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Written By
Updated Nov 15, 2021 1:20 PM

If you’re into video games like I am, you know the struggle—there are always those friends that look at you funny when you bring up a difficult Bloodborne boss or try explaining the Legend of Zelda timeline. We know they’re missing out on masterful storytelling, adrenaline rushes, breathtaking fantasy worlds, and triumphant feelings, but it’s hard to even get them to try a Pokémon game. Still, I have hope that these misled non-gamers can be turned into full-fledged gaming connoisseurs. And the holiday season is the perfect time to get them to take the plunge. Gaming is more popular than ever thanks to the rise of streaming services, smartphones, and cutting-edge game consoles. Still, most people who want to game are in it for the experience of kicking back on a couch and spending a few hours running, jumping, slashing, shooting, or using magic. Whether you’re shopping for a hardcore or lapsed gamer, these gaming gifts include some core components they’d appreciate.

Best game console: Nintendo Switch



If you’re in the position to give someone (or yourself) their very first console this holiday, don’t chase after the flashy new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. The Nintendo Switch is a better starter piece because it has something for everyone, whether that’s classic Mario or Zelda games, online team shooters like Overwatch, or even a game where you walk around as a goose, honking and messing with people. Nintendo also offers the Switch Lite for $100 less, but you can only play it handheld-style instead of connecting it to your TV. I’d suggest opting for the original version if you can swing it—the option to switch from TV to handheld is a delight. If you want to go a little more luxe, you can spend an extra $100 on the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, which has a nicer, larger screen and plays all the same games.

Best controller: 8Bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller



8Bitdo’s Ultimate Bluetooth controller lives up to its name. The gamepad, which works with both the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs, feels great in the hand, has a familiar button layout, and can switch between Bluetooth and a 2.4GHz wireless connection. Additionally, buttons on the back can be programmed on the back to trigger custom commands in compatible games. Perhaps the coolest thing about this controller is the included charging dock, which makes topping up its battery a lot easier. If you keep the controller docked when you’re not playing, it’ll never run out of juice. Xbox and PlayStation players shouldn’t feel left out, as the official first-party controllers for the Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5 are available.

Best TV: Sony Bravia XR A80K



Console and PC gamers alike will appreciate a TV that makes their games look and run as well as possible, which is why we heartily recommend Sony’s Bravia XR A80K OLED TV. An OLED TV will look games look more vibrant and realistic thanks to their ability to control the lighting of each individual pixel. Plus, the A80K has multiple HDMI 2.1 ports, which will allow you to play 4K games at up to 120Hz with HDR (high dynamic range) enabled. The bottom line is that modern console and PC games will look flawless on this TV. Hisense’s U8H is another great TV option that has an LCD panel but has all the other features as the A80K at a lower price.

Best headset: Logitech G PRO X



Hearing and speaking to teammates is essential when playing competitive multiplayer games online, which is why Logitech’s G Pro X is such a great gift. The headset can create a virtual 7.1 surround sound environment, so players will be able to hear opponents approaching from any direction. This makes a huge difference when playing games where every second counts. The G Pro X’s large, 50mm drivers will deliver clear sound regardless of which game they’re playing. The headset’s microphone is flexible, so gamers can move it around to find the perfect place for them. Communication is key during online matches, so having a microphone that’s always near and ready is a huge plus. This headset is compatible with PCs, the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch. Xbox gamers should check out this headset instead.

Best mobile gaming controller: Backbone One



The Backbone One effectively turns your iPhone into a Nintendo Switch. This controller shell connects directly to the iPhone’s Lighting port and grips itself to both sides of the device. Once it’s connected, gamers can play iOS titles that support external controllers with traditional buttons, triggers, and control sticks. The Backbone One can also be used by iPhone gamers who want to stream cloud games using services provided by Microsoft, Sony, and NVidia. This accessory brings out the full gaming potential of the iPhone. If you’re an Android user, the Razer Kishi offers the same functionality for smartphones on that platform.

Best handheld: Logitech G Cloud



We’ve already recommended the Nintendo Switch, but what about a gift for gamers who want to play their Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam games while they’re on the go. Enter Logitech’s G Cloud. The G Cloud runs Android, and as its name suggests, its primary purpose is playing games from streaming services like NVIDIA’s GeForce Now, Xbox Remote Play, and PlayStation Remote Play. Under the right circumstances (a fast enough internet connection), games run beautifully and look gorgeous on the device’s 7-inch 1080p display. The G Cloud has enough processing power and memory to quickly load apps, and switch between them with ease. If you’re shopping for someone who craves portable gaming but wants more power than a Switch can provide, they’ll love this gift.

Best compact gaming computer: Bosgame Mini PC



One of the biggest barriers to entry for would-be computer gamers is finding enough space for a desktop, but Bosgame’s Mini PC is an interesting solution. This compact gaming PC can run many newer titlesat 1080P with medium settings enabled, and you may be able to eek out even more performance on a game-by-game basis. That’s due in large part to the machine’s Ryzen 7 5800U 8-core processor, 16GB of RAM, and NVMe SSD. These are components we’d expect to see in computers that cost one to two hundred dollars more. If you’re shopping for a lapsed PC gamer, or someone who wants to give gaming on Windows a try, this is the gift to get.

