Video game consoles make great gifts (assuming you can find them—they’re in short supply). But they’re not necessarily easy gifts.
Someone who has received a new video game console may end up doing a lot of frustrating waiting. The servers that video game manufacturers and platform holders use to support those games and consoles often buckle, sometimes for days at a time, as new owners trying to set up their consoles join millions of existing players who are gaming during their time off around the holidays. New consoles and games can sit unusable for days as their exasperated owners wait for the opportunity to update them.
Thankfully, there’s a good solution: Update the consoles (and games) you’re planning on giving ahead of time.
This means taking the consoles out of their boxes, hooking them up and turning them on, and then walking them through their initial setup processes. This also means that we recommend giving physical copies of games—unless the console you’re giving is a digital-only, disc-drive-less console.
The process can take a bit of time and effort, but there’s a strong possibility that just a little planning on your part can save the morning (and maybe the afternoon and evening) of the person on the receiving end of your video game gift.
Setting up the console
When you first set up the console, it should connect to the internet for the first time. Then it will start to download the necessary updates to make sure that it’s stable, that it has the most current features available, and that it works with all the new games that have been released since it was manufactured, put in its packaging, and then likely left on a shipping container for at least a month or two on its way to where you bought it. We suggest doing this setup a few days to a week or so before giving the console to make sure there isn’t another update release after you complete the setup process. Here are some step-by-step instructions:
Gently remove the console from its box. Take care not to damage the packaging—this is a gift, after all! Part of the fun of a new system is the unboxing experience (see the millions of unboxing videos on YouTube for some examples), and ideally, you should try to preserve as much of that as possible for the recipient. For example, have a hobby or craft knife handy to cut the tape rectangles that hold modern console packaging closed—peeling them back often tears the box. Also, save the bits of softer packaging that hold the controllers and cables so that you can put everything back the way you found it.
Connect the console to your television using the included cables. If you have a wired network, we also recommend connecting the console directly to your router, as it’s the faster way to download updates and games. Wireless is an option in a pinch, but downloading the updates might take longer that way.
Optionally, use the console’s dedicated app to speed up setup. The new Xbox and PlayStation consoles have …….