2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Top Recommended Video Games & Tech

Top Recommended Video Games and Tech Peripherals (Holiday Gift Guide 2015)

We asked some of the biggest video game publishers and hardware manufactures to share with us what games and items (newly released in 2015) that they'd recommend to gamers and tech enthusiasts for the holiday season and each was allowed to submit one item. Looking for gift ideas to take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday deals? We've got you covered.

This list includes the single most recommended game from industry leading publishers, a variety of peripherals for home consoles and PC gamers, and a variety of other home entertainment tech for casual consumers all the way up to the hardcore tech enthusiasts in your life.

24 Nintendo - Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for Wii U

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash Wii U Cover
  • Price: $49.99
  • Developer: Camelot Software Planning
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Official Website

Nintendo's 2015 holiday gift guide recommendation is one of their latest Wii U exclusive first party games, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for Wii U.

Compete with friends in the multiplayer Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash game on the Wii U system. Along with the fun and dynamic gameplay known to the franchise, surprise your opponents with a new move to the series, the Jumpshot, which sends the ball flying down the court. Change the sport up with new Mega Battles, using the Mega Mushroom to gain an advantage over the competition. Claim your spot in Mario Tennis lore in singles (1v1) or doubles (2v2) as you play with and against family, friends or the CPU using returning and new characters to the series.

23 Sony - Star Wars Battlefront PlayStation 4 Bundle

Star Wars Battlefront PS4 Bundle
  • Price: $350
  • Developer: DICE
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Hardware: Sony
  • Official Website

When we spoke with PlayStation about what item they wanted to highlight for the holiday season, it didn't involve an exclusive game. They want to move consoles and take advantage of the popularity of Star Wars Battlefront and the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in theaters.

The force is strong with the STAR WARS™ PlayStation®4 Bundle. Score some major holiday points with this epic PS4-exclusive collector’s edition, featuring a fully customized console and DualShock®4 wireless controller inspired by Darth Vader, and a voucher offering four Star Wars Classics. Available November 17, 2015, price $469.99.

The bundle is on sale this week for the holidays if you act quickly! Click here for more.

22 Activision - Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Logo

This year's Call of Duty title is the biggest entertainment launch of the year (pre-Star Wars, anyway) and if you or you or your friend hasn't yet picked up the futuristic shooter but is a fan of the series, it's a must-play over the holidays (available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One - PS3/X360 versions do not feature campaign).

Call of Duty: Black Ops III propels players forward to a future world dominated by cutting-edge technology, where bio-technology and cybernetic enhancements have given rise to a new breed of Black Ops soldier.  In true Black Ops fashion, the operator of 2065, armed with an array of high-tech weaponry and powerful bio-technical abilities, is equipped to take on enemies, human and mechanical, through an adrenaline-filled narrative on next gen platforms that can be played solo or co-operatively with up to four players.  The storytellers at Treyarch have pulled out all the stops in their twisted and dark take on the future - informed and inspired by scientific discoveries and advances of today.

21 Disney Interactive - Disney Infinity 3.0: STAR WARS PlayStation 4 Bundle

Star Wars Disney Infinity 3 PS4 Bundle
  • Price: $399.99
  • Developer: Avalanche Software
  • Publisher: Disney Interactive
  • Official Website

Sony PlayStation wanted to promote Star Wars with their exclusive bundles and controllers, and so to is Disney Interactive using their flagship brand to target gamers over the holiday. When we spoke with Disney, we knew the family friendly toys-to-life title Disney Infinity 3.0 would be something they wanted to chat about, but they want to help their partners are Sony as well.

If you want to forever be known to as ‘the best gift-giver ever’ pick up the Disney Infinity 3.0: STAR WARS™ 500GB Bundle. Boasting a Darth Vader inspired PS4 and DualShock®4 controller, exclusive Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Edition Bundle Kit, and a voucher containing four Star Wars Classics, this gift will provide a holiday season full of endless adventure.

20 Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Assassins Creed Syndicate Sales Unity

Winner of many awards in 2015 including Canadian-made game of the year, Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a return to form for the long-running open-world action series. Read our review for more details on the London-set adventure which Ubisoft chose to promote over newer release Rainbow Six Siege. And we're not surprised given that Ubisoft Motion Pictures is currently producing the live-action Assassin's Creed feature film starring Michael Fassbender.

