Time to admit it: you need a gift guide. It’s a few days to Chrimbo and you’ve only just realised because you’ve been playing Death Stranding. You’ll be at the shopping centre this weekend to see Star Wars which presents an opportunity to do some last minute Christmas shopping. But what do you get the nerds you know that have everything? Here’s a few ideas to help you, the lazy gamer, get your friends some sweet loot (or maybe treat yourself).
1. Xbox Game Pass
Why buy your mates one game when you could buy them a hundred games? Though the humble Xbox One may have done it tough in this hardware generation, it has quietly positioned itself as an incredible platform for digital gaming. The jewel in its crown is Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that offers a Netflix-esque library of video games you can download and play at any time. For $10.95 AUD a month, you get access to hundreds of new and popular games at a moment’s notice. Better yet, Xbox exclusives like Gears 5 and Forza Horizon arrive on Game Pass on launch day. There’s various plans available but even the baseline plan offers great value for money.
Where: Your nearest games retailer
2. PlayStation Hits
PlayStation Hits are a great way to help your bud patch a few critical holes in their gaming collection. The PS Hits range is basically a greatest hits collection for the PlayStation 4. God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Uncharted 4 and many other PlayStation exclusives are included in the mix. Titles included in the list rank among the system’s biggest sellers and offer something for everyone. Better yet, they’re cheap as chips.
Where: Your nearest games retailer
A PC peripheral maker that has been making serious moves in the last few years. HyperX aren’t just affordably priced, their build quality stands up under even the harshest scrutiny. The Alloy FPS keyboard range rank among our favourite mechanical boards year after year, and the Pulsefire gaming mouse offers premium grade performance for a reasonable price. HyperX are kind of a perfect addition to a gift guide like this because they have something for everyone in just about every price range.
Where: HyperX, your nearest games retailer
4. RIG Headphones
We’ve got a reputation for being picky about gaming headphones around here. Our favourite headset maker of the moment is RIG (formerly Plantronics). From entry-level through the prosumer tier, RIG has a headset to suit just about any taste, but the reason we really love them: they sound good. Seriously, they rank among the better quality headsets on the market in terms of audio reproduction. They also have the huge benefit of a robust build quality combined with lightweight components, meaning you can wear them for hours and not wind up with an earache.
Where: Plantronics, your nearest games retailer
5. Blue Yeti streaming mic
At this point, almost every one of us knows someone who really wants to start streaming their games online, achieve internet superstardom and earn those Ninja Fortnite dollars. Can’t stream without a mic though, and the Blue Yeti streaming mic is one of the best around. Are they cheap? Not really, no. But when your friend is rich from Fortnite, we’re sure they won’t have a problem paying you back. Are we including them in this gift guide because we’d like to get to know them better? Yeah, you bet.
Where: Blue Designs, JB Hi-Fi
Does your home lack colour? Digital colour? Solve that problem with as set of Nanoleaf tiles. You can stick these bad boys right up on your wall in almost any pattern you like and control the colour scheme from your phone. Create your own light templates or download ones created by other users. Not enough tiles? They’re expandable! Grab another pack and connect them up.
7. WD_Black hard drive
If there’s one thing any longtime PC owner knows its “back up your stuff.” You never know when your system is going to fall on its face and you lose everything on your hard drive. Western Digital’s WD_Black range of gaming drives are fast, hardy and pack serious storage space. Get em in a 2TB, 4TB or 5TB sizes. They’ll work with your PC, your Xbox One and your PlayStation 4. Their inclusion in this gift guide is absolutely the result of their wowing us during our review earlier in the month.
8. Beoplay A9 Speaker
Do you love incredibly good sound but also want a fancy talking piece for your living room? Hell yeah you do, and they don’t come much more ostentatious than Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A9 speaker. I mean, look at it. It’s a satellite dish you set up in your living room. We dare you to ignore it even when it isn’t playing any music. Is it pricey? Sure, but is $4000 AUD too high a price for flexin’ on ’em?
Where: Bang and Oflusen
9. Rimowa H9i Headphones
Speaking of flexin’ on ’em, you don’t have to confine yourself to the living room. Consider also the B&O x Rimowa H9i headphones. Outrageously great sound, a stylish look and finely honed engineering make these a top shelf pick for any audiophile. The kind of headphones you put on at the end of a long day as you sink into a comfortable chair with a cold drink.
Where: Bang and Olufsen
10. Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller
This hardware generation has seen, perhaps more than any other, a slew of new controllers dropping every few months. Collectors have been lapping it up but, beyond a fresh coat of paint, there’s nothing different about them. The Xbox Elite series of controllers is different. Constructed from high quality components, the Elite Series 2 can be fully customised, allowing for a greater degree of comfort. Individual components like thumbsticks and rear paddles are held in place by strong magnets, meaning there’s no tools required or wear-and-tear on the controller if you want to change your setup.
Where: Xbox ANZ, your nearest gaming retailer
11. PlayStation Rose Gold Headset
One of the prettier pieces of kit to come out of either of The Big Three console makers this year was PlayStation’s official rose gold headphones. The colour is a perfect match the clean, elegant curves that make up the headset’s classic Sony design. A great statement piece for anyone who loves a bit of rose gold.
Where: PlayStation, your nearest gaming retailer
If you’re in the market for peripherals with some extra flash, it’s hard to go past Razer’s sprawling catalogue. Known for their jet black exterior and rainbow LEDs, Razer make just about everything the platform-agnostic gamer could possibly need. Console accessories? They’ve got em. PC gear? You bet. Cases and bags for transporting your setup? Yes indeed. Have a rummage through their site — just like this gift guide, chances are you’ll find something to suit.
Where: Razer, your nearest gaming retailer
13. Nintendo Switch Adjustable Charging Stand
Where: Your nearest gaming retailer
Owners of the launch model Nintendo Switch that travel a lot have one major bugbear with the console. They hate the placement of the charge port, dead centre, underneath the main unit. The port’s placement is fine for docking the device, but it means not being able to charge the system and play it in tabletop mode at the same time. It also makes charging on a plane a pain in the bum. Enter the Adjustable Charging Stand, a portable charge dock that lets you sit your Switch upright in tabletop mode and charge it at the same time. Genius, a must-have for travelling Switch owners.
14. Logitech G range
The Logitech G range has raced up the ranks to become some of the most sought-after PC peripherals in the world. The G902 Lightspeed Wireless Mouse offers performance and a charge time that is the envy of many competitors, and the G915 Lightspeed Wireless RBG Mechanical Keyboard offers a stylish, feature-rich alternative to the other big names. Again, we urge you to rifle through their site for deals. Like this gift guide, you’ll find a little something in every price range.
Where: Logitech, your nearest gaming retailer
15. Sega Mega Drive Mini
For the retro gamer in your life that grew up without a Super Nintendo. The Mega Drive Mini has a wealth of of the system’s best titles built right in, along with some unreleased gems. Like the SNES Mini, it recreates the look and feel of the classic 3-button Mega Drive controller. Games run in 1080p and retain their arcadey charm.
Where: Sega, your nearest gaming retailer