We already told you what video games you should pick up this year, and now it’s time to go even deeper! There are a ton of incredible hardware, gear, and accessories out there, and it can be tough to wade through. Lucky for you, we’ve already done a lot of the legwork this year, and here are our picks on what you should be grabbing. Happy holidays!
The Heavy Hitters
Where do you even begin with this thing? With huge hits like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok available exclusively on the PS5, that alone makes it a must buy. But add greats like Sifu, Stray, and Gran Turismo 7, and it’s even more necessary. Not to mention all the third party games running at their best here, like Elden Ring or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. You’ve also got console exclusives in Final Fantasy XVI and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 planned for 2023, so better to get on the train before it gets too far ahead.
Xbox Series S|X:
Xbox and good deal seem to be synonymous terms. The Series X is incredibly powerful, and it will easily take the games you’re playing and either give you the option to update them to the better version, or use its raw abilities to make them run flawlessly. The Series S is a ridiculous bang for your buck, giving you the option to play next-gen video games at a fraction of the cost. Pair that with Game Pass and an insane list of upcoming games in 2023 like Starfield and Hellblade II? It’s a no brainer.
Nintendo Switch | OLED:
It’s been almost seven years since the hybrid handheld/console graced our palms, and it just keeps churning out phenomenal content. Games like Splatoon 3, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and TWO mainline Pokemon games?! Craziest thing is, I’ve totally forgotten several more. There is no shortage of gaming to be had on Nintendo’s console, and you can grab it however it suits you best, the Lite handheld only version, the OG Switch, or the OLED if you want that gorgeous seven inch screen.
We all knew it’d be great, we just didn’t expect this great. The Steam Deck might be one of the best handheld gaming devices out there, and mainly because you can really do whatever the heck you want with it. Being able to fully customize it your way, dual boot other operating systems onto it, or emulate is incredible. Beyond that, Steam’s humongous library is sitting there, and even if not everything works, even things that are listed as no can sometimes run perfectly. It’s like the swiss army knife of handheld gaming, and it needs to be under your Christmas tree.
GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080 FE:
Yeah, it’s big. Yeah, it eats power like candy. And yeah, it’s fast. How fast? Well, combined with DLSS 3 it can be upwards of four times faster than the previous generation of cards. The RTX 4080 is almost as powerful, but at a $400 discount. If you demand all the frames, 4K resolution, and without the awful driver experiences other manufacturers have been trotting out, this is an easy choice.
Our review – 4090/4080 | Buy it now!
T2: Arcade1Up Cabinet:
Arcade1Up’s T2 is a stunning recreation of the original arcade in an easy to bring home capacity. I never thought I’d be able to have a light-gun arcade in my home, much less one of this size and quality, so for that alone I am immensely thankful for Arcade1Up. That said, there are a few gripes I have with the machine, such as the screen size being only 17” and the high price tag for an arcade with only one game, but T2 is still a high-quality release that will undoubtedly impress any visitor to your game room. Arcade purists may have more qualms than I do, but for someone who collects these arcades just for the thrill of having a home arcade with the classic titles that I grew up playing in mall arcades, I think T2 is well worth adding to your home arcade.
The Simpsons Arcade:
It doesn’t get much more nostalgic than this one. Beyond the incredible colors making this a centerpiece for your collection, having both the Simpsons Arcade and Simpsons Bowling on it makes this a must have. Not to mention, there’s currently no other way to buy those games. Why not play them the way God intended, in arcade form? BTW, the version that includes the stool with fantastic graphics on it, and a light-up marquee is the way to go.
Sega Genesis Mini 2:
The first Genesis Mini was absolutely fantastic, and the Genesis Mini 2 looks to outdo it in every way. With sequels to amazing games like Earthworm Jim 2, and SegaCD versions of games like Sonic CD and Shining Force CD. The only thing missing here is Lunar! If you can get your hands on one of these, they are pure nostalgia delivered directly to your eyeballs.
Orion Gaming Monitor by Up-Switch:
Want to take your Nintendo Switch on the go? What about some other device with an HDMI port? Up-Switch has you covered with their Orion Gaming Monitor. This 11.6″ matte monitor makes gaming on the go a breeze, regardless of what you are taking with you. It’s built for Switch, but it also makes an amazing retro game monitor, and the integrated kickstand is perfect for playing with friends.
Xbox Design Lab controllers:
One of the coolest things rolled out over recent years is Xbox adding a website where you can build a controller of your own. There are tons of color options, along with the ability to engrave something onto it. Maybe my favorite addition to the service is this year’s inclusion of the Elite Series 2, meaning you can use arguably the best pro controller in existence while still looking good doing so.
