Buying Gifts for Gamers that Don't Suck
With a vast and ever-evolving gaming landscape, finding the ideal gift for the gaming aficionado in your life can be ... challenging. Fear not! Whether they're into console gaming, PC gaming, mobile gaming, or all of the above, this comprehensive guide will steer you toward the perfect present that will level up their gaming experience.
Get the Info
Like anyone with a hobby you don't understand or know much about, in order to give a good gift, you need to do a little recon. Here are the key things to find out:
1. Understand Their Genre Preferences
Before diving into the world of gaming gear and accessories, understand the type of games they love. Are they passionate about action-adventure, strategy, role-playing, or multiplayer games? Knowing their preferred genre can help narrow down your options.
How do you find this out? Ask them what their current favorite game is and then do an internet search to find out the genre. If you want to be doubly sure, ask the innocent follow up question, "Is that your usual kind of game?"
2. Know Their Platform
The platform your gamer uses will make a huge difference in the gear and content they enjoy. Console gaming includes systems such as Xbox or PlayStation and usually use a controller. PC gamers typically use heavily powered computers, mice, and keyboards as tools.
Heck, these days D&D is very popular again and they may even be into tabletop or role-player gaming that happens IRL.
Bottom line, not all "gamers" exist on the same plane. A nice gaming mouse won't land with a mobile player and an Xbox gift card won't help a PlayStation owner.
3. Do They (Want to) Stream?
If they're into streaming their gameplay or aspire to become a content creator, consider gifts like a quality microphone, webcam, green screen, or streaming software subscriptions to support their endeavors. These items have become increasingly available and inexpensive over the last few years, as online streaming and content creation have gone bananas.
Not every gamer is interested in streaming, so you'll need to feel this one out and find out ... again ... what their setup already entails.
Decide: Digital or Physical
My family is anti-gift card. I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this, but in the culture of our home it is sort of tacky to give money or a gift card, rather than a physical gift. When it comes to gaming, not a whole lot happens IRL - it's all gone digital. That doesn't mean you can't give a physical gift to a gamer; it just requires a little more creativity.
1. Games or In-Game Content
Once you know their genre and platform, the gift of a new game is always a winner. Find out if they have a wishlist on their gaming platform of choice or look for popular titles within their preferred genre. Alternatively, consider gift cards for digital stores like Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or Nintendo eShop, allowing them to pick their game of choice.
2. Gaming Subscriptions and Memberships
Gift them subscriptions to gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, or PC gaming platforms like Humble Bundle or Origin Access, providing access to a wide range of games and exclusive benefits.
This one sort of lies in the in-between, but tickets or access passes don't exactly need a big box or gift bag so they are going here. There are tons of events related to gaming, such as gaming conventions, eSports events, and online gaming tournaments. You might consider gifting tickets or passes to one of these events for your gamer.
1. Gaming Peripherals
Enhance their gaming setup with peripherals. If they're into console gaming, consider accessories such as controllers, charging docks, console skins, or gaming-themed merchandise related to their favorite games. For PC gamers, items like mechanical keyboards, gaming mice, high-quality headsets, or ergonomic chairs could make for excellent gifts.
Of course, if you don't know much about their current setup, you could be setting yourself up for failure here. We don't recommend giving any of the above gifts willy-nilly. You'll need to do some digging to know where the weak spots are in their gaming gear. It's much easier to outfit a beginner or someone you know who has a very basic setup that could benefit from some upgrades. Meanwhile, an experienced gamer might require you to go out of budget in order to get them an upgrade - a top-tier gaming mouse goes for well over $100!
Peripherals can also be simple items that lend to the atmosphere of the gaming setup, like LED lights, which are very popular with gamers.
2. Streaming Gear
If they're into streaming their gameplay or aspire to become a content creator, consider gifts like a quality microphone, webcam, green screen, or streaming software subscriptions to support their endeavors.
3. Gaming Books, Art, or Guides
For the gaming enthusiast who loves the lore and backstory of their favorite games, consider art books, strategy guides, or novels based on popular game series.
This is a great option for someone who is deeply passionate about a single game or franchise. It also makes a great gift because it isn't something a gamer is likely to be particular about or often buy for themselves.
4. Merchandise and Collectibles
Gaming-themed merchandise, from posters and apparel to figurines and collector's editions of games, can be a delightful addition to their collection and a way to showcase their love for specific titles. You may also have some luck finding items that are more generally gaming-related, if you aren't able to get too much intelligence about their preferences.
5. Customized or Personalized Gear
Consider personalized gaming gear, such as custom-designed controllers, mouse pads with their favorite characters or themes, or even personalized gaming-themed artwork or accessories. If they are a streamer, art featuring their gamer tag (the online name they go by when gaming) is a particularly thoughtful gift!
No matter your budget or the occasion, the world of gaming offers a plethora of gift ideas for every gamer out there. By understanding their preferences and diving into the expansive realm of gaming gear, accessories, and experiences, you're sure to find a gift that will level up their gaming journey and bring a smile to their face. Happy gifting!
This guide should provide a good starting point to help you navigate the multitude of options available when choosing gifts for gamers.