Buying gifts for an esports expert or Mario master can be daunting. What do you get for someone who’s already equipped to tackle the latest and greatest releases as and when they arrive? We can help. Our holiday gift guide for veteran gamers will pick out presents perfect for the serious gamer in your life.
Holiday gift guide for veteran gamers
We’ve split our veteran gamer gift suggestions based on the console platforms they are suitable for. So long as you know whether they own a PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, or Xbox, you’re good to go.
Xbox (or PC): an Elite Series 2 controller
If you’re looking to splash out on a gift for an Xbox owner, accessories don’t come much better than the Elite Series of controllers. Built for improved comfort, durability, and performance, they’re pretty much the pinnacle of the tech. An Elite Series 2 controller will set you back around $150, but it’s guaranteed to last for years if treated well. It also works with both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S (as well as PC) making it a versatile beast.
PlayStation: Controller back paddles
While not quite as flashy as the Xbox’s Elite controller, back paddles can add extra utility to either a PS4 or PS5 controller, allowing players to map actions to extra buttons that can be pressed with the fingers gripping controller handholds. For PS4 players, Sony sells official Back Button attachments for just $20 (find them on Amazon, here)
For PS5, things get a bit trickier. It’s possible to buy custom-made controllers with built-in panels from suppliers such as Scuff at a high cost. If your gift target is confident in their tinkering, however, grabbing some third party panels (like these on Amazon) will let them attach them manually. Be warned: you should make sure they’re comfortable with this level of adjustment and have a compatible controller before you buy anything.
All Platforms: Controller thumbsticks
Given how long our thumbs spend twiddling them, Analog sticks hold up fairly well these days. But all of them, eventually, wear down. You can save your giftee from buying an entire new controller by instead grabbing them some third-party thumbstick attachments. These clip comfortably on top of their associated controller, extending the length slightly.
Many competitive FPS console players swear by thumbstick add ons, claiming that the extra range and improved grips grant better precision. We can’t confirm whether that’s the case, but no one is likely to complain about improved performance when playing online. There are loads of styles available, but you can check out KontrolFreek’s PS4 and PS5 thumbstick grips here, or their Xbox One thumbstick grips here to start your search. There are also variants for the Nintendo Switch Pro controller here.
All Platforms: The HyperX Cloud Orbit headset
Really want to treat someone special? HyperX’s Cloud Orbit Headset will offer an audio upgrade like no other. Featuring advanced 100mm planar magnetic drivers, the Cloud Orbit uses Waves NX 3D audio technology to truly immerse you in the game world. With these on their head, your gift target will be able to locate sounds around them with pinpoint precision. Best of all, it comes with three cable setups to allow connection to PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, and mobile devices.
Nintendo Switch: Amiibo cards or Amiibo
If you know an Animal Crossing obsessive looking for gifts, you’ve arrived at the right place. The addition of Brewster’s cafe in the game’s last major update means Amiibo cards are a hot commodity once again. These packs are often sold on at ludicrously marked-up prices, but if you can find them for under $20 then you know you’ve got a reasonable deal. Cracking open a pack will remind an older gamer of a youth wasted on Pokémon cards, but these cards actually serve a purpose in-game!
If you’re understandably after something more tangible for your gift, picking up Amiibo for any Nintendo lover will serve you well. These figures double up as collectables and in-game rewards. Tapping them to your controller in most first-party Nintendo Switch games will offer some kind of bonus. Nintendo’s whole range is staggering, but you can find new releases like the Metroid Dread amiibos or popular older choices like Isabelle on Amazon.
PC: HyperX Pulsefire Haste
Does your gift target fancy themself a Valorant pro? If their mouse is looking a little tired, you can step up their headshot percentage by picking up a HyperX Pulsefire Haste (available on Amazon here). This lightweight mouse is designed for speed above all else. It features a honeycomb shell with six programmable buttons the can be assigned to grenades, abilities – whatever they like!
If they’re into MMOS like Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker, you may want to consider the many buttons of the HyperX Pulsefire Raid. This expert gaming mouse featured 11 programmable buttons (along with RGB lighting, of course), making it ideally suited for those lengthy input bars. Find it on Amazon here.
That's all on our holiday gift guide for veteran gamers, but you can also find more gift ideas in our roundups for PS5 owners or for Xbox Series X owners. We've also got a breakdown of great gifts for beginner gamers too!