PC manages to be the most, and least enjoyable shopping category. This is largely due to how integrated someone is in a specific ecosystem. Usually players stick with a single brand for gaming hardware, there are requirements for each PC part, even games require knowing what platform they’re on and actually finding codes to begin with. However, there is also a lot to expand on, or ways to improve their experience. To help make it easier, we listed some games worth trying to find, along with a number of accessories that we think really stand out.
PC Holiday Gift Guide 2023
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
While we can’t say we were blown away by Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, it absolutely appealed to a wide number of players. The latest title by From Software saw a massive boost thanks to the success of Elden Ring. It’s great to see so many players try a new experience, and even better to see it resonate with them. Since it’s something of an unusual pick it could really end up being something special.
Remnant 2 is an interesting experience. The so called third-person shooter Soulslike surprised many by how much replayablity it has. In addition to having two main paths, full online co-op, plus alternate choices, there are a ton of secrets. Some of these are incredibly complicated as well. Given the first expansion just released it’s a fantastic time to join the fight.
When Returnal released on PlayStation 5 it was hailed as a breath of fresh air. It might not be the best roguelike, but it is one that won a good number of players over. Best of all, a number of patches address concerns like a lack of saving mid-run. This makes it even easier to get lost in this engaging and surreal adventure.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
It’s amazing how Cyberpunk 2077 went from being something of a cruel joke, to one of the most popular anime to air on Netflix, to having an expansion people swear by. It’s great to see CD Projekt Red ultimately deliver the experience players hoped the original was, and even better to see the DLC not repeat previous mistakes. For these reasons and more it’s absolutely a great time to check out what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer.
Lords of the Fallen
Similar to Lies of P, Lords of the Fallen is a good experience that the developers are committed to making great. These small tweaks continue to refine the experience to the point where it’s one of the best Soulslike games to release this year. And with so much to look forward to, it’s easy to see why some players can’t wait to return.
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is not your typical dungeon crawler. It features a surprisingly deep story that takes some incredible turns if you’re willing to invest the time. I would go so far as to say it was among the best narratives we experienced this year, and one I would suggest to anyone looking to get invested in a truly special experience.
As a big fan of collectibles and functional products, I was surprised I never heard of GravaStar. Instead of trying to make the smallest, best, or cheapest product, they’re committed to making the most interesting version.
Every product on their site has its own charm to it. For example, the image above is one of their speakers with a special edition design. Not only do they focus on eye catching versions, a lot of thought went into them. The aforementioned can be paired for stereo sound over having to choose between look, and functionality. A good number of products are designed to fit a specific theme. In theory your speaker(s), wall charger, and headphones can come together in a unified theme that is sure to bring a smile to someone’s face.
Hand Held Computers
Valve’s Steam Deck gave players the most important gift of all, time. By making it easier to access your collection of Steam games; many players gained the ability to rediscover their joy of gaming. Given some time has passed, Valve is currently clearing out their 64 GB, and 512 GB models. The price of the 64 GB version is actually so low it’s only $50 more than a Nintendo Switch.
Along with phasing some versions out, Valve announced a slightly better OLED version. These models cost a bit more, along with a special edition for anyone looking to go all out.
Not only do these models rival Nintendo’s offerings, a dock can be used to get video to a monitor/projector/TV. Valve actually discounted their official dock to $80, though other options exist. We reviewed Unitek’s sometime back and it worked perfectly with both Steam Deck, and ROG Ally.
Lenovo Legion Go
Steam Deck’s greatest strength is also one of its greatest weaknesses. Valve streamlined the Steam Deck experience so even players uninterested in tinkering with their computer can just download and enjoy supported titles. With some light hacking it’s possible to further increase Steam Decks support, though at point it makes more sense to consider other options.
Joining the ROG Ally with a AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme with RDNA Graphics processor is Lenovo’s Legion Go. While both devices have distinct positive and negative elements, where Legion Go comes out ahead is adopting Switch’s detachable controllers.
Instead of having a literal hand held computer, you can pop the kickstand and play anywhere. It’s a fairly substantial benefit that could come up in any number of situations. Plus, it makes it easier to play without worrying about holding it for an extended period of time. And, even if you don’t see the benefit of these features, they can be ignored.
Usually when you think of a computer it’s a tower, all-in-one, or a laptop. In recent years tablets are becoming increasingly common, as are hand held computers like Stream Deck. However, one of the more interesting options we don’t typically see mentioned are mini PCs.
These little computers easily sit under a monitor, providing direct access to any ports you might need. I’ve actually used my mini PC more than any other Windows device I have because it integrates so well in any set up. Something like this and a portable monitor is a great option for those looking for a low profile set up.
One of the struggles we often mention with upgrading your system is determining what is and is not a good investment. For some, this is going to be a more fun microphone like Razer’s Seirēn series, others Maono’s colorful Gamerwave line, perhaps the clean look of EPOS’ B20, but in PD400X‘s case it’s versatility. With the ability to work as a standard USB microphone, or integrate with an interface is huge for anyone concerned about longevity. This, along with the simpler look, makes it a strong choice that even comes in a number of affordable options.
Maono Maonocaster E2
Maono’s Maonocaster E2 is a massive upgrade over their original, offering impressive value in a small package. It works on the go, with PlayStation 5, pairs perfectly with PD400X, and supports a large number of options. It makes for a fantastic offering for someone that wants to take their streaming game to the next level, but doesn’t want to get into multiple thousand dollar set ups.
