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Let’s be honest — it’s been one heck of a tough school year for students. Coronavirus fears have shut down some schools, restricted socialization and canceled extracurricular activities. While this has been disappointing for students of all ages, it’s been especially tough on middle school, high school and college grads, who have had to forgo a traditional graduation ceremony, a graduation party, and the in-person farewells that make being a new grad feel so special.
If there’s any year to really pull out the stops and get your favorite graduate a killer gift for graduation season, it’s this one. So we’ve compiled a list of our favorite — and the most popular — graduation gift ideas for gamers available right now. Sure, you could always stuff some cash in an envelope or hand over a gift card stuffed in a bag with tissue paper, but that doesn’t have quite the same wow factor as unwrapping a hard-to-find Sony PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch console.
Short on gift ideas for your loved ones? Here are ten gaming-focused graduation gifts your grad is sure to love.
The only thing more coveted than the coronavirus vaccine right now may be Sony’s hot new PS5 console. It’s the perfect gift idea for college and high school graduation, but the console is still incredibly hard to find. We recommend checking the Best Buy website often to catch a restock.
Like the PS5, the next-generation Xbox Series X console (with reverse compatibility, a 1TB SSD and 4K resolution) is in seriously short supply. If your grad generally prefers Xbox to PlayStation, this is the console to get.
If your grad is going to be playing video games in a dorm room or shared apartment, a quality set of headphones is a must. This highly-reviewed headset from HyperX has great 7.1 surround sound, memory foam ear cushions and a detachable mic. Best of all, this gift is compatible with all the major gaming systems.
The great thing about the Nintendo Switch is that it’s a console that doubles as a portable system. Your grad can start a round of ‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ on the dorm room TV, then take the game with them on the bus to their next college class. Very cool.
Want to make the gift of a Nintendo Switch even more memorable for your loved ones? Upgrade to a collectible Switch, such as this Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition, for the same price. Just sure to pick up a copy of the game too while you’re at it — it’s not included!
You’ll want to pick up a microSDXC memory card for that new Switch to take advantage of all the great indie games available for download on the Nintendo eShop. This Nintendo-branded, 256GB card is large enough to hold tons of games for your fave graduate, but not too big that it breaks the bank.
If your college or high school grad is interested in streaming on Twitch, check out the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+. This unique graduation gift allows them to record gameplay footage from their favorite console on their PC, and stream their gameplay live online with 2160p60 passthrough resolution.
This graduation year, all the gaming hype is about the PS5. But don’t sleep on the budget-conscious PlayStation 4. It’s a mature system with a wide selection of games, many of which are available at a deep discount. And don’t worry: Sony has promised to continue to support the console over the next few years.
If you’re buying a PS4 or PS5 for your grad, you’ll want to add-on a one-year membership to PlayStation Plus: It’ll let them play online with friends and loved ones, while also giving them access to new free games to play every month. And believe us, “free” is definitely the right price for a college student or recent college graduate.
These days, people can download games directly to their consoles. It’s convenient, but there’s a drawback: PlayStation 4 games tend to be huge, meaning you can only fit a limited number on a single console. This large, 4TB external hard drive solves that problem for your favorite graduate.
The PlayStation, Xbox and Switch don’t just play video games — all of these consoles can stream shows and movies as well. We recommend a gift card to the streaming service Hulu if your grad is moving away from home, so they can still watch their favorite shows without a cable subscription.