‘Tis the season and if you’re still looking for gift ideas for your resident gamer or entertainment nerd, I can’t say enough about Xbox.
We bought an Xbox One, extra controller and a bunch of games three years ago after cobbling together gift cards the kids got for Christmas. As someone who grew up playing Atari and SEGA Genesis, Xbox was one heck of an evolution; it’s like going from a regular movie theatre to an IMAX.
Mind-blowing graphics and faster-than-ever game play makes you feel fully immersed. In fact, soon after we went out and bought a 65-inch 4k TV to better handle what the Xbox was throwing at us. It also allowed us to ditch our DVD player because it’s a jam-packed, all-in-one entertainment device.
Last year, Santa put a limited-edition Minecraft-themed Xbox One S under our tree. And WOW. Not only did it come with a colourful, pixeled console but there were also themed wireless controllers that looked like the pigs and Creepers from the game. After that, we found ourselves adding enough controllers to connect up to five players simultaneously!
After considerable experience with Xbox and its games and accessories, I feel pretty confident telling you what would be perfect for your own Microsoft Holiday Wish List.
Here’s my top picks for All Things Xbox:
- Xbox One S (though I’m definitely putting the new Xbox One X on my own list for Santa because the upgrades — like improved airflow and a true 4k gaming experience — look fierce). This is total family entertainment.
- A custom Xbox wireless controller. While there aren’t any Creeper or other themed controllers that come with special consoles this year in the One S category, you can do even better and build your own with the Xbox Design Lab. Whether you know exactly what your gift recipient will want and you design it yourself or give a Microsoft Store gift card for a DIY, personalization is super hot for the season.
- Xbox Game Pass. At only $1 for your first month’s trial, and $11.99 a month thereafter, Xbox Game Pass gives players access to Xbox’s exclusive games on the day they launch plus a hundred or so others every month. This is a great way to test out games before committing to a full-on purchase — plus you’ll get 20 per cent off any of the games in the catalogue as an Xbox Game Pass holder. Some games rotate while others repeat; it’s a mixed-bag of fun that’s essentially a blind pack every month. Right now, you’ll find Halo 5, Gears of War, Terraria, MXGP3, Grip, Forza Horizon 4 and Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure in the lineup — among many others.
- An Xbox Live Gold membership. Also $11.99 a month, this isn’t just for the serious multiplayer online gamer — though that’s probably the biggest reason most players have a membership. Benefits also include 25 to 75 per cent off different games every month plus up to $900 in free games during a single membership year.
- Games! There are so many amazing games — with more than ever designed for little kids. My biggest Pro Tip here is to buy the games online right from your console or in the Microsoft Store rather than an actual game cartridge from a bricks-and-mortar shop. When you buy the cartridge, you actually have to put the CD into the console every time you want to play; whereas if you buy it online, you simply download and play whenever you want — hassle-free! Some of our faves include: Forza 7, LEGO City Undercover, Steep, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, Fortnite (obviously!), Super Lucky’s Tale and NBA2K19, to name a few.
- An external drive. We chose the Seagate GameDrive for Xbox with 2TB of memory, which stores up to 50 games in addition to the 1TB of memory on the Xbox One S console itself. We bought this when we upgraded from the Xbox One to the One S and we haven’t even come close to filling it (in part because we are heavy Xbox Game Pass users). For $129, it’s been a great investment.
If you don’t already #XboxTogether as a family, this holiday season is definitely the time to start.
DISCLAIMER: Although Microsoft compensated me for this post, we have personally purchased most of the games and accessories mentioned above. All opinions my own.