The holidays are nearly here, and it’s time to get prepared. Make your lists, check them twice, and figure out who gets the dopest gifts. Gamers can be some of the hardest people to buy for. They’re picky, they’re early adopters, and their habit is just plain expensive.
We’re here with a gamer-focused list to help you get a start in the right direction no matter your price tag, whether you’re obscenely wealthy or looking for something that actual people can afford.
Money is No Object
Samsung UN78JU7500 Curved 78-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV
When I put together my guide for last year’s list, I specifically picked out a 1080p TV. Anytime I’m looking at new gear, gaming is the number one concern. It is, by far, the thing I use my television for the most, and if I’m going to buy a tv, no matter the price, it needs to be able to handle the demands that fast paced gaming can put on it. Until recently, 4K televisions just weren’t up to the task. Input lag on 4K has simply not been up to what we can expect from 1080p televisions.
This year, that changed.
Samsung’s SUHD line of televisions, a set of curved, 4K resolution displays, are best in class in every way, including an astonishingly low input lag of just 21ms, a far cry from the 40+ average we saw last year. This TV in particular has great color, handles motion well, and has enough inputs to handle just about any situation.
Samsung even has some variants like the UN55JU7500 that approach affordability, letting people with realistic budgets get into 4K without sacrificing too much.
Gifts under $2000
Acer XB270HU 27″ WQHD G-Sync Gaming Monitor
But maybe you don’t play console games, maybe you don’t spend a lot of time in your living room, and you’re happy with what you have right now. In that case, a top of the line gaming monitor is the answer, and Acer’s XB270HU is as top of the line as it gets. About the only downfall of the screen is that it only has one output port – a single DisplayPort slot. Everything else is all but unbeatable: Incredibly low input latency, a great-looking IPS-style panel, 2560×1440 resolution that’ll force you to download all new wallpapers, and a base that will support just about any horizontal or vertical setup you want. Let’s not forget the 144Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync technology that will help ensure a buttery smooth frame rate.
This monitor is as good as PC gaming gets, assuming you have the GTX980 to give it the best performance.
Gifts Under $500
Xbox One 1TB Elite Console Bundle
If there’s any console bundle worth picking up this holiday season, it’s the Xbox Elite Bundle. It doesn’t have a pile of games, though there are plenty of bundles that do. It’s simply the best Xbox One out there. At $499, it’s not cheap, but it packs a couple big punches. Inside the console is a 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive. That means double the space of most of the Xbox One systems out there. The solid state hybrid aspect of it means you can, according to Microsoft, “load your games 20% faster with a hard drive that adapts to your gaming preferences by storing frequently accessed files on a solid state partition.”
On top of that, the system also packs the Xbox One Elite wireless controller, which is picking up a reputation quickly as one of the best first party controllers to hit shelves ever. With a sweet carrying case that packs additional analog sticks, directional pads, and pedals, you get the most customizable controller around, and up to 150 different configurations can be stored with the app on your Xbox and PC. The controller is $150 on its own, so the bundle is, overall a solid value despite the lack of any included games and is, by far, the most premium console bundle out there.
Gifts Under $250
While just about everything else on this list is gaming focused, I decided to broaden things out a bit for this. That’s partly because the best gaming headsets, like the Astro A50s, sport a well-deserved $299 price tag (Logitech’s G933 headset is a bit more affordable at $199, and we’re currently playing with that for review).
So we’re going to look at a good general-use pair of headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
Depending on which color scheme you get, these can vary a bit in price, but will generally scoot in under 200 with a good amount of wiggle room. In the box, the headphones come with a nice pouch that will house the folded headphones, the three cords it comes with, and the ¼” stereo adapter. Many headphones are designed to amp up the bass, but these won’t mess with your sound at all. I’ve put in hundreds of hours with these, and they stand up to long use as comfortable over-the-ear headphones that provide clean, clear sound. Combine them with a Digital Audio Converter/Amplifier like the FiiO E10K to slide in under that $250 mark and get an even better audio experience.
Square Enix Play Arts Kai toys
Not everything has to plug in, though. When I really get into a game or series of games, my resistance to piling up oodles of merch starts to break down. I didn’t pre-order Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain because who needs a pretend cyborg arm? Me, apparently, because I still regret not pre-ordering. Similarly, Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai figures based on Kojima’s final Metal Gear tempt me daily. There’s a whole line of the figures, representing just about every one of the main characters from the game, including a variety of paintjobs and outfits for the man himself, Venom Snake/Punished Snake/Naked Snake/Big Boss/etc.
These figures are ultra poseable and highly detailed, assuring that just about any pose you want to put them in, safe for work or not, should be doable.
Gifts Under $100
Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse
There’s no one perfect gaming mouse. You might be a left-handed gamer, or maybe you only play one genre, be it FPS, MOBA, or MMO. If you play a bit of everything, though, the Logitech G502 Proteus Mouse won’t steer you wrong.
Adjustable weight, customizable buttons, and a premium build are all standard gaming mouse features that accompany Logitech’s dual-mode scroll wheel for both detailed and fast scrolling, as well as the ability to tune the mouse’s to best match the surface you mouse on the most.
Some people think gift cards are lazy. I just don’t agree. Buying the right giftcard for the right person shows that you know where they shop and that you respect their picky tastes. Because gamers are, in general, a picky lot. We often get our favorite games on day one, and our tech, be it a video card, one of the displays above, or a premium input device, tends to be expensive. A gift card might just push a premium headset from silly to affordable.
Get a gamer a gift card, and they’ll find a way to use it. Probably before the day is done, no less.
Gifts Under $50
Aside from sweet, ultra expensive action figures, another way to celebrate a gamer’s hobby with them is to get them a piece of clothing they can wear out of the house without feeling like a doofus. If you’ve got a Fallout 4 fan in the house, for example – you can tell because they’ve been walking around like a kid waiting to open a Christmas present since early June – one of the hoodies on sale from developer Bethesda is a great choice. While some simply feature the game’s logo, others are a more subtle nod, like the Vault-Tec hoodie above, that will elicit a fistbump from fellow fans without being overt.
The Flash Season 1 Blu-ray
Okay, so maybe there are two non-gamer things on this list. While Arrow has had a bumpy ride so far, The Flash hit the ground running with a strong first season that didn’t hesitate to embrace the more explicitly comic booky elements of the character’s 75 year history – that’s right, The Flash has been around for three quarters of a century. Characters like the goofily named but ever-present Reverse Flash played heavily into the season and were handled in ways that made them much more interesting than the typical TV villain. The show departs from the comic in a number of ways, but almost every one of them fits into the show properly in one way or another. And hey, you can’t play video games ALL the time, right?