How to Give the Gift of a Digital Game

So you want to give the gift of a digital game to your kid this Christmas. Well that’s awesome! There are many great games that are available only through digital download. My two favorites from this year are Slime Rancher and Hob. There are also several expansion packs for games on my list of favorite games from this year. Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Horizon Zero Dawn all have expansions. But how do you give a gift that you can’t place under the tree? Don’t worry. We’ve got a guide to help you with your gift.

How to Give the Gift of a Digital Game

**The sooner you can start this process the better. Servers usually crash on Christmas day from the amount of people downloading console and game updates. Start downloading digital gifts as soon as possible.**

  1. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy the digital game before your kiddo bean goes to bed, unless you restrict access to the gaming systems before then. If you buy any digital downloads while the receiver of your gift can still use the consoles, it WILL show up as an available game to play, thereby spoiling the surprise. If you’re buying a Steam game, be careful to make sure they cannot check their emails so they don’t receive a “you’ve been given a gift” notification.
  2. Make sure you check the amount of storage space required by the game before you download. You don’t want to get stuck needing an external hard drive or MicroSD Card after all the stores have closed.
  3. Check to see if your kid’s new game has any subscription requirements. If it has those, you might want to go ahead and pay for the first month or so now. I do not recommend buying games for your kids that require subscriptions, but many online games have a monthly fee.
  4. Don’t buy the game and think your work is done. You need to download that game. Depending on your internet speed and the amount of data you are downloading it can take 15 minutes or several hours. Make sure you plan for that. If you’re downloading more than one game, do them consecutively if your internet can’t handle the load.
  5. Boot up the game. Surprise! That game you just downloaded has updates. Yup, more downloading time.

Now that you have the game all set and ready to go for your gamer, how do you put your gift of a digital game under the tree? Try this. Grab the controller your kid uses. Most of us have a controller that we gravitate towards or that was intentionally bought for us. In our house Boy the Elder has red controllers, while Boy the Younger’s are blue. Grab that controller, or your kid’s 3DS, or their mouse if you bought them a PC game. Put it inside a conveniently sized box. Wrap, tag, and place it under the tree.

Controller in a Box

In the morning when your Gamer opens up their gift and sees their already owned controller, mouse, or 3DS inside, you get to enjoy that moment of confused disappointment on their face. And then watch as their face dawns understanding or giggle to yourself as you coach them to start the system up.

I hope this guide makes it easier for you to give your loved ones the gift of a digital game. Merry Christmas, Everyone!


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