Panic Playdate comes with 24 games.

Panic Playdate comes with 24 games. Credit: CBS Interactive

Game consoles, new games and gaming accessories are an easy holiday win. Finding exactly what you want, however, can be trickier.

Yes, the PlayStation 5 from Sony is now easier to buy than at any point in its two-year life span, but you still have to hunt around a bit. The Xbox Series X and Series S are generally easy to get your hands on now, as is the OLED Nintendo Switch. But if the gamer in your life already has their console of choice, or spending five bills on a single gift is a little out of your comfort zone, there are options in the way of accessories that will make their gaming life easier, and probably a lot more fun.

WHAT Xbox Core Wireless Controller

THE COST $49.99

AVAILABLE FROM microsoft.com

The Xbox controller has become the unofficial industry standard. It connects via Bluetooth, so it works on not only Xbox consoles, but also your PC or Mac, iPhone, Android phone or iPad, and even the Apple TV. Since nearly every PC game, and many iOS games, are already mapped to work with this game controller, it's about as close to pick-up-and-play as a gaming accessory can get.

WHAT HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 Gaming Headset

THE COST $49.99

AVAILABLE FROM hyperx.com

This has to be one of the most comfortable gaming headsets for less than $100 that you'll ever clamp over your ears. Among the updates from the previous versions is an expanded frequency response on both ends, an updated headband with rotating earcups, a bendier boom for the mic and a better on-ear volume dial.

WHAT Panic Playdate

THE COST $179

AVAILABLE FROM play.date

The Panic Playdate is tiny, yellow, has a nonbacklit black-and-white screen, and plays its own unique indie games, 24 of which come included with the purchase price. Games are controlled with buttons, a D-pad, and a wacky turning crank that's used in multiple games to good effect. The Playdate's adorable and weird and very experimental feeling, Who knows what future games will arrive, but it's destined to be a collectors’ item for handheld and indie game lovers. It's currently available for pre-order with an estimated ship date of early 2023, but you can print out your receipt and put it in the stocking of your favorite gamer.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: editorial director Dan Ackerman, senior editor Lori Grunin, editor-at-large Scott Stein and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

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