Let’s face it, buying a gift for someone who loves gaming is tough. Almost every day brings with it a handful of new releases, and everyone has different tastes. Plus, if they’re a fan of a particular style or genre of game, there’s a good chance they’re already bought the new hotness. To save you that trouble, here are some gifts that are a bit different but should be appreciated all the same. You may also find something that will pique your interest.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in video games. Across 268 captivating pages, Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier shares how some of the most influential games of the past decade were made. Featuring interviews with the people who were there – including The Last of Us director Neil Druckmann and Eric Barone, the creator of Stardew Valley – the stories that populate Blood, Sweat, and Pixels shed a light on just how fraught the process of creating a game can be during even the best of times. It’s riveting reading for anyone who wants a more informed perspective on the craft.
Don’t let the Logitech G305’s affordable $40 price fool you, it’s a gaming mouse almost any gamer would happily add to their collection. At 99 grams, it’s one of the lighter mice in Logitech’s stable, and you can program all six buttons to your liking. It also includes the company’s fast and responsive Hero optical sensor and Lightspeed wireless technology for “wired-like” performance. A single AA battery provides the G305 with up to 250 hours of life, and you can get as much as nine months of use with some tweaking. Best of all, the G305 is available in a few different colors, including a handful of cheerful pastels. There’s even a K/DA version for fans of Riot’s virtual K-pop group. That versatility makes a perfect gift for a PC gamer.Buy Logitech G305 at Amazon - $50
If you’re buying a gift for someone who primarily plays games on their phone, consider treating them to the best mobile gamepad on the market. At $100, the Backbone One is pricey, but it easily surpasses competitors like the Razer Kishi in build quality. It also comes with a surprisingly robust companion app that makes capturing screenshots and clips from your play sessions a breeze. Each new Backbone One controller also comes with complimentary access to services like Xbox Game Pass, giving owners a few different ways to add to their game library.Buy Backbone One at Amazon - $100
As Supergiant’s staff composer, Darren Korb has written some of the most memorable video game soundtracks in recent memory, but his work on Hades may be his best yet. From start to finish, the Hades Original Soundtrack is filled with tunes like ”Out of Tartarus” and “The Unseen Ones” that will make you stand up and shred an air guitar. It’s the perfect gift for fans of Hades (and there are many of those), but you can also give it to someone who hasn’t experienced the game yet. It might just convince them to play one of the best indies of the last few years.Buy Hades soundtrack at Bandcamp - $10
Drop + Epos PC38X
With the popularity of multiplayer games, you may want to consider gifting your friend or family member a gaming headset. For an affordable option that features a clean sound signature that’s tuned for first-person shooters, it’s hard to go wrong with the Drop and Epos PC38X.
You may not be familiar with Epos, but you’ve definitely heard of Sennheiser. The historic audio brand founded Sennheiser Communications as a joint venture in 2003. In 2020, the subsidiary rebranded to Epos and went on to take over Sennheiser’s gaming portfolio. That history should tell you what to expect from the PC38X. It’s a headset that has more in common with classic headphones like the HD600 than its gaming peers. An open-back design helps the PC38X produce an immersive sound stage that can give you an edge in games like Valorant and Modern Warfare II. The built-in microphone is one of the best ones you’ll find on a gaming headset at this price, producing warm and natural tones when you speak into it. It’s a wired headset too, meaning you don’t have to worry about battery life and compatibility. Best of all, Drop frequently discounts the PC38X below its usual $169 price.Buy Epos PC38X at Drop - $169
Okay, I lied. We do have one straightforward recommendation: Hollow Knight. Team Cherry’s debut title is one of the best games made in the past five years. It combines the exploration of a 2D Metroid-like title with a challenging combat system that is reminiscent of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series. Add to that a beautiful soundtrack, art style and story, and it’s easy to see why so many people are eagerly waiting for Hollow Knight’s upcoming sequel, Silksong. While we’re here, go the extra mile and gift your friend or loved one a physical copy of the game. It comes with a beautiful map of Hollow Knight’s world.Buy Hollow Knight at Amazon - $35
Steam Gift card
It’s not creative, but if you want a safe option, it’s hard to go wrong with a gift card. We’re highlighting Steam here, but all the major gaming platforms offer their own take on the format, including Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, and do so in amounts that should fit any budget. Some of those same companies offer digital versions of their gift cards, making it easy to ensure your friend or family member can enjoy them, even if you can’t see them in person.
Another option if you’re buying for someone with an Xbox or PC is a one- or three-month Game Pass gift card. Microsoft’s subscription service is widely considered one of the best deals in gaming and is a great way to discover new titles to check out.Shop Steam gift cards
This gift will only appeal to fans of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series, but let me tell you, if the person you’re buying for falls in that group, they will love you for it. Laudate Luna is a beautiful 12- by 36-inch print of Lordran, the setting where the first game takes place. Anyone who has fond memories of Dark Souls will be able to retrace their journey to Anor Lando and find all the places where they died repeatedly trying to conquer the game’s punishing combat.Buy Laudate Luna print at Fangamer - $36
SanDisk microSD card
If buying a gift for someone who enjoys gaming on their Nintendo Switch, there’s a good chance they’ll appreciate it if you get them more storage. The beauty of microSD cards is that they’re affordable. A company like SanDisk offers 512GB models for less than $100. That’s enough to install about 20 to 30 games. SanDisk sells Switch-specific models, but any UHS-1 compatible microSD card that offers transfer speeds of at least 60 MB/s will do.Buy SanDisk microSD card (128GB) at Amazon - $35
Xbox Elite Controller Series 2
After more than two decades of iteration, it’s hard to find a fault with Microsoft’s Xbox controllers. The latest Series X/S version refines a design that was already excellent with the Xbox One, but what it lacks is customization. That’s something you can get with Microsoft’s Elite Wireless controller. The Series 2 model comes with six different thumbsticks, four separate paddles and a set of two d-pads. With all those components included, even the most discerning players should be able to tune the controller to their liking.Buy Elite Controller 2 starter bundle at Amazon - $180
More Holiday Gift Ideas: Check out the rest of our tech gift ideas right here. Also, you'll find the best ideas for car lovers at Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for just about everyone else on your list (moms, dads, teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s holiday gift ideas section.