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Last-minute gaming gift ideas for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4

An extra controller is never a bad idea

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Product shot of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on a red background Nintendo

Maybe you’re getting someone a new console for the holidays and looking for that something extra that will ensure you win the award for Best Gift Giver, or maybe you’re just after a couple smaller things for the video game enthusiast in your life. We’ve got you covered with some last-minute gaming gift ideas.

Let’s start with some stocking stuffers

A quick, cheap, and easy way to both customize your gaming experience and, for some people at least, improve it, is to buy some thumbstick covers. Some of these just cover over the existing thumbsticks on the controllers to improve durability and add some texture for grip. Others give a little extra height to the thumbsticks for comfort.

We have these sets and love them.

Ready player two — extra controllers and charging options

A second controller is rarely a bad idea for anyone with a game console. Since consoles only come with one controller, couch multiplayer games basically require you to buy an extra.

PlayStation

The DualShock 4 is a really good controller, but the battery life is, let’s say, less than ideal. A second controller is a great option for those marathon gaming sessions — just keep one charging, and swap them out when you need to. You’ve even got a choice of colors.

When that second controller isn’t charged, or when a backup controller isn’t an option, you’ll need a micro-USB cable. These are pretty ubiquitous, but an extra long one will give you more options for where to plug it in.

If you’d like a fancier, more durable option, go with a braided cable.

If you’re after a cleaner look, charging stations handle both recharging and storage of your controllers. And the majority of them are already prepared for two controllers at a time.

Xbox

For a second or backup controller, you’ve got a variety of color and branded options. They also use the same micro USB port for wired play (again, the longer the better).

Unlike the Playstation’s DualShock 4 controller, the Xbox controller uses removable batteries. Sure, you could load up on AAs, but that’s awfully wasteful. The simple solution is just some rechargeable AAs and a charger. I use the Amazon Basics version for my Xbox controller, and it works great. Plus, extra AAs never hurt.

If you want something a little fancier or just more dedicated, there are lots of options for rechargeable AA packs. You can even get an Energizer bundle that includes two battery packs and a charging station for two controllers.

Switch

The Switch has a variety of controller options, but the simplest answer is to just buy a second pair of Joy-Cons. And once you’ve got multiple pairs of Joy-Cons, you might want to pick up a charging station that fits them.

A Switch only comes with one Joy-Con grip — the thing you slot the Joy-Cons into to make them more like a traditional controller, so you might as well pick up one that’ll charge those extras while you’re at it.

For people who use the Switch docked to the TV more often, a Nintendo Switch Pro controller is a great option. It’s a lot more familiar and comfortable than even the grip controller. A quick note, though: Unlike the Xbox and PlayStation controllers, the Switch uses USB-C cables for charging.

Or there’s always gift cards

Giving games as gifts in a world that’s rapidly moving away from physical media is more difficult than you might expect. It’s simply not possible on the PlayStation Store, and you’ll need to know the giftee’s gamertag for Xbox games. The simple workaround here is gift cards.

All three consoles — Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One — have options for a variety of values at their digital marketplaces.

For something a little more targeted, grab a few months (or a year) of your console of choice’s online service. For Switch that’s Nintendo Switch Online, the PS4’s is PlayStation Plus, and Microsoft offers the new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service that combines Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold.