These are the best cheap gift ideas for gamers

Steven Rondina • July 24, 2022 2:31 pm

Getting a good gift is always difficult, but getting a good and cheap gift for gamers is a daunting task for those who aren’t gamers themselves.

Unless the gift is for a gamer boyfriend or girlfriend that you live with, you’re not going to be able to see their entire catalog of games to know what they like best. And even if you do find a game they don’t own already, there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually play it.

While something like a new controller might seem like a good idea, there’s no probably no real reason for them to ditch the controller they’re already using. As for a mouse, headset, or piece of hardware, the only reliable way to make that into a gift that they’ll use and enjoy is to spend way more money than what could be considered “cheap.” So what’s a person to do when they want to give the gamer in their life a good gift without breaking the bank?

Don’t fret. There are some good cheap gift options out there that will please the gamers in your life.

Great cheap gifts to get for gamers

With these gifts, we’re considering options that are guaranteed to be useful or usable for the vast majority of gamers. Some of these fall into gift card territory, but are still unique and guaranteed to be useful to the recipient. There are also some hardware options they are unlikely to own, but it may be worth double-checking before committing to a purchase.

In terms of price tags, we’re counting $30 or less as being cheap enough to qualify. There are an abundance of options out there, some of which scale up with price, so if the exact recommendation feels questionable to you, there’s no reason you can’t splurge on a slightly pricier alternative. Here are the best cheap gifts for gamers.

Gift cards for digital game storefronts

Gift cards might feel like a generic option for a gift, but these are guaranteed to be a hit with any gamer. While a physical copy of a game is always nice, players can purchase a digital copy of almost any game by using these gift cards. Each console has its own digital store, similar to the Google Play Store on Android mobile devices and the Apple App Store on iPhones.

Worth noting is that you’ll need to know which specific console they’re playing on. The good news is that if you know and get them one of these gift cards, you can be certain that they’ll be able to get use out of it.

Nintendo eShop gift card

The Nintendo Switch’s digital store is the Nintendo eShop, and Nintendo sells gift cards in various amounts, ranging from as little as $5 to as much as $99. You can buy multiples of each card to get to a specific amount, but you can also buy the one that has a picture of their favorite Mario character.

PlayStation Store gift card

The PlayStation store front is the PlayStation Store. It works the same way as the Nintendo eShop but with an extra bit of convenience. This allows them to get credit for all PlayStation platforms, including the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Xbox gift card

The Xbox works the same way as other consoles, with its own digital store built right into the menus. Gift cards can be bought in various amounts and then used to buy games and other products.

Steam gift card

If the person you’re buying gifts for is primarily a PC gamer, your best bet is to get them a gift card for Steam. Steam is a digital storefront used for PC gaming that includes an overwhelming number of games and has an enormous user base. A huge number of PC gamers use Steam, or will be able to make use of this gift card in one way or another. The only issue is that they aren’t sold by digital retailers, so you’ll have to a physical store in order to buy one.

Gaming subscription service cards make a great cheap gift for any gamer

Looking for something that’s guaranteed to be useful but don’t want to go completely generic by getting them a gift card? Buy them some extra time on a gaming subscription service for their preferred platform.

Longer subscriptions offer greater value, but they don’t usually fall into “cheap gift” territory. The good news is that even if the person receiving this gift already has a subscription, this extends it further which means they’ll definitely get use out of it.

Nintendo Switch Online 12-month subscription

There are two tiers to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. The basic level is the more affordable option with a whole year costing just $20. It’s one of the better values in gaming as it unlocks online multiplayer in titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside the ability to play a long list of retro games from the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo. If they want the upgraded Nintendo Switch Online service, they can freely upgrade it themselves at an additional charge.

PlayStation Plus gift card

PlayStation Plus gift cards work a bit differently but the idea is the same. Players can purchase a subscription using credit through their account obtained by this gift card. There are multiple tiers to the PS Plus service and this will let players choose which they prefer.

Xbox Live Gold

Finally, the Xbox’s online gaming subscription service is Xbox Live Gold. This allows players to enjoy their favorite games online, though it’s not the only subscription service attached to the Xbox.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a gaming subscription service run by Microsoft. It’s not exclusive to Xbox. There is an Xbox version that can be used through the Xbox as well as a PC version that can be used by anyone with a gaming computer. This offers access to games of every genre and even lifelong gamers with a vast collection will be able to find something worth playing here, making a short subscription a great cheap gift.

Gaming hardware gift ideas

A card that contains something nice is a fine gift, but there’s something to be said about an actual gift-wrapped box on a holiday. There are plenty of options out there, but if you’re looking to get something that will definitely be useful and that the gamer in your life probably doesn’t own, your options may seem limited. But we’ve found some great gaming gift ideas that should help you out.

Under-desk headphone stand

Headphones are a must for most online games, whether they’re on PC or consoles. The thing is that most people don’t have a dedicated spot to store their headphones, and if they do, it’s not likely to be conveniently accessible. This can be fixed with a dedicated headphone stand.

An under-desk headphone stand is recommended as it doesn’t cut actual workspace. There are many to choose from, but the Anchor by Elevation Lab is the one we recommend. It has a simple design that can be applied via adhesive, or it can be screwed more securely in place depending on your space. It takes up no space on top your desk and it could even be used on a side table or cabinet, depending on your headphones and the actual gaming space.

PlayStation 4 controller charging station

Controller charging stations are a great cheap gift option for gamers because it’s a convenience not many recognize. Though it’s easy enough to just plug a cable into the top of your desired controller, there’s something to be said for putting the controller down for the night and picking it up the next day fully charged without any inconvenience. For those who have a PlayStation 4, this is a great option.

PlayStation 5 controller charging station

The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 use very different controllers with internal batteries. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll need to get completely different charging stations for either PlayStation console’s controllers. Here’s a good choice for the PlayStation 5.

Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S controller charging station

While the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 use completely different controller charging stations, that’s not the case with the Xbox. While they use different controllers, there are many charging stations that offer compatibility with both current-generation Xbox Series X/S controllers and the older Xbox One controllers. That makes this a gift that can last a long while, even if the gamer upgrades their console down the road.

Merch for their favorite series is always a fun, cheap gamer gift idea

Have a son or daughter that’s been playing Pokemon their entire life? Is a birthday coming up for somebody that has been grinding in World of Warcraft for years? Know somebody that plays Minecraft on every piece of hardware they own? 

The biggest properties in gaming almost always have a variety of merch options for fans. That means there are good cheap gift possibilities for gamers of all sorts. Here are some recommendations, but this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.

Pokemon socks

There is a boatload of Pokemon merch to choose from including toys, figures, posters, Blu-rays of the show, hats, and much more. A fun option for everyone that’s a Pokemon fan are some good old fashioned Pokemon socks. These are low-key and fun, and there are many different options to choose from.

Minecraft clothing

Minecraft reached a level of pop culture visibility such that there were entire sections of department stores dedicated to blocky toy swords, foam pickaxes, and other toys related to Minecraft. Those are harder to find these days, but that doesn’t mean that Minecraft has gone away. It still has an enormous player base and a fun graphic tee will likely be a welcome gift for any fan of the game.

World of Warcraft coffee mug

World of Warcraft has an enormous player base and fandom as it approaches its 20th birthday. Plenty of items have been made to commemorate the game including clothes, collectible figurines, and more. A collectible mug is going to get some love and use from any adult or adolescent and this one adorned with the sigil of the Alliance makes for a good gift.

As you can see, there many great cheap gifts for gamers if you know where to look. With the help of this guide, you should be able to find something to please the gamers in your life.

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