With the holiday shopping season in full swing, we know how difficult it can be to purchase a gift for your spouse, family or friend who are interested video games if you are not. In the article below, I'll share the “hottest” products in the gaming scene for the 2016 holiday season and give general suggestions for those who have no idea what gift to buy a gamer for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other celebrated holiday.
The list is in descending order by price, and I've included the current sales price (as of the time this guide was written) of each item next to the product name. For those interested in purchasing, I'd recommend clicking through to the product page to see the current pricing as it may fluctuate over time and doing this will ensure the most accurate pricing. Note: New gaming-related products may be added or removed as the holidays approach so check back often for more gift ideas.
LG Curved 65-Inch 4K UHD Smart OLED TV – $2,997 (Amazon)
LG is a top contender in the high-end TV market, and their 4K Smart OLED models are the cream of the crop. This particular model is the OLED65C6P which was released this year and has cutting edge features like the newest OLED HDR technology, optimal color performance/black levels, Harmon Kardon sound, webOS 3.0 and a slim, curved design. It is capable of playing gaming at the highest resolution and streaming multimedia content in 4K UHD with HDR support when coupled with an Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 Pro.
Razer Blade 14″ Gaming VR-Ready Gaming Laptop – $1,969.99 (Amazon)
The newly refreshed gaming laptop from Razer packs some serious power with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card inside plus 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Weighing in at only 4.16 lbs, this 14-inch laptop is portable enough to game on the go while still offering advanced features like support for VR and Thunderbolt 3. If I were in the market for a gaming PC that needed to be portable (most opt for a stationary desktop rig), I'd be picking up a Razer Blade without question.
LG UH7700 55″ 4K Super UHD Smart TV – $997 (Amazon)
At an affordable price point under $1K, the LG UH7700 packs a 4K Super UHD panel with an effective refresh rate of 240Hz perfect for fast-paced gaming scenarios. Furthermore, the panel also supports HDR, so those planning to purchase an Xbox One S or PS4 Pro down the line will be ready to experience the streaming benefits. Running webOS 3.0, you'll also get all the smart control features as well as web browser and streaming support.
HTC Vive – $799 (Amazon)
The best virtual reality system on the market currently, the HTC Vive is one of the best video game hardware buys for the holiday season. By utilizing a high-resolution headset, two wireless controllers and base stations that allow for tracking of movement throughout the room, the Vive's VR experience is unmatched. The big caveat here is that you'll need a computer with rather high specs to support the Vive system (minimum GTX 1060/RX 480, Core i5-4590/FX 8350, 4GB+ RAM, HDMI 1.4/DisplayPort 1.2+, Windows 7+) so be sure to verify that your PC meets the minimum requirements before purchasing.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Card – $639.99 (Amazon)
The 1080 series is the best “bang for your buck” graphics card on the market with a whopping 8GB of video memory and a 1733 MHz Boost Clock. Not only is the 1080 card ready for 4K gaming, but it offers full support for virtual reality out of the box with dual HDMI 2.0 ports for displaying a signal to a VR headset and monitor simultaneously.
BenQ Zowie XL2730 PC Gaming Monitor – $548.99 (Amazon)
I mention several BenQ monitors in this article simply because they are some of the best displays for gaming and is the official monitor of choice for several major professional gaming leagues including MLG. This is their most expensive monitor designed specifically for PC gaming, and it packs a real punch in terms of advanced features. Beyond the fully adjustable design and useful ‘S Switch' for changing monitor settings on the fly, the XL2730 offers a QHD resolution (2560 x 1440) coupled with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. Read our review of the previous generation BenQ XL2730z monitor
PlayStation VR Launch Bundle – $499 (Amazon)
The highly anticipated VR experience from Sony will be released in time for the holiday season, and we expect the item to be a top seller within the gaming category. While the entry price is rather steep at $499 for the launch bundle, it includes a high-end VR headset, a PlayStation camera, two PlayStation Move Controllers and a PlayStation VR Worlds game disc. You'll need to purchase or own a PS4 or PS4 Pro to utilize PlayStation VR system to keep this in mind before buying.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics Card – $454.99 (Amazon)
Considered the “middle of the road” option between the GTX 1080 listed above and the GTX 1060 below, the GTX 1070 still packs some serious graphical power at a price-point that is more easy on the wallet. If you don't need all the bells and whistles and just want a reliable graphics card that is capable of playing nearly any title at max settings (at a resolution below 4K) that should stay relevant for several years to come then the GTX 1070 is your best bet.