Set in London during the height of the Industrial Revolution, players will step into the shoes of twin Master Assassins, Jacob and Evie Frye. Fighting to liberate London, Jacob and Evie will take over London one borough at a time with their gang in an adventure filled with action, intrigue and brutal combat.

19 Konami - Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid V

One of the most talked about, and unfortunately controversial games of the year due to behind-the-scenes happenings at Konami and the shutdown of legendary developer Kojima and his studio, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a massive must-play game.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is the series’ largest and most ambitious edition to date, expanding upon themes and content seen in its predecessor: METAL GEAR SOLID: GROUND ZEROES. Set within huge open-world environments, METAL GEAR SOLID: THE PHANTOM PAIN is brought to vivid life with realistic weather patterns and day/night cycles. Thus, players can adapt their tactics to match the changing environment, creating an intuitive and non-linear gameplay experience. Similarly, a host of acclaimed METAL GEAR SOLID features return in hugely advanced forms, including expanded CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) skills, vastly improved enemy AI, online elements that complement the single player campaign, and an all-new version of METAL GEAR ONLINE, a competitive multiplayer mode, included within the main game.

18 Square Enix - Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3 Review
  • Price: $59.99
  • Developer: Avalanche Studios
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Official Website

Just Cause 3 may be the biggest game of the year if we're specifically referring to digital environments. The long-awaited three-quel to Rico Rogriguez's high-flying adventures brings the action star back to his fictional homeland to overthrow a dictator whose tyranny spreads over a map that's 400 square miles large.

The Mediterranean republic of Medici is suffering under the brutal control of General Di Ravello, a dictator with an insatiable appetite for power. Enter Rico Rodriguez, a man on a mission to destroy the General’s hold on power by any means necessary. With over 400 square miles of complete freedom from sky to seabed and a huge arsenal of weaponry, gadgets and vehicles, JUST CAUSE 3 allows you to unleash chaos in the most creative and explosive ways imaginable.

17 Electronic Arts - Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront (2015) Cover

EA had a challenging time picking just one product from 2015 to suggest as their top recommendation but with Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the way, they had to go with Star Wars Battlefront (available on PC, PS4, Xbox One), the long-awaited reboot of the classic Battlefront shooter series. This one is focuses strictly on the multiplayer side of things and using vehicles, weapons, scenarios and locations from the original Star Wars movie trilogy.

In Star Wars Battlefront, fans can expect a range of authentic experiences while fighting for the Empire or the Rebellion as Rebel or Imperial troopers including: a wide range of Star Wars weaponry like the iconic blaster; riding speeder bikes and snowspeeders; commanding AT-ATs; and piloting TIE fighters and the Millennium Falcon. Battles take place on some of the most iconic planets in the Star Wars universe, including Endor, Hoth, Tatooine and the previously unexplored planet, Sullust. Gamers will be able to play as some of the most unforgettable characters in the original trilogy, including Darth Vader, Leia Organa and Boba Fett. Star Wars Battlefront will also feature a wide range of modes tailored for different types of battles, from larger 40-person competitive multiplayer modes to crafted missions that are played either solo, with a friend via split-screen offline, or co-operatively online.

16 Blue Microphones - Yeti

Blue Microphones Yeti Blackout and Whiteout

Several members of our team use items from Blue Microphones and when we asked what new 2015 products podcasters, YouTubers and live streamers should keep an eye out for, the spotlight was placed on the Blackout Yeti & Whiteout Yeti, adding sleek, new all-black and all-white styles to Blue’s award-winning Yeti USB mic family.

As a favorite mic among gamers & Twitch streamers, Yeti features important direct controls including microphone gain for controlling the mic’s sensitivity so you aren’t bringing all your room noise into the game, along with a built-in headphone jack, control for headphone volume and an instant mute button for when you have to sneeze or you’re dealing with GF aggro. Featuring driverless installation, Yeti works with both PC and Mac. For console play, Yet plugs directly into PlayStation and for Xbox you can use a game capture device from Hauppauge or Elgato.

Create unparalleled recordings with your computer using Blue's best-selling Yeti family of USB microphones. Yeti is a versatile multi-pattern USB mic featuring three of Blue’s premium condenser capsules allowing it to offer four recording patterns offering incredible flexibility so you can record vocals, instrumental music, podcasts, audio for video, interviews, or even cryptozoology lectures in ways that would normally require multiple microphones.  Yeti features studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute and microphone gain—putting you in charge of every level of the recording process.

