There are few things more exciting than purchasing a new video game console. It may be up there with childbirth – depending on who you talk to. But with every console launch, we gamers are lied to. As entertaining as the “out of the box” experience may be, the one controller packaged with your console is merely a tease.
If you want to elevate your console gaming experience, you’ll need to do a little shopping. To give you a headstart, I sunk myself into my research and ran through the gamut of different accessories and gadgets that can take your console gaming to the next level. I found that you and your wallet are going to have to have a little chat – there is plenty you should consider buying.
A good gaming experience starts with your comfort. Whether you’re gaming at a desk or spread out across a living room, a gaming chair having you feeling luxurious. Standard desk chairs are functional, but a rolling chair from Respawn will offer you comfort and style. Lumbar support and a neck pillow are vitally important to keep your joints from aching by the end of a long gaming session. Even if you’re in your prime, too much sitting can wear on you.
For a more immersive and comfortable experience, I’ll turn your attention to X Rocker and its line of wireless Bluetooth chairs. What does the Bluetooth connect to, you ask? Oh, just the audio of your console to stream it through the built-in 2.1 or 4.1 speakers. The floor and pedestal chairs are not only comfortable, but they also amplify the audio of your game. Booming audio cues of a first-person shooter and the subtle creaking of a survival horror game filter through your chair to the crystal clear speakers built into the side. With X Rocker, you don’t get the benefits of mobility, but the comfort level and additional features more than make up for it.
It’s unfavorable to try and play a multiplayer game without a gaming headset. Not only will your team be annoyed, you can’t contribute much. Most headsets, Bluetooth or wired, work well with the main consoles, so it’s a matter of finding a style that’s comfortable for you. I’ve been a HyperX user for a while and have yet to run into issues. The ear cushions are plush, the headband is comfortable, and the audio quality – both external and internal – is spot on. SteelSeries, Logitech, and ASTRO are also worth having on your radar. If you don’t have a lot to spend, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 and Logitech G432 are functional and affordable.
Analog Stick Grips
Have you ever been in the heat of a good firefight only to have your thumb slip off the analog stick? It’s frustrating for your loss to be caused by the poor grip. For just a few bucks, you can rectify this issue with thumbstick grips. The easy-to-install grips fit over your controller’s current analog sticks and provide additional resistance against slipping. The silicon material handles the sweaty fingertips of a passionate gamer quite a bit better than the standard sticks.
KontrolFreek also sells a version that snaps onto your current analog stick to add 9.9 mm of height. According to the product listing, the Inferno performance thumbsticks increase “radial distance by 47% and arc distance by 135.5%. The patterned surface also adapts to your playstyle to prevent slipping regardless of how rough you play.
Sometimes we game so hard that the sweat just coats our palms, making it difficult to get a good grip on our controller. Controller grips are a necessity if you find yourself losing traction on your controller often. They’re relatively inexpensive and slip onto the handles of most controllers, giving you added grip, more comfort, and an anti-sweat material sure to completely change how you game.
KontrolFreek sells a grip that features improved airflow and a honeycomb polymer that helps the controller feel comfortable in your hand. There are other options out there, of course, but this brand offers an easy-to-apply option that can be repositioned if it winds up being uncomfortable.
Coupled with analog stick grips, there is no way you’ll lose control of your game, no matter how intense the firefight gets.
External Hard Drive
There was once a time when you could buy an 8 MB memory card and be set for the life of the console. Maybe you’d have to upgrade to a 16 MB and, in the rare instance, 256 MB, but you certainly didn’t have to calculate gigabytes. High-performance Modern gaming comes at the expense of storage, which is in very short supply with all consoles. The size of new releases has gotten so out of hand that an external hard drive isn’t even a question. It’s pretty much mandatory if you don’t want to keep deleting and reinstalling games.
While you can expand the internal storage of your Xbox Series X (and, by summer 2021, your PS5), an external drive is much easier, especially for gamers that aren’t quite tech-savvy. So long as the brand is compatible with your console, external hard drives are practically plug-n-play. You just have to direct the console to download and read your games from the USB unit. With an external hard drive, you can expand your storage to more than 1 TB. When games come with 30 to 60 GB updates, you’ll appreciate the additional storage.
If you’re playing on a Nintendo Switch, you’ll be looking for a microSD card. These tiny chips slip right into the console underneath the incredibly awkward kickstand. So you only have to fidget with the stand once, I recommend a higher capacity card up to 2 TB.
Crystal clear, booming audio. That’s all one can ask for from their gaming experience. If a chair with built-in speakers doesn’t quite cut it for you, then you’ll want to consider a soundbar. TV audio can be incredibly tinny, uneven, or just downright bad. When you’re storming the enemy’s camp or taking down a towering demonic foe, you want sound that will pop and fill the room.
For compatibility purposes, it’s always best to try and match your soundbar brand to your TV brand. A subwoofer will give you a solid bass, so you’re fully immersed in the experience. A decent soundbar doesn’t have to cost a fortune, see these $100 soundbars, for example.
There are few things as annoying as thinking you’re going to play only to find that all of your controllers are dead. Whether you forgot to swap the batteries of your Xbox controller or forgot to plug in your backup DualSense controller, the end result is the same. A charging dock can help ensure you always have a controller ready to play. Most units can hold at least two controllers, but you can find plenty that can charge at least four.
You’ll never have to worry about finding the charging cable to your PlayStation console or buying batteries for your Xbox.