It's no secret that there have been a plethora of accessories meant to enhance or offer convenience to the gaming experience over the decades. Where there are games, consoles, and controllers, you're sure to get a vast collection of accessories, add-ons, and peripherals to follow. Depending on the device in question, there are certainly cases of these accessories offering a new, exciting, and/or more ideal way to game. Still, this influx of random gaming gadgets can also be a mixed bag. Not only do they quickly add to the clutter of your gaming space, but they can make an already pricey hobby even more expensive.
The Xbox brand of consoles, in particular, has certainly inspired some "interesting" results when it comes to gaming accessories. Microsoft hasn't had a heap of experience in the games industry, and it's occasionally shown, with odd, overpriced, or otherwise pointless gaming gadgets they have produced over the years. This is even more true with third party brands, who have had a shaky track record at best when it comes to the likes of gaming gear.
In all fairness though, there have been plenty of slick, practical, and efficient gaming accessories that have helped augment the Xbox experience over the years. And with a brand that emphasizes luxury, immersion, and horsepower, a solid headset or efficient charger can really help compliment your Xbox rig.
With that said, let's take a close examination at some of the many accessories released for the Xbox line of consoles during Microsoft's near 20-year history in the business. We'll point out the notable duds, as well as some far more useful and/or sleek gaming gadgets.
30 Ridiculous: Nyko Intercooler For Xbox 360
Home consoles - especially of the modern-day ilk, have a tendency to generate quite a bit of heat, often through a rather restrictive ventilation system. In the case of the Xbox 360 in particular, some sought ways to augment the cooling system to avoid the ever-present danger of overheating.
Enter Nyko's Intercooler attachment; a device which, while looking pretty slick, has reportedly been faulty and even caused some infamous "red ring" situations. It's also described by reviewers as being excessively noisy, and breaking down after mere days. Put simply - there's a reason this junker only costs around $25.
29 Ridiculous: Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Premium Wireless Headset For Xbox One
As is the case for some others on this list, Turtle Beach's Stealth 700 Headset is a case of an otherwise quality product being ridiculously overpriced and outmatched by competitors. While the company boasts surround sound and wireless capabilities, the thing costs a whopping $150!
Considering you can pick up a headset with a similar audio quality, and often at a much-reduced price if you're ok with opting for a wired set, it's hard to justify this beast. There have also been reports of the sound cutting off, warped audio, and outright loss of connectivity.
28 Useful: 5-In-One Vertical Stand For Xbox One
With all the clutter that can build up as a result of the hardware and software a console requires, a device to hold it all together can prove to be a wise investment. With a variety of stands on the market - each with their own unique characteristics - it can be tough to find the right one.
Based on what we've seen, this vertical 5-in-1 stand is the all-around optimal choice. Not only does it have a sleek and compact build, but it comes with a wealth of features at a pretty low cost. With this stand, sold by dhgate.com, you get the following - an efficient cooling fan, 2 controller charging stations, 3 USB hubs, and a sturdy game storage rack.
27 Ridiculous: Xbox 360 HD DVD Player
Ah yes - the good old days of the mid-2000's; back when the battle for HD movie supremacy was in full swing. At the time, no one quite knew whether the DVD brand would continue to dominate, or whether Sony would rise to prominence with its Blu Ray format.
This battle had added significance, as it was also fought on the home console front. Sony was looking to use Blu Ray to further leverage its new console, the PS3, the same way its DVD support on the PS2 had helped propel it to success.
Well, Microsoft had another idea in mind - they would counter Sony head-on with an HD DVD add-on for its 360. Aside from the fact that this thing just looked ugly and was a hassle to deal with, it also added to the already pricey investment of the 360. MS had backed the wrong horse, as the HD DVD format soon plummeted, dragging this cumbersome accessory with it.
26 Ridiculous: Mad Catz Arcade FightStick PRO For Xbox 360
I suppose if you're keen on arcade-style gaming or fancy yourself a brawler prodigy, you might be able to fight a bit of use out of this. Who knows - perhaps fumbling around with 8 congruent buttons and a bulky joystick somehow makes you better at fighters?
But to the average gamer, this Mad Catz arcade stick just comes off as clunky and awkward to use - not to mention expensive. This mammoth of a controller could run you up to close to $100! At that price, you're better off settling for a normal controller, or just paying a visit to your local arcade and dropping a few quarters in a Street Fighter machine.
25 Useful: Xbox 360/Xbox One Play & Charge Kit
For a company that touts cutting-edge hardware, it's rather odd that its controllers still run on a 90s style of AA batteries housed in the back of the controller for its power supply. But fear not, Microsoft has you covered! While it's a bit of a bummer that these handy contraptions don't come with the controller, you can pick up a chargeable battery pack and charger cable at a relatively decent cost of about $25. You'll certainly more than makeup for the investment down the line, assuming you're a gamer that logs significant time in with your controller.
