Buying gifts for friends and family can always be difficult, especially if you are buying gifts that you are unfamiliar with. Video games and video game accessories are an especially difficult gift to buy if you aren’t familiar with the industry, because the industry is so large and has such a wide variety of quality. If you are planning to purchase a video game related gift during the 2010 holiday season, the following are gifts that you should avoid unless someone explicitly requests them.
Playstation Move / Xbox 360 Kinect – These two video game accessories are the respective responses of Sony and Microsoft to the success of the Nintendo Wii and its movement based controller technology. But, despite the success of the Wii, these products are not a sure thing success. Much of the reason for the success of the Wii is that it is targeted towards casual gamers and the movement based controller of the Wii synergizes well with casual games. Hardcore games have proven less compatible with the technology and both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are designed for hardcore gamers. It is possible that 3rd party game makers will start making a plethora of games for these new accessories, but at the moment there are few compatible games and almost none that are truly high quality. There is simply too much chance that these accessories will go the way of the NES Power Glove to make them a good purchase this holiday season.
Any 3-D Compatible PS3 Game – Sony is trying to make 3-D gaming the next big thing, but at the moment, with the exception of the Nintendo 3DS, the trend seems to be stalling. The problem is that, at its cheapest, buying the appropriate TV and accessories to enjoy 3-D gaming costs at least $1500 and averages closer to $3000. At those prices, the trend simply isn’t gaining traction. So far there are very few 3-D compatible PS3 games, and for the most part, they aren’t particularly impressive if you don’t have the necessary hardware to play them in 3-D. It is possible the trend will catch on. But, at least during the 2010 holiday season, it is a bit early to be buying these games.
iPad – As impressive a device as it is, the iPad basically isn’t remarkably more powerful than a smart phone, and it simply isn’t more powerful than most laptops. More importantly, as far as gaming is concerned, it is pretty much terrible. It doesn’t have the dedicated hardware of a PSP or Nintendo DS and weighs significantly more than both handhelds combined. Also, the gaming library of the iPad is basically the same as the gaming library of most smart phones. In other words, you can play the same games at a cheaper price by buying a smart phone or better games at roughly the same price by buying a traditional handheld gaming system. Either way you look at it, it is a poor gift for video game enthusiasts.
Desktop Computer – Even admitting to the quality of Civilization V and Starcraft II, the modern PC is by far a less impressive gaming device than any modern console, including the comparatively low technology Wii. The hottest PC games on the market are currently either online social games or World of Warcraft, both of which can be played on a low cost, last generation laptop. Very few PC games actually require a desktop using fully current technology and most of the game that do are also available on at least one console. In the past a modern PC may have been a great gift for a video gamer, but with the current strength of consoles it is simply a waste of money.