Codemanmodz Custom Controllers:
If you want something to feel personal, you go to someone who will do it that way. Cody has been making custom controllers for a long time, and he works with you to get them done the way you want. He can get you set for competitive play with quick triggers and paddles, or just pretty up your controller with a sweet paint job and LEDs. One thing he has uniquely, a double battery he designed himself for PS5, so you can get twice the play time out of your controller. He does all kinds of different controllers, so go and see what he can do for you today!
The Controller People
There are a lot of controllers out there, but finding something different isn’t always possible due to licensing or cost. The Controller People however have developed their own type of back buttons and can optimize your triggers to give you a competitive advantage no matter the game. It’s not only that though, with some amazing customization available through a build-your-own controller panel. And did I mention they’re doing all of this at a pretty low cost? Can’t beat that.
Victrix by PDP Pro BFG Wireless Controller for PS5
I’ve been looking for a good replacement for the awesome Astro C40 Pro controller for PS4 for a while now. But for PS5, there haven’t been a lot of options until now. The Victrix Pro BFG Wireless controller looks to be the answer, with some of the craziest modifications I’ve seen. It has everything, back buttons, hair triggers, flipping the thumbstick orientation… even a freakin’ fight pad to add in place of your right side stick and buttons! This one is only just releasing, so grab it as fast as you can. We just can’t wait to get our hands on one.
The right controller is all about feel. If something is off, you’re going to know it. Hex Controller has a handle on what works, and they’ve created the products to get you on your way to a higher KD. Their back paddles and quick triggers are top notch, and the designs they have available look and feel great. If you want to step into the competitive arena, this is a good place to start.
Gamevice Flex for Android
Playing mobile games doesn’t have to be hard. Featuring a wonderful design that allows you to use nearly any phone, along with allowing you to enjoy gaming without taking your case off, the Gamevice Flex is a fantastic plug-in controller. Whether you’re slicing demons in Diablo Immortal or going for chicken dinners in PUBG Mobile, the Flex is useful for almost anyone who games everywhere. Even better, it’s the perfect mobile controller for Game Pass’s Xcloud service with it’s Xbox-centric design.
Xbox Game Pass/PC/Ultimate:
Still one of the best deals in gaming. Besides getting all of Xbox’s first party offerings day one, there’s been a lot of cool recent third party games dropping on the service. Getting games like A Plague Tale: Requiem, Scorn, Persona 5 Royal day one is great, with old faithfuls like Sea Of Thieves and Forza Horizon 5 waiting in the wings for you to play. With things like Redfall, Minecraft Legends, and the amazing looking Starfield on the horizon, it might be time to start your subscription, or at least stock up some time.
PlayStation Plus Extra/Premium:
Just got a PlayStation but don’t know where to begin? This is your place. The first party library is to die for, with Ghost of Tshushima Director’s Cut, Returnal, God Of War 2018, Horizon Zero Dawn, and more ready to rock. For third party, things like the Yakuza series, Assassin’s Creed series, Stray, Deathloop, and more give you a ton to work with. If you want even more, try Premium, and for only a few bucks more get access to PS3 cloud streaming and some awesome retro titles, with games like Syphon Filter for PS1 even getting trophy support!
GeForce NOW Gift Cards:
Ok, it’s odd to recommend a gift card, but for the gamer in your life who streams their games, there’s now an option to give them a physical gift card for NVIDIA’s service. It’s better than an email, and lets them unwrap something that’ll make them happy. Win-win.
Whether you are building an amazing Iron Man Mark III statue like we are, a working R2D2, K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, or the Charger R/T from The Fast and the Furious, Fanhome has some absolutely incredible model built-ups. If you are a Star Wars fan, they also have an absolutely MASSIVE Star Wars encyclopedia, as well as a number of high-quality collectibles. There’s no doubt I’m loving working on this Iron Man Mark III, and you can see those videos every other week. It’s coming together nicely, and I cannot wait to see the final product! It could be an awesome gift to share with a kid, or maybe just a kid at heart.
The energy drink you need to use all of these things
Looking to get more healthy in the new year but not ready to get off the caffeine horse? Need a brain boost while playing your favorite competitive video games? Or maybe you just want a flavorful taste when you’re in your morning meeting and coffee just doesn’t do it for you. Say hello to Sneak Energy, the perfect solution to all of these quandaries and more. It tastes great, has all the vitamins and caffeine you need, and it mixes better than almost any other energy powder on the market for a smooth sip. Having a hard time deciding between them? Check out our taste tests!
