Whether it’s a few stolen moments with your smartphone and Clash of Clans, or a weekend lost to a lengthy campaign in World of Warcraft, everyone plays video games. Even Grandma keeps inviting you to play Candy Crush Saga on Facebook. So, it stands to reason that there are different devices for different types of gamer.
If you’re buying a game system as a gift, you’ve got to get it right. We’ll look at how to do exactly that, no matter what type of gamer you’re buying for.
Little ones love touch-screen devices. Unfortunately, they also love jelly sandwiches and ice cream. Best to get them their own wipe-clean, rugged tablet.
LeapFrog’s LeapPad2 tablet is just for youngsters, with a library of over 800 games and activities perfect for ages 3 to 9. Kids have their own versions of real tablet computers, too.
Family fun. The family that plays together stays together and, if you want to get your teens to look up from their phones, we suggest you invest in Nintendo Wii U. The controller has a built-in screen that gives you extra options while you play games on your TV. You can even play a selection of Nintendo DS titles using the Wii U controller.
It’s a coin-toss between the Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 for grownups and older teens. Both are complete gaming and entertainment systems.
Movie buffs. The PS 4 is great for movies. Sony invented Blu-ray and the PlayStation 4 is one of the best players on the market for the price. Internet connectivity also brings you smart TV features like VUDU movie rentals or subscription services like Netflix and Hulu.
Looking for the hottest games? PlayStation offers exclusive games like The Last of Us and Until Dawn that you won’t see on any other platform. Microsoft’s Xbox One also has exclusive games. The fifth version of the massively popular Halo series is among them. And, like the PS4, there’s a built in Blu-ray player and smart TV streaming.
Choose a game, choose a console. If asked to pick between Xbox and PlayStation, it really comes down to game library and loyalty. If you already have an older PlayStation or Xbox, it’s always a good idea to upgrade rather than switch.
Pssst… get a PC.
The best games console for a serious gamer isn’t a console at all. It’s a PC.
Though the PS4 and Xbox One have very tempting specs and exclusive games, a gaming PC has its own advantages. Top of the range hardware is the big selling point. With processor speeds and dedicated graphics capability that consoles can only dream about, iBuyPower is the gaming PC brand to beat.
The latest innovation is a PC that looks like a console. Steam Machines are PCs dedicated to gaming and come bundled with Steam, software for downloading and playing games. The Alienware Alpha range leads the way here.
Tablets are tops. Tablet computers are best for occasional gamers. Even better, a small tablet computer like the iPad Mini. It’s powerful enough to play the latest mobile games, has a crisp retina screen and is just small enough to slip into a pocket or purse.
Android tablet computers like the Google Nexus 9 will do just as well, with a different range of games. Whether you go Apple or Android, you’ll also be able to read books, watch movies and more.
Or go even smaller. An iPod Touch is another less expensive, more pocket-friendly option. Recently updated, the fifth generation iPod Touch runs iOS, just like an iPad or iPhone, so it’s capable of running many of the same apps.
Portable play. The most demanding gamers will love the Sony PS Vita. A more feature-packed handheld than the Nintendo 3DS, it’s like having a PlayStation in your paws.
“Phablet” fun. Tablets and large format smartphones (sometimes called “phablets”) are worth considering, too. They’re catching up with the power of dedicated handheld game systems, with multi-core processors and memory comparable to a laptop. An example is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which boasts a 5.7-inch screen.
With so many choices, there’s a great gaming gift for everyone on your list (and you might just be inspired to add yourself to that list!).