15 Saitek - X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. System

With free-to-play flying games like World of War planes and War Thunder taking more gamers to the skies and Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen bringing space sims back in a huge way, PC gamers need the right gear to feel the immersion (which already extends to VR for many of these titles). Saitek's recommendation for the PC pilot in your life is the X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. system which includes an advanced joystick and throttle controls with plenty of customizable options and controls for your ultimate in-cockpit flight experience.

The X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. System for PC is ready for the U.S. and Canada! The Rhino features brand new, fully programmable drivers, enhanced 16-bit hall-effect sensors in the axis, swappable springs for the joystick so you can dial in your preferred stick tension, twin lockable throttles and a friction adjustment that can be set on the fly. The throttle and stick have their own dedicated USB allowing more freedom of customization and compatibility with some of your favorite classic games.

14 Mad Catz - F.R.E.Q. 7.1

Mad Catz FREQ 7.1 TE

Need a gaming headset that works for PC as well as consoles? How about a headset that functions in LAN and tournament environments and can take smartphone calls? Mad Catz' F.R.E.Q.TE 7.1 might be for you. It uses a 3.5mm cable that plugs directly into your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller and features dual microphones that help cancel out ambient noise in loud environments along with noise isolating earcups.

Mad Catz’ F.R.E.Q.TE 7.1 continues to uphold the same exacting standards as our award-winning R.A.T. high-performance gaming mice. Lightweight components are fully adjustable for a custom fit, yet strong enough to withstand the extreme stress of tournament play. Made to work seamlessly with other TE range products – S.T.R.I.K.E.TE keyboard, R.A.T.TE and M.M.O.TE mice, G.L.I.D.E.TE mouse pad – giving you all the tools you need to crush the competition.

13 Afterglow - AG 9 Premium Wireless Headset

Afterglow AG 9 Premium Wireless Headset

The AG 9 is a premium wireless headset available for PlayStation 4 or officially licensed by Microsoft for Xbox One from PDP, the #1 third party manufacturer of video game accessories. With no wires to the controller or console, gamers can enjoy a hassle-free and fully wireless experience with the included USB transmitter. Containing powerful 50mm Neodymium drivers, the headset offers two distinct audio modes: Pure Audio and Bass Boost. The flexible and removable boom microphone with noise and echo canceling technology allows for crystal clear communication for online play. Designed with comfort in mind, the split headband design and extra plush ear cup pads reduce pressure and fatigue during long gaming sessions. Enjoy the signature blue Afterglow lighting or switch to blackout mode to admire the headset's hi-tech circuitry.

12 Rock Candy - PC Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

Rockcandy Keyboard and Mouse

Color is expression with the Rock Candy Wireless Keyboards and Wireless Mice. Escape from dull and uninspired choices and express your inner personality to the world. Choose from a variety of color choices ((Pink Palooza, Lalalime, Blueberry Boom, Cosmoberry)) for a more personalized experience.

Personalize and energize your desktop with the Rock Candy Wireless Keyboard and Mouse. Featuring a waterproof and washable design, transparent colored and highly durable housing, rounded keycaps, and a USB receiver shareable with the Rock Candy Wireless Mouse, this PC and Mac compatible keyboard is designed for fun.

11 ASTRO Gaming  - A40 Tournament Ready Headset

ASTRO offers a small number of premium, high-quality gaming headsets, and finds success in its eSports appeal, branded variants of its product lines and continuous improvements to their tech. As a major expansion to their family of award-winning heads, ASTRO launched its new Tournament Ready (TR) series of gaming audio products. If there's a hardcore gamer, a Call of Duty fantatic, or tech enthusiast you're shopping for this holiday...

The ASTRO Gaming TR lineup includes a redesigned ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Headset that enables this award-winning product to be compatible with the studio’s new ASTRO Gaming Mod Kits, a collection of interchangeable parts that enable the headset to adapt to any gaming environment.  In addition, ASTRO has delivered exciting improvements to the ASTRO GamingMixAmp™ Pro TR making it an essential piece of gaming hardware for pro players, serious gamers and livestreamers alike.

10 Polk Audio - Magnifi One Home Theater Sound Bar

Polk Magnifi One

Desire epic sound for your television, home theater, or video gaming needs but want to avoid the hassle of wiring through the walls and setting up complicated multi-speaker layouts in your entertainment area? The Magnifi One is for you, combing ease with impressive sound quality. It's the quickest to setup soundbar and subwoofer combo on the market. Plug the soundbar into your TV via digital optical cable, plug it in. Plug in the subwoofer and... that's it.

