10 perfect Christmas presents for...console gamers
We've already brought you the perfect gift guide for PC gamers but today is the turn of the console lovers and there are many, many, many of them out there. Quick show of hands? Yep. Many.
Each of the three big players in the field have all sorts of accessories all of their own, but what we've done here is to come up with a list as universal as possible. So, whether it's PS3,Wii or Xbox you'll find 10 excellent presents right here. Enjoy.
Points & Subscriptions
Whether it's for downloadable content, new outfits for your avatar or for movie rentals, everyone needs virtual points for their console of choice, with their upkeep is probably one of the biggest bug bears for gamers. You can never have too many. So whether it's Nintendo Wii Points, PSN Live Cards, Xbox Live Points or even an Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can guarantee that it will be appreciated.
Slightly less exciting this one but nearly as important is getting more memory space to save all your gaming adventures and whatever content you may have downloaded and can't bring yourself to prune. As far as the Xbox goes, a nice big 120GB expansion pack for £56 would be very well appreciated and you can get just about any kind of SD card for the Wii that you have the budget for. The PS3 involves a little more effort for your giftee than the other two, but present them a whopping great 2.5-inch 500GB HDD like this one and they'll happily work their way through a simple online tutorial of how to upgrade it themselves.
There are tonnes of these things for all three of the consoles and it really depends on what your gamer does and doesn't already have. For the Wii, the obvious new addition is the Wii Motion Plus for finer movement sensitivity or you might find that an extra Wii Remote and/or a Nunchuck could well go down well if they only have one already.
On top of that, the Nintendo console is an absolute magnet for all sorts of weird, wonderful and very game specific devices such as bowling balls, machine guns, babies, jogging devices and of course, the Balance Board.
Comparatively, it's all rather more sedate on the Xbox but a racing wheel for the 360 is available if you think that a more useful wireless controller might be dull. It's a similar situation on the PS3, but if you happen to know what game your loved one is into then something like the Modern Warfare 2 controller or the Street Fighter IV game pad would be a well chosen idea.
Battery Packs & Chargers
There's little more annoying than the batteries on your wireless remotes running out, particularly when in mid-gaming flow. Multiply that by 20 if there are no spares in the house.
With the PS3, you're rather stuck with what's inside, so the best gifts here are the docking stations with models like the Venom Pyramid and more standard look dual charger to choose from. Neither costs much, they get rid of the cables, they look quite nice and they generally encourage you to remember to charge up your kit.
There's some choice with the Nintendo Wii. The Wiimote power packs are, of course, removable and a two pack of spares will only cost around £14. That's enough for a two-player change mid-contest which buys enough time to remember to put the next lot on charge. For an absolute bargain, you can even go for a four-way charging dock which even comes with four spare battery packs too. All for just over £20.
For the Xbox 360, there's a few different schools of thought. Each works equally well. The unexciting but practical suggestion is to by a job lot of AA batteries. After that, the choice is between the completely wireless Quick Charge station for around £17 or the Charge and Play kit for £13. Both solutions are excellent and either way, make sure to pick up a couple of spare battery packs.
Online play is now a massive part of gaming, so a headset to communicate with team mates is a must. The more wireless the better and the one of choice for the PS3 would be the Logitech Vantage Bluetooth headset. It's got a noise-cancelling mic, delivers more than 12 hours of play time and recharges via USB or a wall adaptor. Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR and complete cordless freedom up to 30 feet. Yours, or theirs actually, for £17.99.
For the Wii, it's arguably less important with a much smaller number of games that use the Nintendo headset Wii Speak. Nonetheless, it's a decent addition to the console and only £14 as well.
Last of all, the Xbox 360. There are plenty available and you don't have to spend the cash if you'd rather go for the standard wireless ones but the best headset in town is the Turtle Beach Ear Force X3. It's got an excellent boom mic system eliminating bleed and background noise, really thumping bass and they look good too. Around £80, but worth it.
It's tempting to go with a suped-up stereo rocker seat for bum-buzzing game involvement but, in actual fact, a lot of these things aren't actually that comfortable which is rather the point in the first place. If you do want to go down this route though, then the Pyramat Game Bag 2.1 is more bottom friendly than most, but instead we'd rather recommend the pure massive cushions of the Sumo Omni bag or the IEX Game Bag. All three around £100. If you can really afford it though, then it's all about a La-z-boy.
Winter's setting in and sitting still under the hypnosis of the console can be a little chilly. The ultimate antidote is the Slanket. The fleecy half dressing gown, half blanket bundle of goodness gives you total body coverage while allowing easy access to your game controller and bio-fuels. There's even a double version out specially for this Christmas but the single will probably do.
No, this is nothing to do with the gamer's face but instead are a bunch of stick on fronts to personalise ones game controllers. You can get them for just about any big name games you could care to think of and the best part is that they don't cost much either. Perhaps not the best choice for the older gamer but they might just rock a kid's world.
Sometimes, you want to take your machines round to some Luddite's place who doesn't yet have a games console. Now, it's easy enough to stuff your unit into one backpack or another but there's nothing quite like using a bag that's been specially built for the job.
The Enigma Wii bag isn't hugely exciting but it has excellent compartments for all the bits and pieces and is both highly competent in its task and pretty damn cheap at just £12. Things get a little more stylish for the PS3 with the 4Gamers messenger bag but the Xbox is probably where it's at with slightly more colourful merch such as this one.
Yes, of course. We wouldn't forget the most important part. Now, make sure you find out what your loved one has already got, but new titles we'd recommend are: Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Uncharted 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Battlefield 1943, DJ Hero, Left 4 Dead 2, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus, amongst many others.
...of course, if you feel really flush and actually want to buy someone an entire games console or anything else for that matter, then take a look our Top Products section which will help guide you through to a suitable model and offer you only the best of the ones Pocket-lint's reviewed. And, as always, if you have any red hot tips for gift ideas of your own, then do let us know in the comments below. Good luck.