Our review | Taste Tests!| Buy it now!
Steelseries for days
Steelseries Aerox 5 & 9 mice:
Want one of the best looking, most comfortable mice on the market? Then grab the Aerox 5 or 9. The Aerox 5 is the perfect standard gaming mouse, and if you play MMOs or MOBAs, the 9 is even better. It’s clicky, it’s responsive, it’s a good fit for the stocking.
Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro:
It’s clean, it’s mean, it’s a killer machine. I love the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro. It’s one of the most comfortable headsets on the market, with the best sound supported by an incredible equalizer in Sonar. It may come at a premium price, but it is a premium product, well worth the investment.
Steelseries 7 series headsets:
It’s tough to compete with perfection, and for the price, the 7 series headsets from Steelseries are the best. I have the Arctis 7P+, and I don’t know that I can more highly recommend a combination of sound and comfort (beyond breaking the bank on a Nova Pro). It’s my favorite gaming headset for a reason, and it’s a great gift for someone wanting the most bang for their buck in a headset.
Steelseries Arena gaming speakers:
I didn’t think gaming speakers would be necessary, but taking the power of Steelseries headsets and giving it extra umph was a good decision. These are powerful speakers, with the ability to rock your home at the turn of a dial. It’ll also work with your PlayStation, so they aren’t just for PC gamers. 5.1 surround sound is incredible when using Arenas.
Steelseries Apex 9 TKL keyboard:
I like my ten keys, but the Apex TKL 9 is such a good keyboard it almost makes it worth dropping them. The keycaps are standouts on this one, with a nice grippy feel that reminds me of skater tape on a skateboard. Besides that, it’s super portable and nice and clicky. It’s all you could want in a compact mechanical keyboard, along with the amazing optical switches designed by Steelseries.
HyperX Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse:
Gaming on a budget but want a good gaming mouse? The Pulsefire Haste might be the perfect fit. Its lean design leads it to feel sturdy, yet lightweight at the same time. It doesn’t have a ton of extra bells and whistles, but it has a quality to it that can’t be beat for the price. A great battery along with the fantastic 16000 DPI just makes this an all around banger.
Roccat Vulcan II Max mechanical keyboard:
If pretty is your thing, the insane RGB of the Vulcan II Max is exactly what you’re looking for. Even better, there’s a phenomenal keyboard underneath all of those flashing lights. It’s got 100% anti-ghosting, a 1000hz polling rate, and the design looks really sharp. The Vulcan II Max is a lil pricey, but it’s certainly a premium product that earns that designation.
Seagate External HDDs:
Extra storage is absolutely necessary for most of us. But compact, plenty of space, and looks super cool? Seagate’s specialty hard drives are tough to beat. It’s more than just putting your unneeded files on them, they read fast and can even play games at a pretty high level. Besides, who doesn’t want Star Wars, Marvel, or gaming themed drives with a bit of RGB? Just enhances your space.
JBL Quantum Stream:
The JBL Quantum Stream is a perfect microphone for anyone trying to make the jump from headset mics to desk microphones. Especially for those who are streamers or record videos, it works perfectly with your preferred streaming platform. Being able to connect to their desktop app alongside your other Quantum gear, the Quantum Stream is easy to set up and has crystal clear sound to make sure you’re playing, streaming, and recording at the highest level.
JBL Quantum 810:
I’d never used a JBL headset before, but call me a believer now. These are a bit larger, so keep that in mind if you tire easily from headsets, but the sound quality you get from the Quantum 810’s is awesome. Add in great battery life and my favorite feature, Active Noise Cancellation, and these are what you need for a bother-free weekend with your favorite shooter. Bluetooth even lets you take them on long trips to tune out the rest of the car… just don’t use while driving.
JBL Quantum TWS earbuds:
If you want a good pair of versatile earbuds, these are like dynamite; explosive but in a small package. You can use them almost anywhere due to the USB-C adapter, and they have good battery life. Add in a great phone app to optimize them where you’ll probably use them the most, and the Quantum TWS earbuds are an easy choice for your audiophile giftee.
Monoprice 7-in-1 USB-C Multiport 4K HDMI Adapter:
If you are looking for a shockingly inexpensive Steam Deck dock without paying literally triple for Valve’s official one (which coincidentally has less features), then look no further. If you are planning emulation or anything in Desktop mode, you’ll want a keyboard and mouse so you don’t go insane. Being able to quickly copy files via USB is also an excellent way to extend your shiny new device in ways you probably didn’t expect.
