Gaming starter kit: All the gear you need to play like a real gamer

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Starter Kit

A how-to bid to thief kick-start caller ventures and hobbies — whether it’s an updated gaming setup, a location gym, aliases a sparkly caller location office. Starter Kit features each of nan trusted tech, tools, and guidance you request to commencement thing new.


Gaming is an costly hobby. Dedicated gamers already cognize that we walk way excessively overmuch money connected consoles, gear, games, and much twelvemonth aft year. But we do it anyway, because we emotion it. Being a gaming hobbyist requires a large finance of some clip and money, but nan unforgettable experiences you reap from playing your favourite games are worthy each second, and each penny.

So, you're reasoning astir picking gaming up arsenic your caller 2024 hobby? We're happy to perceive it, and we want to thief you commencement building your dream gaming setup. Let's get into what you'll request for your gaming starter kit.

Which console should I get?

You'll perceive purists opportunity that you're either a console gamer aliases PC gamer, but to us, there's nary logic you can't beryllium both. We deliberation having astatine slightest 1 of nan big-name, non-handheld consoles is perfectly basal to person a well-rounded gaming setup. But which 1 should you choose? Well, you person 2 main choices: PlayStation aliases Xbox.

Eventually, you'll astir apt want to person 1 of each, but nan first 1 you get should beryllium chosen wisely. You can't spell incorrect pinch either a PlayStation 5 aliases Xbox Series X/S, though each does definite things amended than nan other.

For those who for illustration single-player communicative games that are packed to nan brim pinch showstopping group pieces and cinematic cutscenes, we opportunity spell for nan PlayStation 5. PlayStation is king erstwhile it comes to exclusives — The Last of Us, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, and others among them. The PS5 besides has speedy processing powerfulness acknowledgment to its soul SSD and comes pinch immersive features for illustration enhanced haptics and adaptive triggers wrong nan console's controller.

The Xbox Series X and S are besides powerful gaming machines successful their ain right, but successful our minds, nan main tie is nan expertise to return advantage of Xbox Game Pass. It's fundamentally nan Netflix of video games, unlocking entree to a monolithic room of titles that you tin download and play astatine your leisure. If you want to effort retired a ample number of games without spending an unbelievable magnitude of money, this is nan way you'll want to go. Plus, Game Pass memberships are beautiful affordable. Oh, and nan Xbox's Quick Resume characteristic is simply a game-changer.

Should I build a PC?

Eventually, you whitethorn want to build a civilization PC rig from scratch. Why wouldn't you? They're ace cool. But we don't urge it for beginners conscionable starting retired successful nan gaming space. Building a gaming PC tin get really analyzable (and expensive), and you astir apt won't want to walk nan early moments of your caller hobby disappointment astir what parts you should aliases shouldn't buy. Let's prevention that for location down nan line.

If you really want nan PC gaming acquisition correct disconnected nan bat, we urge starting pinch a gaming laptop (like nan Lenovo Legion Slim 7i) aliases moreover a Steam Deck if you for illustration going handheld.

What do I request for my beginner gaming setup?

We're going to presume you're astatine slightest starting pinch a decent TV and WiFi connection; truthful arsenic agelong arsenic you person that baseline established, we're fresh to move connected to our apical picks. (Need a gaming TV recommendation? Our favourite is nan LG C2 OLED Evo.)

Below, each nan products we deliberation you request to build nan cleanable beginner's gaming starter kit.

PlayStation DualSense Edge controller connected wood surface

Yes, your console already came pinch a controller. But this guideline is each astir nan best gaming stuff, right?

The DualSense Edge is undeniably nan champion controller that you tin brace pinch your PlayStation 5 (it useful awesome for PC games, too). It packs successful each characteristic from nan base DualSense controller, positive more. Not only does it person a much premium build, but it besides adds successful pro-controller-style bonuses for illustration programmable backmost buttons, adjustable triggers, a postulation of swappable thumbsticks, and a cablegram fastener that keeps your charging cord from popping retired during gameplay. You'll moreover get a bully carrying lawsuit to location nan full kit.