Best gaming laptop: ASUS ROG Strix G15



Gaming laptops used to be incredibly compromised, but ASUS’ ROG Strix G15 proves how far technology has come. The Windows laptop has an AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX processor, 32GB of RAM (memory), 1TB SSD, and a Radeon RX 6800M graphics card with 12GB of dedicated video memory under the hood. Its 15.6-inch QHD display has a refresh rate of 165Hz, which is better than most gaming monitors. A higher refresh rate allows the screen to keep up with fast-paced games without lagging. This laptop’s specs are overkill for casual gamers who mostly stick to indie titles, but it’s the right machine for gamers who like to live on the cutting edge, but travel too often to justify getting a high-end desktop. The laptop is also chock full of ports, so connecting accessories won’t require an adapter; it even has an HDMI port, so plugging it into a monitor or TV is a single cable affair. Razer’s Blade Stealth 13 is a good alternative if you’d like to get them a similarly specced machine with a smaller footprint.

Best monitor: Samsung Odyssey G30A



Speaking of monitors, PC and console gamers will all appreciate Samsung’s Odyssey G30A. Its 144Hz refresh rate will make games look super smooth, and support for AMD’s FreeSync technology will prevent abnormalities like screen tearing (distortion) from getting in the way of online matches or intense sequences with a lot of movement. Additionally, its large size means gamers will feel immersed while playing titles at their desk. We also like that the G30A has multiple HDMI ports, so multiple consoles can be plugged into it simultaneously. We understand not everybody has enough room for a 27-inch display, which is why we feel like 24-inch LG’s 24GN600-B is another good option. If the person you’re getting this gift for has expressed interest in curved monitors Samsung’s 34-inch Odyssey G5 deserves a look.

Best mouse: Razer Viper V2 Pro



Regular gaming mice are too slow to keep up with the split-second movements necessary to play PC games competitively, which is why recommend getting serious gamers Razer’s Viper V2 Pro. The wireless optical mouse provides peak performance on any surface and can survive up to 90 million clicks without faltering. Razer even allows you to change the mouse’s sensitivity by pushing a button instead of managing it through software. The most impressive feature of this mouse is that it’s wireless, which is atypical for gaming mice as it can lead to latency (lag) between your input (movement or a click) and how long it takes the PC to respond. Razer feels like it’s cracked the code on how to offer premium performance without a cumbersome cable. If wires aren’t an issue, Razer’s Basilisk V3 is another good pick; its optical sensor is almost as good, and it’s equipped with RGB lights and even more programmable buttons.

Best keyboard: SteelSeries Apex Pro



The right keyboard can also help improve one’s performance in online games, and SteelSeries’ Apex Pro is the one to get for the gamer in your life. The wired mechanical keyboard has LEDs, which can make it easier to see keys in the dark (in addition to looking cool), and programmable buttons that can be linked to certain actions for specific games. Its standout feature is an OLED screen, which can present computer stats, notifications, and quick access to certain settings. Equally important is the keyboard’s palm rest, which makes it more comfortable to use during long gaming sessions. Slightly less luxe is the company’s own Apex 3, which lacks a screen but has most of the same other features, including the palm rest.

Best for streaming: Elgato HD60 S+



Elgato’s HD60 S+ simplifies the complicated process of getting console game footage onto your PC for editing or live streaming. The unassuming puck has HDMI ports and a USB port, which is all you’ll need to connect your console to a computer. The HD60 S+ can capture 1080P high dynamic range video at up to 60 frames per second. It’s compatible with all current-generation game consoles and Windows PCs. If ever there was a great gaming stocking stuffer, this is it.

Best Wi-Fi Routers: Eero 6+



You might not think Wi-Fi routers are a great gaming gift until you realize that it’s impossible to stream or download games without a solid connection. This set of three Eero 6+ routers can blanket an area of up to 4,500 square feet with a wireless network that supports speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second. In all likelihood, that means you’ll get the top internet speed you’re paying for without having to plug your console or PC into your cable modem. If the gamer you’re shopping for complains about getting dropped from matches constantly, this gift will solve the issue once and for all. We prefer mesh Wi-Fi routers because they can cover more ground, but Netgear’s Nighthawk Pro is the best single-point option for gamers thanks to its ultra-fast top speed.

Best microphone: Shure MV7



It’s almost impossible to build an online audience for game streams without talking to them while you play, which is why Shure’s MV7 is such a great gift. The USB microphone connects directly to a computer and has easy-to-use software that handles all the important audio settings that impact vocal quality in a couple of clicks. What you end up with is studio-quality sound without much fuss. Importantly, the microphone has a headphone jack, so you can listen to yourself while you’re chatting. This is helpful because you’ll be able to adjust your speaking volume or detect audio abnormalities instantly. A more budget-friendly USB alternative is Joby’s Wavo Pod, which doesn’t match up to the MV7 feature-for-feature, but will make streamers sound better than their laptop mic would. Feeling spendy enough to assemble a broadcast-quality rig complete with external interface? Bump up to the high-resolution XLR Logitech for Creators Blue Sona.

Best webcam: Obsbot Tiny PTZ

A webcam is another essential accessory for game streamers, and we can’t recommend Obsbot’s Tiny PTZ highly enough. The 4K webcam sits on a rotating stand, and uses AI to follow a subject as they move. During active streams, the streamer will always stay in frame, which is especially important during games like Dance Dance Revolution or any title with motion controls. If you’re shopping for a streamer who records VR games, they need a webcam that can keep up with them since they can’t manage their video stream while playing. It doesn’t hurt that the Obsbot’s video looks crystal clear, and that its microphone is surprisingly good, too. Static streamers may enjoy Logitech’s C922x, which has similar specs but won’t move around.