PlayStation 4 Pro – $399 (Amazon)
Sony's latest console that packs more graphical power and support for 4K UHD and HDR streaming/Blu-Ray much like the Xbox One S listed below. While all PS4 titles can be played on a PlayStation 4 Pro, certain titles that are ‘PS4 Pro Enhanced' will receive additional graphical performance including faster frame rates and better graphics. Note: 4K UHD/HDR support will only work with a compatible TV and media source.
Xbox One S – $299-$399 (Amazon)
The newest console from Microsoft, the Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the Xbox One as well as the added support for HDR (high dynamic range) and 4K UHD video Blu-Ray/streaming. The base model comes with 500GB of internal storage, but you can spend a bit more to upgrade this to 1TB ($349) or even 2TB ($399). Depending on where and when you buy the Xbox One S, you can likely score a bundled deal including a free game, Xbox Live subscription or an extra controller. Note: 4K UHD/HDR support will only work with a compatible TV and media source.
BenQ Zowie XL2720 PC Gaming Monitor – $378.99 (Amazon)
Zowie is a subsidiary of BenQ who are known for producing some of the best gaming displays on the market. This particular monitor is designed with PC gamers in mind harnessing a full 1080P, 144Hz display panel. Additional features include a height adjustable stand and access to advanced settings like Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance, ZeroFlicker and Low Blue Light modes.
BenQ Zowie RL2460 Console Gaming Monitor – $219 (Amazon)
While the BenQ model above is meant for PC gaming, this one is meant for use with consoles like the Xbox One or PS4. The panel offers a fast 1ms response time best suited for fast-paced gaming. Like the higher-end models, you still get access to advanced features like the Flicker Free, Low Blue Light and Black Equalizer settings. This model does have built-in speakers as well as an audio jack for running a more advanced audio system or gaming headset.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S – $169.99 (Amazon)
With Internet playing such a huge role in the gaming/e-sports community, the idea of capturing your gameplay to show off later to friends or streaming gameplay live for an audience to watch has become a common desire. With the Game Capture HD60 S from Elgato, you'll gain the ability to record or stream a full 1080P HD signal from your game console to your computer. Those interested in streaming gameplay can utilize its built-in support for Twitch and YouTube.
Xbox One Elite Controller – $149.99 (Amazon)
A newly redesigned controller from Microsoft is geared for competitive gamers on the Xbox One. Beyond the stylistic improvements, the Elite Controller offers the ability to customize the controller with interchangeable paddles, thumbsticks, D-pads and grips along with software tweaks to improve individual performance and comfort.
Samsung Gear VR – $99 (Amazon)
One of the cheapest ways to get a virtual reality experience is using a Gear VR headset. Since the smartphone has all the internal components needed to produce the graphical experience, the VR headset is sold separately for just $99 and is compatible with their Galaxy S6, S7, and Note 5 models. There are many free and low-cost gaming options that allow for an immersive VR experience, but some will require a controller (sold separately).
SteelSeries Rival 700 Mouse – $99 (Amazon)
The top of the line gaming mouse from SteelSeries, the Rival 700 offers optimal performance coupled with a sleek, ergonomic design and packed with advanced features. Its unique feature is an onboard OLED display providing the ability to customize the output to display elements like in-game stats, mouse settings or alerts depending on your needs or desires.
Amazon Prime – $99 (Amazon)
With Amazon's acquisition of the popular video game streaming platform Twitch, subscribers of Prime gain access to exclusive benefits that improve the Twitch experience better as well as in-game unlockables, and free release day delivery on discounted video games (physical copies only) purchased through Amazon. These gaming benefits stack on top of all the standard benefits of regular Prime which include video and music streaming, free Kindle ebook access, photo storage and free 2-day shipping on all Prime-eligible orders.