24 Ridiculous: Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
Just in case you thought the asking price of $60 for a standard Xbox One controller wasn't quite steep enough - here we have the Elite Controller, at over double the cost! Sure, it may look pretty - but its luxury-brand appearance doesn't exactly warrant an extra hundred dollars in cost!
Just be sure never to throw this controller in anger!
So what does this thing have over its more standard counterpart? Well... It's wireless (just like the original controller), and has hair trigger locks (which you can buy separately)... But hey; it comes with interchangeable buttons, paddles on the back, and a strange new D-pad design! It doesn't even include chargeable battery packs. What's the point of this again?
23 Ridiculous: Steel Batallion Mech Controller For Xbox
One of Microsoft's more odd experiments in its early gaming days - along with the help of Capcom - was an insanely detailed flight sim called Steel Battalion. While the game itself was solid for those willing to deal with its learning curve, the monstrosity of a controller bundled with it left some scratching their heads.
This thing came with 3 massive panels housing a whopping 40 buttons, along with knobs and joysticks scattered about. But this wasn't all - there was also a foot pedal with 3 different levers. So take a tricky game and add this convoluted mess, and you've got a grueling task on your hands just to play this with any skill. This package also came at the sky-high cost of $200! This was certainly an odd choice for MS to try and gain leverage in the games industry...
22 Useful: Elgato Game Capture Card
For a console that prides itself on its cutting-edge and seamless interface, Microsoft sure doesn't make it easy to stream/record content. I suppose you could argue that, given that the included feature is free, gamers shouldn't expect a top of the line experience. But the limited features, errors, and hoops one must jump through just to record short clips just aren't worth the hassle.
Luckily, there exists plenty of solid options for those gamers serious about streaming or recording their gameplay. One of the finest examples is the Elgato HD 60 S capture card. While it costs a pretty penny (around $180), it provides efficiency and quality, with near flawless recording. It comes with 1080p and 60 FPS support, its own editing software, built-in live streaming to Twitch and Youtube, and no time restrictions for recording.
21 Ridiculous: Kinect
In late 2010, the Wii was still all the rage in the gaming scene, though its success was just beginning to taper off. What better time for a competitor to jump in and provide the next logical step to a motion controller; a 3D motion-sensing camera? This is precisely what Microsoft attempted with its Kinect accessory. Though the camera proved to be a neat and even a handy device for controlling apps, it didn't quite translate to most games.
Its relatively limited features and lack of precision meant that, beyond a handful of basic party/mini games, dancing romps, and on-rail titles, Kinect wasn't ideal for a game controller. Gamers usually had to stand and wave their limbs around to play, making even 2 player games within the confines of smaller rooms tough to work with.
20 Ridiculous: Giotech Foldable Gaming Chair
When one thinks of a gaming chair, "convenience" and "comfort" are two terms that typically come to mind. While Giotech makes a semi-admirable attempt to cover the first; with its ability to fold, house controllers, and charge various devices, it's anything but comfortable.
The chair is clearly designed for children. Those taller than 6 feet reportedly struggle to comfortably use this chair, which is already, stiff, awkwardly shaped, and oddly lacking armrests. The included speakers are also said to be poor quality, with reports of it cutting out and even breaking down. But at least you can store your trusty gaming mag in the back!
19 Useful: Oivo Dual Controller Charger With Battery Packs For Xbox One
While Microsoft's official rechargeable battery packs do cut the costs of picking up countless AA batteries in the long run, there actually exists an even cheaper - and far sleeker looking - option. Enter the OIVO Controller Charger, compatible with Xbox One controllers.
Not only does this gadget come with two battery packs, but it uses a handy dual-charging dock that lets you know when your controller is ready to go with a simple colored icon. Charging time takes roughly 2.5 hours for 7 hours of usage, which is comparable to Microsoft's own brand. Charging is easy and seamless, requiring you to merely nestle your controllers into the snug, well-fitting dock.
18 Ridiculous: Fanatec Forza Racing Wheel With Pedals & Shifter
While not quite as excessive as the Steel Battalion contraption mentioned prior, this Fanatec Forza Racing Wheel needlessly adds a similar amount of clutter to your gaming space and puts a far greater hurt on your wallet. The asking price? Try nearly 1,300 USD!
This thing is undeniably well-crafted (though the shifter's been known to wobble), elaborate, and helps augment your Forza experience... somewhat. But with the insane cost, why not just spend some time at Gameworks and enjoy their racing games? At least then, you won't have to worry about this thing breaking down, or deal with assembly - and yes - apparently this thing is a nightmare to set up.
