Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Game guru’s guide to shopping for gamers
Sixty-two percent of American households have at least one person who plays video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association. This means that you are likely going to buy a gift for a gamer this holiday season. Unfortunately, buying for gamer is not as simple as picking out a video game at random, and it can be daunting task for any one not in the gaming subculture.
What Games Can They Actually Play?
Video games are foremost software, and you need hardware to play them. You want to make sure that your gamer can actually play the game you want to buy them. Make sure you ask or figure out what consoles they own and what kind of computer they have. An easy mistake to make is the impression that every single computer game can be played on every single computer. It is important to ask the gamer how powerful their computer is and if it can even handle recent games. If they have a custom PC, it is a good guess that they can run most modern games. With a pre-built computer or laptop, a simple Google search with the computer model and the game name can give you the answer that you need.
What Games Do They Play?
This is a harder question and probably the most important one. It is also the reason you can’t just buy the most popular game. For example, Modern Warfare 3 is a great game, but I would much rather have The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Why? Because I mostly play RPGs than FPSs. Games are diverse, and so are people, and they have a specific tastes. So get to know what genre of games they like to play. Looking through what kind of games they already have will give you a good sense of what kind of games they play.
Have They Bought It?
Game publishers are smart: Companies release major titles near the holiday season to drive up sales. But if you have bought the perfect game and they already have a copy, your gift becomes useless. Some gamers like to buy their favorite games the second they comes out, rendering your gift useless. The simplest way to avoid this is to simply ask it they have bought the game or when they plan on buying the game.
Gifts Other Than Games
Just because someone is a gamer doesn’t mean that the gift has to be a game. There are gift options other than games that you can give that are just as good, if not better. To tell the truth, a gift that is not a popular game shows more thought, planning and is a pleasant surprise.
Console/PC: Buying a new console or PC might be expensive, especially a new computer. But every gamer would be extremely thankful that they have another platform and another option to play games. Just make sure if it is a console, they do not own it, and if it is a computer, it is more powerful the computer they already own.
Collector’s Edition: When companies release a game, they may also release an accompanying collector’s edition of the game. This has usually extras, like soundtracks, art booklets, even sometimes figurines or toys. Because a collector edition’s usually costs double the actual game, gamers decide to skip this luxury.
Peripherals: It seems that having a console/computer is the bare minimum for gaming. There are many companies that specialize in making high-end peripherals for computer. Any PC gamer would welcome a Razer or SteelSeries mouse or keyboard. For consoles, the Wii’s MotionPlus is becoming a requirement for many of the console’s games. The Xbox 360 has the Kinect. Though Kinect does not have many games to warrant buying the hardware, it is hard to argue the convenience that it brings to the table.
It might look daunting to get a gift for a subculture that is as vast and varied as video games. But the best gift is that someone took the time to learn about video games.