In a year of exciting releases from some of the biggest names in video games, why not consider a state-of-the-art console? There’s a system to suit almost every age and interest. The Mario fanatic has Nintendo consoles, open-world explorers have systems from Microsoft’s Xbox to Sony’s PlayStation. And, whether together or apart, multiplayer/online play capabilities can stir up some fun competition for the whole family.
Learn more about some of the season’s most popular consoles and which to gift the gamer in your life–or yourself.
For the gamer who wants to get lost in a world: Sony Ps5
One of the most anticipated consoles of the year, the Sony Ps5 boasts near-instant load times, 3D audio, and ultra-realistic graphics (it’s compatible with 4K and 8K displays). Its wireless controllers further enhance gameplay with their haptic feedback capabilities and adaptive triggers, simulating the sense of resistance and impact. For gamers who want to feel completely immersed, it doesn’t get much better than the Ps5’s user experience. If it’s out of stock, the line of Ps4 systems may be more readily available, though you’ll need to act fast to snag one of them before the holidays.
New Games for the Ps5
Released in tandem with the Ps5, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the perfect first game for this system. Players will get lost in Marvel’s rendition of New York, exploring the map only as only Spider-Man can. Horizon Forbidden West has yet to announce a release date, but it’s sure to offer more of the same visually stunning open world gameplay as its predecessor, 2017’s acclaimed Horizon Zero Dawn.
For the tech-savvy gamer: Microsoft Xbox Series X
This powerful console features an advanced cooling system, a wireless controller with textured triggers and bumper, and the option to share your performance online instantly. That’s already enough to appeal to a seasoned gamer, but its performance goes beyond the call. From true 4K resolution to 3D sound, the Xbox Series X was designed with the serious gearhead gamer in mind. Its innovative software is housed within sleek, streamlined hardware, constructed with performance, speed, and smooth operation in mind. If the Series X is out of stock, the Xbox console below is another great, if slightly less luxe, option.
For the space-conscious gamer: Microsoft Xbox Series S
More compact and less souped up than the Series X, Xbox’s Series S console is a high-quality system for apartment dwellers and budget-minded gamers alike. Its disc-free, all-digital storage means your progress and games (including ones made for previous generations of Xbox) are stored in the cloud, without clutter. Although it isn’t 4K-compatible, it nevertheless boasts the same 3D sound capabilities and stunning frame rate (up to 120 FPS) as the Series X. Besides, the resolution is still extremely vivid, with a display that evokes real-life light, shadows, and reflections. If it’s out of stock, the Xbox One S is a slightly older but worthy alternative.
Games for the Xbox Series X/S
There’s a multitude of fast-paced, multiplayer, story, zombie, alien, and other adventure-type games, including those with new installments. Check the X/S website if that’s where your gamer’s interests lie.
For the whole family: Nintendo Switch
Whether you prefer to get your Mario fix on-the-go or in front of the TV, by yourself or with a group, online or in person, the Switch has you covered. This system is versatile and extremely easy to use, meeting the gamer where they are in terms of age and experience level. The included Joy-Con controllers can attach to the side of the display for handheld use or detach to play in tabletop or TV mode. You can even customize the colors of your controllers before buying. The Nintendo Switch Lite comes with most of the same gaming features on a smaller scale, and it’s another good option if you can’t find the regular Switch in time for the holidays.
Games for the Nintendo Switch
A vast array of family-friendly games are available on the Switch, but Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Ring Fit Adventure are both great introductory games for those who want to experience everything the console has to offer. The former makes a great party game for the whole household, while the latter is a better single-player game for the exercise fanatic in the family.
For the nostalgic gamer: Sega Genesis Mini
If you’re looking for some throwback fun this holiday season, look no further than the Sega Genesis Mini, the most recent release from the pioneering system manufacturer. Elegant yet retro in its appearance, this console comes with two wired controllers with sleek, updated construction and a TV hookup that allows you to simply plug in and start playing. In short, the Genesis Mini will transport you back to the golden days of 16-bit gaming.
Games for the Sega Genesis Mini
Its built-in 42-game library features classics like Tetris, Ecco the Dolphin, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Think of this system as your own personal arcade.
Keep in mind as you shop…
Due to high demand (which will only get higher as the holiday season ramps up), many consoles are currently sold out at the moment. Those hoping to buy one of these systems anytime soon should continue to check in with retailers in case orders reopen. NowInStock, an online retailer monitor, is regularly updating users on Ps5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch restocks, but be wary of marketplaces like eBay—sellers often dramatically overcharge for in-demand items.
No matter what kind of gamer you’re shopping for this holiday season, their gaming will only be as strong as their internet connection. If you or your gift recipient are avid online gamers and want to avoid interruptions, glitches, and lags, make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection (and consider fiber options). Once you’re confident in your home’s internet setup, you can kick back and enjoy hours…and hours of gaming fun.
*Note: Prices, of course, may have changed and are subject to change. Product features may have changed and are subject to change. A subscription and additional fee may be required to access some games.