The Best Gaming Gifts to Buy This Year, According to Three Professional Gamers

Gaming Gift Guide
Pearce: Alanah Pearce Products: Amazon

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From sound engineers and screenwriters to celebrity makeup artists and stylists, Variety’s new series “Ask an Insider,” will ask top professionals within the entertainment industry to share their must-have essentials, for work… and for play. In this installment, three professional gamers (Alanah Pearce, Michael Jones, and ZLaner) share their favorite gaming gear that make for the perfect gift for the video game lovers in your life this holiday season.

New gear like headsets or hand-held controllers can make a world of a difference for serious gamers, whose every minute move can mean life or death (literally) on the pixelated world in front of them.

And with the amount of fun gadgets that exist nowadays, there’s never been a better time to be a gamer. From VR headsets to phone-connected controllers, gaming is lot more immersive, fun and, yes, addicting, than just a few years ago. But if you’re a non-gamer looking for the best gear and tech to gift the discerning gamer in your life, you might not know where to start, which is exactly why Variety employed some of the biggest online gamers to talk about their top gadget recommendations for you to gift this year, from wireless controllers and over-ear headsets, to Nintendo Switch and VR games.

Below, three professional gamers Michael Jones, Alanah Pearce and ZLaner give their top recommendations.

XBox Elite Wireless Wireless Controller Series 2 (20% Off)

Courtesy of Amazon

“The Elite is hands down my favorite gaming controller on the market for Xbox and PC. I love it because it has comfortable grips, loads of customization like multiple button mapping profiles, swappable analog sticks and adjustable tension to tighten or loosen controls depending on your preference. It also includes an internal rechargeable battery and comes with a magnetic charging station to rest it on so you’re always juiced and ready to go.”

– Michael Jones (Member of Rooster Teeth’s “Achievement Hunter”)

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 $392.00


Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller

Courtesy of Amazon

“I still can’t believe how much I use my Backbone – it’s a game changer. This controller (which comes with an app), connects to your phone and, from there, you can stream games from your home console, from anywhere. I could be in an entirely different state and still connect to my console via WiFi, though I most often use it while I’m sitting on the couch while my partner is watching TV. I love this thing, it means I don’t have to stop whatever game I’m playing just because I stepped away from my home setup.”

– Alanah Pearce (Video game writer at Santa Monica Studio, Twitch Streamer)

Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller $99.98


Scuf Infinity4PS Pro Black

Courtesy of Scuf

“Something that’s super important, not just in ‘Call of Duty’ but many games, is always keeping your thumbs on those thumb sticks. And, when you’re not using a Scuf, it’s very, very hard to do that, given you have to take your thumb off to be able to press the other buttons. With a Scuf, you’ve got these paddles on the back of the controller that can have any button remapped to so you don’t have to take your thumbs off the thumb sticks. You can be focused on aiming, you can be focused on running and moving, super important. Other than that, aesthetically, the controllers are awesome because they have tons of customizable options.”
– ZLaner (Pro Warzone Player, Content Creator for OpTic Gaming)

Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset

Courtesy of Amazon

“My favorite headset at the moment and the one I’ve been rocking over the last two years is the Logitech G PRO Gaming Headset. There are three things I look for when I’m trying to figure out if I like a new headset. One, and obviously the most important of all, is audio quality. This checks for the Logitech G Pro. Secondly, does it look good? Does it look sleek? The Logitech is 100% one of the best-looking headsets on the market. Last but not least, is it comfortable to wear? I live stream for many, many long hours about every single day. I need to be able to wear something that doesn’t hurt my ears, especially since I wear glasses. It’s a very comfortable headset.”

– ZLaner (Pro Warzone Player, Content Creator for OpTic Gaming)

Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset $129.99  $89.00

Astro Gaming A40 TR X-Edition Headset

Courtesy of Amazon

“In a world with an endless amount of headset options I’ve come to find myself never straying far from the Astro A40s. If you prefer over-ear headphones for gaming, these do it very well. Great sound quality, adjustable to fit the small head of a child or the largest of domes and incredibly comfortable to wear for hours at a time without feeling like your head is in a vice. Plug in the attachable microphone and this headset fits your gaming needs out of the box.”

–  Michael Jones (Member of Rooster Teeth’s “Achievement Hunter”)

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition Headset $228.24

Oculus Quest 2

Courtesy of Amazon

“I feel like I recommend this thing too much, but I absolutely adore the Oculus Quest 2. It is fully wireless VR gaming, and I use mine almost every single day. I mostly use VR to workout – using apps like Supernatural VR and BeatSaber to get a tough (but fun!) full-body workout in absolutely any space, but it also comes with a whole wad of fun games. ‘Half-Life: Alyx’  is incredible, and right now I’m playing through ‘Resident Evil 4’ VR, giving the classic game a whole new perspective. The downside here, for a lot of people, is that it does require a Facebook account, but I think it’s worth it.”

– Alanah Pearce (Video game writer at Santa Monica Studio, Twitch Streamer)

Oculus Quest 2 $399.00

‘Mario Party Superstars’

Courtesy of Amazon

“As a millennial, this one is near and dear to my heart. Countless weekends and summers just absolutely ruining friendships in Mario Party was what being a teenager was all about. Mario Party Superstars for the Nintendo Switch brings it all back in glorious 2021 fashion. Updated graphics, five classic game boards from Mario Party 1-3, 100 mini-games from throughout the series and online gameplay guarantees you’ll feel like a kid again and question how much you actually enjoy the people you’re playing with. This is not for the faint of heart.”

– Michael Jones (Member of Rooster Teeth’s “Achievement Hunter”)

Mario Party Superstars $59.99  $52.50


‘Call of Duty: Warzone’

Courtesy of Amazon

“The game itself is absolutely phenomenal. BR’s (Battle Royales) is a huge genre at the moment and War Zone is killing it in that aspect. They have had issues with hackers and cheaters over the last year and a half absolutely plagued the game, but with their new release of “Call of Duty: Vanguard” coming soon, they’re having an anti-cheat implemented called Ricochet that’s definitely going to make everything more incredible, on top of a new map, and new weapons. It’s just the hottest thing out right now.”
– ZLaner (Pro Warzone Player, Content Creator for OpTic Gaming)

Call of Duty: Warzone $99.99


Courtesy of Devolver Digital

“I don’t think ‘Inscryption,’ the Devolver Digital game that launched a couple of weeks ago, is for everyone. But just in case you are one of the people who will like it, I’d be remiss not to recommend it to you. What initially starts out as a digital Magic the Gathering-style card game becomes something much spookier, more unexpected, more twisted and tense. It’s haunting and threatening in fascinating ways, and manages to evoke a whole lot of unsettling vibes even though it isn’t a graphical masterpiece. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens because it’s that good, but I will say that if you aren’t put off by a pixelated art style or the premise of a virtual card game, there’s a good chance you’ll love it.”

– Alanah Pearce (Video game writer at Santa Monica Studio, Twitch Streamer)