Looking for the best Christmas gifts for the gamer in your life? It can be hard to know what to buy your gamer friends if you’re not a gamer yourself; with services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, the chances that they’ve played the game you want to get them are likely high – and as we move into a post-ownership world of gaming, you’ll find that a lot of players aren’t that fussed about actually owning physical copies of games any more.
So if you’re finding it hard to navigate the seemingly endless sea of consoles, games, collectibles, accessories and – let’s be honest – jargon that’s out there in the gaming world, let VG247 be your guide. It’s a tough world out there, but hopefully on this page, you will see something that will appeal to the gamer in your life; whether they’re sat in the middle of the funky lightshow that is their RGB PC, or glued to the TV on their Xbox, you’re sure to find something that will appeal in this comprehensive guide.
Read on to see VG247’s list of essential gifts for non-gamers for Christmas 2022.
Assassin’s Creed Whiskey
In my personal experience, gamers like to drink. Make of that what you will, but it’s undeniable that unleashing some Assassin’s Creed whiskey onto the market, then, was the right call.
I’ve tried some of this, and trust me; it’s really actually quite nice. There are notes of rye, spice, honey, and sweet flavours cutting through the whole thing, and it’s a pleasant enough drink that you can have it straight/on the rocks and not make the ‘disgusted otter’ face that you sometimes reflexively pull when you’re downing cheap liquor. Yes, this is a bit pricey – but the bottle is nice, and it’s a great addition to the collection of anyone into Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 15th Anniversary Straight Bourbon Whisky will run you $69 for a 750 ml bottle, and is available online and through Tennessee Legend’s stores.
Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip for PC
For a lot of gamers, immersion is the white whale that they’ll be chasing forever in as they sit, hunched over their PC setup, delving deep into their settings. But for all the tinkering you do with graphics settings, performance optimisation, and keybinding, there’s only ever going to be one element of your setting that can change a lot with very little effort: lighting.
To put it simply, the Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip is a multicolored light for your monitor that sets the mood, and syncs to on-screen action to better draw you into whatever game world you’re enjoying at the moment. With settings dedicated to Games, Music, and Video, you can use lights to upgrade the experience of pretty much anything you’re doing on your desktop.
I have the PC Lightstrip, and (the more expensive) Play Sync box, too – I use this for immersive light on my console games via the ‘big TV’ in the living room. Ambient lighting is a really underrated way to improve your gaming setup, and there really is no worthwhile alternative on the market compared to Philips – I have Philips bulb in every room, now, and I find it really helps get me (and keep me) in the mood for gaming. Of all the stuff on this page, I recommend this the most; I’ve even given Lightstrips as gifts to friends in the past.
You can pick up a Philips Lightstrip from PC for £130 on the Philips website.
Gaming LEGO & The Mighty Bowser
The LEGO Group has undergone something of a transformation in recent years, the company having identified adults can enjoy the fun and creative benefits of their toys just as much as children. That's resulted in a lot of changes including slick new 'for adults' boxes for larger and more complicated sets... and a whole lot more video game tie-ins.
We're not talking about LEGO Super Mario here, either – though those interactive kids' sets are cool. Alongside that, LEGO has released a range of gaming sets aimed at prickling the nostalgia of adults including a replica NES and Atari 2600, a giant Mario series Question Mark block with an intricate diorama hidden inside, and even a Horizon Zero Dawn Tallneck. There's also a Sonic set that's brilliant, customizable, and just as accessible for kids as it is nostalgia-hungry adults.
There's a new King in town, however. Newly released is 'The Mighty Bowser', an absolutely enormous 2807-piece set that's a model of the Mushroom Kingdom's Koopa nemesis - recreated with startling clarity out of thousands of little bricks.
It's an extremely cool-looking set, and even has some great play features - he spits (plastic) fire, and has light interactive compatibility with the digitial LEGO Mario figure! Though, with the size and complexity of the set, he's obviously designed for the big kids, rather than the actual kids - and that's fine.
Honestly, any of the LEGO and video game crossovers are a worthy shout for a gamers' holiday gift, but having built all of them - yep, I'm that guy - The Mighty Bowser is definitely one of the most striking and notable of the bunch.
ROCCAT VULCAN II Max Keyboard
If you’re reading this guide, the likelihood is high that you don’t really know why custom keycaps are good, or why mechanical keyboards are preferred for gamers. And that’s fine! You don’t need to know that sort-of thing; just accept it’s true and move on. If you know someone that values visual aeshtetics and performance combined, you cannot do better than the ROCCAT Vulcan II Max.
