So, you bought a game console for your kids (or yourself) on Black Friday. Did you get everything you need for it? Are you sure you got everything? There’s always some new accessory to get, so here are some useful ones you might have forgotten.
The Xbox One and PS4 each come with one controller, while the Switch comes with a pair of Joy-Con controllers that can be used as either one or two controllers, depending on the game you’re playing. In either case, you’ll probably want more so your family can join in the game. Both Xbox controllers and PS4 controllers cost around $45 each. Meanwhile, Switch Joy-Con controllers cost around $70, which comes out to around $35 per player. Switch players that prefer a more traditional gamepad should also grab the Pro Controller for $60-$70.
When you’re done playing a game, it’s handy to set your controllers down in a charging dock so that the next time you sit down, they’re fully charged and ready to go. The Xbox benefits most from a dock, since it’s the only modern controller that still uses AA batteries, and the dock includes rechargeable battery packs that fit in the same slot. The PS4 controller can be recharged using a micro USB cable, but a dock is still more convenient and can charge multiple controllers at once.
The Switch is the most unique on this front, since the only way to charge Joy-Con out of the box is to attach them to the Switch. If you only use the controllers that came with it, then you probably don’t need an additional charger. However, if you buy extra controllers, then a separate charging dock can keep up to four individual Joy-Cons charged at once, so they’re ready for your next Smash party.
If you play games online, a good gaming headset with an attached microphone is the easiest way to communicate with your friends or team. It’s also a great way to give everyone else in the house some peace and quiet. There’s no end to the options you can choose from, but our readers liked the PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset. Despite its name, you can use it with Nintendo Switch, PC, or Mac, and even with the Xbox One, though you’ll need to use a 3.5mm cable. You can check out our roundup here for more headsets, if this one doesn’t fit your needs.
Every major console offers an online subscription that lets you play games with other people online, but they also offer extra benefits. The Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus subscriptions give out a selection of free games every month that you can add to your library and play as much as you want. They’re not all winners, but if you play even a few, the subscription can pay for itself over a year. Nintendo’s Switch Online subscription, on the other hand, offers access to a library of NES-era games that you can play as long as you keep subscribing.
Whatever you do though, just don’t pay by the month. The Xbox and PS4 subscriptions each cost around $60 for an entire year versus $15 if you pay by the month. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s subscription costs $4 per month, but only $20 if you buy a whole year up front.
For the Xbox One and PS4, a good chatpad is invaluable. Not only can you use it to send messages to friends or teammates (if you’re not already voice chatting with them), but it makes light work of tediously entering login credentials, Wi-Fi passwords, or social media posts. Similar chatpads do exist for the Nintendo Switch but since the console itself is a touchscreen that’s often already in your hands, it’s not quite as necessary as on other platforms.