You just can’t be serious about gaming without acquiring all the essential accessories. PAT PILCHER takes us through the must-haves.
With the latest generation consoles offering up cutting-edge gaming, what more could a gamer possibly need? It turns out that there’s a lot of other must-have gaming goodies to be had.
Having worn our controller-holding hands into raw nubs, we’ve put in the hard yards to find the most prized console gaming accessories, here are our picks:
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Oakley Prizm Gaming Glasses ($192 – $237)
If there’s a downside to console gaming, it’s this: at the end of a marathon gaming session, your eyes can feel like bloodshot piss-holes in the snow. Feeling the pain of many a gamer, the folks at Oakley came up with Prizm gaming glasses. Not only are they engineered to help reduce eye strain thanks to blue light blocking technologies, but they’ll also amp up contrast and colours. This can handily give you an added edge when it comes to gaming.
Both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 can crank out 4K video. They can also output games at astounding frame rates for super-smooth in-game eye candy. One of the top TVs for gaming is LG’s CX Series Smart OLED 4K TV. While it commands a price premium, you do get a hell of a lot of TV for your money. HDMI 2.1 support means a super quick response time and native 120Hz refresh rates. The other big bonus is that the CX range has OLED displays. With OLED each pixel produces its own light, so there’s no backlighting. Because of this, dark on-screen areas are inky deep blacks, while highlights are dazzling. This adds up to stunning contrast levels and super vivid colours. Because the CX range also sports four HDMI 2.1 ports, you can enjoy 4K gaming (at up to 120Hz) from both the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Belkin High-Speed Braided HDMI Cables ($79.95)
Speaking of HDMI, Belkin’s cable has HDMI certification, which means that they’ll support 4K and 8K video, HDR, VRR, eARC, and all those other HDMI 2.1 goodies. This handily means your next-gen console and TV can deliver the best peeper pleasing goodness possible. Because HDMI 2.1 provides 2.5 times the bandwidth of HDMI 2, 4K at 120hz and 8K at 60hz is possible. Belkin’s cables come with a braided external sleeve, so they’re wear-resistant. This makes them extra durable, which is good news if taking your console to LAN gaming parties is a thing.
PowerPlay Controller Batteries/Chargers (Xbox Series X – $40, PS5 – $35)
There’s literally nothing worse than settling in for a gaming session only to find your controllers are flat. PowerPlay’s Xbox Dual Charging Station has this sorted. It consists of a two-controller charging base and comes with two rechargeable batteries. It also keeps Xbox Controllers out of harm’s way when not in use. PowerPlay also makes a charge station for the PS5, which connects to a power source (such as a PS5 console) using a bundled USB cable. Like the Xbox charge station, the PS5 version can store and charge two PlayStation 5 controllers.
Turtle Beach Stealth Gen 2 Gaming Headset ($299)
3D audio is the hidden gem of next-gen gaming. Sony’s PS5 uses the Tempest Engine, which provides uncannily accurate spatial and positional audio. Tempest takes individual sounds and treats them as objects in 3D space. This allows audio to get placed based on where it is happening in-game, instead of merely directing it to a specific channel. The Xbox Series X supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X which does a similar job to Tempest – they’ll both send specific sounds to precise positions. The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 headsets support spatial audio on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It must be heard to be believed. The whole positional sound thing makes a huge difference in games like Fortnite as it can give you subtle cues as to where an enemy is before you spot them.
Game Pass (Ultimate 3 months – $59.95) PlayStation Plus (12m months – $89.95)
PS Plus, Sony’s game subscription service, comes with benefits such as two games every month, which are yours for the duration of your PlayStation Plus subscription. Online multiplayer is also provided and allows you to play online with friends, even if they don’t own the game. PlayStation Plus members also get discounts with selected games and pre-orders as well as early access to demos and betas. Perhaps the handiest feature of all is that PlayStation Plus subscribers get 100 GB of cloud storage. This means game progress can be saved and resumed on any other PS5 console with that game installed.
Like PlayStation Plus, Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service whose membership has some cool perks. It comes in several packages. Depending on which you subscribe to, you can get all the good stuff of Xbox Gold. You also get access to over 100 games (some of which will run on the Xbox, or a PC or an Android smartphone), and an EA Play membership for access to EA games. Members can score discounts too.
NetGear XR700 Router ($949)
As the number of online multi-play titles grows and downloading games becomes the norm, a good router becomes critical. Regardless of Xbox or PS5, gigabit Ethernet is a minimum for wired connections. Netgear’s XR700 router is built from the ground up for gamers. First things first, it’s quick. This is thanks to support for a 10GBps WAN connection while Wi-Fi connected widgets can get 800Mbps on 2.4GHz, 1,733Mbps on 5GHz band, and a stonking 4,600Mbps on 60GHz band. The 4gbps speed comes courtesy of 802.11ad support (which is more commonly known as WiGig). QoS (quality of service) can also intelligently prioritise bandwidth by application and device. This ensures you wring every bit of speed out of your broadband. Gamers can rejoice thanks to the Geo-Filter, which reduces lag by limiting the game servers you’re connecting to. After setting your location on a map and setting a distance range, the XR700 will automatically prevent players and servers that are too far from your location from slowing down your gaming action. The Geo-Filter is highly customisable and can be tweaked on a per-game basis. Gaming isn’t the only thing most routers do, and a quad-core 1.7GHz processor can handle heavy loads. Thanks to this arrangement, frag fests won’t hamper the operation of smart home gadgets. Parents can be heard sighing with relief thanks to what built-in Parental Controls to schedule online time too.
Seagate Limited Edition Master Chief Halo Drive ($139 – 2TB,$259 – 5TB)
The limited-edition Game hard Drive sports a sleek master chief case design and is available in 2 TB and 5 TB capacities. Adding a drive to any Xbox One, Series X or Series S will allow gamers to install more games and downloadable game content by balancing their gaming workload between console and the USB-connected external HDD. Being a USB 3.2 drive, it’s also bus-powered, which means that it doesn’t need a separate power supply. Seagate says it can hold up to 502 downloaded games. Game on!