The Best Holiday Gifts To Give Gamers, According To Gamers

The Best Holiday Gifts To Give Gamers, According To Gamers

If you’re not a gamer yourself, it can feel next to impossible to know what to buy for the gamer in your life for the holidays. To help you find a winning gift — whether they have a huge following on Twitch or just play for themselves — we talked to 16 gamers about the consoles, games, collectibles, and accessories they’re wishing for this year.

Consoles

Nintendo Switch
For the last three years, Nintendo Switch has been the most wanted game console around, and according to the gamers we talked to, it’s just as popular as ever. Joshua Rivera, a freelance writer who often covers games, recommends buying the portable console for gamers of all ages, including beginners. Jamin Warren, founder of TwoFiveSix, says, “Not only does it easily dock to your television, but there are also lots of great new games on it. For those who are looking for something really versatile and social, it’s a perfect device.” And when we talked to tween boys and girls about what they want to unwrap this year, many of them mentioned a Nintendo Switch. If they already had one, they said they were asking for new games and accessories. The Switch has been out of stock for most of the year, so if you want to get your hands on one, you should act fast.

Nintendo Switch Lite
Emily Heller, a recommendations editor at Vulture and a gamer, recommends the Nintendo Switch Lite as a viable option to the regular Switch. “It’s great for casual gamers,” she says “specifically for adults who commute on the subway to work” (or who used to, at least). Both Heller and her husband have Switch Lites and she told us they haven’t used their regular Switch that’s hooked up to the TV since getting the Lites.

Oculus Quest 2
Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change, told us the Oculus Rift is a great gift for the avid gamer. “It offers a premium consumer experience in virtual reality, with stunning visuals and controls that let you interact naturally,” she says. Matthew Mason, a sixth-grade gaming and movie enthusiast, says he wants the Oculus Quest and its carrying case. It is the brand’s first-ever portable all-in-one VR gaming device that comes with two wireless controllers — and it lets you play all the same games you enjoyed on the Rift. The main difference between the two is the Rift has to be tethered to a p.c. in order to function, whereas the Quest is a stand-alone system. Mason wants it to play VR Chat and to watch movies. “There’s also this thing called a virtual desktop on it where you can have a virtual computer and send emails that way,” says Mason. Plus, Polygon calls it the best value you can get in VR right now.

Games

Annapurna Interactive Deluxe Limited Edition
“Annapurna Interactive has made some of the best indie games of the last few years, such as Outer Wilds, What Remains of Edith Finch, Donut County, and Kentucky Route Zero,” Heller says. “This new collection not only comes in a deluxe limited-edition slipcover but also includes the first physical PS4 releases for Gorogoa and Telling Lies, two gorgeous and innovative games that I love.”

Apple Arcade
Andrew Webster, games editor at our sister site, The Verge, recommends a subscription service like Apple Arcade, which offers high-quality games and a more streamlined gaming experience compared to the regular games you might find in the App store. When we interviewed gamers to find alternatives to the frequently sold out Nintendo Switch, three of them recommended Apple Arcade as well. “I honestly find myself reaching more for my phone when it comes to playing games,” says Sophie Orchard, a gaming YouTuber. “Right now, there is a much larger variety of games for mobile. It’s more convenient to carry around (even if you are just carrying it around your house at the moment). And let’s be honest, it’s much nicer on your wallet.”

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
“With the next generation of Xbox on the horizon and a shiny new studio acquisition under Microsoft’s belt, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the best value out there when it comes to video game subscription services,” says Heller. Webster recommends the service, too, because it gives you access to hundreds of games, discounts on future game releases, and an XBOX Live Gold membership, which allows you to play games online against other online players.

Sony PlayStation Plus 12-Month Membership
For “an equivalent batch of services available for PlayStation,” the Verge staff writer Cameron Faulkner recommends a PS Plus membership, which gives you access to new games each month and lets you play online games against friends and other gamers.

Nintendo Switch Online 12-Month Individual Membership
“There’s also Nintendo Switch Online, which lets you play games online and gives you access to a back catalogue of NES and SNES classics,” Faulkner says.

‘GloomHaven’
Instead of suggesting a video game, Brad Driscoll (a.k.a. Dinky Dana, who has over 45,000 subscribers on YouTube and 25,000 Twitch followers) recommends the board game GloomHaven. “It feels like a combination of Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, HeroQuest, and Choose Your Own Adventure books,” he says. In an ever-changing world you and your fellow gamers take on monsters, gather loot, explore new corners of the GloomHaven universe and play cooperatively to keep the story going. Heller says it’s a gift “board game people would definitely be very excited about getting.”

‘Tales From the Loop’
If you’re looking for a less expensive board game, Rivera likes Tales From the Loop. “Like Dungeons & Dragons, Tales From the Loop is a game in a book. But according to Rivera it’s not so “drenched in elves and goblins.” In fact, it’s more like Stranger Things. In the game, you and your friends get to play as a bunch of kids in a town where weird stuff happens because of the government. So you have to figure out how to deal with that as well as with your parents.

Gaming Accessories

Microsoft Xbox One Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller
If you’re not sure what game to buy, Rivera and the other gamers suggested buying things that make gaming more enjoyable — things those gamers may not buy for themselves but would really appreciate as a gift. Rivera recommends this premium, fully customizable Xbox controller. “It has these weird little paddles behind the controller that are faster than hitting a button on the front,” he says.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
Rivera told us buying a pro controller for someone who already owns a Nintendo Switch is a great gift. “If you have seen a Nintendo switch you know that the controllers are tiny and the pro controller is bigger and more comfortable,” says Rivera. The tween boys we asked about the gifts they want said they’d like a Switch controller.

