Santa’s already made his list, he’s probably about done checking it twice, and yet I’m sat here scratching my head over what to get some friends and family for Christmas.
How much do you spend? Do you go sensible or silly? How much do you actually like this person, anyway? Christmas is difficult, so here’s our crack at helping you find that perfect gift for someone that likes games.
In a lot of cases, we’re linking to Amazon as a kind of shorthands for online shopping, but look around. Argos, Game, Simply Games, TheGameCollection, ShopTo, GameSeek and others are all vying for your attention and gift buying cash, so you might be able to find a better price or deal elsewhere.
PlayStation or Xbox Gift Cards
It always feels like such a cop out, but you really can’t go wrong with a gift card, can you? And it never hurts to top up your PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscriptions for another few months or year.
The usual suspects for grabbing these are:
With an absolutely jam packed October and November of games, many of which didn’t sell as well as hoped, there’s quite a few bargains to pick up and nobody has had time to play all of this year’s best games. Browse your recipient’s games or trophy library, ponder their typical gaming tastes, and then buy them Titanfall 2.
OK, I’m kidding. But there’s a huge range of games that are out there that they might have missed. Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 are there for Xbox One owners, The Last Guardian or Uncharted 4 are essential for those on PS4, and then third parties have brought Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Watch Dogs 2, and Steep out in the last couple of months.
Shop around, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good deal either in the run up to Christmas or the Boxing Day sales.
New Analogue Sticks
It doesn’t feel like there’s many first year DualShock 4 controllers out there that have their thumb sticks intact. Thankfully, it’s quite easy and cheap to fix, and really not all that time consuming.
Grab a couple of replacement sticks off eBay – they’re just a couple of quid for a pair – whether original style or fashioned after the more durable and interchangeable Xbox One sticks, break out your trusty set of screwdrivers and fix the sticks on your mate’s/brother’s DualShock 4. Here’s a handy guide from Eurogamer.
A new DualShock 4 or Xbox One Controller
Whether it’s classic black or in camouflage, it never hurts to have a second controller.
Xbox and DualShock Wireless Adapters
Perhaps someones got too many controllers and likes to dabble with gaming on PC, perhaps even via Remote Play from their console? They’ll want a wireless adapter, and both Microsoft and Sony have been more than happy to oblige this year.
- Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 – Amazon – £17.95
- DualShock 4 Wireless Adapter – Amazon – £19.79
Xbox Elite Controller
One of the nicest game controllers I’ve ever held in my hands, the only thing that’ll make you pause for thought is the price. That said, it’s worth it if you game a lot, with plenty of customisable parts, from different thumb sticks to hair trigger stops and paddles underneath that can keep your thumbs glued to the sticks instead of worrying about face buttons.
Numskull Christmas Jumpers
Christmas jumpers don’t have to be ugly, far from it, and Numskull have got a lovely range of Christmas jumpers. There’s some themed after Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed – see our 12 Christmas bears from last year! – Star Wars or, my personal favourite, the rather subtle Skyrim, which could almost pass for Game of Thrones.
As always with knitted jumpers, think about ordering up a size from usual. A slightly baggy jumper is better than one that will choke you to death.
Insert Coin Apparel
Another company with a reputation for quality gaming apparel is Insert Coin. Their recent ranges include Destiny, Dead Space and Dark Souls, and those are just some of the ones starting with a ‘D’.
A Human Head
OK, so hear me out on this one. You know someone who’s bought a PlayStation VR, but the thing is they’re just bundling it into a corner when it’s not in use. Clearly they need a better way to store it than that, and so you’re thinking, “I know, what about one of those fancy PSVR charging stands?”
That’s the wrong question to ask. The correct question to ask is, “What practical PSVR related gift can I give someone that also makes future houseguests worry about their host’s state of mind and potentially fear for their own safety?”
Unless they’re a trainee hairdresser or stylist, the only possible answer to that question is this: a fake human head.
Also, you get to practice your plaiting technique.
You’ll probably have to preface this by saying that you’re not hinting at anything – honest! – but as novelty gaming gifts go, soap shaped like an N64 cartridge is a pretty good one.
The only problem is that if you are hinting at something, they might not want to ruin the soap’s gloriously retro stylings.
You might be a bit too late for Christmas with this one. Pokémon plushies are adorable, but the official ones are only found at Pokémon Centre in Japan or America with no official channel for importing.
But import them you can from Amazon resellers or other importers like Play Asia, or you can pick the slightly less refined renditions from Banpresto, it will just take time for these to ship and travel around the world.