In our testing, we loved nan half-dome backmost buttons, but we were a small disappointed that location were only 2 connected nan controller — astir pro-style controllers person four. Still, they're comfortable to usage and tin beryllium swapped retired for paddles successful lawsuit you for illustration those. If you're a instrumentality of nan guidelines DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, those are here, too. If we could hole 1 thing, it'd beryllium nan artillery life, which clocks successful astatine only 5 hours per charge. It's not a dealbreaker, but it's a problem that both DualSense models person had, truthful we dream to spot an betterment successful nan adjacent iteration.

Xbox Elite Series 2 controller connected wood surface

Xbox players, we didn't hide astir you. Your prime is besides an easy one: The Elite Series 2. Like nan DualSense Edge, this is nan champion pro-style controller you're going to find for nan console. This is 1 of nan astir premium-feeling controllers we've ever gotten our hands on, and it besides comes pinch a bevy of premium features.

Four programmable backmost paddles, interchangeable D-pads and thumbsticks (with customizable tension), adjustable triggers, a rubberized grip, cardinal mapping, and a durable carrying lawsuit are each connected nan menu. Plus, it tin clasp a complaint for up to 40 hours. How chaotic is that? Our only title is that it sometimes cramped up our hands aft agelong sessions, but it's a mini value to salary (and yes, this 1 besides useful connected PC).

xbox crippled walk titles and console connected achromatic background

If you person an Xbox, you request a Game Pass subscription. Simple arsenic that.

It's 1 of nan champion deals successful gaming, unlocking entree to a monolithic room of games to download and play whenever you please, including Xbox exclusives connected time one. You'll besides get prize perks for illustration typical deals and discounts, arsenic good arsenic an EA Play rank (as agelong arsenic you're subscribed to nan Ultimate tier).

There are 3 tiers to nan service, but we urge going consecutive for nan Ultimate tier. It's only $16.99 per period aft nan 14-day trial, and you get each azygous perk disposable nether nan Game Pass umbrella. Yes, that includes PC Game Pass and unreality gaming support. You'll ne'er tally retired of caller games to play, and you won't person to quiet your savings to continuously effort retired caller titles. We emotion it, and you astir apt will, too. Our only annoyance is that a Game Pass rank is required to play Xbox games online — it's a matter of principle.

For PlayStation and Nintendo players, you do have nan action of signing up for either PlayStation Plus aliases Nintendo Switch Online, but we don't see these services to beryllium absolute necessities for illustration we do erstwhile it comes to Game Pass. The perks conscionable aren't arsenic good, and their Game-Pass-style catalogs aren't beardown capable to warrant nan costs astatine this constituent successful time. Though, if you want to play Xbox online pinch your buddies astatine all, you'll request a rank anyhow (sorry).

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro

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If you really want to dive into gaming arsenic a superior hobby, past you're going to beryllium partaking successful immoderate marathon sessions (don't beryllium ashamed, conscionable judge it). That's why you request a gaming headset that's going to beryllium comfortable to deterioration for aggregate hours astatine a time, and that headset is perfectly nan Razer BlackShark V2 Pro.

While there's a batch to emotion astir nan BlackShark V2 Pro, nan comfortableness facet is wherever it shines. The headset features FlowKnit representation foam receptor cushions surrounded by a padded (and adjustable) headband — some of which consciousness amazing. We were capable to deterioration nan BlackShark V2 Pro for aggregate hours without immoderate soreness successful nan ears aliases head.

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro does each nan different headset-y things that a awesome gaming headset should do, too. The audio sounds immaculate acknowledgment to THX Spatial Audio support, which intends you'll get immoderate genuinely awesome situation sound. The patented HyperClear cardioid microphone has crystal-clear input and output quality, though we wish it was retractable alternatively of removable. The exposed wiring connected some sides of nan headset tin sometimes get caught connected things erstwhile taking them connected and off, but unless you're ace nitpicky, it astir apt won't fuss you.

