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The Perfect Last-Minute Gifts for the Gamers in Your Life

5 minute read

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Looking for last minute gifts for someone with a particular hobby is one thing, but buying a gift for a gamer is another matter entirely, especially if they’re a connoisseur in the field.

With the most anticipated holiday gifts—the Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5 consoles—in short supply, and the holidays only days away, what do you get the gamer in your life that has (almost) everything? Get them what they didn’t know they needed.

Play great games with a great controller

It might seem unreasonable to spend close to two hundred bucks on what amounts to a nice controller, but the $180 Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 delivers in terms of build quality, features, and convenience, catering to the serious gamer in your life.

Unlike your average Xbox controller, the Bluetooth controller—compatible with not just the Xbox but PCs as well—is made using sturdier materials like steel rather than plastic, and features additions like a more rubberized grip, interchangeable directional pad, and a set of paddle buttons on the back to reduce hand strain and assist in the accessory’s more advanced features.

The accompanying software lets you customize the responsiveness of things like triggers and joysticks, and map button combos and commands to whatever buttons you wish. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is a controller with a big name and a bigger price tag, but what you get is a device built to last years, handle long hours of gaming, and offer gamers a slew of options to make you feel comfortable no matter what title they’re playing.

Get some specialized gear for driving (or flying)

If you’re looking for something more niche, or know your gift recipient is into more technical genres like racing, why not spring for a dedicated racing wheel? Logitech’s new G923 racing wheel, compatible with both consoles and PCs, makes racing games a much more approachable affair compared to steering with a joystick, or worse, a keyboard.

The G923’s solid build, powerful motor, and easy customization options make it a great wheel for beginners and veteran players alike. In some supported games, players can take advantage of Logitech’s new haptics system that mimics the vibrations they’d feel driving on whatever surface their car is on, be it asphalt or the dirt.

If you’ve got someone in your life more enthused about planes than cars, try a flight stick. With games like Microsoft Flight Simulator encouraging a resurgence in the iconic flight sim genre, and more fast-paced team-based games like Star Wars: Squadrons turning it into an arcade-like experience, the sim fan in your life will appreciate a gift that alleviates the most annoying thing about controlling a plane: using your thumbs. Companies like Logitech make flight sticks in a wide price range that will give you an advantage in a dogfight for without breaking the bank, while you can look to peripheral company Thrustmaster for more advanced options like the Hotas Warthog PC joystick, which is made almost entirely of metal, and features nearly two dozen programmable buttons, switches, and triggers.

Play high-end games anywhere, anytime

What do you get the player that has a high-end PC or next-gen console with all the fixings? You get them the option to play those games anywhere. Streaming games is the next big thing in gaming, and for good reason. For a monthly fee, gamers can get access to a smorgasbord of titles to choose from, or play their own on pricey hardware.

Services like Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Now offer a library of current and last-generation titles to choose from for a monthly fee, while offerings like Nvidia GeForce Now or Shadow offer access to their high-performance cloud servers from which you can stream the games players already own to any device, be it their laptop, TV, or smartphone.

USB-C cables (trust me)

One time at an office holiday party, I was given a miniature iPhone cable as a gift to keep in my bag for emergencies. While always happy to receive a utilitarian gift, I didn’t think much of it until the first time I needed it. That cable helped me get through more situations than I can count, saving me from a dead battery and a severed connection from the outside world when I needed it most (see: when I was out partying with friends and forgot to charge my smartphone during work hours). And it proved to me that you can never have too many cables around.

While last generation’s consoles used micro-USB cables to charge basically everything, USB-C has finally caught on. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X consoles use the reversible connector on their controllers, and the PlayStation 5 even has a USB-C port on its face. That console might come with a cable, but if gamers have another controller they want to use, a long USB-C cable is a cheap stocking stuffer that’ll most assuredly come in handy.

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Write to Patrick Lucas Austin at patrick.austin@time.com