While it’s swiftly becoming the season for Christmas gift-giving, sometimes it’s hard to work out what to get for the gamers in your life. There’s so many peripherals, platforms and pricey deluxe editions that it can be a confusing time for anyone, especially if you have no idea how to tell the difference between an XStation and a Nintendo Twitch, and a Fortnite is something you hope to have off at the end of December. TheSixthAxis is here to help though, with a batch of different Christmas gifts for gamers that should match any budget.
The PlayStation Portal isn’t really the handheld console we’ve all been hoping to see from Sony, but does give a vague taste of what a Sony handheld might look and feel like. This isn’t a standalone device, and you’ll be needing a PS5 to get this to work as it’s purely for remote play (and only remote play) from your own console. Despite Sony having their own cloud service, the PlayStation Portal’s only feat is that it allows you to keep on gaming when other members of your family want to take over the TV. Depending on your household, that might be a compelling offer, and for what it’s worth, the PlayStation Portal does this job very well. Whether it’s worth £200 is entirely up to you.
A Steam Deck
There’s fresh buzz and excitement around the Steam Deck thanks to the brand new Steam Deck OLED model that launched just this month. This is a fantastic PC handheld that lets you tap into the breadth and depth of your Steam library and take it on the go. Considering how many of us will be travelling to visit family and be ripped away from our home consoles and PCs, this would make an ideal gift.
The original LCD model has been cut in price to £349 with a 256GB SSD (there’s some 64GB models still available for £309), but the Steam Deck OLED starts at £479.
An Xbox Series S and Game Pass
Let’s face it, most diehard European gamers have probably got a PS5 under their TV already or are locked into the PlayStation ecosystem. There’s an easy and cheaper way to see the green grass of the other side thanks to the Xbox Series S, and a subscription to Xbox Game Pass to get access to the full library of Microsoft’s first-party games.
Some of the greatest games of 2023
There’s few things easier than picking up a new game for your loved one, and 2023 has been a phenomenal year for games. Just make sure you’re certain about which flavour of console they have to avoid any disappointment on the 25th, and try to make sure that you’re not doubling up on something they already own!
- PS5 – Spider-Man 2, Baldurs Gate 3, Final Fantasy XVI
- Xbox – Forza Motorsport, Diablo IV, Starfield
- Nintendo Switch – Super Mario Wonder, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Fire Emblem Engage
- PC – Baldur’s Gate 3, Diablo IV, Alan Wake 2
If you don’t know the ins and outs of your gamer’s habits, then it could be best to simply let them choose with a gift card or two. PS Store, Xbox Store, Nintendo eShop and Steam gift cards will surely be accepted with great thanks, and Christmas always comes alongside healthy online discounts.
Turtle Beach Stealth Pro Headset
The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro is our current premium pick for best gaming headset, and it’s a stunning offering from one of the most well-established brands in gaming audio. This is a headset that’s got all day comfort, and a dual battery system that lets you carry on gaming without stopping. Well, at least once you’ve swapped the batteries over. You can buy either a PlayStation or Xbox flavoured one, but they’re both also compatible with PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch and Mobile via Bluetooth as well, so this could be the headset to rule them all.
Monoprice BT600ANC Headphones
If you need to get your audio on a budget then the Monoprice BT600ANC is much kinder to your wallet. They don’t just aspire to look like Sony’s WH-1000MX4, they’re not that far off from sounding like them too! Add in a great hard case, and this is a set that anyone will be happy to find under their Christmas tree.
A Handheld History
You can’t play games all the time, so why not read about them instead? A Handheld History is from the Lost in Cult team, and takes a look at the portable gaming devices that you’ve carried around with you for the last few decades. Starting with the Game & Watch, A Handheld History walks you through Nintendo’s impressive line-up taking in the Game Boy, DS and 3DS eras all the way up to the present day and the hybrid Switch. The book also tackles Sony and Sega’s contributions to the sector, while making time for more esoteric devices like the Wonderswan and Nokia’s N-Gage. If you’re a fan of portable gaming devices, this is a perfect Christmas gift, and should while away a few hours while we all wait for the Switch 2.
Meta Quest 3
The Meta Quest 3 is the fourth edition of Meta’s – formerly Oculus’ – standalone VR headset, and it’s a remarkable device that immerses you in VR like never before. It plays the entire back catalogue of Quest games, which includes amazing titles like Beat Saber and Pistol Whip, as well as the latest offerings like PowerWash Simulator VR and Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR. The new three camera system allows the best-ever utilisation of pass-through and you can play mixed-reality games that bring VR elements into the real world, allowing you to blast holes in your home’s ceiling or play moving board games on your kitchen table. If the Quest 2 is good standalone VR, then Quest 3 is another step on the way to really great VR.
Is streaming still the future for gaming? Who knows, but it’s certainly part of the current landscape. While Sony and Microsoft have their own iterations of this remote gaming technology, Amazon have Luna, a standalone streaming system that can make use of a variety of different platforms, including iPad and iPhone, Amazon’s own TVs and tablets, and an array of other home tech. You can even play it via your PC if it’s lacking a bit of gaming oomph.
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber you get a selection of games to play included in your monthly fee, and Amazon sell their own controller which is designed to enhance your experience by connecting directly to your router. It’s well constructed too, and if you’re quick it’s probably on sale for Cyber Monday.
A day in front of your game console can leave you somewhat fragrant, so perhaps the best way to combat that is with a different fragrance to overpower it. There’s a host of gamer candles out there – who knew this was a thing? – and along with a lovely smell wafting through the air, you can create a spot of relaxed ambience while you play Call of Duty multiplayer for another four hours, or perhaps enhance your Tears of the Kingdom playthrough with the scent of a Hyrulean forest?