Valve Steam Deck by window

Valve's Steam Deck remains 1 of nan astir awesome pieces of gaming tech to beryllium developed successful nan past fewer years — truthful impressive, that different companies for illustration Asus, MSI, and others person since released (or astatine slightest teased) Steam Deck competitors of their own. Simply put, it's a handheld console that shrinks nan PC gaming acquisition down into a conveniently portable package.

You'll get afloat Steam Store entree wrong nan handheld itself, truthful you tin download games astatine your leisure and stock them betwixt immoderate different Steam-compatible devices you own. Not every game successful nan storefront is compatible pinch nan Deck, but Steam has already denoted which ones tally champion connected nan instrumentality ("Deck Verified"), and nan action is beautiful great. The Steam Deck besides offers a desktop mode, which you tin usage for your accustomed web browsing, arsenic good arsenic installing different launchers to play non-Steam games (this requires immoderate workarounds, but it's worthy reference up on).

We besides emotion nan hardware itself, particularly nan rear-mounted buttons and dual trackpads connected each broadside of its screen. It's comfortable successful nan manus but is simply a small spot heavy, which you commencement to consciousness aft extended play. Unfortunately, getting an extended convention successful is benignant of a chore, because nan Steam Deck's artillery life is really short. Still, you tin play it while plugged successful to get immoderate other juice, aliases conscionable upgrade to nan precocious released (and much expensive) Steam Deck OLED.

Nintendo Switch OLED showing paper screen

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If you already person a PC rig aliases gaming laptop and don't spot nan constituent successful getting different instrumentality for your Steam library, different awesome handheld action would beryllium nan Nintendo Switch OLED. It's the champion Switch you tin get, featuring an upgraded display, a caller (and overmuch better) kickstand, enhanced audio, and double nan retention of nan guidelines Switch. Plus, you'll debar Nintendo FOMO.

What we don't emotion is that it isn't a huge upgrade from nan original Nintendo Switch. Besides nan features we already talked about, artillery life remains astir nan same, arsenic good arsenic nan GPU and CPU. And moreover though there's much soul retention pinch nan OLED model, it's still not going to beryllium capable for a batch of group — you'll still astir apt want to prime up a microSD card for immoderate other space. If you're looking to upgrade from a Switch console that you already own, this is thing you'll want to consider.

But if you don't already person a Switch, there's really nary constituent successful going backmost a procreation to get nan standard version aliases Switch Lite, successful our sentiment (unless you person a smaller budget). We opportunity spell for nan champion 1 if you're a newbie because nan caller features are worthy nan comparatively mini quality successful price.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7i connected desktop adjacent to plant

If you're not readying connected picking up a Steam Deck and alternatively went for nan Nintendo Switch arsenic your handheld of choice, we urge having a PC-adjacent instrumentality successful your arsenal. Thankfully, you don't have to get an full gaming PC — not unless you want to. The acold much convenient and accessible action would beryllium to bargain a gaming laptop, which won't beryllium arsenic powerful arsenic a desktop, but will still let you to play astir games.

Our favourite gaming laptop? The Lenovo Legion Slim 7i. It's not inexpensive by immoderate means, but nan worth that you get for your money present is beautiful incredible. Although a procreation behind, nan Nvidia RTX 3070 and Intel Core i7-11700H combo tin still comfortably grip galore of nan latest, astir graphically intensive triple-A titles. The artillery life is beautiful modular among higher-end gaming laptops, but nan show is wider and brighter than astir of nan others that we tested. We were besides impressed pinch nan machine's fans, which ran softly moreover while moving graphically demanding titles.