This sound bar features Polk’s exclusive dialogue-enhancing VoiceAdjust Technology—delivering remarkably clear and crisp vocal details—with an ultra-low profile that delivers an immersive audio experience no matter what room it’s in. Plus, you get modes for movies, music and sports that optimize the MagniFi One’s audio performance at the push of a button.

Its Bluetooth wireless technology also lets you stream all of the sounds you love from your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device. Add to that the included 7” compact wireless subwoofer, and you get a next-level sound bar system that’s engineered and designed to delight and amaze—minus clutter, cables and installation hassles. Compatible with all major TV brands, go with the MagniFi One and elevate home theater audio and music to new heights.

9 Turtle Beach - Ear Force Stealth 420X

The Ear Force Stealth 420X is the third fully wireless gaming headset for Xbox One from Turtle Beach. There are a handful of other competitors out there who have wireless gaming headsets for Xbox One, but when they say “wireless” they are only talking about in-game audio and not chat audio. For chat audio, they still require a cable going from the headset to the controller. Turtle Beach's Xbox One (and PS4 for that matter) gaming headsets are fully wireless for both game AND chat audio, so no wires at all.

8 Razer Mamba Tournament Edition

Razer Mamba Tournament Edition

The Razer Mamba was originally released six years ago, and comes back year after year as a gold standard in high performance, high precision mouse design. The latest wired version is specifically designed for eSports athletes. Featuring the same precise gaming mouse sensor, ergonomic form factor, and advanced Chroma customizable lighting as the wireless Razer Mamba, the Razer Mamba Tournament Edition embodies the absolute best elements an eSports athlete needs to dominate in any tournament.

Razer’s latest gaming mouse also features the patent pending, revolutionary Adjustable Click Force Technology. One of the most important facets of a gaming mouse is the click force – and in the past, gamers have had to adapt to a mouse’s click force or be compelled to search through a multitude of mice and switches to find the perfect mouse button click force. With the new Adjustable Click Force Technology, instead of having to adapt to a mouse’s set click force, this revolutionary feature allows gamers to freely adjust the level of click force needed to activate the left and right mouse buttons, from distinct clicks for high accuracy actions such as sniping in FPS games to lighter presses for rapid fire action needed for MOBA games. The Razer Mamba’s Adjustable Click Force Technology is capable of up to 504° turn, providing users with a total of 14 distinct choices to set their signature click feel for a more personalized gameplay.

Razer Mamba Tournament Edition:

  • 16,000 DPI 5G laser sensor
  • 210 inches per second / 50 G acceleration
  • 9 programmable buttons including the tilt-click scroll wheel
  • Chroma lighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 2.13 m / 7 ft. lightweight, braided fiber cable
  • Approximate size: 128 mm / 5 in. (Length) x 70 mm / 2.76 in. (Width) x  42.5 mm / 1.67 in. (Height)
  • Approximate weight: 133 g / 0.29 lbs. (with cable)

7 Logitech - Artemis Spectrum

G933 Artemis Spectrum 7.1 Surround Sound Wireless Gaming Headset is a premium comfort gaming headset, featuring customizable colors, advanced Pro-G™ audio drivers for high quality sound, customizable buttons and sound profiles.

G933 Artemis Spectrum works with PC, mobile, home theater devices, and game consoles, including PS4 and Xbox One. One headset for all your devices lets you take G933 Artemis Spectrum from your gaming rig to your gaming console and your mobile devices. You can even connect your home theater to the USB-powered wireless mix adapter and listen to TV shows, music, or movies wirelessly without disturbing the people in your home.

6 MSI  - GS40 Phantom

MSI GS40 Phantom Gaming Laptop

MSI's CEO recommended to us the GS40 Phantom gaming laptop, a mobile machine with the power of an impressive desktop rig for the PC gamer on the go in your life. The Phantom features a keyboard made by SteelSeries, comes loaded with Windows 10 and a one-year subscription to Xsplit live broadcasting software for streamers. It can even handle dual 4K monitors.

