Gifts for Every Budget
This is a tough call. The most popular consoles, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft XBOX One, have a lot going for them.
Both consoles have these features:
Connect to the Internet
Allow group gaming
Use wireless controllers
Store massive amounts of data
There are differences. The PS4 doesn't have anything like the motion-driven Kinect on the XBOX. The XBOX can also be an entertainment center. You can stream Netflix and other video channels. However, the Kinect-version of the XBOX One does cost more than the PS4.
The other difference is game availability. Some consoles have exclusive rights to a game for up to 1 year, so you have to research release dates by console. Usually, the major game titles will launch on both systems on the same date.
Our best advice: Listen to the recipient's conversation about gaming, and let that drive the gifting decision.
A video game controller is a less challenging gift to buy for a gamer. You can use our handy features checklist!
A good video game controller should have all of these features:
Wireless - no one wants to be leashed to the console!
Wireless range of 30 feet or more
Headset port for group gaming communication
Left- and right-shoulder buttons
Control buttons for the gaming console
Vibrating touch features to 'feel' the gaming action
It's difficult, if not impossible, to find a video game controller that will work for the XBOX, PlayStation 4, Wii and Amazon Fire TV games. You'll probably need to buy one for each console.
Prices range from $30 to $100, depending on the console and the controller's killer features.