Video games are always a popular holiday gift idea, but this year is like a solar eclipse in the gaming community. The debut of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 have given us a holiday like we haven’t seen since 2007 (when the previous consoles were released). And along with the latest hardware is a bundle of new games to show off their prowess. If you’ve got the budget and the will, it won’t be hard to find ideas for gifts this year.
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The PS4 was the first to launch during the console wars in mid-November and was the most successful release in Playstation history. Many of PS4’s features are an answer to the Xbox One: a gaming enthusiast’s machine without all the multimedia features Microsoft’s been touting for months. It’s $100 less than the Xbox One, which is a significant advantage during the gift buying season when wallets are slim. Retail price is $399.
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Where the PS4 aimed to be a master of one trade, the Xbox One looks to be a jack of them all. The One is an incredible gaming machine, but it also makes a great media center as Microsoft looks to make its newest console the centerpiece of every home’s living room. While it does cost $100 more than the PS4, the Xbox One includes the newest version of the Kinect, the motion sensor and camera, which is leaps and bounds better than the first connect for the Xbox 360. It will be interesting to see how gaming developers implement it with future titles. Retail price is $499.
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While shoppers are flooding retailers to pull the newest consoles off the shelves, the Wii U remains plentiful in stock and much cheaper than its cousin consoles. The console from Nintendo might be a little childish to satisfy gamers in high school or older, but it’s the perfect gift for young kids. Pair it with Super Mario World 3D and you’ve got a present they’ll love for years. Retail price is $299.
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The newest in the popular franchise from Dice and EA is available for almost every platform (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4). Battlefield 4 mixes the run-and-gun pace of a typical first-person shooter with the open world atmosphere of a more realistic war simulator. One of BF4’s most appealing features is its destructible environments. You can blow up buildings, knock down walls and even level dams to flood entire towns. The variables on these maps will keep each game on the players’ toes. Retail price is $59.
Alienware Custom PC
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This is a bonus for anyone in need of a desktop computer for the holidays. Alienware, a Dell company, builds custom gaming PCs that start at a respectable $1,200 and go up to well over $5,000, if you want some real power. Gaming PCs seem expensive compared to consoles (mainly because they are), but if a computer is already on the list, this is a good chance to knock out two birds with one stone. PCs can also be upgraded over time giving this gift some serious longevity.