Gamers have expensive taste. It might not be in your holiday budget to gift your gamer a $400 PS5, or a $1,600 GPU, but you still want to get them something they’re interested in. Luckily, there are plenty of great gaming gifts out there under $50, ranging from products they can use while gaming, to fun gaming-related gifts they’ll enjoy in between campaigns.
On the flip side, if you want to spoil your gamer friends and family members, we have a guide on the best luxury gaming gifts you can buy.
PS4 or Xbox Series X Controller
Modern gaming controllers are pricey, especially when you look into customizable controllers like the Xbox Elite. The good news is Game Stop has some deals on PS4 and Xbox Series X controllers, making them both under $50 a pop. Their PS4 offering is pre-owned, but the Series X price is for new.
GameCube controller for Smash Bros. on the Switch
Keeping with the controller theme, this GameCube controller replica from PowerA is the perfect Smash Bros. controller for the Switch. It also works with a host of other Switch games, but not all, due to the limitations of the GameCube controller design (although many would describe it as perfect, nonetheless). At less than $25, it’s a no-brainer for the Smash Bros. fan still competing with Joy-Cons.
Consoles do more than just play games. Your PlayStation or Xbox might serve as the household’s main entertainment center, doing everything from streaming Netflix to playing Blu-rays or CDs (they’re still worth buying, after all). Controlling that content with a standard game controller, however, isn’t a great experience, especially for those in the home who don’t really game. A media controller is an awesome addition, since it adds a traditional remote control to your PlayStation or Xbox setup. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive.
There are a lot of gaming mice out there, and they can get pricey. Fortunately, there are a lot of good mid-range mice, too. You can spend $50 or less while still gifting a mouse with great performance, low latency, and good comfort. Two such options are:
Like gaming mice, gaming headphones ramp up in price quick. But you don’t need to break the bank to gift your gamer a good headset. According to Wirecutter, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is an excellent pair of gaming headphones, with good sound quality and the best microphone of any headset they tested. All that, for $39.99.
Online subscriptions for their console of choice
All the major consoles—PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch—have subscriptions that allow you to play games without buying them first. It’s like Netflix, but for video games. Like some subscription services, you have your choice for how many months you purchase at once. Most yearlong subscriptions are more than $50, but the three-month subscriptions are in the sweet spot, making them a reasonable gift for the gamers in your life.
The one exception is Nintendo Switch, whose year-long “Online + Expansion Pack” membership meets our price point. If you have a Switch friend who loves retro games, you’ll be a hero for this one. Xbox also has two subscriptions: Ultimate allows you access to Xbox games, while Game Pass for PC gives you access to PC games on your Xbox.
BMO Nintendo Switch charging stand
Nintendo might’ve improved the Switch’s kickstand with the OLED model, but we can do better. For the Adventure Time gamer in your life, consider this BMO charging stand. Once you plop your Switch in the stand, it’s like having a real-life BMO on your desk, ready to play your favorite Nintendo title (or help you get your Pokémon money back). It comes in either blue or pink, both for $29.99.
Controller charging stations
In a similar vein, your gamer may like one stand to hold and charge their system’s controllers. There are options for every major console. Here’s one for each of the big three right now:
Joy-Con charging shuttle ($19.99)
PS5 controller charger station ($28.99)
Xbox controller charging station ($36.99)
PlayStation controller clock
What’s the one downside of every modern controller? It can’t tell time. This PlayStation controller clock fixes that problem. It won’t help you play any video games, but it will wake you up in time for work after an all-night gaming session. The clock goes for $29.99.
Nintendo Switch microSDXC card
The Switch comes with 32GB of internal storage (64GB on the OLED model). It’s way too easy to fill those hard drives up with games. If you have an avid Switch gamer to shop for, gift them more storage, in the form of a microSDXC card. It’s temping to go with Nintendo’s option, because it’s themed, but it’s overpriced. The only option in our price range is the 128GB card, when you could quadruple that amount by going with Samsung for $44.98.
While Nintendo’s Mario mushroom is fun, you’ll never see the card once it’s in the Switch.
Retro Arcade Machine X
If your friend is a retro gamer, they might just love the Retro Arcade Machine X. As highlighted by CodeinWP, the mini arcade machine packs 300 games into a tiny form factor, with a two and a half-inch display to play on. It resembles an old-school arcade cabinet, too, complete with a joystick. If nothing else, it makes for a great desk ornament for anyone who remembers waiting their turn at the arcade, quarters in hand. The Retro Arcade Machine X goes for $39.99.
Game Boy-themed AirPods case
Apple meets Nintendo with this AirPods case, which sports the design of the original 1989 Game Boy. Seller Elago has one for AirPods Pro, AirPods 3, and AirPods 1 and 2 for a range of colors and prices. For my money, though, I’d have to go with the original Game Boy theme.
AirPods Pro Game Boy case ($18.99)
AirPods 3 Game Boy case ($15.99)
AirPods 1 and 2 Game Boy case ($13.99)
Mario name plate
Here’s something your gamer friend probably doesn’t have: Retro Game Buyer pointed out this name plate from The4thSlice on Etsy, who turns your friend’s name into Mario text. You can choose from one row for $31.37, two rows for $39.31, or three rows from $47.77. It’s up to you if you want to include your recipient’s first, middle, and last name here.
Themed coasters make for a good gift, but gaming coasters are on another level. Etsy sellers have a bunch of great options, but here are a few highlights:
Original Pokémon Game Boy coasters: Hardboard ($20 each), Sandstone ($28 each)
NES cartridge coasters, with NES case: four-pack ($29.99), six-pack ($36.99), eight-pack ($43.99)
Game disk glass coasters ($26 each)
100 Games to Play Poster
Anyone who plays video games has a backlog of titles they keep meaning to get to. This poster will keep the gamers in your life on track, featuring 100 of the best games they have to play. Each game is accompanied by a blank square. When you play that game, you can scratch off the square to reveal the game’s art underneath. It’s a good way to motivate us gamers to actually play the games we’ve been putting off, rather than buy more games we’ll inevitably shelve for later.
Mario Piranha Plant Lamp
Your gamer shouldn’t be spending all their time in the dark. Here’s a solution: a Piranha Plant lamp from the Super Mario Bros. games. It’s fun, it’s useful, it’s $32—what more could you ask for?
At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with a good gift card. If you know your gamer has a specific platform they play on, like Nintendo Switch or Xbox, a $50 gift card toward new games goes a long way. It either covers most of the cost of a new AAA title, or buys two or three smaller games they can enjoy just the same.
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