17 Ridiculous: HIPSHOTDOT LED Aim Assist
When it comes to FPS games, some gamers don't mess around when it comes to strategic advantages. A few will go to great lengths to gain any sort of competitive edge. Apparently, this includes plopping an LED reticle in the center of their screen to supposedly make for easier, more accurate aiming - particularly when firing from the hip.
This simple item, coined, the "Hipshotdot", is basically naught but a wire, a suction cup, and a small red LED light that you stick on your TV screen. Problem is, you've now got this suction cup and wire hanging down and obscuring your view - which one would think largely negates any slight advantage in accuracy.
16 Useful: Xbox One Media Remote
Sure you can use an Xbox controller - or worse, a Kinect - for your media, though it's not too ergonomic, intuitive, or convenient. Or you can just use a remote. The device is both sleek and well-designed. It's equipped with enough buttons to cover all your bases when it comes to flipping through media, without being overwhelming.
It also has some super-slick backlit buttons activated by touch - perfect for your gaming sessions in the dark. And if you're looking for further convenience, you can even control your soundbar with this handy device, allowing you to consolidate your clutter of controllers a bit.
15 Ridiculous: Kinect Gaming Boat
If you thought the Kinect itself was rather pointless and silly - how about a giant inflatable boat accessory, which is basically meant just for Kinect Adventures' rafting game? Yeah, this thing does absolutely nothing; it's just... a boat. Essentially, you get a tiny bit more immersion for a single mini-game - and after the novelty has worn off and you've gotten bored after 10 minutes, then what? Then you're stuck with a useless toy that accomplishes nothing other than adding more needless clutter. And for those wondering - no, I wouldn't advise trying this out in an actual river.
14 Ridiculous: Nyko SpeakerCom For Xbox
Online gaming and in-game communication were still in its infancy during the early 2000s. And it certainly shows, with this cumbersome, convoluted gadget for the original Xbox controller.
This odd-looking headset from Nyko definitely appears elaborate, but in reality, it was an even more archaic, and limiting mic than Microsoft's own basic headset. For starters, this clunky attachment had to be snapped into the top of the Xbox controller. Additionally, every time you wished to speak, you had to reach over and hold the microphone button. Not only this, but the device was incapable of allowing you to listen and speak at the same time.
13 Useful: KontrolFreek FPS Freek Phantom For Xbox One
One of the big "selling points" of the pricey Xbox One Elite controller is its interchangeable thumbsticks and the more pronounced nature of their grip. Yet, for a small fraction of the cost, you can simply take these handy little guys and snap them onto your controller, basically accomplishing the same thing. KontrolFreek also provides a variety of stick heights, and plenty of cool looking emblems that act as solid grips; even game-themed ones like Call of Duty. This allows you to add a bit of flair along with practicality to your bare controller.
12 Ridiculous: Original Controller Model For Xbox
This original Xbox controller was so gigantic in size and so bulky that it made the Dreamcast controller look small by comparison. Japanese gamers, in particular, were highly critical of this monstrosity. Holding it comfortably and effectively reaching all of its buttons was no easy task.
Considering the company was already struggling in this region, Microsoft quickly scrapped this original model and opted for the smaller, more ergonomic "Controller S." The original was completely phased out and replaced by 2002, though it's strangely making a comeback in the form of the "Hyperkin Duke." I guess nostalgia can make anything look appealing...
11 Ridiculous: Whiteoak Chatpad Mini Gaming Keyboard For Xbox One
There are a number of mini keyboards for the Xbox One, with varying quality and usability. But at least to some degree, each allows one to send typed messages on Xbox live or on web browsers; the latter of which at least makes more sense in terms of practicality.
However, this Whiteoak brand, in particular, comes with keys so tiny that typing messages effectively in the heat of an online battle seems all but impossible. This thing also comes with a headset jack whose quality is reportedly dicey. Not only this, but the keyboard has a tendency to repeat keys when some of the buttons are pushed.
10 Useful: Seagate Game Drive Hub
Sure, the 1TB internal HDD might seem sufficient. Yet, seasoned Xbox One players know that even this generous amount of space can fill up quickly, with the plethora of massive games available. Especially with the advent of the Game Pass service, users have reason to download tons of games onto the console's HDD.
Thankfully, Seagate offers an option to put any worries about disk space to rest, at least for the foreseeable future. The company's Game Drive Hub offers a whopping 8 TB of space. It's also super reliable, durable, and is quick and easy to set up. It additionally comes equipped with 2 USB 3.0 ports. If you can stomach the reasonable $180 asking price, this is the ultimate gaming hard drive.
9 Ridiculous: Bionik Quickshot
For those seeking snappy trigger presses for those fast-paced FPS romps, the Bionik Quickshot is at least a far cheaper option than shelling out for an Xbox One Elite Controller. Still, the whole concept of locking the triggers after half-pushes is a rather silly one to begin with - especially if you're using rapid-fire weapons in your game.