Razer Kishi Mobile Game Controller
Faulkner likes this controller, which comes in both Android and iOS versions. “When snapped around your phone, it lets you play mobile games that support controllers with ease.” Android phones support Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia cloud-gaming streaming services, which means there are more console games available to play on your phone if you’re an Android user. Faulkner’s colleague, Sam Byford, is a fan, writing, “I really like this design. It solves many of the biggest pain points of mobile game controllers: They can be awkward to carry, attach, detach, and pair with your device. The Kishi’s setup is effortless.”

Backbone One
“The Backbone One is also a great controller add-on made especially for the iPhone,” Faulkner says (as long as that iPhone is capable of running iOS 13). The setup is simple, done through an app and onscreen tutorial. “Unlike most controller accessories made thus far, the Backbone One is a hybrid of tightly integrated hardware and software,” Faulkner writes. “Backbone makes the iPhone feel like a bona fide gaming platform that I want to remain a part of.”

PowerA Moga Mobile Gaming Clip for Xbox Wireless Controllers
“If you want to keep it simple and cheap,” Faulkner says, “PowerA’s gaming clip makes it easy to connect your phone to an Xbox wireless controller you might already have.”

 

Amazon Echo Show 8
F. Martin of ArkiTechnology, a popular tech TikTok channel with more than 248,000 followers and 8 million likes, recommends gifting the Echo Show. “I’ve surprisingly found it’s really nice to have some form of smart assistant on my desk,” he says. “It’s great for setting up routines and automating turning on your whole [gaming] setup.”

Astro Gaming A20 Wireless Gaming Headset
“Astro continues to make great products that are mainstays in my gaming arsenal,” says Kahlief Adams, the host of the gaming podcast Spawn on Me. “It’s an amazing gaming headset that is amazingly comfortable, that has stunning immersive sound at a fantastic price of $120. What’s best is that with an optional dongle, you can use this headset with either of the next-gen consoles, so your value is doubled.”

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series 2 Gaming Headset
For a sleeker gaming headset, Warren recommends this pair from Bose. “I’ve been a big fan of Bose products for a while and was delighted to see its QuietComfort line extended to gaming,” he says. “I have a million Bluetooth devices connected to my p.c., so I was looking for a wired option to play games with friends.”

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Gaming Headset
According to Heller, an affordable and great headset is the Steel Series Arctis 1 Wireless Gaming Headset. “It’s billed as the first wireless headset for Nintendo Switch,” says Heller. “That’s not entirely accurate because you need this little dongle that you plug into the Switch to make it work wirelessly. But it’s cool because it works for Switch, PS4, p.c., and Android phones so it’s super versatile.”

Razer Kraken Kitty RGB USB Gaming Headset
Another headset Heller recommends comes from a new Razer Quartz line of p.c. accessories that are all pink and crazy popular. She assures us that, besides being adorable, it’s a very good-quality headset. “It’s got this cooling gel in the ear cups that keeps your head from getting overheated and it has this little divot on both sides for glasses to fit into so they’re not pressing up against your head — it’s a big deal for me,” she says.

HyperX Cloud II Wireless 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Faulkner says the HyperX Cloud II dodges many of the pitfalls of other headsets. “Its headband expands to fit a range of head sizes, and the ear cups rest gently around my ears with nary a pinching feeling,” he writes. The sound quality is balanced, Faulkner says, “delivering just enough gusto for every scenario.” The buttons are simple and easy to master, the wireless range is excellent (even through a wall), and his set lived up to the company’s claims of a 30-hour battery life. He calls it “the easy choice” for p.c., “PlayStation, and Switch gamers.”

Yosuda Under-Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser
Nicholas Rizzo, a dad and lifelong gamer, suggests another gift that helps keep your body healthy while you game: this mini exercise bike that fits under your desk. “Great gifts for gamers are things that help them counter some of the issues they face like eye fatigue, excessive blue-light exposure, lack of physical activity, or sitting for long periods of time,” he says.

Blade Hawks RGB Extended Gaming Mouse Pad
For P.C. gamers, “having more mouse pad has never been a bad thing,” says Rizzo, who recommends this extra-large mouse pad with colored lights. Plus this mouse pad will last longer. “If you only use the mouse on one side of this mouse pad, you can just turn it once it starts to get worn down,” he says. “And the lights, well, why not?”

Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad
Computer gamers will appreciate this affordable gift Heller recommends because of how useful it is when connecting your p.c. to the TV. This wireless keyboard streamlines the gaming process “so you don’t have to stand over at the TV and type and then walk back over to the couch,” she says.

Glorious Model O Gaming Mouse
Kyle F, a tech TikToker and gamer, uses the Glorious Model O, “which is pretty well known in the gaming community because of how light it is.” He went with a wired mouse over a less expensive wireless mouse because “they aren’t nearly as good, and besides, a wireless mouse is always somewhat of a risk since it uses batteries, which can be heavy, and you risk them dying in the middle of a game.”

“If they’re super into collectibles, you could get them a Funko Pop or other character-inspired figurines,” says Rivera. He really likes Amiibo, which he says “are huge!” Figuratively, at least. These great stocking stuffers are little figurines that attach to Nintendo Switch controllers and can unlock something in the game you’re playing via a sensor on the controller. Like Funko Pops, Amiibo come in a ton of characters from different games.

Gift Cards

Steam $100 Gift Card
If you’re truly stuck on what to give, Driscoll and several other gamers we talked to recommend a gift card from the online gaming shop Steam. Driscoll specifically suggests this as a gift for Twitch streamers. But anyone interested in trying new games or buying a new controller will appreciate it.

The Best Holiday Gifts To Give Gamers, According To Gamers

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