Black Friday 2020: Everything we recommend this holiday


I find it … discomforting … to write “Happy Holidays” in 2020. Will they be happy? I hope so. But with the coronavirus pandemic raging harder than at any point so far in the United States, and as other nations hit their second waves, I do want to find some way to spread some holiday cheer. And one way to do so is for me and my fellow GamesBeat staffers to share some items we think may make your holidays-at-home as enjoyable as possible.

But if you can afford to shop this holiday, please, consider making donations to charities such as Toys for Tots and your local food bank. Millions in our country are having a hard time make ends meet because of the pandemic and the lack of relief from the federal government, and they can use the help.

Thank you — Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

This is the first time that Dean has written a gift guide, and he decided to zero-in on presents that should make staying-at-home easier. Of course, it may be difficult to find a PlayStation 5 or Xbox One X/S out in the wild, but he has a lot of other good books, games, and other gear.

Folks have been spending the pandemic staying home and playing more video games, and of course, some are streaming their experiences on Twitch and YouTube. It’s a good way to make games more social, especially single-player affairs like Demon’s Souls. But it’s also a way to make a little extra bread. Our Jeff Grubb knows a lot about good gear to help you do this.

Now is a good time to upgrade your gaming rigs. Many retailers cut prices for the holidays, and new chips and video cards mean reductions for older tech that may still be hot stuff. PC parts are one of Jeff’s specialties, and he’s assembled a shopping list with tech that should fit a variety of budgets.

Congrats! You got a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S. Now, what are some good accessories to make your gaming experience even better. Looking for a new headset? A way to play new Xbox games on a mobile device … with a good controller? Or are you like me and using these as media boxes as well and need a remote? As Jeff would say, “Let’s get to it.”

Despite the launches of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S, the Nintendo Switch remains the hot console for 2020. The Switch will always have two strengths that Sony and Microsoft lack: Nintendo’s excellent first-party games, and the capability to play on the TV and on the go, without needing a cloud solution or other tech magic. The Switch also has a fantastic slate of indie games, and it’s my favorite console for role-playing games (seriously, get Dragon Quest XI’s definitive edition if you haven’t played it yet).

So, you’ve got a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, and you want a snazzy 4K TV to get the most out of these new consoles. But it can be confusing to find the right set, especially if you’re not in a showroom to see how it looks (either because you have none around you, or you’re staying home and being safe during the pandemic). We have some good suggestions that should help you get the most visual bling out of the new consoles.

One of my favorite parts of our gift guide is Mike’s ideas for those who love retro games. This year, he catalogs items like gear to make your old games look better, some cools books, one of my favorite retro controllers, and even a new game about an old game.

Our final guide is mine. I take a different approach; I like finding things that may appeal to fans of video games but aren’t video games. I’ve got fun coffee and tasty beer, books and board games, and recipe books that should give y’all something new to cook or bake (I assume we’re all still cooking far more than we did before the pandemic).

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