Litten plushies are so adorable, they’re worth the wait!
Because the battery in your phone probably doesn’t last all day and you’ve got some new Pokémon to catch!
For today you can get some nice and colourful 12,000 mAh batteries for £14.99 from Currys – that’s enough to charge your iPhone six times over. Even once this offer expires, power banks are fairly ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive.
Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System
The nostalgia is strong with this one, bundling up 30 classic NES games into a diminutive mini replica package. The only problem? Well, you’ll be lucky to find one in the shops and they now sell for well into three figures on eBay and the like. If you can get one at its RRP of £49.99, snap it up in a heartbeat!
I spend so much time staring at a screen all day that sometimes it’s nice to read an actual book, and while it’s funny to think this of such a broad and interactive medium, there’s quite a number of great books out there about videogames.
You could revisit Lara Croft’s legacy with 20 Years of Tomb Raider, get a Final Fantasy aficionado the game guide for FFXV, get ready for Part II by returning to the art of The Last of Us, or delve into the world of indie development with books like Independent by Design and Indie Games: The Complete Guide to Indie Gaming.
I should say I know the authors of the last two books, but I’ll also add that they’re really nice guys, and further to that, these are really rather lovely books!
A Gaming Headset
If you’re playing your game’s audio via puny TV speakers then you’re really missing out – and are you really still using the little chat microphone that came with the PS4? A good headset will immerse you in your games more than ever, and they come in a variety of forms to match any budget.
This is a tricky market to delve into with so many manufacturers and possibilities. There’s SteelSeries, Turtle Beach, LucidSound, Tritton, Astro, Sennheiser, Logitech… the list goes on and on, and on. Then there’s thinking about whether you’ll plug into the controller, go fully wireless, or what.
If you’re getting a PSVR from Santa – or a shop – then Turtle Beach’s Stealth 350VR is a great shout. On sale for around £60 they’re incredibly light and comfortable, fit easily over your VR headset and offer sterling audio for the price.
If someone games primarily on PlayStation 4, there’s plenty of options out there, but Sony’s PlayStation Wireless Headset 2.0 lets you cut the cord with a simple USB dongle and is great value for money at under £50 on Amazon.
At the top end of the scale, SteelSeries’ Siberia 800 and Astro’s A50s are both among the best of the best. Both are wireless, sport excellent surround sound and long battery life – the SteelSeries actually has swappable batteries, even – but you may find that with a price tag over £200 that makes them more expensive than the console you’re buying them for!
At the time of writing, there’s a model of the Astro A50 – compatible with PS4, despite the Xbox one branding – for just £139.99 via Amazon Prime.
- PlayStation Wireless Headset 2.0 – Amazon from £46.54
- Turtle Beach Stealth 350VR – Game for £59.99
- SteelSeries 800 – Amazon £224.99
- Astro A50 – Amazon £139.99
A Bigger HDD
Do you know someone who keeps butting up against the limits of the piddly little 500GB hard drive that comes as stock in so many PS4s? Or perhaps they’re wondering if the 1TB in a new PS4 Pro is going to last them? Maybe there’s an Xbox that could really use an external drive to boost its
It’s another DIY gift, but look out for a 2TB Seagate portable drive, which can often be found for around £60-65 – here it is on Argos, or cheaper for Amazon Prime members. Just plug one into the back of an Xbox One, or for PS4, crack that drive open and you’ve got a 2.5″ 9.5mm thick Samsung HDD that is the perfect size and fit to replace the internal drive.
A 4K HDR TV
Alright, so this one’s far more likely to be a gift to yourself than for someone else, but having a HDR 4K set really is the only way to get the very best out of a PS4 Pro, and even the Xbox One S and base PS4 can shine with HDR turned on in certain games.
Our personal pick at the moment is the Samsung KS7000, capable of dishing out Premium HDR, and its prerequisite 1000nits of brightness, your games won’t have ever looked as good as this, and with prices dropping steadily this year you’ll likely be able to pick one up for under £900 in the Boxing Day sales. Our typical recommendation is to price match the best deals with John Lewis or Richer Sounds and take advantage of their longer warranty periods.
Macaroni art of their favourite game character
Nothing says “Merry Christmas, I love you dad,” like a macaroni portrait of Spyro the Dragon.
Note: None of these links are affiliate links, they’re just dumb gift ideas from the bottom of our hearts. All prices are correct at the time of writing.