At the end of the day, the roughly half a second you save per trigger pull achieves very little in actually tightening up one's FPS game. You also have to break off the back panel of your controller just to install these things - a risky move for such a minor tweak.
8 Ridiculous: ParticleGrip Studded Skin Set For Xbox One
It's tough to see the need for one of these funky, cumbersome looking controller skins, unless you sweat profusely, or saw it fit to dip your hands in a vat of butter for some reason. Sure, these rubbery skins provide a ridiculous amount of grip, but who really needs this excessive amount of studded grip? Is it really a common issue for people to have their controllers slip out of their hands?
These ParticleGrip skins just look ugly and are a pain to deal with. On top of this, some have mentioned issues with the skin resting too close to the face buttons, causing it to get in the way when pushed.
7 Useful: Xbox One ChatPad + Chat Headset
Now, this is how you do a mini keyboard correctly.
Similar to some other instances mentioned in this article, it's sometimes the safest move to simply opt for a Microsoft-produced gadget; like in the case of this keypad. The device is very well crafted, lightweight, and backlit; and its keys are beefy enough to allow for easier and less error-prone button-pecking. The buttons are responsive and reliable, as is the functionality with the included headset. You've even got a handy way to take snapshots and video clips of your games, thanks to the included "X1" and "X2" buttons.
6 Ridiculous: Xbox One Mini Steering Wheel
I suppose you can consider this the polar opposite of opting for the luxury Fanatic Forza racing wheel? As you'd imagine by its laughably cheap and strange look, this "simulator" is equally pointless, but for far different reasons than the aforementioned wheel. This thing takes on the appearance of some sort of clunky steampunk gadget; and it's as awkward to use as it is to look at, with its lack of precision.
After fumbling around with this device and snapping it onto your controller, you basically just rock the left and right paddles left and right, which moves the left joystick. Yet, it only waggles it left and right, so any front and back movement is restricted... It also makes it difficult to press the face buttons, as both of your thumbs will be occupied.
5 Ridiculous: Xbox 360 Face Plates
These may seem like a viable option for gamers who want to deck out the visual appearance of their 360 without dealing with the effort and/or costs required to customize it. And at least from a head-on view, these handy faceplates can certainly look neat.
The problem though is that aside from these panels being pretty cheaply made, they only cover the front of your console. This tends to clash with the monochromatic white finish the rest of the console sports - so you've essentially just replaced a bland looking design with an ugly one.
4 Useful: Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows
In the more technologically advanced and intuitive era of Windows 10, you can simply connect an Xbox One controller with a USB cable or Bluetooth. A decade or so ago, however, this feat was a bit more complicated than it would seem. Getting your Windows 7 device to recognize your Xbox 360 controller required a few hoops to jump through for wireless controllers.
Thankfully, Microsoft offered a simple solution to this; the PC Wireless Gaming Receiver. You simply installed the required software on your machine, plugged in this handy device, and synched up your controller by holding down the button on the device. This gadget proved both simple and reliable to use.
3 Ridiculous: DRZERUI Vertical Stand With Cooling Fan For Xbox One S
If you're looking for a handy and/or sturdy stand for your Xbox One, controller, and games, you'll probably want to steer clear of this flawed piece of equipment. Its design might look unique, but it's far from practical.
There are reports of the protruding games falling from the short shelving, tipping over, and even the console itself falling out of place. Users have also complained about a rather loud cooling fan, as well as the lack of ease in securing their controllers for charging. Oh - and even if you want to take the risk with this thing - you'd better have an Xbox One S, as it's only compatible with this model.
2 Ridiculous: Cabela's Top Shot Fearmaster Gun Peripheral For Xbox 360
I suppose if you wish to (poorly) emulate an arcade shooter experience, and don't own a Wii, you might get a bit of value out of this cheap piece of plastic molded into the shape of a shotgun. Though, you'd also have to own the obscure and mediocre Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 on the 360 (and a sensor bar) to get the most out of this bulky gun accessory. Furthermore, the aim has been known to be a bit wonky and not particularly precise, and the face buttons are annoyingly placed all the way at the front of the barrel.
1 Useful: Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset For Xbox One
While this Turtle Beach headset isn't quite top of the line, it's one of the stronger mid-range sets, and a solid bang for your gaming buck. This headset offers quality, dynamic surround sound, wireless functionality, and a comfortable design that minimizes pressure on glasses wearers.
Color me biased, but as a card-carrying member of this group myself, this is a key feature; as my previous headset caused a fair bit of discomfort for prolonged usage.
It's also easy to set up, as it's dongle free and connects swiftly to your Xbox One. This beast of a headset is quite comparable to its 700 model counterpart - the main missing feature being Bluetooth - but actually has an improved battery life of 15 hours. It comes at a reasonable 90 USD; significantly cheaper than the higher-end 700 headset, which has scored poorer reviews.