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The best Xbox accessories to give as gifts this holiday season

Let’s say you have a loved one on your holiday shopping list who managed to get their hands on an Xbox Series X. This is cause for celebration in and of itself. The best gift you can give to that person is a good accessory for their shiny new toy. Good thing there are plenty of to choose from for Xbox Series X owners.

Stealth 700 Gen 2

Stealth 700 Gen 2 headset.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The most important part of playing games with friends is being able to actually talk to them. Turtle Beach is synonymous with gaming headsets — and for good reason. The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 is perfect for people who are looking to jump right into multiplayer without much hassle. It supports wireless connection directly to the Xbox, so it doesn’t need an adapter. It has about 20 hours of battery life, which is great for marathon gaming sessions. The Gen 2’s mic is also perfect to strategize with teammates or just fool around with friends. The high-sensitivity microphone gives perfect clarity and has a flip-to-mute function that is a lifesaver for those who forget to take their headset off before walking into the kitchen for a quick snack.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Controller.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I will be upfront here: This is my favorite controller I have ever held in my clammy gaming hands. The Elite Series has been the pinnacle of gaming controllers since it was introduced back in the Xbox One days. The adjustable-tension thumbsticks alongside the shorter hair-trigger locks allow me to keep up with my friends who are more skilled than me. The customizable paddles also help out with games that require more buttons than a normal controller offers. I also have to praise the weight; this thing has heft. It sits in the hands at about 15 grams, making it feel important and not toylike as some other controllers feel.

Xbox Rechargeable Battery and USB-C Cable: $25

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The worst thing to happen while playing games is for the controller to die. Instead of burning through normal AA batteries, it’s time for an upgrade. The Xbox Rechargeable Battery and USB-C cable combo is perfect for people who never want to think about controller battery life again. The rechargeable battery fits easily into any Xbox controller and can be charged with the USB-C cable. The charging even works while the controller is being used so there is no reason why anyone would experience a dead controller again.

$25 from Microsoft Store

Seagate Storage Expansion Card

Seagate Expansion Cards.
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When building a game library, one should never have to worry about storage space. The Xbox Series X has about 800GB of memory to play with once you factor in the system files. While this is certainly significant, it can disappear quickly. The Seagate Storage Expansion Card looks to remedy this by giving Xbox owners an extra 1TB to use. Players will no longer have to play the dreaded “What do I need to delete?” game. Instead, Xbox owners can fill their storage with as many games as possible.

Xbox Design Lab Controller

Xbox Design Lab Controller.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Perhaps the Elite Controller isn’t really calling to you. Maybe you or whoever you are buying for wants something more personal. Fortunately, Microsoft allows you to customize your very own Xbox controller. Virtually every part of the controller is customizable, and you can add a metallic look to them as well to make the controller nice and chrome-y. Best of all, you can engrave the controller with a name or even inscribe a nice little message on it.

$70+ from Xbox Design Lab

Xbox Series X Replica Mini Fridge: $100

Xbox Series X Replica Mini Fridge.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While gaming into the wee hours of the night, it’s important to make sure you are also fully charged. Of course, the battery life on your controller is important, but don’t forget the battery life on your stomach. The Xbox Series X Replica Mini Fridge is ideal to keep your favorite meals nice and cool as you are playing your favorite video games. This fridge looks exactly like the Xbox Series X and can help shape the theme of your gaming room. It looks really nice right next to the Xbox Series X as well.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass.
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Saving the best for last, the Xbox Game Pass is an essential accessory for any Xbox owner. The Xbox Game Pass opens the floodgates for players who are looking to get as many games as they can for as cheap as possible. With a library that is constantly updating, especially with a huge collection from publishers like Bethesda, anyone can find a game — or nine — that they will love to play. Xbox Game Pass also gives players a chance to play some of the newest games on day one, like Forza Horizon 5. This makes the Xbox Game Pass an absolute must for every Xbox owner.

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Andrew Zucosky
Andrew has been playing video games since he was a small boy, and he finally got good at them like a week ago. He has been in…
You don’t need an Xbox Series X to play Starfield. Here’s how
Key art for Starfield

Starfield is the highest-profile Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S game since Halo Infinite, but the game isn't locked to those two consoles. Thanks to cloud gaming and Microsoft's more open-ended mentality of making its games available on a wide variety of platforms, you don't have to own one of Microsoft's current-gen systems or have the Xbox app installed on your PC.
No, it's not on PS5 or Nintendo Switch, but if you want to play Starfield while it's at the center of the video game industry zeitgeist, here are some places where it's playable other than the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, and Xbox PC app.

The most obvious choice if you want to play Starfield elsewhere is to pick it up on Steam. While Microsoft does have a proprietary PC launcher of its own, Microsoft now consistently releases its own games through Valve's launcher. Bethesda joined Xbox Game Studios in 2021 and has a long history of making its games available on Steam as well, so it's not too surprising that Starfield is available on the platform.
Starfield already proving quite popular on the platform too, having peaked at 266,000 concurrent players, according to SteamDB at the time I'm writing this. If you're looking for a way to play Starfield natively on the hardware you own without using a Microsoft platform or service, this is your best option. It'll run on Steam Deck too, although that's not the only way to experience Starfield on the go.
Xbox Game Pass app on Android

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Starfield is a success. What does that mean for the future of Xbox?
A ship lands on a planet in Starfield.

