It’s that time again folks! The most wonderful time of the year. . .that becomes an impromptu test of how well you know people. For those of you with gamers in your life, this test can be even more daunting. Fear not, dear reader, I’ve got you covered with this holiday gamer gift guide on what games to get your favorite gamer this holiday season.
In this holiday gamer guide, I’ll give you some suggestions for various consoles and a few tips for future shopping trips.
Purchase Console Exclusives
A game made with a specific machine in mind is typically going to be a no-brainer pick. Titles like Horizon Forbidden West (PS4/PS5), God of War: Ragnarök (PS4/PS5), and Bayonetta 3 (Nintendo Switch) are games that, if your favorite gamer doesn’t already own them, they will definitely want them. The main thing to note when going this route is confirming what system(s) they may have. There is nothing more disheartening than getting a new game for a gaming system you don’t own.
Pass on Over-Hyped Titles When Buying Games for Gifts
The idea of something being over-hyped is definitely subjective but my rule of thumb for categorizing these titles is answering one question: does the game work? Unfortunately, as far as we’ve come in technology, bugs and glitches are just part of the reality of buying video games. Games like Skyrim (Multiplatform) and GTA 5 (Multiplatform) are massive titles that have their share of bugs, but nothing game-breaking. Pokemon Scarlett/Violet (Nintendo Switch) cannot say the same. Poor frame rate, visual glitches, clipping, and some of the roughest pop-in of graphics I’ve seen in a while. Pokemon is one of the biggest media franchises in history, even outselling gaming mainstays like Mario and Sonic, so this level of quality is pretty unacceptable. Cyberpunk 2077 (Multiplatform) was another huge letdown because of the hype but that leads me to my next topic.
Purchase Updated Titles
PC gamers have enjoyed the benefits of post-release patches for decades before consoles were able to take advantage of them. For console gamers, when we saw glitches in a game, we just had to accept it as part of the experience. Now, a title like Cyberpunk 2077 which launched in an abysmal state can be fixed over time and become what it was always meant to be. For those with PCs, PS5, or Xbox Series S/X, Cyberpunk is a case study in purchasing patience. Other titles that may have played just fine at release may also see new life after all DLC (Downloadable Content) is available. A game like WWE 2K22 (Multiplatform) now has more wrestlers and attires available and fixes to different gameplay modes that make it a better experience now than it was when it first came out. However keep in mind, anything with a year at the end of it might not be the best thing to pull the trigger on.
Pass on Yearly Titles When Gifting Games
This is a sticking point in any holiday gamer gift guide. A simple go-to may be just buying the newest version of someone’s favorite game. The problem here is, most yearly release titles (mainly sports titles) are released months before the holidays. Games like Madden (football), NBA 2K (basketball), and even the WWE 2K series (wrestling) are released around the start of their yearly season. If you’re buying for someone who is a major fan of one of these franchises, they’re likely to purchase it on day one. Also, unbeknownst to you, they may have stepped away from the franchise and you’re surprising them with a game they’re already burned out on.
Purchasing Holiday Gift Cards for Gamers
I know, I know. Most people look at gift cards as a cop-out or something impersonal. But this is the holiday gamer gift guide and I’m going to let you in on a little secret. In the gaming world, these cards are gold. As previously mentioned, DLC can breathe new life into already available titles. This content is typically ONLY available via system-specific digital stores. That gift card you give them opens a new world of extra content for their favorite games that would have been impossible for you to get for them. Trust me, it’s a solid choice that only requires you to know what system they’re gaming on.
Also, for those who play online, there is a monthly/yearly fee that varies depending on which platform you use. Paying for someone’s online subscription is a level of love that anyone can appreciate.
Also also, the online stores for Playstation, Xbox, etc. do digital-only sales that you would have no way to take advantage of. Getting the gamer in your life a $25 card during the holidays can net them as many as 3 games on sale depending on what they’re into. You really just can’t beat that.
Buying gaming accessories is a trap. Controllers these days are as much if not more expensive than games so that’s a pass. Charge stations, while functional, are typically not necessary. Getting a gaming headset? You REALLY have to know who you’re dealing with to make that call. The price points are insane for gaming chairs, keyboards, and even “gaming glasses” (blue light filter lenses). Couple that with the overwhelming number of options and brands and you are setting yourself up for failure. Basically, unless you were given SPECIFIC product info or a SPECIFIC request, you can completely pass on any and all gaming accessories for gifting this holiday season.
The Wrap Up
With this holiday gamer guide, you should have all the tools necessary to make some good calls. If you’re still on the fence, just ask the gamer in your life what they’re excited about and you’ll have a top 5 list in minutes. Gamers love discussing our passion as much as any foodie or moviegoer. Personally, as a Sony guy, God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West are must plays without question. The new strategy game Marvel’s Midnight Suns looks really dope and I love the developer behind it (Firaxis). Finally, I refuse to go into 2023 without playing Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion. I’ve been such a fan of the Final Fantasy VII franchise that no part of my soul will be able to rest if I don’t do this for myself.
For those non-gamers out there shopping to put a smile on someone’s face this holiday season, I hope this gamer gift guide makes your task a little easier. At the end of the day, this is all about sharing joy so please don’t stress yourself. If nothing else, get them a gift card and let them go nuts. Trust me, it’s the ultimate failsafe for buying for a gamer. Have a happy holiday!
Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.
Check out my other work here or reach out to me on LinkedIn.