It has been a great year for video games – so much so that finding something special for the gamer in your life can be overwhelming quickly. Between the long-awaited PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, the forever hot Nintendo Switch and exciting new hardware like Oculus Quest 2, there have never been more options when it comes to finding great games and gadgets for that special one on your list.
Luckily, we’re here to help you check all of that and find the perfect gift for even the pickiest gaming fanatic. From trendy new toys and affordable storage gadgets to cutting edge hardware, here are our picks for the best gaming gifts you can buy this holiday season.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales ($ 49; amazon.com)
A follow-up to Marvel’s beloved Spider-Man of 2018, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an exciting open-world adventure focused on the younger and less experienced Spider-Man. Beating the bad guys and swinging in New York City is more exhilarating than ever, thanks to Miles’ unique electrical attacks and concealment abilities, all wrapped in a concise and honest story that will make you fall in love with Marvel’s new web head. The game looks absolutely amazing on the new PS5, but don’t worry – there’s also a PS4 version for those who still use older hardware.
Star Wars Squadrons ($ 39; amazon.com)
Are you ready to live your fantasies in flying X-wing or TIE fighter? Star Wars Squadrons let you do just that, offering an exciting first-person space battle via an engaging campaign and a variety of fun multiplayer modes. Even better, Squadrons supports cross-platform play between PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, and even works with virtual reality headsets to truly fulfill your dogfighting dreams.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons ($ 59; amazon.com)
If the player on your list can use an amazing island escape from the reality of 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is just the ticket. This popular Nintendo Switch game lets players build the tropical utopia of their dreams, complete with numerous ways to customize your home and island, and a group of lovable villagers to meet with an endless amount of creatures and items to collect. And with online multiplayer support, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great way to visit friends almost when you can’t be with them in person.
Cyberpunk 2077 ($ 59; amazon.com)
For those looking to sink dozens (if not hundreds) of hours into a fun open world, Cyberpunk 2077 is the must-have game. This highly anticipated role-playing game lets players craft their own custom characters and explore Night City – a vibrant and dangerous sci-fi world filled with exciting characters to meet, enemies to fight and sweet cars to drive. Plus, Keanu Reeves is in it. Do we need to say more?
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ($ 15 / month); amazon.com)
If you’re getting one Xbox, PC or Android gift on your list, make it a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The absolute best in gaming, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate provides access to hundreds of top games, including Gears 5, Destiny 2, Doom: Eternal, and Minecraft Dungeons. You can download these titles to Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PC, or even stream them to your Android phone or tablet via the cloud.
PlayStation Plus ($ 9 / month) amazon.com)
A PlayStation Plus membership is a must for any PS4 or PS5 player, offering access to online multiplayer, exclusive discounts and a selection of free monthly games for $ 10 a month or $ 60 a year. PlayStation Plus also features the PlayStation Plus collection, a curated game library that allows PS5 owners to keep up with PS4 classics like Uncharted 4, The Last of Us: Remastered, and God of War.
Nintendo Switch Online ($ 19 / year; amazon.com)
A must have for any Nintendo Switch owner, Nintendo Switch Online lets you play titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online with friends while enjoying exclusive perks and free gifts. This includes exclusive member games like Super Mario Bros. 35 cloud storage to save games and a robust library of classic NES and SNES titles.
Shade ($ 12 a month; shop.shadow.tech)
If the gamer in your life is interested in PC games but doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on an expensive device, Shadow is a great and affordable way to get it at home. This subscription service basically gives you access to a high-end Windows PC in the cloud, which you can access from any laptop, desktop or phone to play any PC games you own from the marketplaces such as Steam, Epic Games Store, and Origin. Shadow starts at just $ 12 per month, with Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics and more than enough computing power to run hot games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Xbox Wireless Controller ($ 59; amazon.com)
The latest version of the Xbox Wireless Controller is one of the best gamepads you can buy – even if the player on your list isn’t playing on Xbox. Microsoft’s new console improves on an already excellent design with a textured grip, improved ergonomics, an upgraded D-pad and a dedicated share button, and comes in particularly splash-white, black and blue. It also works on a range of platforms, including Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PC, and even Android and iOS devices.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit ($ 99; amazon.com)
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit turns your living room into an augmented reality of the Mario Kart tournament. What do you not like? This innovative Nintendo Switch game comes with a real, remote-controlled car (featuring either Mario or Luigi), which uses a built-in camera to transform your home into an interactive race track that comes to life on your console. With a simple set-up process that makes it easy to create your own tracks using cardboard markers, Home Circuit will delight any younger Nintendo fan on your list. One quick note: as of this writing, the Mario set is still shipping just in time for Christmas, while the Luigi edition is not.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless ($ 99; target.com)
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is one of the best gaming headsets you can get from a Fortnite or Call of Duty fan, no matter where they play. This elegant and simple speaker delivers excellent wireless performance on PC, PS4 and PS5, and allows wireless audio on Nintendo Switch and Android phones, thanks to an easy-to-use USB-C dongle. Add ergonomic, all-day ready-to-use design, a clear ClearCast microphone for chatting with friends and a standard 3.5mm cable for use on all other platforms, and the Arctis 1 Wireless is a no-brainer option for any type of gamer.
Ring Fit Adventure ($ 79); amazon.com)
Finding ways to stay active indoors is more important than ever these days, and Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure makes the process easy by turning exercise into an addictive role-playing game. This unique fitness experience comes with Ring-Con accessories and a leg strap. Which works in conjunction with the Switch’s Joy-Con Controllers to track your movements while running around and perform workout moves to take out enemies. With over 100 levels to explore as well as mini games for quick workouts, Ring Fit Adventure will make the player on your list looking forward to exercising every day.
Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros ($ 49; target.com)
A great collector’s item for any Nintendo fan in your life, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros is a fun and nostalgic throwback to the oldest Nintendo notebook. This pocket-sized portable device lets you play Super Mario Bros. And Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels and a new version of the classic ball game from the original Game & Watch gadget. And when you’re not playing it, the Game & Watch’s color screen displays the time complete with 35 different fun Mario themes that pay tribute to the rich video game history of the virtual plumber.
Nintendo Switch ($ 299; amazon.com)
Even with new Sony and Microsoft systems coming out, the Nintendo Switch is still one of the best consoles you can offer the gamer in your life. Nintendo’s hybrid game machine has a really great game library that is always improving, from new games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Hades to recent classics like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Whether you’re using the $ 299 Nintendo Switch to play games either on TV or on the go, or with the $ 199 Nintendo Switch Lite for a more compact and just portable experience, the latest Nintendo hardware is the gateway to some of the greatest games ever.
One word of warning: the Nintendo Switch is still a much-needed item, and many console versions are shipped after Christmas or are currently out of stock. As of the last inspection, you can still pick up the Nintendo Switch Lite from Best Buy in time for the holidays. The goal is also to charge the standard Nintendo Switch in time.