Saramonic Blink Me 2
As content creators look to expand they’ll need a wide variety of items to address new concerns. One of the most common is a wireless microphone. This is where Saramonic’s Blink Me comes into play.
The wireless microphone system addresses a number of concerns without sacrificing quality. It includes two transmitters, a receiver, and an amazing carrying case. What we like about this system is how versatile it actually is.
The magnet system allows effortless placement on any garment/bag without risk of damage. Each transmitter also has internal memory for recording, touch screen functionality, and can be controlled with a couple button presses. Best of all, you can use your company logo and give your outlet a more professional look.
Anyone looking to increasing productivity should look no further than Loupedeck. The small tablet like device is designed to give access to various commands in an instant. Besides simply making streaming a lot easier by perhaps adding lighting, or camera controls, it can also boost productivity. This can be zooming in, controlling music, adjusting volume, to countless other benefits. Plus, with the new entry level model and low sale price it was never easier to get the most out of your computer.
Monster Power Grid
There is no denying life is far more complicated in 2023. For some it isn’t enough to go to a coffee shop on a laptop and do their job. This is especially true for streamers who have a lot of demanding products, and endless opportunities to create content. In turn this can make something like Monster’s Power Grid an invaluable product.
The basic idea is to have a portable generator that simply uses power from a home. Think of it as a massive power bank that a laptop, or even TV can be plugged into. Along with aiding content creators, it also helps those who lose power, want to go somewhere where power isn’t guaranteed, or simply jump your car’s dead battery.
There is a lot of debate on the value of blue light blocking glasses. Some people swear by them, others think it’s nonsense, with most companies attempting to solve/mitigate the issue. One of the most common is creating a special pair of glasses.
While this is honestly nothing new, Gunnar has two major things going for them. The first is their Black Friday sale, where prescription glasses are 40 percent off. This includes their Clear, Amber, and Amber Max lens.
Some notable options include their collaboration with Call of Duty, Spider-Man, Assassin’s Creed, and many more. What I like about these options are how fun they can be. I know growing up it was fairly common for kids to hate wearing them, so getting something related to their interest is going to be far more appealing. Even adults will find some of these options really interesting, as they range from juvenile, to rather stylish.
INNOCN Portable Monitor
With the rise of work from home, more advanced setups, and more, a growing number of people are purchasing multiple monitors. Some opt to purchase something simple, others just select the cheapest, though INNOCN’s portable monitors offer versatility and options for only a little more.
Their new line of portable monitors are really something. Instead of relying on a case, or specific attachment, INNCON uses a magnetic kickstand to give you full control over the product. Best of all, these monitors are OLED so you’re not sacrificing picture quality by going with this form factor. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to explore other options since it’s up to 15″ and works with a computer, console, or even something like Steam Deck.
Monoprice makes a good number of helpful products at an affordable price. Many automatically think of their cables, though they also make everything from speakers to furniture. With their new line of CrystalPro monitors they offer a lot of value without asking for much.
In fact, even something like their 27″ CrystalPro monitor boasts 4K visuals, additional USB ports, picture-in-picture, and much more. Just remember their Dark Matter line is made with gamers in mind. These generally have lower resolution, though better refresh rates, so make sure you understand their needs before pulling the trigger.
Maxwell is Audeze’s attempt to correct the mistakes they made with Penrose. The improved headset has turned a number of heads, along with such good buzz Audeze struggles to stock them. Even if you need to deal with backorder to get them they’re an option seriously worth exploring as they’re one of the best gaming headsets currently on the market.
There are a lot of things that makes Sineaptic SE-1 a fantastic gift. For starters, the “AirGuard Packaging” results in much larger packaging than you might think. In fact, it’s so large no one would even suspect they’re headphones inside.
Pranks aside, what makes SE-1 interesting is being the first ribbon driver headphone on the market. Their aim is to capture the same sound profile people of the past loved, which makes it them a great gift for someone older, or looking for something different. They also double as being a really nice pair of headphones be it gaming, music, or watching a movie.
Gaming chairs are a rather divisive subject. Comfort aside, there are a large number of options that are simply not worth the money. Either their build is bad, support terrible, or something else entirely. Where AndaSeat stands out is their overall approach.
Along with a wide range of colors, I love some of their design choices. Perhaps my favorite are the magnetic arm rests. This is one of the most common things to break, and even if the warranty covers it, the whole arm needs to be removed. With these you simply lift up, grab another, and you’re good to go.
Another welcome choice is the magnetic head pillow. The ability to alter the height without worrying about an elastic band, or clasp system, makes it far more usable for taller individuals. I can place the pillow at the top of the chair and it will hold just as well as somewhere a couple inches lower. Plus, there are no concerns if multiple people use the chair. Just adjust as needed without worrying about parts wearing out.
Dreo Wall-Mounted Heater
What we like about Dreo is how robust their line of smart products are. Not only are they easy to pair, something that isn’t always true, it’s a single application to control all of them. They also don’t stop there. Each smart product integrates with Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa set ups to make them extremely easy to control.
We recently reviewed their new wall-mounted heater, which is currently installed in Grant’s office, and it does an amazing job of beating the cold. Not only that, it doubles as a fan for warmer months, making it a great space saving product so you can always play at your best.