Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Table of Contents


Playstation 4
This section authored by Phil Owen

The console makers have made a habit of releasing the biggest new pieces of hardware near the holidays because of how said holidays drive sales, and here we are again, with Sony launching the PS4 on November 15. There are many things to consider when shopping for a PS4 and PS4-specific items — all of which are expected to be in high demand through the end of the year and beyond – and we hit them all below.


PS4 system

Price: $399
Buy It From: Wherever you can find it


It’s impossible to say exactly what availability of the PS4 — which sold out pre-order allotments well ahead of launch — will be a month from now; the PS3 sold out at its launch seven years ago this month but it wasn’t too difficult to get one before Christmas rolled around. The best way to find out when and where the new console can be purchased is to follow @cheapassgamer on Twitter, as that community keeps a close eye on these things.

The basic PS4 package includes a power cable, a DualShock 4 gamepad, an HDMI cable, a one-month PlayStation Plus membership that is required to play games online, $10 in PlayStation Store credit and a one-month membership in Music Unlimited.


DualShock 4 controller

Price: $59
Buy It From: Amazon


The base PS4 package only includes a single controller, and that just isn’t going to cut it in the long run. At launch there will be a number of games that support local multiplayer — Knack, Resogun, FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K14 and NBA Live — and many, many more will release over the life of the console. And extra controller is going to be necessary for most folks. The DualShock 4 also works with some PS3 games when connected via USB to that console, and will eventually be supported as a controller for PC.


PlayStation Camera

Price: $59
Buy It From: Amazon


While the PS Camera doesn’t have all the neat functionality of the Xbox One’s included Kinect sensor, you can use it to issue voice commands to navigate the PS4’s operation system, and it can log you into your PSN account by recognizing your face, and other various things. All PS4 systems also come pre-loaded with something called The Playroom that exists to show off the Camera’s various abilities. This isn’t quite a “necessary” peripheral at launch, but as with every other piece of gaming hardware we buy the Camera is a long-term investment.


Killzone: Shadowfall

Price: $59.99
Buy It For: Anybody interested in stories about class warfare, or who thinks “next-gen” means “pretty,” or who just likes shooting people online.
Buy It From: Amazon
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Genre: First-person Shooter
ESRB: M


The fourth console-based Killzone title is the only shooter game being released this year that is exclusive to next-gen hardware — unlike Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 – and it’s only on PS4. Killzone 3 on PS3 saw the end of the conflict known as the Vekta war, and Shadow Fall being set 30 years later at the verge of a new war between Vektans and the Helghast means it works as a good spot to jump into the series (which is why they dubbed it Shadow Fall rather than Killzone 4). Shadow Fall is also multiplayer-heavy, and it’s an excellent demonstration of the leap in graphical fidelity from the old generation to the new one.


Knack

Price: $59.99
Buy It For: The person whose PS4 you’d like to play; somebody who wants something that’s OK to play with the kids
Buy It From: Amazon
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Japan Studios
Genre: Platformer
ESRB: E


Knack is another PS4-exclusive retail title, and it’s more family-oriented than Killzone is. It also serves as a demonstration of the PS4’s capabilities, but with more of an emphasis on physics reactions and particles than the more apparent wow factor of higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing (though it does have those things as well). That family bent also means it’s a game you play with others who are in the same room with you.


PlayStation Plus membership

Price: $18 for 90 days and $50 for a year
Buy It From: Amazon


Unlike the PS3, online gaming will come with a fee on PS4, represented by a paid PlayStation Plus subscription. The Plus membership does come with other very tangible benefits, however, as maintaining it grants you access to free games across the PS4, PS3 and Vita. At the console’s launch, Sony’s Resogun and indie platformer Contrast will be included with Plus, and more titles will be added each month. When Sony’s next-gen racer DriveClub is released in the spring, there will be a special scaled down “PlayStation Plus Edition” of the game available free to subscribers as well. You do not need Plus in order to use non-gaming entertainment features of the PS4 like Netflix streaming or NHL Gamecenter.


PlayStation Store gift cards

Price: $10, $20 or $50 increments
Buy It From: Amazon


There will be many reasons to spend PlayStation money on the PS4 from the first day it’s released, as the platform will host a number of free-to-play online games that are supported by microtransactions, such as DC Universe Online and Warframe. And if your gift recipient owns Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 or Assassin’s Creed IV on PS3, then they can upgrade to the PS4 versions of those games for $10 via the PlayStation Store.


PS Vita

Price: $199
Buy It From: Amazon


Sony always planned for the Vita to serve as a companion device to the PS4. Some PS4 games will allow for the Vita to be used as a controller, and most will allow for remote streaming to the Vita, making it possible to play those games away from your TV. And if you don’t have an iOS devices or Android one that supports Google Play (like the Kindle Fire) but would like to use the second-screen functions that PS4 games will support, the Vita can do that as well. Last year, Amazon knocked $70 off the price of the Vita and threw in some free extra goodies for Black Friday, so be sure to watch out for deals that weekend. A regular priced Vita bundle from Amazon includes a 4gb memory card and a voucher for season 1 of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games.

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1 Comment on Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

AxΣtwin

On November 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

I just want to say, your PC components section is the whole reason why people think PC’s are several hundreds of dollars more expensive than they need to be.