If fidelity is nan astir important property to you, past you could splurge for nan Legion Pro model, which comes packed pinch an NVIDIA RTX 4090 GPU. But for astir caller gamers, we deliberation nan Slim 7i looks unthinkable arsenic it is, truthful you whitethorn want to walk nan other rate elsewhere.

meta quest vr 3 headset connected porch

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If you haven't yet ventured into nan world of VR, we deliberation it's precocious clip that you springiness it a shot. The Meta Quest 3 is astir apt wherever you'll want to start. There are other high-end options to see specified arsenic nan Valve Index and PSVR2, but we deliberation nan Quest 3 is nan acold amended prime for VR newbies. It's much convenient, much accessible, and much affordable.

The logic Meta Quest headsets are truthful overmuch much convenient and beginner-friendly is that they're wholly untethered, meaning you don't person to hook them up to a PC aliases console. Not only is it safer (there's zero chance of tripping complete a wire), but it's besides simpler if you don't person VR acquisition — nary overly analyzable setup aliases figuring retired which cord goes where. Just move nan headset connected and you're disconnected to nan races.

The Meta Quest 3 is besides conscionable a awesome VR headset successful general. It boasts a 2064 x 2208 resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and moreover a caller colour passthrough feature. Although nan manus search could beryllium improved, it's still a cool perk, and we besides loved nan haptic feedback successful nan controllers. We conscionable wish nan artillery life was amended — it's adjacent to nan aforesaid arsenic nan Meta Quest 2, and we expected much of an upgrade betwixt generations.

meta quest 2 vr headset adjacent to window

Speaking of nan Meta Quest 2, we besides deliberation it's a awesome beginner-friendly VR headset, and astatine a measurement much budget-friendly value (just $249). While you'll spot a downgrade successful things for illustration resolution, DRAM, max storage, and nan deficiency of colour passthrough, you'll still get to acquisition plentifulness of cool stuff. Our reviewers loved nan immersive UI, Direct Touch capabilities, and awesome audio setup, among different features.

You really can't spell incorrect pinch either option, truthful conscionable perceive to your budget. Whatever exemplary you onshore on, cognize that you'll beryllium getting a awesome VR headset.

Each merchandise successful this roundup was hands-on tested and reviewed by Mashable Staff and contributors. These products are each rather unsocial from 1 another, truthful we couldn't clasp them up against 1 azygous criterion successful position of specs and features for illustration we do successful different shopping guides.

Instead, we picked retired our favourite gaming products from caller reviews — nan ones that impressed america pinch their quality, performance, nosy extras, and wide transportation connected their promises — and compiled them here. We've only included gaming accessories that we deem basal for beginners who want to build a well-rounded starter gaming kit.

Frequently Asked Questions


Gaming is simply a hobby that tin get costly quickly; there's conscionable nary measurement astir it. Prepare to walk a fewer 1000 dollars complete clip if you scheme connected really decking retired your setup pinch aggregate consoles, accessories, games, and PC equipment. Accept that you'll astir apt person to build portion by portion alternatively of each astatine erstwhile (unless you want to beryllium drowning successful in installments paper indebtedness by nan extremity of nan year). You cognize what they say, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

We urge that you put together a database of your privilege items (preferably based connected our gaming reviews), and commencement slow checking them disconnected your shopping database first earlier moving connected to nan little urgent stuff. Trust us, you don't request it each correct distant — if you person astatine slightest 1 console to commencement disconnected with, past you'll person plentifulness of games to inhabit your clip while you activity towards getting much gear.

author photo

Dylan Haas is simply a Lead Shopping Reporter for Mashable, wherever he covers each things gaming, pets, fitness, sleep, and shopping events for illustration Black Friday and Prime Day. Before joining nan squad astatine Mashable, Dylan received a B.A. successful Communications from Pace University and contributed to publications for illustration Paste Magazine, Bandsintown, and others pursuing a little stint arsenic a trading and guidance adjunct successful nan euphony industry.

When he's not penning aliases testing products, you tin find Dylan playing tons of video games, moving out, spending clip pinch loved ones (especially his dog, Stevie), aliases watching reality TV. Follow him connected X astatine @iamdylanhaas, aliases nonstop him an email astatine [email protected].

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