Getting a friend into gaming is brilliant. Not only do you have someone to partner with when jumping out of the Apex Legends dropship or playing the latest co-op release, you’ve also got a newbie to stomp during Super Smash Bros. sessions. But after one too many digital beatdowns, it’s about time you treated them right. Below, we've rounded up the best gifts for beginner gamers. Snag these and you’ll set them up to love the hobby even when they’re losing round after round to your glorious skills. One day, they might even surpass you.
Highlight entry games for their platform
The first thing any newcomer to gaming needs is the titles that show just how brilliant our favorite hobby is. Don’t worry about picking the latest releases here – you’ve got an entire back catalog crammed with stellar titles to choose from. We’re focussing on games that aren’t just great, they’re also easy to get to grips with. Here are our picks for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox games for our beginner gamers holiday gift guide.
As you’d expect, Nintendo’s first-party titles are a brilliant bunch for both new and seasoned gamers, proving welcoming to all skill levels. Here are our picks to get your giftee started.
- Super Mario Odyssey – World hopping with Mario generates joy that few other games can compete with.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The best game on Switch is also pretty welcoming to fresh faces.
- Stardew Valley – They can establish a farm solo or in co-op with your seasoned guidance.
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – Enjoy light tactical combat without time pressure as Mario teams up with the Minion-esque Rabbids.
PlayStation exclusives like Spider-Man can prove tricky for newbies when it comes to combat. But remind your gift recipient that it’s totally fine to bump down the challenge to Story difficulty modes so they can get in on that web slinging goodness.
- Marvel’s Spider-Man – Let them feel like a superhero as they soar through Manhattan.
- Untitled Goose Game – Unleash their inner mischief as a naughty goose in a small village. You can even join in thanks to the co-op mode!
- Overcooked: All You Can Eat – Two-button controls make this co-op kitchen rush a stellar (if often shouty) teamwork test for gaming beginners.
- Stray – A chance to purrfect their platforming as they guide an adorable cat through a neon world of friendly robots. Includes a dedicated meow button!
Before you buy any of the titles below, we’d highly recommend considering a Game Pass subscription for the new Xbox player in your life (see below for more details). But if you’re certain you want to grab a game or two, here are some great picks.
- Forza Horizon 5 – Arcadey racing controls slapped on an absolutely stunning recreation Mexico. As fun and free as racers come. Prefer English scenery to Mexican vistas? Consider picking up the previous entry, Forza Horizon 4, instead.
- Halo Infinite – Master Chief’s latest outing opens up the world to let them explore at their own pace, and you can even join them in coop! Halo games are very welcoming as shooters go, making this a solid starting point. Plus, you’ll prepare them for joining you in multiplayer.
- Sea of Thieves – Set sail and hunt treasures together in online co-op with Rare’s popular path into the pirate life.
- Unpacking – Organize items into pixel-art rooms over the course of someone's life. The ideal mindfulness game.
A quality headset
One essential thing that everyone in the gaming space needs is a decent headset. It’s the best way to appreciate a game’s sound design – especially if it supports 3D audio. But on top of that, a good headset will let your recipient chat comfortably with friends online, and keep their house quiet when gaming late at night.
HyperX has a wide range of headsets and earbuds available that’ll see your gift target covered no matter what system they game on or the budget you’re aiming for. Have they picked up a Switch? Consider the Cloud Earbuds for top-notch audio while on the go. For PS4 and PS5 owners, the Cloud Stinger Core is Wireless, meaning online chats can keep going even when grabbing a snack from the fridge. And for Xbox gamers, the CloudX Stinger is an officially licensed Xbox Headset that’s built for long-lasting comfort and quality.
A PS Plus or Game Pass subscription
In the modern age of gaming, subscription services are just as good if not better than buying games outright. If your giftee is getting started on Xbox, there’s little you can give them greater than the gift of Game Pass. Microsoft’s subscription service is a ridiculous deal right now, allowing access to more than a hundred titles. Those include brand new Microsoft releases like Halo Infinite, as well as a huge back catalog of first and third party titles. It’s an absurdly good deal that’s currently unrivaled in gaming. You can get a three-month subscription here, or a sixth-month subscription here.
PlayStation also has it's own subscription service, though the varying tiers can make this a confusing buy. Grabbing just a basic 12-Month PS Plus Essential subscription will let them play online for a year and also nets access to the the PS Plus collection which covers games like God of War, Batman: Arkham Knight, Resident Evil 7, and The Last of Us Remastered. Better, however, is a subscription to PS Plus Extra, which opens up a massive library of games new and old for them to try. It's not yet possible to buy subscription cards, however, so you'll have to help them sign up from the PlayStation Store. You'll need to spend some time scanning the library to pick out great starting points (or look for our suggestions above).
The Nintendo Switch’s online service is a less appealing, though far cheaper option. The base subscription grants access to online play and a selection of SNES games. Fork out for the pricier Switch Online + Expansion Pack you'll also bundle in some N64 and Sega Mega Drive titles. In addition, the Expansion Pack includes DLC like the ongoing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass and Animal Crossing: New Horizons Happy Home Paradise expansion. Amazon has a combined SD card and membership bundle available here. You can also consider setting up a Family Membership with them to reduce costs all around.
Finally, that little something extra. Every console will work out of the box, but you can improve your gift target’s game life significantly by grabbing a few extras like these.
Where the PlayStation and Xbox are concerned, a new controller should be your first port of all. It’ll save any hassle when batteries on one run low, and opens up the option of local co-op. You can find PS4 controllers here, PS5 controllers here, and Xbox controllers here.
For the Nintendo Switch, accessories become all the more important. A Switch Pro Controller is a huge step up from the standard Joy-Cons when gaming alone. Getting one as a gift will make games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey all the more enjoyable. A travel case is also a must. There are a huge number of styles available, so pick a design you know your target will love. Finally, Ring Fit Adventure is a superb fitness game for the Nintendo Switch which packs its own controller accessory. Just make sure the person you're buying for wouldn't be insulted by you grabbing them a fitness game!
For a Nintendo Switch owner, buying extra storage space is as simple as shopping for a new microSDXC card. The Switch’s internal memory isn’t huge, so we’d highly recommend an extra one as a gift.
For PlayStation and Xbox, however, things get trickier. The PS5 only supports specific M.2 storage that has to be manually installed, making it a massive pain for newcomers. The Xbox Series X and S are more straightforward, offering official Seagate expansion cards that slot into the machine. The trouble is, they’re really, really expensive.
If your beginner gamer is rocking an Xbox One or PS4, though, you’re in luck. Grabbing them a 1TB external SSD will ensure they’ve got plenty of game room for the years ahead, and that they can load from it quickly. External hard drives like this 1TB model are a far more affordable option, though the loading speeds will suffer as a result.
If you’re after more holiday gift guides for gamers, take a look at our full PS5 present and Xbox Series X gift roundups for more ideas! Visit our gift guide hub for more suggestions including music and food-themed gaming gifts.