Starfield was one of the most vital video game launches ever.
The last couple of years have been full of whiplash for Xbox fans, full of high highs and low lows. After a solid fall 2021 game lineup, 2022 was comparatively barren for first-party Xbox games. Microsoft then started the year on a strong note with Hi-Fi Rush’s surprise launch before crashing and burning with the disastrous release of Redfall, the first heavily marketed AAA game coming out from Bethesda after it was acquired by Microsoft. Starfield, a game that many were uneasy about due to its scope, would inadvertently become a make-or-break moment for Microsoft.
In May, I wrote that Starfield was “the most pivotal game for the future of the Xbox brand since Halo: Combat Evolved” because of what I thought was at stake if it failed. Well, Starfield just launched, and … it’s a hit. It’s not the genre-defining, industry-changing mega-RPG that some fans were lauding it as prerelease. However, it’s still an enjoyable sci-fi adventure that's receiving positive attention despite some drawbacks. And it's already earned over 1 million concurrent players across all platforms. Digital Trends gave it a three-and-a-half star review, writing, “though it can’t nearly deliver on Bethesda’s intergalactic ambitions, Starfield is an impressive space RPG filled with impactful decisions.” On Steam, over 24,000 reviews are averaging a ‘Very Positive” consensus.
While not a total stunner, Starfield hasn't derailed Xbox or caused the public to lose faith in its first-party games; in fact, it has renewed some confidence. Reassessing Xbox’s future post-Starfield, it’s clear that it’s still reliant on something it has struggled with this entire console generation: consistency.
It’s all about consistency
Despite the success of Xbox Game Pass and some excellent first-party games like Pentiment and Hi-Fi Rush, Microsoft has struggled to establish consistency across messaging, game launch cadence, and quality. That has hurt it this console generation, where it has felt like Xbox has promised more than it's delivered despite several game company acquisitions and exciting announcements. It doesn’t help that Sony and Nintendo have been at the top of their game in regard to those things in recent years.

That’s ultimately what put so much pressure on Redfall and Starfield. They needed to pay off an expensive Bethesda acquisition and usher in a steady stream of new Xbox games. Perhaps that’s why the poor quality of Redfall felt like such a slap in the face for Xbox fans. What should’ve cemented a consistent Xbox first-party output instead highlighted all of its problems. This made Xbox’s situation heading into Starfield’s launch feel dire, even more so than it actually was in reality for a branch of a megacorporation like Microsoft.
But now Starfield is here and people like it, even if it has some evident flaws. Starfield was neither the Redfall-level critical flop that would kill Xbox nor the 11/10 game some people expected. It’s just an entertaining RPG that Xbox players can lose themselves in and feel a little bit of console pride over. The vibes across the Xbox community are mostly positive right now, and Microsoft needs to maintain that feeling.
The weak first-party 2022 lineup and the rough state of Redfall left us wondering if the only thing Xbox was consistent at was disappointment, but Starfield and other recent efforts from Microsoft-owned studios indicate that this is not the case. Since Redfall, we’ve got a big Monkey Island-themed update for Sea of Thieves, an excellent remaster of Quake II, a solid Xbox Series X/S port of Age of Empires IV, and Starfield to show that Xbox’s studios are back on track. It’s up to the Xbox team to keep up that momentum after Forza Motorsport launches and the Activision Blizzard acquisition finally concludes this October.

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Baldur’s Gate 3 drops Series S splitscreen support to release on Xbox in 2023
Jaheira in Baldur's Gate 3.

Larian Studios promises to release Baldur's Gate 3 on Xbox Series X/S later this year after pushing the game back because of performance problems on Xbox Series S.
Baldur's Gate 3 is available now on PC and will come out for PS5 on September 6, but an Xbox Series X/S version won't be available for a little bit longer. In a July 2023 community update, developer Larian Studios explained that this is because it needed "to ensure that the game is performing without compromise across the entire Xbox X/S ecosystem, in multiplayer and with split-screen. The Xbox Series X version was running fine, but the Xbox Series S version of the game was struggling a lot more. The Xbox versions of Baldur's Gate 3 didn't have a release window until now, when Larian Studios co-founder Swen Vincke took to X to confirm it'd come to Xbox platforms before the end of the year. That said, it will exclude one notable feature.
"Super happy to confirm that after meeting [Phil Spencer] yesterday, we’ve found a solution that allows us to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox players this year still, something we’ve been working towards for quite some time," Vincke wrote. "All improvements will be there, with split-screen coop on Series X. Series S will not feature split-screen co-op, but will also include cross-save progression between Steam and Xbox Series."
Thankfully, it looks like Xbox players won't have to wait too much longer to play this excellent game, but it will be one of the first games to notably drop a major feature between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S versions. This follows comments by Head of Xbox Phil Spencer where he said he doesn't believe Microsoft will drop support for Xbox Series S in the foreseeable future. "I want to make sure games are available on both, that's our job as a platform holder and we're committed to that with our partners," Spencer told Eurogamer. "And I think we're gonna get there with Larian. So I'm not overly worried about that, but we've learned some stuff through it. Having an entry-level price point for console, sub-$300, is a good thing for the industry."
Baldur's Gate 3 is available now for PC, launches for PS5 on September 6, and will finally come out for Xbox Series X/S before the end of 2023.

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