with just about any fighting game or any game that doesn’t require triggers, really. So when NBA Jam finally comes to the next-gen, you’ll be prepared to boomshakalaka like a champion.
Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel
With two great racing games already on the next-gen (Forza 5 and Need for Speed: Rivals), we’re not surprised to see gearheads looking for their steering wheel fix. We also feel a special kinship with the Thrustmaster, mainly because that was our nickname in college.
Privacy One Kinect Cover
In case you don’t want the NSA to see you wearing your tinfoil hat while gaming, you can use this thing to blind Kinect’s all-seeing eye. It even works as well as a piece of cardboard and some Scotch tape! Hey, this is a list of as many next-gen accessories as we could find; we didn’t say they were all good ideas.
Razer Kraken Headphones
Fact 1: You can use ANY set of headphones with an in-line mic to get both game audio and chat out of your PS4 controller. Fact 2: The pair they gave you with your PS4 is absolute garbage. If you’re looking for a quality pair of versatile headphones to use with your PS4 or iPhone, the Razer Krakens answer the call. Of course, you can go with the Forged Edition if you’ve got money to burn and you’re lucky enough for them to be available.
Turtle Beach XP510 Wireless Surround Sound Headset
Turtle Beach has been producing some of the best dedicated gaming headsets ever since gaming headsets became necessary. The XP510s hook into your stereo system to pump full-blown surround sound, wirelessly, out of a set of cans. Turtle Beach is currently offering a free upgrade kit (it’s a little piece that plugs into the controller) to make these next-gen compatible. So snag a pair for your 360 or PS3 today and use them for your XB1 or PS4 once Santa gets off his fat ass and slides down your chimney.
Evil Controllers for Xbox One and PS4
We love the guys at Evil Controllers. They’re the only third-party controller outfitter we’ve seen that makes customizable controllers that are higher quality and better looking than the ones that come with your system. Evil already has PS4 and XB1 controllers ready to ship, with more customization options on the horizon. It’s one of the best reasons we’ve seen to get Evil this holiday.
There was quite a stink made about Microsoft forcing you to buy Xbox One with Kinect. Sony opted to give people the choice to have motion/voice control over their new baby, but to us, there really is no choice at all: the PS Camera is a must-have. Your Dualshock 4 controller has built-in PSMove functionality; are you really not gonna use it? We didn’t think so.
EnjoyGadgets HDMI Splitter
Look, we really like the way the Xbox One handles our cable box, but the less-tech-savvy members of our household have already threatened to throw our new toy out the window after screaming at the TV failed to turn on the latest episode of Top Chef. While this HDMI splitter isn’t technically a gaming accessory, it will make your life as a gamer much easier. Splitting your cable box’s output allows a return to normal TV viewing for non-gamers on input-1 but still allows you to use XB1 to snap the Broncos on top of our gaming sessions on input-2. That’s called compromise.
Xbox One Play and Charge Kit
The most straightforward accessory on this list, this kit prevents you from ever having to buy AA batteries again for your controllers – and we all know that running out of juice mid-game is the worst thing ever. If you require further explanation as to why you need this, how did you even get your Xbox One hooked up in the first place?
Energizer 2X Charging Station
Now that you have chargeable Xbox controllers, you’re gonna need a place to charge them. You could take the risk of turning your gaming setup into a wire hell and potentially strangling yourself during a frantic session of Battlefield, or you can use this Microsoft-sanctioned, surprisingly elegant solution from Energizer. It also charges two controllers at once, so even when you’re playing, you’ll always have a controller in the oven. (Note: that was a metaphor – do NOT put your controllers in the oven.)
Nyko Charge Base for PlayStation 4
Just like the Energizer version for Xbox One, Nyko is taking the reins for the PS4 and offering you a charging station to simultaneously plug in two Dualshock 4 controllers. Nyko’s an old hand in this department, so you can expect quality and reliability out of their simplified “drop in and charge” setup. We’re still waiting for a perpetually charged controller but, until then, this will do nicely.
Check out The Best Video Game Collectible Editions of 2013 and An Insider's Guide to Xbox One