More people are gamers than you might think. I have friends who play mobile games on their phone during their morning commute — they are gamers. I have friends who go for gold in competitive gaming tournaments — they are gamers.
SKIP AHEADBest consoles for gamers | Best games | Best gaming accessories | Best gaming gift cards and subscriptions
Gaming isn’t limited to one console or one type of person. That’s why we rounded up a diverse list of some of the best gaming gifts and gear we would recommend to anyone on your holiday list.
To find the best gifts for gamers, we asked Select staff for their favorite recommendations and referenced products we have covered previously. As shopping experts, we also included gift ideas we think you should know about based on top-selling and top-searched products. I am also a lifelong gamer so I included favorites of mine from the last few years.
Before you buy a gift for any gamer, it’s helpful to know what devices they use — do they game on their phone, PS5 or a Nintendo Switch? Knowing their preferred gaming device can help you avoid confusion as you move items to your shopping cart.
The best gifts for gamers
The Nintendo Switch is one of our favorite handheld game consoles. About half the NBC Select team owns a Switch. It can be played handheld or hooked up to a TV for big-screen action. It has games for beginners and veterans alike, with some incredibly fun multiplayer titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Nintendo Switch Sports. This bundle includes the console, plus a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and three months of Nintendo Online membership, all at no additional cost.
The Playstation 5 (PS5) is another one of our top ranked gaming consoles, with more titles specifically aimed at teens and adults than the Nintendo Switch. It has dozens of exclusive blockbuster games like The Last of Us Part I, God of War Ragnarok and Uncharted available to play. This bundle comes with a digital download code for the newly launched Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (typically $69) at no additional cost.
This is one of the best VR headsets to gift because it is self-contained — it does not need any extra motion sensors or scanners to use. It is simply the headset and two controllers, all of which connect wirelessly. Once connected, you can purchase and play immersive, interactive games like Beat Saber, Superhot VR, Moss and Walkabout Mini Golf. Other VR headsets may be more powerful than the Quest 2, but they are typically more expensive and require a more complicated setup.
Amazon | Gamestop
Hades is one of our favorite games for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed adventure inside the world of Greek mythology. You play as Zagreus, son of Hades, as you try to battle your way out of the underworld and reach Mount Olympus. Dodging and slashing your way through this vivid, painterly world never gets old. The amazing art, music, characters and story make this one of the best games to give to friends and family. We’ve linked the version for Nintendo Switch, but the game is also available on PlayStation, Xbox and more.
They can play as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales in this stunning new Marvel action-adventure game. In Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, you swing around iconic New York City landmarks, explore boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens, battle nefarious villains and team up with familiar faces, all with beautiful visuals enabled by the powerful PlayStation 5.
This is the first new Super Mario game since 2019’s Super Mario Maker 2. This time around, Mario and friends have to defeat Bowser, who has transformed into a giant flying castle using a new item, the Wonder Flower. It is a 2D game where up to four players can run, jump and complete colorful and surprising levels. There are seven distinct areas to explore, each with different levels, environments and challenges. The standout new addition to this Mario game is the Wonder Flower, which, when touched, either changes your character or the level dramatically.
Whether it’s references in Netflix’s Stranger Things or the full-blown feature film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, D&D is everywhere. And playing D&D is easier than you might think. With this starter set, any group of friends or family can get together and enjoy a fantasy adventure filled with drama and magic. In essence, it’s a board game mixed with improv theater, all in a fantasy world of your making.
Elden Ring was one of the biggest games of 2022, with dozens of top reviews and 10/10 ratings. It’s a sprawling fantasy adventure where you explore a dark and immersive world in ruin. Similar to games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, half of the fun of Elden Ring is its vast open world: you can explore every part of the environment, with hundreds of vistas to enjoy, enemies to fight and areas to explore. But be warned: Elden Ring is tough as nails — defeating its massive, fearsome bosses can feel daunting, but is still rewarding.
Gamers with lots of gadgets often face charging issues — especially on the go, finding an outlet, or bringing the right chargers, can be a headache. This portable power bank won our Giftable Tech Awards and is great for charging gaming devices on the go. It can charge devices of all kinds with its USB-A and USB-C ports. Mine has been invaluable on many train and airplane trips.
This wireless controller is one of the most widely compatible we’ve tried, which makes it an easy gift to give even if you don’t know what kind of device they usually play games on. It can connect to a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, tablet, Apple TV, Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch and more. We’ve found this controller to be comfortable to use anywhere. It comes in three colors and has a battery life of up to 20 hours, according to the brand.
Gamers who love to play on their iPhone will find a lot to love in this accessory. It’s a specialty controller that plugs directly into an iPhone and adds a traditional controller grip, similar to an Xbox or Nintendo Switch controller. The brand lists all the mobile games compatible with the Backbone One here. We’ve linked the Lightning port version, but it also comes in a USB-C version compatible with Android phones and the new iPhone 15.
This gaming headset will let them hear the game and their friends comfortably and with clarity, in our experience. It works with PCs, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and more — whatever their gaming device is, this headset is likely to be compatible thanks to the near-universal 3.5mm headphone cable. They can control game and microphone volume using the on-cable dials, according to the brand.
The headset is also available in a wireless version, although that model is only compatible with PlayStation and PCs.
One of the best gaming mice, Logitech’s G305 wireless mouse is stalwart. It is a simple, affordable, lightweight gaming mouse that offers precise control to any computer gamer. The internal sensor is very fast and accurate, much more so than traditional office or ergonomic mice.
Gift cards and subscriptions
If you don’t know which game to buy your PC-gaming friend, a Steam gift card is a good alternative. Steam is a digital PC gaming storefront with a library of over 50,000 games — a Steam gift card can go towards the digital purchase of any game on the platform, meaning you’ll be helping the recipient purchase whatever game they want, instead of whatever game you’ve heard of.
Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service is essentially Netflix for video games: Users pay a subscription fee and get access to hundreds of games on Xbox or PC. The service had over 25 million subscribers in 2022 and Microsoft adds new games at least once a month. Gifting a PC or Xbox gamer a three-month membership is a great way to give them hundreds of quality games.
Like Xbox Game Pass, Apple has a gaming subscription service called Apple Arcade, where subscribers can download hundreds of different games to their iPhone, iPad or Macbook. One of the best parts of Apple Arcade is curation — the games available are much better than the free or dated games you might find on the App Store, in my experience.
You cannot purchase an Apple Arcade subscription for someone else, but you can gift them an Apple gift card (linked above) that they can use to pay for the $6.99 per month Apple Arcade subscription fee.
Why trust Select?
Harry Rabinowitz is a reporter at Select who has written product and gift guides for over three years, including gift guides focused on tech, cycling and more. For this guide, he chose products from Select’s past coverage and top-rated items from online marketplaces like Amazon and Best Buy.
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