As Christmas steadily approaches, it’s time to gear up for another silly season of gift-giving and too much food and drink. Maybe you have already started your Christmas shopping, or maybe you are a masochist and leave it to the last minute. Regardless of your gift-giving habits one thing is for sure; gaming is big business, I can almost guarantee that on a wish list of someone close to you, there is a gaming related gift.
Modern games feature photorealistic graphics, immersive physics, and production values that reach Hollywood movie levels. A flagship smartphone like Apple’s iPhone 11 has more computing power than a games console of yesteryear and is quite capable of rendering complex 3D characters and environments. Now is the perfect time to get into gaming.
What if you don’t know your Mario from your Metroid? If you are clueless about gaming but want to treat that special gamer in your life this Christmas, read on, as I (Santa) guide you through the hot items and must-have gaming gifts this Christmas.
To play video games, one must have something to ‘run’ or play the games on. The most popular platform for gaming remains the console. You may have heard of the PlayStation or Xbox; these are called gaming consoles. There are other ways of playing games, too so let’s go through the different platforms now.
→ Xbox one
The latest console from tech giant Microsoft, it comes in a variety of flavors which tops out at the Xbox One X. The One X is the most powerful games console currently available and is capable of some truly breathtaking visuals.
→ PlayStation 4
Sony entertainments venerable PlayStation is in its 4th iteration, and it’s the best one yet. Like the Xbox the ps4 comes in a variety of models, with the range-topping Ps4 Pro looking to compete with the top Xbox.
This unique console blurs the lines between mobile and stationary gaming. The Switch is made by game gods Nintendo, and it features a tablet-like device to play games on the go, as well as the ability to plug into a TV and play like a normal console.
The birthplace of competitive gaming, and in some gamers eyes, the “true” choice for paying games. PC simply stands for personal computer; you probably have a few PC’s around your home. A gaming PC differs from an office PC in the performance parts inside specifically designed to render 3d graphics.
→ Mobile gaming
An immensely popular method of gaming. Mobile gaming refers to any gaming done on the go. Popular platforms for mobile gamers include the Nintendo Switch and DS. Modern smartphones are beasts and can quite easily play a vast catalog of games. Apple’s latest iPhone 11 pro max possesses more computing power than the last generation of gaming consoles and can fit in your pocket.
Some other things to consider.
Now we know the landscape of gaming and what platform people are playing games on, time to ask some easier questions. If you are planning on making a gamer’s Christmas morning special, you will need to know what platform they want to play games on, what platforms they already have, and what platform their friends are playing on.
If the gamer in your life already has a console or PC and their friends also play on this same platform, you might want to consider some auxiliary gifts such as peripherals or even a subscription service like PlayStation Plus.
Many people play games socially, and most games won’t allow you to play cross-platform. This means that if little Billy plays games on his PlayStation, he won’t be able to join the same game being played by his friends if they are playing on Xbox. Make sense?
While PC usually allows games to be played without a fee or subscription service, many consoles demand you pay a monthly fee for using the internet connectivity. This service can be an excellent gift to a gamer who already has a catalog of games and a console to play them on. For Xbox players, Xbox live is needed to play online; for PlayStation this service is known as PlayStation Plus.
When you think of video games, the classic games controller might pop into your head. Consoles use a hand controller while PC tends to use a mouse and keyboard combination. Stock PlayStation and Xbox controllers are well built and comfortable but don’t suit everyone. The best way to pick a new controller or other peripheral is to try them out yourself.
Mice and keyboards designed specifically for gamers tend to be flashy and covered in lights and blades. Don’t let a flashy exterior fool you, some of these products are all show and no go. Upgrading your mouse will elevate your gaming set up to the next level, so put your money there first. Logitech is a trusted brand in all gaming peripherals, especially mice and Keyboards.
Headphones are an oft-overlooked peripheral, which is unfortunate because they can transform your gaming experience completely. A headset refers to a pair of headphones that have an attached microphone. Headsets are more popular with gamers as they can communicate with teammates (or opponents) via voice chat. Some solid headset manufacturers include turtle beach and Astro.
Making a gamer’s Christmas special is more complicated now than it was a decade ago, with so many competing products. Talk to your gamer, ask them what platform they play on and if they are happy with that platform and their gear. Introducing someone to gaming is as simple as picking a platform and jumping in.
Console gaming is simple and sociable and the most cost-effective way of gaming, it is more suitable to casual gamers who want to unwind on the couch. PC gaming tends to be more focussed, with a more expensive initial outlay and requiring a more technical mindset. Gaming on a PC can have some unexpected benefits like teaching you how to maintain computers and solve complex problems if the PC was to break. Whatever platform you choose, this year will be the year of the gamer!