Gamers are an insular sort, and if you don’t share the hobby, you might find yourself at a loss when trying to find a holiday or birthday, or christmas gift your gaming friend, family member, or partner.
To make the decision-making process at least a little bit easier, we’ve prepared a reference guide you can use. Since the hottest games change every so often, we’re going to straight-up recommend specific titles, but a long-running franchise may find its way up here as a handy example.
Points to consider
Although to many one game is like any other, there are nuances to be aware of, extending beyond the way it is controlled.
Contrary to popular belief, video games are subject to fairly strict age ratings issued by one of several agencies. Depending on where you live you might encounter the age ratings of PEGI or ESRB. In addition to providing the recommended minimal age of the player, they present a rundown of running themes, such as use of alcohol, violence, or sexual themes. They are represented by images for brevity, but the websites of each agency typically presents a more detailed description you can refer to.
Of course, these marking are the most useful to parents who want to quickly assess whether a game is suitable for their child. That is not to say they are of no worth for adults. If you’re looking for a gift for someone who doesn’t like violence checking which symbols are attached to the game is going to be worthwhile.
Video games genre
(Sliders contain games selected based on the most popular purchases on G2A.COM by genre)
Although games might vary wildly even within one genre, many people have a liking for a specific style of gameplay described as a genre. This issue is too complicated to go into detail in this article, so instead we’ll just provide a very general description of some of the most prominent types of games. Be mindful, that genres often blend, and exceptions exist.
Shooter – fairly straightforward. The player views the protagonist either through their eyes (first-person perspective/FPP) or from behind (third-person perspective/TPP) and the main mode of interaction with the environment is shooting almost everything that moves
RPG – roleplaying games are very diverse right now, but the traits shared by most of them is a sense of progression via gaining better equipment and abilities, as well as influencing the story via interactive dialogues
Action-adventure – these games are typically TPP, and often involve the character exploring the environment, solving puzzles, and engaging in an occasional fight. Their close cinematic relatives are, indeed, action and adventure movies
RTS – real-time strategies typically involve building a base, creating supply chains, and generating to maintain infrastructure, wage war, and anything in between
4X – short for Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate, 4X games are typically turn-based like board games. They usually revolve around managing a nascent nation’s growth to the point of dominating the map
Racing – focused on driving some selection of vehicles on predetermined or user-designed tracks. Depending on subset, may have realistic and complex physics, or be more about just the need for speed
Horror – self-explanatory. Horror games run the full gamut of subgenres known from cinema a few others, from psychological horror to gore
MMO – multiplayer gameplay is integral to these games, and they usually have dozens and hundreds of players sharing the map at the same time, interacting, teaming up, fighting the environment or each other
Sports – these games either simulate real-world sports to some degree, or are themed around a sport created for the purposes of the game
Adventure – classically, adventure games revolve around solving more or less convoluted puzzles, whether environmental or conversational
Rogue-like – these games have a few common features: high difficulty level, often randomly generated maps, and harsh penalties for dying, including being forced to start from scratch. Often they are presented with simple graphics
Fighting – fighting games involve short bouts of combat between two (or more) characters, each defined by a specific list of attacks. They typically require a lot of skill and reflexes from the player
Also worth consideration is whether the gift recipient plays offline or online. Single-player games and multiplayer games are often two modes of the same game, but there are certain titles which are only SP and some that are strictly MP.
Platform of choice
With the basic rundown of game genres behind us, another important point is the kind of hardware used to play games. The most popular platforms are computers, whether desktop or laptop, and consoles: Xbox (currently: Xbox One X) and PlayStation (currently PlayStation 4 Pro). Other platforms include Nintendo Switch and smartphones: Android and iOS.
Before deciding what to buy make sure you know the recipient’s favourite gaming machine. Don’t forget that some games come in a variety of forms, for many different platforms, so be sure to check which specific platform you’re buying the game for! You don’t want to buy a game and find out it can’t be played on the platform of their choice!
What can you buy?
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, we can move on to some recommendations.
