While you can have plenty of fun with the PlayStation 4 right out of the box – and some games, of course – a few smart enhancements can really amplify your enjoyment. We're talking about accessories, of course, and they vary widely in purpose, price, and value.
Look, we don't want you to augment your sweet Sony console with low-grade junk, so we've highlighted the best of the best: the add-ons that truly can elevate your gaming experience.
A VR headset? Brilliant wireless headphones? What about an upgraded hard drive? We've got all of those things here, as well as a couple of memberships that can deliver incredible value for months or years to come.
- See also: Best Xbox One accessories
PS Plus subscription
Great for bargain hunters and the hardcore crowd alike
Price (annual): USD: $50 / GBP: £40 / AUD: $70
Got a PlayStation 4? Great. Now get a PlayStation Plus subscription. Having Sony's membership plan, which is sold in one-month, three-month, and annual options, is the only way you can play PS4 games online and access cloud storage for saves, but there's a potentially even bigger perk: free games every single month.
At the start of each month, Sony drops a handful of free downloadable games across the PS4, PlayStation Vita, and PS3, and they're yours to keep and play to your heart's content so long as your Plus membership is active. With two or three PS4 games free each month, as well as additional discounts during sales and other promotions, the membership rapidly pays for itself.
PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset
Perfect for late-light gaming and more immersive audio
Price: USD: $100 / GBP: £70 / AUD: $130
If you want to spend hundreds of dollars on a gaming headset, you've got no shortage of great options that justify the investment. For everyone else who wants something that hits the sweet spot of price, quality, and ease of use, don't overlook Sony's PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset (a.k.a. PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 in the UK and Australia).
It's a wireless headset that pairs effortlessly with the PlayStation 4 (and PS3), delivering great virtual 7.1 surround sound with specially-made audio profiles for certain games, plus it provides solid battery life and folds up for easy storage and transportation. Better yet, the price is right and there are great color options too – the 20th Anniversary Edition and Uncharted 4-themed Grey Blue are strong picks.
PlayStation VR is the promised land for virtual reality on consoles
Price: USD: $399 / GBP: £349 / AUD: $549
We're jumping the gun on this one a bit, since the PlayStation VR won't be out until October, but it should absolutely be on your radar. It's the only virtual reality headset that will play nice with a home console for the foreseeable future – and luckily, it also seems pretty amazing, based on the hands-on demos we've had so far.
It's comfortable, immersive, and totally impressive, although between potential motion sickness and that added cost, it won't be for everyone. Still, with games like RIGS, EVE Valkyrie, Rez Infinite, and many more on the horizon, we can't wait to fumble through our living rooms with it on.
A great way to futureproof your PS4, and have more fun with it
Unlike the Kinect on Xbox One, Sony's PlayStation Camera was never a big focus of the PS4 platform – but it will be when the PlayStation VR headset comes out, as it's be used to track your movements and translate those into gameplay. If you plan to snag the PSVR, you might as well get the Camera now while it's readily available, unless you're saving for the bundle.
There are other uses for the Camera, as well. You can use it to include your visage while streaming live games on Twitch, for example, and use it with games like Just Dance 2016, FIFA 16, and Tearaway Unfolded. Otherwise, this is one accessory that only looks to become more and more useful in the months ahead.
Recommended for offering a way to get more out of your PS4
Price: USD: $160 / GBP: £140 / AUD: $270
It might seem excessive to recommend one gaming platform as an accessory for another – and true, it totally is. But the PlayStation Vita handheld system works well as a sharp companion to the PS4, thanks to a killer, relatively little-known feature called Remote Play.
Essentially, Remote Play lets you play all your favorite PS4 games on the go by streaming them over an Internet connection to the Vita. That means you can dominate in Street Fighter V while snuggled up in bed, or play Uncharted 4: A Thief's End during downtime on a business trip half the country away from your console. As long as you have a strong connection, the Vita lets you take your PS4 games pretty much anywhere.
Samsung M9T 2TB hard drive
Recommended for anyone who plays lots of different games
Price: USD: About $94 / GBP: about £75 / AUD: $165
As we all quickly discovered, 500GB just isn't enough space for active players this console generation, especially with all those necessarily game installations. If you're constantly deleting and reinstalling games to manage space, it's time to consider popping in a new hard drive, and Samsung's M9T 2TB drive is your best bet.
If you've never opened up a console (or computer) in your life, worry not: installing a hard drive on the PS4 is relatively easy, as our how-to guide shows, and it won't void your warranty at all. You'll need a 2.5-inch drive, and for the money, Samsung's drive fits the bill and quadruples your available space if you started with 500GB. It's a crucial upgrade.
PlayStation Now subscription
PlayStation Now is a premium service for backlogged gamers
Price (per month): USD: $20 / GBP: £13 / AUD: $TBD
Did you miss out on the PlayStation 3, or just want to revisit its great library without digging out your last-gen hardware? Sony's PlayStation Now service offers an intriguing way to do just that, offering hundreds of PS3 games you can play on your PlayStation 4 over the cloud.
Essentially, the games are run on external servers and then beamed to your TV over the internet, and so long as you have a strong connection, you shouldn't see serious lag. You can rent individual titles, but if you want to sample the ever-expanding lineup, your best option to pay for monthly or quarterly subscriptions. It's the easiest way to relive the PS3's glory days, and PSone and PS2 games are coming at some point, too.
PowerA DualShock 4 Dual Charger
A headache-blasting accessory, a real frustration-reliever
Price: USD: $25 / GBP: £15 / AUD: $40
There's nothing worse than settling down for a long, lazy gaming session only to discover that your controller is dead. Now you're hunting for a charging cable and moving to make sure you're close enough to the TV – it's sure to infuriate you more than any trash-talking 12-year-old Call of Duty guru can. But there's an easy solution.
PowerA's DualShock 4 Dual Charger is a dock designed to keep two PS4 gamepads fully charged. Simply pop your DualShock 4 into the slot when you finish playing and it'll top off while you're not playing, ensuring the controller ready to go the next time around. Also, you're less likely to lose a controller if you keep 'em docked.
Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick TE2+
Recommended for top-quality construction and fan-pleasing style
Price: USD: $230 / GBP: £230 / AUD: $470
If you plan to play Street Fighter V more than casually, an arcade stick is essential—and if you're willing to spend big, Mad Catz's Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick TE2+ feels like it was ripped right off of an arcade cabinet. It's a hearty, heavy peripheral with smooth, precise Sanwa Denshi parts, letting you pull off expert moves with ease via a reliable wired connection.
It's easy to mod too, in case you want to switch things up, plus you can even get a shoulder strap for hauling it around to tournaments. While obviously designed for Street Fighter V, it's also an ideal match for Mortal Kombat X, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend, and any other game built around punches, kicks and fireballs.
Thrustmaster T300 RS steering wheel
Perfect for racing game fans who want an authentic experience
Like an arcade stick, a racing wheel with pedals isn't necessary for everyone – but if it's for you, we bet you're not going to settle for second best. Luckily, the ThrustMaster T300RS seems like it's worth every penny for driving die-hards.
Impressive precision is essential of course, but the T300RS makes an even stronger impact thanks to its force feedback, which ensures you feel every bump, pothole, and scuffed bumper along the way. Refined design and metal floor pedals ensure that it'll stand up over the long haul, and it's compatible with both the PS4 and PS3, letting you give last-gen gems fresh life with this killer wheel.
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