This over-the-top (but definitely impressive) keyboard combines flash RGB lighting, a translucent wrist rest, and 24 dual-LED smart keys with programmable secondary functions. If that means nothing to you, think of it in these terms: it looks good, it feels good, and it can be customised to your heart’s desire. Yes, at nearly £200, it’s pricey – but the cash you pump into this keyboard is future-proof: this is durable, solid, well-made, and will suit pretty much any PC gaming setup on the market, too.
For some people, aesthetic and image is more important than cash outlay. And to that end, Roccat's quite-expensive Vulcan II Max keyboard delivers an RGB light show like no other – and beyond the Vegas-like lights and shine, there’s a whole suite of functionality and power there, too. Just be aware it’s a wired-only thing.
…or the ROCCAT VULCAN II Mini
Alternatively, perhaps times are a little tighter and your target’s desk size a little smaller. No worries, the folks at ROCCAT have you covered there, too. The ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini will set you back less – £130-ish at RRP – but the same build quality is there, it’s lightweight and compact, and it’s just as customisable as its (much) bigger brother.
Better yet, this crunched-down powerhouse of a machine is a perfect gift for typists or media types, too; this is the keyboard I have been using to write features and articles on this website for over the past few months, and I genuinely think it’s improved my productivity. And, thanks to the fact that every one of its 67 keys uses a super-fast optical switch, it’s a pretty little thing, too. Awh.
There are two ROCCAT items in this list, yes. But from all the keyboard hardware I’ve used over my 10+ years as a professional in this industry, I can’t help but think they’re the best. You pay over the odds for the items on offer, but the quality and longevity of them is undeniable. Your mileage may vary, of course, but for my money these are the most stylish and functional keyboards around.
Thrustmaster T128 Racing Wheel
The Thrustmaster T128 is a cracking little sim wheel that’s a little bit cheaper than its entry-level rivals, but crucially, is extremely compact and super easy to clamp onto (and more crucially: unclamp from) your desk.
This means, in stark contrast to pretty much every other sim wheel out there with force feedback, 900-degree rotation, flappy-paddle gear shifting and an included pedal set, it’s easy to just store in a cupboard when you need your work surface back, and re-rig it when you get that bi-annual compulsion to sink a few hours into Euro Truck Simulator 2.
It’s by no means the best sim wheel on the market, but it is a massive upgrade on trying to play driving games with a controller, and it’s very nicely designed to not have to take up a permanent space in your life. The perfect christmas gift for a loved one who quite likes the idea of owning a sim wheel but has no desire to devote any floor space to a proper racing seat. A sim wheel for the rest of us. A whim wheel, if you will.
Read our full review if being the proud owner of a nippy compact takes your fancy.
Boss Fight Books
If you like reading websites about video games, you're going to absolutely shit yourself when you hear about another place you can read about them: in books! On paper! Or on an e-reader, I suppose, which is quite similar to reading on a website. But, books! They're lovely.
Who doesn't love a book at Christmas? There's a lot of gaming books out there, from classics like Masters of DOOM to some excellent more recent releases like Console Wars, which uses an intricate series of interviews to tell the story of the brutal Sega-vs-Nintendo slugfest of the nineties. That latter one was even optioned for a Hollywood movie – but as well as all of these more publicised releases, there's one label doing quietly excellent work.
Enter Boss Fight Books. This is a unique publisher where reach book is based around a specific game – sometimes charting their creation, sometimes analysing their contents, and sometimes just talking about how awesome and culturally significant they are. Usually, any given book is actually a mixture of all three.
Some of the greatest names in games media and several from outside it have worked on some of the twenty-eight books in the series so far – and they're seriously excellent. An ideal stocking filler.
Titan EVO 2022 Series gaming chair
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “a chair, really?” But our own Kelsey Raynor reckons it damn near fixed her inability to sit normally – and that’s no mean feat!
The Titan EVO 2022 Series blends together the best components of Secretlab’s Titan and Omega chairs, resulting in something that feels like the best of both worlds. There’s no doubt in your mind when you’re taking the chair out of the box that you’ve got something of high-quality, with the smell of Premium Neo Hybrid Leatherette material permeating your nostrils.
Says Kelsey in our review of the Secretlab Titan EVO 2022 Series gaming chair: “For context, I’m 23 with a back that’s perhaps 20 years older than me; I’m constantly twisting and cracking, and my back hurts more often than not. It’s definitely my own fault (see: sitting like a gargoyle), but the Secretlab Titan EVO 2022 Series has somewhat got my posture in check. I don’t think my refusal to sit properly will ever be fixed, but the firmness of the 2022 Series has certainly got me sitting straighter than ever before."