With the dramatic rise of esports and the continued, steady mainstreaming of video games more broadly, the gaming landscape has expanded significantly in recent years. This has, of course, not only brought with it more competition for eyeballs from the big platform holders — Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple, Valve, and Epic, primarily — but also a wide range of tools and accessories to give gamers more options for input, immersion, and comfort. We’ve gathered together an assortment of some of the best.
One of the most important accessories for gamers is a proper gaming headset — crucial for not only being immersed in virtual worlds but also for communicating with teammates (and adversaries). This section of the market has seen new entrants produced by a wide range of manufacturers, from gaming-centric brands to more mainstream audio brands.
Turtle Beach’s Stealth Pro gaming headset features fantastic sound quality and active noise cancellation, as well as swappable batteries that let players avoid those interruptions for charging up. The built-in mics can let ambient noise through with 11 levels of transparency, depending on the user’s preference. The headset is comfy, too, thanks to memory foam.
Audeze’s Maxwell headset, meanwhile, uses a steel and aluminum frame with a detachable boom mic and touts an impressive 80+ hours of battery life. Its 90mm planar magnetic drivers make for top-notch audio
, with a sound profile that’s tuned for gaming. With a look that skews a bit younger, Skullcandy’s PLYR headset is lightweight without sacrificing sound quality. But it’s the Skullcandy HQ desktop and mobile app that really sets this one apart: Not only does it let you customize EQ and balance of game/chat audio, but it also performs an in-depth hearing test to create a unique sound profile for each and every user. It even has built-in Tile integration, meaning you can simply add it to your existing Tile account to track it down when you eventually misplace it.
Of course, gamers are nothing without their controllers. From PC-centric mice and keyboards to increasingly high-tech console controllers, there’s an exceptionally vast and ever-growing ecosystem of peripherals out there to suit every flavor of player.
Razer has long been one of the major manufacturers on the PC side, and their latest keyboard is top-notch. The ominously-named BlackWidow V4 Pro keyboard uses high-end Doubleshot ABS keycaps, an 8,000Hz hyperpolling rate (i.e., the rate at which your keyboard reports to your PC), and eight dedicated macro keys for programming in specific functions for different games. As expected, Razer’s trademark RGB lighting makes a visual splash as well. Glorious makes some great alternatives, including the GMMK 2 and GMMK Pro — the latter of which is gloriously customizable, all the way down to the color, switch type, and even lubrication of the keys.
For console players, Scuf makes fantastic controllers that not only feel great but are also fully customizable. Depending on your platform of choice, the Reflex Pro (PlayStation 5) and Instinct Pro (Xbox Series S|X and PC) controllers are modeled after the official Sony and Microsoft controllers, sporting slightly smaller bodies and high-quality materials. They’re also lighter — great for those long gaming sessions — and feature a unique hexagonal pattern on the grips that provide better hand feel and less friction (not to mention a nicely cohesive visual design). Best yet, a slick and intuitive web interface lets players customize their own controllers, with a wide-ranging color selection for every single exterior component on the devices. This is great for color-coordinated esports teams, and it also adds a nice level of personalization for something that’s going to spend a lot of time in its owner’s hands.
Other Notable Accessories
Of course, there’s plenty of other gear that can improve the gaming experience for players. Take the Woojer Vest, for instance, which uses six sensory points that reproduce haptic feedback from the audio coming in from your game. Suffice to say, it is extremely immersive: wearing the vest, you “feel” the sound directly on your body. When explosions go off around you in a shooter game such as Halo Infinite, the intensity on your chest is directly related to how close the explosions are to your in-game character. For less of a full-body experience, the Woojer Strap 3 essentially does the same thing for your wrist. Gunnar Optiks, meanwhile, makes computer glasses designed to make gaming easier on the eyes by filtering out blue light. Gunnars are available in a variety of lens types (including prescription options), and frames come in a range of materials such as steel, acetate, steel, and aluminum-magnesium alloy.
For gamers who prefer to keep their titles readily available on their Xbox or PlayStation, Western Digital makes a range of solutions designed to expand storage capacity. This is no simple task, as modern consoles use specially designed, high-speed drives; this is to keep load times to a minimum and ensure that large game worlds progress without a hitch. The WD_BLACK C50 expansion card for Xbox Series S|X uses “Velocity Architecture” to deliver similar performance as the console’s internal storage, while the WD_BLACK SN850P NVMe effectively does the same for PS5.
To tie the room together, Govee’s AI Gaming Sync Box Kit includes two light towers, an RGB strip, and a box with HDMI input. It adds vibrant, customizable lighting to your gaming space — and, for supported titles, uses clever AI algorithms to recognize in-game actions, and produces a color-matching light show to supplement your on-screen experience.