2017 Holiday gift guide: Console Gaming

Like every other year, this holiday season will probably end with the biggest gamer in your life getting a bunch of stuff from relatives who just buy whatever was advertised during the previous weekend's football game. Which means they'll get six copies of Call of Duty: WWII and maybe one Assassin's Creed Origins.

But if you want to be cooler than that, and give something the gamer in your life will actually appreciate, consider the following gift ideas (or check out our guide to PC gaming gifts for more options).

More fun in the new world

While it may be a while before we can watch Rick & Morty in beautiful 4K, fans of Xbox games like Forza Motorsport 7 and others don't have to wait to see their games look that great. With the Xbox One X ($499.00), gamers with a 4K TV can enjoy games with some of the highest visual fidelity available. You can also watch 4K Blu-rays, as well as some programs on Netflix and Hulu in 4K. Even if you haven't bought a 4K TV yet, the Xbox One X's extra power makes games look and run better even if you have a regular HD TV.

Consoles don’t get better than this in terms of raw power.

A view to a kill

While you don't need a 4K TV to really enjoy the Xbox One X, let's be honest, you're going to want one. Samsung's 75-inch 75Q7F ($3497.99), 65-inch 65Q7F ($2197.99), and 55-inch 55Q7F ($1597.99) QLED TVs all boast more than a billion shades and 100% color volume, which means vivid colors, contrast, and detail whether your room is well-lit or super dark. They also have 4 HDMI connections and 3 USB ports, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound, a full web browser and numerous apps, as well as voice recognition for when you inevitably lose the remote in the couch cushions.

Once you go 4K, you’re never going to want to go back.

Wild gift

If you want to show your allegiance to a game, you can get the main character's face tattooed on your face. Or buy a t-shirt. But to show true affinity for a game, you need to buy a game-specific console bundle. Good thing there's a ton of them available this holiday.

If you're partial to playing on Xbox, there's the Assassin's Creed Origins Bonus Bundle ($349.00), which has a 1TB hard drive, the game, a copy of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. If you’re shopping for a gearhead, the Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels Bundle ($279.00), pairs a 500GB Xbox One S, the titular game, and its Hot Wheels expansion.  There’s also the Ultimate Halo Bundle ($279.00), which has Halo 5: Guardians and Halo: The Master Chief Collection on a 500GB Xbox One S.

As for PlayStation players, Sony has released a Limited Edition Call of Duty: WWII PlayStation 4 Bundle ($299.99), which has the game as well as a camouflage-decorated console and matching army green controller. The Star Wars Battlefront II PlayStation 4 Bundle ($299.99), has the game and a black console/controller combination; and the Limited Edition Star Wars Battlefront II Pro Bundle ($449.99), which has a PS4 pro and the game as well as a console and controller that are adorned with Star Wars iconography.

In other words, you’ve got plenty of options.

Billy club

In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, series hero William "B.J." Blazkowicz is portrayed by the Nazi's state-run media as a terrorist they call "Terror Billy," which makes it rather odd that the Collector's Edition of Wolfenstein II ($122.85) comes with a "Terror Billy" action figure. Standing 12-inches tall, this 1/6th scale toy comes with both his bomber jacket and his yellow one, his Maschinepistole, a Laserkraftwerk, a Dieselkraftwerk, a Shockhammer X, and a Kriegsbiel Hatchet.

In addition, this Collector's Edition also has the game in a limited edition steelbook, a pocket-size version of the manual, and a mini poster. Can’t think of a better way to show love for this excellent game.

Head games

People who like to play online don't usually gravitate towards Nintendo systems. But if you're someone who does, or you just need a new headset, you'll benefit from getting an Arctis 3 from SteelSeries $74.99, which are designed to work with the Nintendo Switch as well as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PCs, Macs, VR, and mobile systems. Newly available in three new colors — boreal blue, solar red, and slate grey — these headsets boast low-distortion speakers, 7.1 surround sound, and a ski goggle suspension headband. Best of all, 10% of all sales of these new color versions will be donated to the anti-bullying non-profit Ditch the Label to, as SteelSeries puts it, "...support the charity's mission through online tools and one-on-one support for youth and gamers."

Born to run

While puzzle and strategy games work well on smart phones and tablets, those system's lack of physical controls can make such action-oriented games as first-person shooters and racing games rather frustrating. But not if you have a Gamevice ($59.99 to $99.99, depending on the device), which attaches to the sides of your phone or iPad to add the same mix of buttons, thumbsticks, and D-pads as an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch. Along with being compatible with more than a thousand games — including Minecraft, Street Fighter IV: Champion Edition, and NBA 2K18 — the Gamevice is also available for a wide variety of systems, including iPhones 6 through 8 (plus and regular); iPads of the mini, 9.7-inch screen, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch variety; as well as Samsung Galaxy S7s (+ and regular), S8s (+ and regular), and Note8.

If you want to get your mobile game on, there’s never been a better way.

Mine games

Minecraft is currently available for every gaming system, computer, and mobile device, and will probably be on toasters, pacemakers, and popcorn machines by the time you finish reading this sentence. But unless you play it on one of the new Minecraft Xbox Ones and controllers, it doesn't count. The Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition Bundle ($415.99) has a 1TB custom grass block-looking console, a Creeper controller, a copy of the game, the Redstone expansion, and a collection of unique skin packs. 

If you don't need a new system, you can also get the Creeper controller on its own, or a pink Pig controller ($64.99 each), both of which have the "X," "Y," "B," and "A" buttons in the iconic Minecraft font.

What are you hoping to add to your console gaming experience this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.