This is our third year of putting together a Xbox Gift guide for the holiday season. I've worked on compiling what I believe is a solid list of the bundles that will be available, some of the best and a wide range of games along with some other things that might be great for that gamer in your life. Perhaps you're just looking to treat yourself over the holidays, that is of course entirely up to you. This guide is mostly focused on US/CAD options and that's about it for my Xbox Holiday Gift Guide 2017 opening.
The Xbox One has never been cheaper or offered as great of deals as it does today. You get the option of a super affordable base model that's greatly engineered or the incredibly powerful Xbox One X. If you have the money and want some true 4k gaming, the Xbox One X is well worth it. If you're not too big on it and just want a wide range of games ranging from Original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One then the Xbox One S is a solid selection. Note that the better model also plays all those generations of titles as well.
Xbox One X
Includes: Xbox One X Console.
Price: $499 USD, $599 CAD (1TB)
Why: Like mentioned, this is the perfect console for 4k gaming bringing the most powerful console ever into the hands of gamers. Hundreds of past titles are improved and it should kick off a new era of high resolution HDR based gaming.
Check our Xbox One X Review
Click here for Microsoft Store Page
Minecraft Limited Edition Bundle
Includes: Xbox One S Console (Minecraft Custom); Minecraft Digital Code, Minecraft Redstone Digital Pack, Free Select Game.
Price: $399 USD, $499 CAD (1TB)
Why: For the younger ones or well anyone that loves Minecraft this console is beautiful. It's really well designed and as a personal fan of the game I think they did a really great job on the design here. It also comes with all you need to get jumping on the latest version of Minecraft which supports cross-play across multiple platforms/devices.
Click here for Bundle Store Page
Includes: Xbox One S Console; Free Select Game, Game Pass 3 Months.
Price: $279 USD, $349 CAD (500GB)
Why: A cheap and easy offering to jump into the Xbox One family, Game Pass grants quick access to around one hundred games.
Click here for Bundle Store Page
In this part of the guide we've broken it down into general games for the regular gamers, family friendly titles and free to play games to check out once on Xbox Live! I'll also mention Xbox Play Anywhere titles work on both Xbox One and Windows 10 when bought digitally.
Best Holiday General Games
Gears of War 4 (Xbox Play Anywhere)
-A grand return of the franchise as you take on the role of Marcus Fenix's son and explore a now hostile world against new threats. There's a full campaign, blistering 60fps multiplayer and a cooperative Horde mode to play. It's also Xbox One X Enhanced for 4k HDR gameplay.
Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox Play Anywhere)
-The Forza Horizon series is always a blast and we found this to be the best racing game we've ever played. It's an open world, cooperative driving title where you build your own brand in lovely Australia. Xbox One X enhancement coming early 2018.
Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox Play Anywhere)
-The Forza series is the top tier of the racing genre, with hundreds of cars across authentic tracks in glorious 4k 60fps HDR it's an amazing game if you even slightly care about driving.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
-A few years old at this point, but still one of the best entry titles for those wanting to get into Xbox bringing Halo 1-4 in one glorious package along with all the multiplayer and cooperative play you could want.
Assassin's Creed: Origins
-The Assassin's Creed series is back and better than ever with this amazing adventure across Ancient Egypt. They've polished things up for Xbox One X since it's enhanced and this is a remarkable experience. If you're an existing fan or have ever been curious, it's the perfect jump in point.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (Xbox Play Anywhere)
-Another Xbox One X enhanced game, this Middle-Earth sequel brings a larger world and even more ways to deal with your many Orc friends/enemies that you come across along the way.
Call of Duty: WWII
-Yet again, Xbox One X enhanced. This is the first Call of Duty in nearly a decade to head back to World War II and it shines. It's got some of the most refined back to basics shooting we've seen in awhile and it's packed with content from a strong campaign to exciting zombies.
Star Wars Battlefront II
-Xbox One X enhanced, this game is a gorgeous display of the Star Wars universe across a wide selection of planets from all three eras. Controversy aside this is still a really well done game and something any Star Wars fan would love.
Best Holiday Family Games
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
-LEGO games are awesome and this one is packed with all the biggest Marvel heroes from the current movies/tv shows currently available. Play as basically all the Spidermen, fly as Iron Man or even smash as Hulk across a new original story.
-it's a must have for the family audience since it's essentially a staple at this point. It's the ultimate sandbox for creativity and interactions with others as you quest these beautiful randomly generated worlds together. One of the biggest games of all time and a huge draw for all ages. With this new Better Together version players on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Pocket Edition and Windows 10 can all play with each other!
Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2
-This game attempts to give Minecraft a story and does this in an interactive movie style that is definitely geared towards the younger audience. It's got great family friendly humor with a great supporting cast and you can play as either gender with your character. The first season has eight episodes and the second currently has five planned.
-This is an adorable and addictive farming type game. You run a space farm sucking slimes and feeding them food in order to get items to sell for money. This allows farm expansion, there's a whole story it as well. It's very appropriate for all ages as I'm sure anyone can get charmed by the smiling slimes.
-An old school type platformer this game is a lot of fun to work through as you do a number of challenges to collect tickets and explore a colorful exciting world.
Free to Play Games
This is easier if I just list a selection of them, they're all free so it doesn't hurt to check out any of them. Will also link our Top 10 Free to Play Xbox One games part 2 below.
Smite; Killer Instinct, World of Tanks, Neverwinter, Roblox, Happy Wars, Happy Dungeons, Pinball FX3, Trove, Gigantic, Paladins
Top 10 Xbox One Free to Play Games 2
You will also need a Xbox Live subscription in order to play online, get free games and benefits of the membership. These run for about $60 a year though there are deals all the time and most consoles come with trials to check it out. It's well worth the money for the experiences. You also get four free games a month, two for Xbox One and two Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 titles.
I also suggest checking out the Astro line of headsets, they some affordable models if you're looking at getting a more professional and much better quality device.
This is the best deal available on Xbox One, for $30 a year you get dozens of EA titles to download and play. These include big titles on Xbox One and Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 games. This includes games such as Mass Effect, Titanfall, Sports games and more!
Xbox Game Pass
Think of this like Netflix for games, it's got over 100 games and costs $9.99 a month. There are many opportunities to trial it as well. It's got a nice selection of popular Xbox One and Xbox 360 games.
The Xbox One has really picked up steam and the growing Xbox Backwards Compatibility that now has around 450 Xbox 360 titles and some Original Xbox titles. If you own any of these old games you can either download them digitally or just place the disc in to play it.