EON Gamecube / N64 adapters:
Do you want to experience Gamecube and N64 games on a modern TV with the best quality possible without resorting to the icky underworld of emulation? Well, teh EON Gamecube and N64 adapters will let you do that without resorting to the gray market to buy $300 cables or bootleg chipped systems. If you want to play how the pros do, this is the way.
VR and its buddies
Pimax 5K Super:
There’s no doubt that Pimax continues to push the envelope in terms of technology. The widest field of view, the highest refresh rates, and among the best visual quality, the Pimax headsets are absolutely top tier for virtual reality. Their upcoming launch of the Crystal and the Portal are also very interesting, so know that your Pimax 5K Super can be traded in for $900 when it launches, so you are far from starting from scratch. There’s nothing like taking to the skies in virtual reality, and the Pimax 5K Super is an incredible way to experience it.
Meta Quest 2:
Whether you call it the Oculus or the Meta Quest 2, this device is still the easiest setup for VR around. Literally pickup and play, you can have this device up and running a game of Beat Saber in VR in a matter of minutes. Now you can do it without a connection to a Facebook account, making this a very easy recommendation.
VR Rock Prescription VR lenses:
I wasn’t sure I needed “prescription VR lenses”, and then I used them. Not only are VR Rocks VR lenses easy to use, the added comfort of not needing glasses make these a necessity for any glasses-wearer playing VR. Especially with plenty of Quest 2’s getting wrapped up for Christmas, grab some of these at a discount with our code- GAMINGTREND. Keep an eye out as well, they should be rolling out new ones for the Meta Quest Pro and PSVR2 as those release.
Our review | Buy it now! – CODE: GAMINGTREND
VR Power for Oculus Quest 2:
The Oculus Quest 2 is the easiest VR headset out there, offering a good blend of price to performance in a completely standalone package. It also eats batteries like candy. There are a lot of options out there for in-band charging, but the VR Power from Rebuff Reality is the only real choice. Acting as a counterbalance for weight, it adds upwards of eight hours of play time to your VR headset. If you buy a Quest 2, you need one of these.
Take a seat
Mavix M5 Gaming Chair with Elemax:
The Mavix M5 is a marvel of engineering and provides a versatile, comfortable, and feature-rich chair which easily conforms to nearly every body type. Great for mini gaming sessions or multiple hour playthroughs, the M5 remains comfortable thanks to its sturdy mesh, cooling PU, adjustable back/head/ arm rests, ability to recline, and seat depth adjustments. While some may balk at the rather high asking price of $555.55, it helps to know that the chair is backed by a fantastic 12-year warranty. The Mavix M5 combined with the Elemax unit make for one of the best gaming chair options currently available.
DXRacer Craft Series Koi Fish Chair:
The 2022 DXRacer Craft series chairs are durable, made from quality materials, and most importantly – comfortable. From the intricacy of the designs, especially the Koi Fish design, to the sturdy metal frame, molded foam cushions, PU leather, cooling gel pillow, adjustable armrests, 135-degree tilt, and top-notch embroidery, the DXRacer Craft series is a chair sure to be the center of attention anytime a friend visits your game room.
The storage you need
WD_Black SN850X NVMe:
Western Digital has been in the hard drive game for a long time, and their NVMe drives are leading the charge in speed and reliability. The SN850X represents their flagship M.2 product, and real-world testing reveals a product that delivers the goods. I copies 34GB of capture footage from Star Citizen from one drive to another in just 14 seconds. This drive will work for the PlayStation 5 just as well as in your PC, and no matter where you put it, know that it’s backed by a 5 year warranty, and will deliver some eye-wateringly fast speeds.
WD_Black P40 Game Drive SSD:
How do you make an excellent product even better? Make it smaller. The P40 is a smaller and slightly faster version of the P50, with read speeds in the 1.8 GB/s range, and 1.7 GB/s for write, making for an extraordinarily portable and speedy storage device you can slip in your pocket. Get rid of those thumb drives – it’s time to go fast.
Our review | Buy it now!
Fortnite SanDisk microSDXC card:
I mean, it’s a memory card and it hits the numbers SanDisk has advertised, but the story here is that they didn’t charge a premium for the great Fortnite branding. Whether you are team Skull Trooper or team Cuddle Team Leader, you’ll also get an Angular Flow Wrap that you might have missed all the way back in Season 1. If you need to nab a microSDXC for your Switch, why not get one that looks the part and comes with a bonus?