Razer Kraken Pro V2 Gaming Headset – $79.99 (Amazon)
Gaming headsets not only can help improve gaming skills thanks to the more immerse sound experience, but they can be great for those with friends, spouses or children who keep you up at night with loud video game noise. The Kraken Pro V2 is a great middle of the range headset that supports use with PC as well as Xbox One and PS4 consoles. We chose to include the version with 50mm drivers that also packs a retractable microphone with in-line remote for convenience in communication.
Overwatch – $59.99 (Amazon)
While it's been a few months since Overwatch has been officially released, it remains one of the highest played first-person shooter titles in the competitive scene as well as on Twitch. The game has no single-player campaign, only an incredible multi-player experience that takes a lot of inspiration from the classic, Team Fortress 2. Unlike Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinity Warfare listed below, this title is not meant to simulate realistic warfare and includes playable characters like a talking monkey (Winston) and an Omni Robot (Zenyatta). This is the only game that I play on a consistent basis as it is just so much fun. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
Battlefield 1 – $59.99 (Amazon)
One of the most popular first-person shooter titles on the market this season, Battlefield 1 is the newest installment in the wildly successful Battlefield franchise. It offers the ability to battle it out on a massive scale with up to 64-player matches coupled with stellar graphics and fully destructive environments. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – $59.99 (Amazon)
The Call of Duty franchise is one of the largest video game franchises of all-time having sold hundreds of millions of copies since its 2003 inception. Their latest installment is dubbed Infinite Warfare and takes place in the future as you battle through a multi-planet environment. This title boasts not only a stellar campaign but an intense multi-player experience with competitive versus modes alongside a cooperative experience where you must survive a horde of zombies within a 1980's amusement park. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
FIFA 17 – $59.99 (Amazon)
FIFA is the largest video game franchise related to soccer (or football for those who are European). Each year the graphics get better and better as well as tweaks to the gameplay to improve performance and the overall experience. In FIFA 17, you can play as your favorite soccer team or participate in the first ever story mode where you play as Alex Hunter an up and coming star in the Premier League. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
WatchDogs 2 – $59.99 (Amazon)
The highly-anticipated sequel to the original Watch Dogs title which sold over 9M copies to date. With a large emphasis on the single-player campaign, Watch Dogs follows an action-packed storyline as Marcus Holloway, a young cyber hacker who must shut down a corrupt government infrastructure that is framing him for crimes he did not commit. With a setting based in San Francisco, players can “hack” their way through the city in whichever way they see fit. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
Mafia 3 – $59.99 (Amazon)
A third installment in the Mafia game franchise is based off the real-life mob back in the 1960s. Gamers will play as Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam veteran who recently returned from service and is learning the ropes in the family business. When his family is taken out by a hit from the Italian Mafia, Lincoln must rebuild and get his revenge. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One game consoles.
SkinIt Gaming Skins – $14.99+ (SkinIt.com)
SkinIt has produced hundreds of appealing skins for all modern consoles and controllers to allow you to customize the look of your gaming machine. Whether you want to show support for your favorite professional sports team or make your gaming gear look cooler by way of a camo, carbon fiber or other unique print, SkinIt has a way to achieve this while keeping it affordable and easy to install.
Did you read this guide and are still unsure of what to get for someone who loves video games? Purchase a gift card to a major retailer that sells video game-related products or digital credit to spend on their favorite in-game marketplace.
Here are some video game related gift-card suggestions:
- Best Buy
- Battle.net/Blizzard (World of Warcraft, HearthStone, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm or Overwatch)
- iOS Gift Card (iPhone games)
- Google Play (Android games)
- Riot Games (League of Legends)
- Steam Store (wide selection of mainstream and indie PC games)
This wraps up our holiday gift suggestions when shopping for someone interested in video games, I hope it has been helpful! If so, we'd appreciate it if you shared this guide with any family or friends who may also benefit.