Each year, I spend some of my time testing out video games and video game gadgets so that I can give readers suggestions on what to buy for the holidays—either for themselves or for friends and loved ones.
This year I have quite a range of gadgets, toys, and other video game related items. I’ll have a separate list for the games themselves. In this list, there’s everything from keyboards to gaming headsets to the consoles themselves.
Now, without further adieu, your Video Game Gadget Holiday 2016 Gift Guide:
This is a terrific, compact mechanical keyboard designed to save space and make gaming easier than ever for first-person-shooter gamers in particular. I love the clicky keys and small footprint. Oh, and the $99 price-tag is nice, too.
You can read my review here.
I’m including some products that are branded with video games I love. This Overwatch mouse is sleek and fast, with a really nice cable and the little Overwatch symbol on top (which lights up.) It feels great in-hand and is a pleasure to look at. Great for any Overwatch fan.
This massive mouse mat fits snugly underneath your keyboard and gives you tons of room to move your mouse around. It’s a nice, simple, slick mouse pad that’s perfect for any type of gaming, but especially for moving the payload.
There are so many great POP figures out there from so many video games, I’m loathe to tell you which one you should buy. I mean, they all make great gift ideas, so basically just figure out what games your recipient likes and then look for that figure.
I have a bunch of them myself, including Winston from Overwatch, Big Daddy from Bioshock, The Red Knight from Dark Souls and Riley from Call of Duty. But there are many more, including the sweet-looking Corvo from Dishonored pictured above (which would be a super great gift idea for yours truly….)
You really can’t go wrong with these, though the act of buying them becomes addictive rather quickly….
Here’s a really terrific alternative to the Funko POP figurines. Jinx’s Geralt of Rivia figurine is quite a bit larger than the average POP figure, and he’s also got two swords that you can take out of their sheaths and place them in Geralt’s hands.
Like the POP figurines, this one is pretty cartoonish with a huge head, but it’s also just an awesome toy for any Witcher fan, with great attention to detail and a really top-notch paint job.
If you want something a little bit more realistic to display, Dark Horse Deluxe has some terrific video game statues. The Link statute above is lovely, but they also have a very realistic Geralt of Rivia if that Jinx figure is too cartoony for you.
These little guys are really great. They’re just blocky black plastic figures with a colorful pixel front. Two AAA batteries and the flick of a switch, and suddenly you have glowing Mario, glowing Mega Man, and glowing Fallout Boy adorning your desk or kids room. They’re cool even without the lights on but way, way better aglow.
The popular Cloud Stinger gaming headset from Kingston is a great choice for a few reasons. First of all, it isn’t too expensive, but it’s also not on the lower-end, finding a nice balance between price and quality. It’s also very comfortable, has a great sound, and a perfectly serviceable mic for gaming (though maybe not quite at the level you’d want for professional recording, broadcasting, etc.)
This is a wired headset, and uses standard 3.5mm jacks rather than USB.
I have yet to write my final review of the PS VR headset, but it’s easily my favorite virtual reality headset so far, beating out the much more expensive Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The combination of great games, comfort, and clear display make this a no-brainer. It’s also cheaper than the alternatives, though you’ll need a PS4 to play it (and it works even better with a PS4 Pro.)
I have no idea if this will be in stock much longer, but you can get one at Best Buy for $399.99 right now. They’re selling out at a lot of retailers, or being sold for well over MSRP. Don’t pay more than you have to. Oh, and remember that you need a PS4 camera and, for some games, two Move controllers, for this to work.
If you do get a PS VR or have one already, I can’t recommend this charging and display station enough. It charges one gamepad and both Move controllers, and provides a nice little perch for the headset. In other words, it saves space, looks good, and makes charging way easier.
The HORI Tac Pro basically allows you to play PS4 games with a mouse and keyboard. It’s not perfect, and it’s not cheap, but if you’re clumsy with a gamepad this might be the gadget you need. Just be sure to read the reviews before buying, including mine…
The PS4 Pro is a more powerful version of the standard/slim PlayStation 4. It’s going to be most noticeable in games that utilize 4K and HDR, though in other titles it can increase performance and/or graphical quality and detail. For a lot of people, spending the extra $100 may not be worth it, but for anyone getting a 4K TV (read my buying guide here) or a PS VR, the PS4 Pro is a must.
This is a pretty sweet controller, with great Titanfall 2 coloring and design and handy programmable “wheel” buttons on the back. Wired may not be ideal for everyone, but for me it comes in very handy when gaming on my PC. Sure, I use mouse and keyboard for shooters, but when I fire up Dark Souls III or other third-person action games, I use a gamepad. This works well on the Xbox One also, and you never have to worry about batteries.
The Xbox One S was the first console to market that boasted 4K support. It’s nowhere near as powerful as the PS4 Pro, but it does have a 4K Blu-Ray player which the PS4 Pro is missing. (Here’s some reasons to buy the Xbox One S over the PS4 Pro.)
I chose this bundle because Battlefield 1 is such a tremendous game, and the 1 TB bundle itself is a great deal right now.
Jinx doesn’t just make awesome Geralt of Rivia toys. They also have a whole line of video game clothing, from sweet Portal 2 track jackets, to StarCraft II T-shirts and lots more. For your Minecraft gamers, they have beanies, hoodies, and even plush stuffed toys.
They have an entire line of Overwatch clothes, wallets, and hats as well, which might even help you move the payload.
The officially licensed OGIO Titanfall 2 backpack is a surprisingly cool bag. It’s rugged, well-designed and spacious, and has a great fit. It also just looks really cool, with a nice green, black and yellow design, and some patches you can (optionally) iron on for flavor. All told, a great backpack for teens or older.
While it may not pack quite the punch of a GTX 1070 or a GTX 1080, the GTX 1060 is still a beast in its own right, and it’s far, far cheaper than its big brothers. For most gamers, and most games, the 1060 will be more than enough power at a price-point that’s pretty much impossible to beat (though the AMD card below is a bit cheaper.)
The Nvidia vs AMD debate will hopefully rage on for a good long time. In the meantime, AMD’s RX 480 is a great graphics card at a great price. It’s not quite as powerful as the GTX 1060, but it is cheaper. ASUS is a great card manufacturer with top-notch quality and reliability which is why they’re my pick for both these cards and the laptop below.
There’s a ton of gaming laptops to choose from. I recommend this one because it’s a terrific price for the specs you’re getting. And sure, you could buy a far more expensive Alienware laptop, or even a much more expensive ASUS laptop, but my philosophy with laptops is that they don’t need to be bleeding edge. They just need to be good enough, and this one is. It’s got a great screen, a powerful GPU, CPU and 16 GB of RAM, with a 1 TB harddrive that you can expand later if you want.
That’s all…for now.
So that’s all my gift ideas for gamers for now (with a separate game-centric list coming.) However, I’m open to suggestions. I realize there’s so many more awesome gift ideas out there, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. I may even add them to this list in an update.
So if you’re a gamer, or you make some really neat gaming product, or you just have an idea you’d like to share, shout out in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @erikkain.
And be sure to share this with your friends and family because, who knows? Maybe they’ll buy something on here for you….
Thanks for reading and happy holidays!