FantomDrives Venom8 NVMe:
There’s fast and then there’s FAST. This is the latter. Advertising over 7 GIGS per second of speed, we were happy to see these drives hit those numbers with ease, not just in synthetic tests but in real world applications. Whether you are using it in a PlayStation 5 or a PC, you cannot go wrong with the Venom8.
The extra computer parts you didn’t know you needed
Kingston Fury Beast DDR5:
Oh my are these fast! DDR5 is finally available, and we are seeing kits from Kingston hitting that 6000 MT/s mark. We beat these things within an inch of their electronic lives and they didn’t waver. Backed by a 5 year warranty, you should consider these for any upcoming next-gen upgrade.
be quiet! Base 802 case:
Built for water cooling or air, this versatile case is as flexible as it is quiet. The top and front cover can be removed to work in the case, it supports radiators up to 420mm, and sports an I/O panel with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C, and that’s just the tip of the feature iceberg. If you are building a next gen high-powered build, the be quiet! Base 802 is a top contender. It’ll fit a 4090 FE, if you were wondering.
The outrageous & random
FlexiSpot E7 Pro Standing Desk
I was incredibly impressed with how easily assembled and sturdy the E7 Pro is. So much so that I did something dumb and sat on top of it while I raised it all the way up. Risky nonsense behavior aside, this desk has been absolutely fantastic, and you can see it time and again in any of our unboxing and review videos. There are a lot of folks like me who are tough to buy for during the holidays, and this is just the right sort of gift that they’d probably never buy for themselves, but absolutely need. Check out our video below and then snap one up for yourself! They also have a whole lineup for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you might check out while you are at it.
The Loupedeck Live S:
The Loupedeck Live S is what happens when you smash a CT and a Live together, resulting in the best of both. We loved the updates to the ability to control apps including OBS, Streamlabs, DaVinci Resolve, Spotify, and many more, but we stay for the direct analog control over the balance of in-game audio and game chat. Add in the fact that it’s got 15 screens, and undercuts the price of any competitor and it’s a no brainer this holiday season.
Blackmagic Cinema Pro 6K:
Do you need a 6K Camera? I mean, maybe, but probably not. Will it absolutely change the way you film? Paired with the right lens it just might! We made a move from Canon’s M50 to the Blackmagic Cinema Pro 6K for two of our cameras, and you can see a massive improvement in our footage, even in amateur hands. Color saturation, sensor quality, and feature flexibility unlike anything anywhere near the price point, the Blackmagic Cinema Pro 6K is among the bleeding edge of smaller form factor cinema cameras.
Elegoo Saturn 2 3D Resin Printer:
Are you new to 3D Printing? Me too! Do you want to make incredible statues like the ones you see for sale at the biggest stores like Entertainment Earth and BigBadToyStore? If you are willing to learn the craft, you can do exactly that with a 3D resin printer from Elegoo. The Saturn 2 is their latest, running at 8K resolution, and with a large build volume. Just know going in that, while the printer is inexpensive, you’ll be spending a mint on gloves, paper towels, and resin. Still, when you can make statues that rival the most expensive official ones, it’s all worth it. Time to learn to paint!
VelcityOne Rudder Pedals:
Do you play flight simulators? Then you know why you need rudder pedals. Whether it’s stepping on the ball in Flight Simulator 2020, drifting your ship in Elite Dangerous, or getting ready for full immersion in Star Citizen, the VelocityOne Rudder Pedals deliver in a big way. With interchangeable pedals to support large commercial planes, or smaller pedals for smaller craft, as well as a number of options such as wide stance expansion and spring tensions, this is chock full of top-tier features, but at a price significantly lower than anything in the same quality band.
Have you ever had to program your phone with a five second wait so you could run over for a photo? Yeah, that was the way we’ve done it for decade, but that’s in the past. What if you could instead put your phone on a pivoting device that would track your movement with complex AI, intelligently auto-zoom, and generally act as a videographer for your camera instead? Now you’ve got an idea of what the Pivo Pod can do. Whether you are training, moving around in a shot for a livestream, or doing a large unboxing, this Pivo Pod is the perfect addition for your camera work.
Poly Sync 20 Pink:
Recommending a personal portable speaker is easy when it comes from audio heavyweight Poly. Knowing that this bluetooth speaker also doubles as a conference microphone and speaker, lasts for 20 hours, and also donates $10 to eradicating cancer makes it that much easier. Poly’s consumer devices like their Poly P5 webcam have been stellar, but don’t miss out on this speaker – it sounds fantastic, and it’s for a good cause.