  • Designed for mobile gamers who refuse to compromise on performance
  • MSI’s newest gaming laptop weighs only 3.75 lbs. and measures less than 0.87 inches thick
  • Equipped with Intel’s 6th Generation Core™ i7 processor, NVIDIA GTX 970M GPU, and a variety of high-tech components, including PCI-E Gen3X4 SSD, DDR4 Memory, Super Port, Killer Shield and Killer Double Pro, ESS Sabre HiFi Audio Dac, SteelSeries Gaming keyboard and more.
  • The GS40 Phantom is a breakthrough in design that combines the power of bigger gaming laptops with the portability of a netbook.

5 Maingear VYBE

Looking for an affordable desktop gaming PC? Maingear has you covered this holiday with the VYBE starting as low as $999.99 with modern aesthetics, versatile build options, quality craftsmanship, and the performance you’ve come to expect from MAINGEAR. Designed for longevity, maximum upgrade capabilities, and featuring the cooling necessary for even the most hardcore configurations, the VYBE is everything you’d want out of a system designed purely for gaming, and all at a price that’s attainable for all gamers.

4 VUZIX -  iWear

Vuzix iWear Video Headphones

Paul Tavers, President and CEO of Vuzix, recommends the iWear® Video Headphones for our holiday gift guide for the super tech enthusiasts and testers. These are high-end video headphones with dual HD display delivers immersive mobile wearable video and gaming experience.

  • Equivalent to a 130” home theatre screen viewed from 10 feet away
  • Compatible with 3D Blu-ray players, tablets, console systems, PC, and mobile phones
  • Supports 2D & 3D video and Virtual Reality for a wide range of content options
  • 16:9 or 4:3 screen format for the most versatile video eyewear experience to date
  • Compact, lightweight and sleek for utmost comfort and style

3 SteelSeries - Siberia 200

SteelSeries Siberia 200 Headset

Available in 7 different colors, the brand new Siberia 200 units are the more affordable mid-range gaming headsets joining the 10-years-running Siberia lineup, known as some of the most comfortable headsets on the market. The 200s feature the Siberia's signature padded earcups, retractable mic, 50MM drivers, and flexible suspension headband to avoid the feeling of weight on your neck and head.

The Siberia 200 gaming headset combines the comfort and sound of the best-selling Siberia V2 with quality updates, reclaiming its title as the best gaming headset in eSports and PC gaming.

2 Corsair - STRAFE RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard


Corsair's entry into our holiday gamer tech gift guide is the new STRAFE RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, a good choice for PC gamers look for a tough, customizable, light-up keyboard. It's a brand new keyboard design from Corsair and is the only keyboard to feature the Cherry silent keys.

  • 100% Cherry MX Silent mechanical gaming keys for ultra-quiet gaming with exclusive patented noise reduction technology
  • Multi-color dynamic backlighting for unmatched game customization
  • Fully programmable - assign macros to any key
  • USB pass-through port for easy connections
  • Detachable soft-touch wrist rest for long lasting comfort
  • CUE Link connects your Corsair RGB keyboard, mouse, and headset for the ultimate lighting experience
  • Textured and contoured FPS/MOBA keycap sets
  • 100% anti-ghosting with 104 key rollover on USB
  • Enhanced easy-access multimedia controls

1 Merge VR

Merge VR

Virtual reality has arrived - and it's not in back of a special effects studio, it's on the smartphone already in your pocket! Hundreds of games, videos and virtual experiences are already available, and next year thousands more will launch (list of VR content, including movies, found here). Just in time for this holiday season, and way before the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR headsets hit the consumer markets, Merge VR has just launched as a competitor to Samsung Gear VR and aims to transform your smartphone into a fully-immersive, interactive dream world that responds to your movement and touch.

What's special about Merge VR?

  • Virtual reality made simple -- Merge VR works instantly. You can be immersed in a virtual reality experience in just moments
  • Any phone, any face -- Merge VR works with nearly all iOS and Android devices from the last two years, and has adjustable lenses and straps for customizable viewing
  • Built for everyday life -- Merge VR is made of rugged foam so it can be tossed in your bag, taken on the go, and shared among friends
  • Dual input buttons -- Merge VR is the only mobile VR headset featuring two built-in control buttons, creating more options for interacting with the virtual environment
  • Premier quality, affordable price -- Merge VR is the most comfortable mobile VR headset on the market, built from comfortable, durable materials that are easy to clean
  • A true virtual reality experience -- Merge VR brings to life today's mobile virtual reality content with lightweight comfort, durable quality and unique adjustability

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