You gifted a video game console the last vacation. Now what?
Let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones who managed to get your loved one a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X last holiday season. First of all, congratulations. It was no small feat and I’m sure you thank your lucky stars for pulling it off considering how difficult it is to find consoles this year. That leaves you with a tricky question, however: what are you buying this year?
You have to be a superhero on the last vacation which means you have high expectations to fulfill. You’re probably not going to find such a spectacular gaming giveaway this year (thanks in large part to the Steam Deck lag), but you can find a lot that are fun or, at the very least, practical. Here’s something to bring video game enthusiasts into your life if they already have a shiny new console.
The most immediate option is to buy them accessories for whatever you bought them in the last year. Did you manage to get a PlayStation 5? Take a DualSense controller charging station. Buying for someone who already owns an Xbox Series X? Consider something like a Seagate hard drive to give their console extra storage space. The options are limitless here, as you can get pretty creative with third-party material. For example, if you know someone is using their X series to play Forza Horizon 5, you could take them a Logitech G923 steering wheel and pedal implement.
The simplest option is always the controllers. This can be an easy way to give people a more personalized gift that didn’t come with their original machine. For PS5 owners, Sony introduced two new colors for the DualSense this year that would add a touch of personality to everyone’s setup. Xbox owners have a few additional options available. My favorite Xbox controller is the Turtle Beach’s Recon, which comes with a built-in sound mixer, perfect for someone who uses voice chat a lot. You can also use Xbox’s Design Lab program to customize your own controller, allowing you to make a personalized gift.
Games are also always an easy win, as long as you know what your loved ones already have. For PlayStation users, Death loop and Ratchet & Clank: Rift apart are the two hot products this year. Return is also a killer exclusive that has gone a bit under the radar, so this might be a good thing to add to your list.
It’s a bit trickier to shop for Xbox owners, especially if they have Game Pass. This means they already have games like Microsoft Flight Simulator Where Psychonauts 2. You can always go the third party route and grab games like Battlefield 2042 which are not included in the service. And if your loved one doesn’t have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, go ahead and throw a free month into their stock.
A mobile controller
Just because your loved one has a console, doesn’t mean they’re always playing on their console. Today, many games can be played on just about any device thanks to advancements in streaming and the cloud. PS5 owners can play remotely, allowing them to stream a console game to their phone, while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers have instant access to Microsoft’s selection of cloud games. If you want to increase someone’s portable gaming potential, a phone controller accessory is a good solution.
You have some great options here. I personally use Razer’s Kishi, which easily attaches to an iPhone or Android phone, turning it into a complete handheld console. Many swear by the Spine, which is widely regarded as the best mobile controller on the market. Either option will give the gamer in your life full control over their mobile games.
If you want to think outside the box a little more, there is always VR. It’s one of those technologies that people might not buy for themselves, but that they would be happy to play with. While we don’t recommend getting a PS VR with a new version around the corner, there are a few other options you can use. Personally I would recommend the The lightweight device of the Oculus Quest 2. Meta is a wireless headset that does not need a computer connection at all. It’s cost effective, which feels like an expensive gift that doesn’t break the bank.
Of course, you can always go all out and get something like the HTC Vive or the Valve Index. These devices are beefier and more impressive in some ways. However, the Quest 2 is a more laid back investment that anyone interested in VR will appreciate. You get bonus points if you can get Grandma to wear it to your holiday party.
Think big with an arcade machine
Maybe these are all little potatoes for you. You were a hero last year and just want to keep that momentum going at all costs. It’s a recipe for pride, but I still have a Hail Mary. If you really want to wow someone, why not treat them to their very own arcade machine? Many companies make classic cabinet replicas that you can easily assemble and place in your home, without the need for quarters. It’s a statement, but who doesn’t want their own arcade machine?
If you want to give someone a classic game they love, check out Arcade1Up, which has machines based on classic games like Mrs. Pac Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Time Turtles, and many more. My personal recommendation is to check out iiRcade. The independent practice has a new concept that you won’t get elsewhere. The machine does not come with one set; it connects to a constantly updated store where players can purchase pay-per-view titles. New titles are always added to the machine every month, but it already has some great options, including an indie hit. Dead cells. At the very least, your loved one won’t see this one coming.