There isn’t much that compares to the joy of receiving a brand new gaming console around the holidays. Whether it’s a young player’s very first game system, or an avid gamer hungry to finally test out the latest and greatest new technology available on the video game market, the excitement is always palpable. This time of year, there’s nothing better than digging into a new library of video games and adventure.
Of course, there are a few things that parents or other shoppers can consider to make the experience all the more memorable. Prepping for the event of unwrapping a new console can take many forms. These include ideas such as preparing hardware installations and updates in advance, having extra controllers and accessories on hand, and much more.
Here are just a few ways that you can ensure your family and loved ones’ next gaming console memory is the happiest yet!
Prep for installation and updates ahead of time
Booting up a new console used to be as simple as plugging it in and hitting the power button. However in the year 2020 a new piece of hardware will inevitably require firmware updates out of the box. Depending on factors such as your network speeds and the size of the updates, these can lead to arduous delays for prospective players.
Avoiding the wait and anticipation can be as simple as taking your new console out of the box the night before and performing a few light duties. Do a quick check that you have all the proper cables, as well as enough outlets. Your new console should come with everything you need to hook it up to a modern entertainment setup, but being on the safe side will avoid unnecessary scrambling.
Next, set up a user profile on the console, and connect online via your home network. Unless you plan to use your new console offline-only, prepping for online connectivity will save a lot of potential future hassle. Troubleshooting any issues prior to the big reveal helps ensure the recipient is good to go as soon as they hit that power button for the first time!
Finally, perform any necessary updates to your console in advance. These prompts should be automatic, and can take anywhere from just a few minutes to substantially longer, in particular if your home network speeds are on the modest side. Regardless, having this chore already out of the way will score high fives all around when it’s time to play.
Stay ahead of the game with controllers and accessories
It can be helpful to make sure you have all the necessary add-ons to go with your new purchase. While most consoles with the basics necessary to play right out of the box, you may still want to add a few extras.
For example, most consoles only come with a single controller. This is fine if you’re playing solo—but if gaming is a family affair, you may want an extra or two to spread the fun. A new console for the holidays can be a great way to bring loved ones together for some co-op gaming action.
Next generation consoles mean next generation controllers as well. The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller is currently receiving a lot of buzz for its incredible haptic feedback. While Microsoft is taking aim at keeping their next generation controllers barely distinguishable from prior models, you can still find new revisions in the latest Series X/S offerings, such as this sleek Shock Blue Xbox Wireless Controller.
The Joy-Con is the standard controller for a Nintendo Switch, and is most often bundled by the pair. Any serious Nintendo gamer would also love to have the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as well.
There are a few other optional accessories that may make gaming even better with your new console. Think about a charging station (such as this PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless charging station) to keep all your extra controllers fully powered. A gaming headset can really elevate the audio experience—while also delivering some peaceful serenity for others nearby.
Lock in more ways to play with online memberships
Does your console recipient want to play games online with friends or compete against others? If so, you’ll likely need to pick up a subscription to an online service as well. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo each have their own online subscription service.
Sony PlayStation users can use a PlayStation Plus subscription to gain online services. PlayStation Plus also includes a number of other benefits in addition to online play. Members will receive access to free games every month, along with cloud saves and more. PlayStation 5 owners also get access to an extended library of games with membership.
Similarly, Xbox players gain the same level of online access with Xbox Live Gold. Xbox Live Gold also grants its members perks such as free games through its “Games with Gold” program. Both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold also entitle players to additional discounts on paid content.
Last but not least Nintendo owners will want to consider Nintendo Switch Online. Membership to Nintendo Switch online is necessary to participate in online features for games like as Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. It also offers members access to a regularly expanding library of classic NES and SNES games.
Expand your playable library with game subscription services
Another add on to consider are game subscription services. These paid subscriptions are often a great value. They can significantly add to the library of games available to you at a low monthly fee.
Microsoft’s Game Pass (for consoles) and Game Pass Ultimate (for consoles and PC) services give players access to a huge library of games. Microsoft Game Studios releases even come to Game Pass right on release day. A Game Pass subscription also now includes membership to the formerly separate EA Access subscription service.
Sony offers a similar service with PlayStation Now, which lets members stream (and in some cases download) a library of PS3 and PS4 titles to their PlayStation console or PC. PlayStation owners may also subscribe to EA Access for even more games, trials, and discounts from developer Electronic Arts.
Holiday checklist when buying a new gaming console
A brand new gaming console is an incredible gift for anyone on your list. For many, their first holiday video game system is a fond memory. It’s one that they will likely cherish for years to come. These suggestions can help you to ensure that this happy moment really is as special as possible.
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