This is fairly straightforward now that we’ve dealt with the most general genre division. Once you know the favourite genre and the favoured platform all that’s left for you to do is find one the recipient doesn’t have yet. That part may be tricky, but not insurmountable. With luck you’ll be able to see a wishlist, or just hear them talk about games they want to have.
G2A.COM has a broad selection of games and a useful category system letting you sort the products by genre with just two clicks. If you need inspiration, feel free to refer to the table elsewhere in this guide to see the biggest titles at the time of posting this guide.
Subscriptions for games and services
Sometimes gaming requires recurring payments. It’s especially true for MMORPGs, many of which has a fully-featured paid mode alongside a limited free-to-play option.
One such game is World of Warcraft, an MMORPG developed by Blizzard Entertainment which launched in 2004. In addition to the price for the individual copy of the game, the players are expected to pay a recurring price of 12 dollars per month to keep playing.
There are also multiple subscription programs offering content in return for monthly payments. On the gaming front, Xbox and PlayStation have their own premium programs (Xbox Gold and PlayStation Plus, respectively), which offer a range of benefits, including free games, to all active users.
Alternatively, you may want to look outside of gaming. There are Video-on-Demand services such as Netflix which offer prepaid cards to maintain subscription, for example. Music-streaming service Spotify also offers such a convenience.
You can get both of them, and more on G2A.COM in the Subscriptions category, split into Gaming, VOD, Music, and Other.
Games sometimes offer multiple currencies their players can use to purchase items and services they require. Sometimes they allow to access a playable character earlier, or get a unique cosmetic item which would let them stand out from other players.
Games such as SMITE, Star Wars: The Old Republic, or EVE Online and more have such currencies available for purchase.
Other times a game can just offer the players a way to purchase large amounts of regular currency from the developers themselves. Such is the case with Grand Theft Auto V and its Shark Cards, offering a momentary influx of currency to use in the online segment of GTA5.
Electronics for gamers
Digital goods are not all that rocks the gaming world. Sometimes what one plays games with (and on) is just as important as the games themselves. From the essential peripherals like mice, keyboards, and gamepads, to various accessories like mousepads, and laptop cooling pads. G2A.COM Marketplace has a separate category devoted entirely to hardware of various types, as well as other electronics, such as smartphones and maintenance essentials, such as cables and mounts.
Entertainment is great, but there’s some truth in saying that we die when we stop learning things. Thankfully, there’s a lot of e-learning opportunities out in the World Wide Web, and many of them are available on G2A Marketplace.
The selection of available courses and education software covers a broad range of topics, ranging from IT, through humanities, to skilled trades like carpentry or plumbing. The available courses are provided in cooperation with Alison, and although the courses themselves are free, a completion certificate is not, and G2A provides a way to get one at attractive prices. They aren’t just for show, of course. Alison certificates can be used to improve your CV and constitute a proof that you are qualified in a certain filed of study, increasing the chances of getting an attractive job.
Finally you can place your faith on non-gaming, non-educational software. Ranging from various antivirus suites (many of which were covered in another article) to operating systems, there is enough variety of products for you to be able to find something that matches your gift recipient’s needs or hobbies. If they want to get into game development, for instance, there are programs such as MyRPG Master or GameMaker which may be helpful in taking the first steps on this path.
If none of the ideas in this guide appeal to you, you find it difficult to choose one thing, or are overwhelmed by the technical jargon, you can buy a gift card for the gift recipient and let them choose something fancy for themselves. It’s simple and you give them a choice at the expense of a maybe a bit more personal touch. It’s a fair trade-off, especially in a pinch.
Each gift card can top-up a digital wallet tied to the account, be it on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Steam, or others by a specified amount, and the funds can then be used to purchase anything on the given platform. Occasionally the wallets can even be used on other websites, but it’s not recommended to count on it.
We have provided a quick rundown of general categories of products which may be appreciated by your gift recipient, but ultimately you are the only one who knows what they like doing in their free time, or what type of software or hardware they need. Whatever is your final choice, G2A.COM probably has it in stock.