If you’re like me, gaming is not in your wheelhouse. In my spare time, I fold laundry. Or watch The Real Housewives. Or take a nap. But alas, there are folks out there who would spend every extra second of their day with a remote in their hands, eyes glued to a screen, attempting to beat their best score or time or, um, whatever it is they’re trying to “win.”
And if you’ve got one of these gamers on your list this Christmas, you’re probably a bit daunted by the idea of venturing into their land of consoles, games and the latest addition to the genre—virtual reality. For us laundry folders, gaming speak might as well be Chinese. Luckily, I’ve delved deeply into this world and have summarily decided who needs what this Christmas.
For Expert Gamers
If your gamer has a 4K TV, and you’re looking for a big-ticket gift, the PlayStation 4 Pro is the way to go. Nearly identical to the PS4 (which more than 60 million people already own), the Pro is a clear upgrade — it offers even prettier graphics and increased frame rates. Meaning, basically, that this is the best console on the market. But if your gamer doesn’t have a 4K TV, and isn’t planning on getting one in the future, then it’s best to stick with the original. (Keep reading!)
For Everyday Gamers
If your gaming enthusiast doesn’t have a PS4 — well, are they even a gamer? Just kidding. But really, this is THE gaming console, and it’s the one you’ll want to give if they don’t own it already. Prepare yourself to hear squeals of joy on Christmas morning because the PS4 is the holy grail of video game consoles. Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, more than 60 million people already own the unit, which means PlayStation is clearly doing something right — the box itself is sleek and compact and has offerings beyond games (you can stream TV shows, movies and videos via the Netflix, Hulu and YouTube apps, play Blu-Ray DVDs, and the console grants you access to the PS4 online gaming community). It’s also got some blockbuster exclusive games (Unchartered 4: A Thief’s End, Horizon Zero Dawn and Killzone Shadow Fall) and rings in at $200 less than the comparable Xbox One X.
Round Out the Package
Want to add some icing to their gaming cake? Throw in a PlayStation VR headset. Among the upper-echelon of full-motion virtual reality options, PlayStation’s iteration is the most affordable, coming in at just under $300 (the Oculus Rift headset alone costs roughly $500, while HTC Vive’s is $600), making it the best quality you’re going to get for the price. PlayStation VR does require a PS4 to play, but since we’ve already got that covered, all you’ll need is the camera to get started — I recommend getting one the bundles below rather than buying everything piecemeal.
Pricing aside, here’s why it’s great: PlayStation has more than 100 VR-compatible games, with more coming out every month. Second, the setup is easy peasy, you literally plug in the headset and camera and you’re immersed in a virtual reality within minutes. (Though, admittedly, there are a lot of cords to sort through.) Beyond that, the display is big at nearly six inches and has you feeling completely immersed in whatever game you’ve chosen. The experience is very real, and very intense. Your gamer will be in heaven. Lastly, the headset is comfortable and is super cool-looking with its glowing blue lights.
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