2015 Gift Guide: Video Game Hardware & Accessories
While Sony and Microsoft continue to battle in the retail space, that competition has created plenty of options that will delight gamers this year. This guide will dive into video game hardware as well as some accessories to enhance those gaming systems.
Buy This Gift for Someone into Halo, First-Person Shooters
Taking advantage of the first new Halo game in years, Microsoft has released a custom Halo design of the Xbox One with a 1TB storage drive as well as a downloadable version of Halo 5: Guardians. However, there are also a couple other special editions; a Fallout 4 1TB bundle for $400, a Forza 6 1TB bundle for $400 and a Gears of War 500GB bundle for $350.
- MSRP: $499 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $450
- Pros: Great library of first and third party games, updates console when turned off, can suspend games in low power mode, includes DNLA support, integrates with your cable box
- Cons: Xbox One backwards compatibly slowly growing, clunky, thick design, requires premium Xbox Live service to play online.
Buy This Gift for Someone into Uncharted, Adventure Games
Allowing gamers to revisit all previous Uncharted games before Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End released during March 2016, The PS4 Uncharted 500GB bundle includes digital versions of all three Uncharted games. Of course, there are other options this year as well; a 1TB Call of Duty bundle for $429 and a 500GB Star Wars: Battlefront bundle for $399.
- MSRP: $349 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $310
- Pros: Great library of first and third party games, updates console when turned off, slim, sleek design, includes streaming option to Vita in some games.
- Cons: Requires premium PlayStation Plus service to play online, online features not as polished as Xbox Live.
Buy This Gift for Someone into Mario, Platformers
Ideal for anyone that grew up with the old school Nintendo consoles, the Super Mario Maker Deluxe Set Wii U bundle offers up the 32GB Wii U console with a game that lets players build their own Mario levels. Other options this year include the Splatoon bundle, Mario Kart 8 bundle and the Super Mario 3D World bundle; all priced at $299.
- MSRP: $299 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: First party support is fantastic, gamepad can be used to play games while TV is off, fantastic indie scene, less expensive than other consoles.
- Cons: Third party support is absolutely terrible compared to Xbox One, PS4. Online options are limited, at best.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who’s Brand New To Video Games
At this point, you really can’t go wrong with either the Xbox 360 or PS3 as a starter system for someone new to video games. Both will hit record-low prices during Black Friday—look for $150 bundles with the 500GB console and 2 popular titles—and both have an enormous library of catalog titles that are becoming cheaper by the day as the new consoles start taking over.
Both are easier to pick up than PC gaming and both have a few years of life left for new game releases. Both are the perfect blend of affordability, functionality and overall value, especially when compared to the new consoles.
MSRP: $199 to $299 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $200 for 250GB bundles
- Pros: Vast gaming library, will take years to plow through. Extremely reliable hardware due to multiple revisions. Tons of players for online games. Doubles as a media center in your home theater.
- Cons: Support for both consoles is dying fast. Some new games are exclusive to the Xbox One and PS4.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who’s New To PC Gaming
Assuming your gift recipient recently received a PC capable of playing new games, the absolutely best gift you can give is a Steam Gift Card or Wallet Code of the $20, $50 or $100 variety. The Steam Holiday sale typically starts around December 20th and runs for about two weeks.
During this time, someone with a $50 Steam credit can stretch that into 5 to 15 games depending on the release date of each game. Some of the gaming packs provide even more value with 15 to 30 games rolled into one amazing deal. Make sure to read our Steam Sale guide for more tips on taking advantage of these deals.
MSRP: $20 to $100 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Games can be found at 50% to 85% off during the holiday sale. The Steam platform will be shifting more aggressively into home theater soon.
- Cons: Requires that the user has a decent gaming PC. Purchasing holiday sale titles requires extreme patience to get the best discount.
Buy This Gift for a Gamer Who Travels all the Time
Ideal for service personal on deployment or anyone who jets around the country, the GAEMS Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment bundles a 720p 19-inch LED display with your Obox One, PS4, Xbox 360 or PS3. This allows the user to take their gaming system every place they go rather than having to rely on unknown options when they arrive somewhere.
It’s also TSA-friendly, thus you can plug it up at the airport to pass the time while waiting on a flight. In addition, the dual-headphone jacks mean a friend can join in on the fun without disturbing the people around you. There’s also a more expensive 19-inch, 1080i screen option, as well.
MSRP: $349 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $270
- Pros: Has room for games, controllers, power supply and cords. Includes built-in speakers. Case locks up for security. Excellent air circulation for hot gaming systems.
- Cons: May be too heavy for a small kid to lug around. Viewing angles can be restrictive with multiple players.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who Can Name All the Pokémon
Definitely targeted at a young audience, the Nintendo 2DS is a durable gaming system that’s designed to introduce Mario and other characters to a new generation of gamers. It removes the 3D effect on the 3DS and becomes much safer for children to play for extended periods of time.
Combine that with Pokémon X/Y and you will have a happy kid buried in their 2DS for hours upon hours upon hours. Did we mention Pokémon is addictive?
MSRP: $129 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $65
- Pros: Vast gaming library, due to compatibility with DS and 3DS titles. Built to withstand small kids tossing it around. Hinge-free design eliminates breakage and kids hurting their fingers.
- Cons: Games are significantly more expensive than smartphone / tablet mobile games.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who Loves Online Gaming on Consoles
While single player games are great, the enemies littering the levels of Battlefield 4 multiplayer aren’t going to just kill themselves. Someone has to do the dirty work! If your gift recipient has an Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One or PS4, don’t hesitate to pick up a 1-year subscription card to Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus.
While you don’t need a PlayStation Plus subscription for multiplayer on the PS3 (you do on the PS4), benefits like free games each month and exclusive discounts on the Sony store are awesome. The time from these cards also stack, thus your gift recipient can extend their subscription multiple years if needed.
MSRP: $50 to $60 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $40 for 1-year PS Plus, $20 for 1-year Xbox Live
- Pros: Unlocks a huge number of bonus features and perks on both systems. Completely transferable to the Xbox One / PS4.
- Cons: Required on the Xbox systems to unlock apps like Netflix. Requires patience to get the best deals on the cards.
Buy This Gift for a Family Who Values Their Sanity
Listening to Junior play his umpteenth round of Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer, or any video game for that matter, on his Xbox One or PS4 will inevitably become annoying. To silence the noise, pick up the Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headset. Compatible with PC, PS4 and the Xbox One, this highly praised headset is excellent for anyone that broadcasts on Twitch or YouTube.
MSRP: $99 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Extremely comfortable, 53MM drivers offer impressive sound quality, Mic quality great for Twitch streamers
- Cons: Limited to stereo, no virtual surround sound support.