Maybe you’re getting someone a new console for the holidays and looking for that something extra that will ensure you win the award for Best Gift Giver, or maybe you’re just after a couple smaller things for the video game enthusiast in your life. We’ve got you covered with some last-minute gaming gift ideas.
Let’s start with some stocking stuffers
A quick, cheap, and easy way to both customize your gaming experience and, for some people at least, improve it, is to buy some thumbstick covers. Some of these just cover over the existing thumbsticks on the controllers to improve durability and add some texture for grip. Others give a little extra height to the thumbsticks for comfort.
Skull & Co Nintendo Switch thumb grips
These Skull & Co thumbstick caps add height and texture to Joy-Con joysticks.
We have these sets and love them.
AceShot thumbgrips for Xbox One
This set of eight includes attachments for the Xbox One controller joysticks in varying heights and textures.
Hapurs thumbcaps for PlayStation 4
This set includes four pairs of thumbstick caps for the Sony DualShock 4 controller’s joysticks.
Ready player two — extra controllers and charging options
A second controller is rarely a bad idea for anyone with a game console. Since consoles only come with one controller, couch multiplayer games basically require you to buy an extra.
The DualShock 4 is a really good controller, but the battery life is, let’s say, less than ideal. A second controller is a great option for those marathon gaming sessions — just keep one charging, and swap them out when you need to. You’ve even got a choice of colors.
DualShock 4 wireless controller
Sony’s own DualShock 4 controller comes in multiple colorways: some pretty, some garish, some meant to resemble urine.
When that second controller isn’t charged, or when a backup controller isn’t an option, you’ll need a micro-USB cable. These are pretty ubiquitous, but an extra long one will give you more options for where to plug it in.
10-foot micro USB cord
AmazonBasics sells several sizes of PS4-compatible USB-to-micro-USB cords; A 10-foot version goes for $7.99.
If you’d like a fancier, more durable option, go with a braided cable.
Braided 10-foot micro USB cable
A braided cable adds a little durability (and style) to your charging setup.
If you’re after a cleaner look, charging stations handle both recharging and storage of your controllers. And the majority of them are already prepared for two controllers at a time.
PowerA DualShock 4 charging station
PowerA makes the only officially licensed charging port for Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers.
For a second or backup controller, you’ve got a variety of color and branded options. They also use the same micro USB port for wired play (again, the longer the better).
Xbox One wireless controller
Microsoft’s wireless controller is compatible with both Xbox One and Windows PC.
Unlike the Playstation’s DualShock 4 controller, the Xbox controller uses removable batteries. Sure, you could load up on AAs, but that’s awfully wasteful. The simple solution is just some rechargeable AAs and a charger. I use the Amazon Basics version for my Xbox controller, and it works great. Plus, extra AAs never hurt.
Amazon Basics battery charger
Amazon makes a port for rechargeable batteries that also has a USB charging port on the side.
AmazonBasics rechargeable batteries
Rechargeable batteries are always handy to have lying around.
If you want something a little fancier or just more dedicated, there are lots of options for rechargeable AA packs. You can even get an Energizer bundle that includes two battery packs and a charging station for two controllers.
PDP/Energizer Xbox One controller charging station
This kit includes a charging station, with rechargeable batteries included, for two Xbox controllers.
The Switch has a variety of controller options, but the simplest answer is to just buy a second pair of Joy-Cons. And once you’ve got multiple pairs of Joy-Cons, you might want to pick up a charging station that fits them.
Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons
Nintendo’s Joy-Cons are available in several color combinations.
Joy-Con & Pro Controller Charging Dock
PowerA’s officially licensed charging dock will juice up two Joy-Cons alongside a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
A Switch only comes with one Joy-Con grip — the thing you slot the Joy-Cons into to make them more like a traditional controller, so you might as well pick up one that’ll charge those extras while you’re at it.
Joy-Con Charging Grip
Nintendo’s official Joy-Con Charging Grip does exactly what it says — charges the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, even while playing.
For people who use the Switch docked to the TV more often, a Nintendo Switch Pro controller is a great option. It’s a lot more familiar and comfortable than even the grip controller. A quick note, though: Unlike the Xbox and PlayStation controllers, the Switch uses USB-C cables for charging.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
“If you’re positive that you’ll be spending a majority of your time playing the Switch at home, connected to a television, then you should seriously consider investing in the Switch’s Pro Controller.” — Polygon’s Nintendo Switch review
10-foot USB-C cable
Anker’s 10-foot USB-C cord is braided for extra durability.
Or there’s always gift cards
Giving games as gifts in a world that’s rapidly moving away from physical media is more difficult than you might expect. It’s simply not possible on the PlayStation Store, and you’ll need to know the giftee’s gamertag for Xbox games. The simple workaround here is gift cards.
All three consoles — Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One — have options for a variety of values at their digital marketplaces.
For something a little more targeted, grab a few months (or a year) of your console of choice’s online service. For Switch that’s Nintendo Switch Online, the PS4’s is PlayStation Plus, and Microsoft offers the new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service that combines Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold.
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