What Not to Get a Gamer for Christmas

It's fairly simple to shop for a fan of video games; instructions are included in the hobby's title, after all-just buy them something gaming-related. Unsurprisingly, however, it's not always that simple. Even after accounting for socks and coasters, there are plenty of things that gamers don't want to open up. Here are some of the worst ones.

Gift cards

Although a bit of cash to spend at Best Buy or GameStop sounds promising, this is a serious don't. Gaming, like any hobby, is only as expensive as the individual makes it, meaning it's important to hunt for the best price. And with holiday sales sprouting up everywhere, the retailer you designate may not have the best price on whatever game or merchandise your friend is after. In short, gift cards are limiting and can lead to some reluctant purchases-good deals, sure, but not the best deals. So unless you're willing to research every deal available and interrogate your giftee as to what they're looking for, take the safe route: cash.

Third-party tech

Colorful though it may be, no amount of Mad Catz or other off-brand merch is going to stand up to an official product line. Whether its controllers, cameras, fighting game pads or other peripherals, if it's not coming from a reputable source, it'll probably end up returned-and then put toward an official version of that product. Do yourself a favor and skip that step altogether: Spring for the top-tier gear or, if that's too pricey, aim lower with a game.

"That popular game"

There are two problems with buying someone the big, triple-A title that's plastered all over electronics aisles: They either already have it or don't want to play it. However, the sweet spot of this one is if they're waiting for a price drop on it; if you can get them the game they want early, by all means go for it. And luckily, this fickle situation is easily remedied: Just ask them what they think of the game. It may knock a few surprise points off your gift, but they won't like the game any less...

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