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Best Last-Minute Digital Gifts You Can Give Right Now

(Image credit: wutzkohphoto / Shutterstock)

It's almost inevitable. You're hosting a family dinner for Christmas Eve, the guests arrive and then you realize that you have presents for everyone, except that cousin you didn't know was coming. Or perhaps you were so busy that you forgot to buy something for your brother-in-law and now you're going to his house for brunch?

Whatever the reason, when you need a last-second gift, the Internet is your best friend. Within minutes, you can order a digital gift and either print it out to give in person or send it via email. The easiest, but least thoughtful, thing you can do is either send money or buy an gift card, which is almost as universal as cash.

A better idea is to purchase a digital gift which shows that speaks to your giftee's love of technology or gaming. Here are some ideas.

1. Newegg gift card

Though it sells everything from crock pots to clothing, Newegg is known for having the best selection and often the best prices for computer components. With Amazon credit, your giftee may end up buying non-tech stuff like toilet paper or cat litter, but if you give them a Newegg card, they'll almost certainly use it to treat themselves to new hardware or software.

2. Digital game store gift card

No matter what platform your giftee plays on, there's an associated digital store with downloadable games. PC Gamers will almost certainly find something they love in the Steam store. For console players, get a card for the PlayStation Store, the XBox or the Nintendo eShop, depending on what system they use. Most cards start at $10, but I recommend spending at least $20, the cost of many lower price games.

3. Individual games

If you know what games your giftee wants and is likely to play, you can buy them a direct download. Here are some ideas for PC gamers.

  • Star Wars Battlefront II ($4.49): Reduced from $29.99, this game lets you live out your Star Wars fantasies, engaging in galactic combat and lightsaber duels.
  • PUBG Battlegrounds ($19.99): Next to Fortnite, this battle royale-style game is the most talked-about title of 2018.
  • Battlefield V ($29.99): This World War II battle game looks absolutely gorgeous, whether you have a GPU that supports ray tracing or not.
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth: The latest World of Warcraft adventure will have both long-time players and newbies enthralled.
  • The Sims 4 ($4.99): A great game for giftees who like simulation games and have older PCs, the Sims 4 will run on a CPU as old as a Core 2 Duo (over 10 years old).

4. Streaming subscriptions

Whether it's music or movies, there's nothing quite like the gift of content. Here are some services you can buy.

  • BritBox ($69.99 for 1 yr): The ultimate gift for fans of British TV, especially Doctor Who, BritBox is the only place in the U.S. where you can stream all 26 seasons of Classic Doctor Who. It also has all eight seasons of Red Dwarf and a slew of British mysteries.
  • Netflix ($25 - $200): The good thing about this card is that, even if your giftee already has Netflix, they can always use this to either upgrade their plan or pay some months in advance.
  • Spotify ($10 - $60): The most popular music service has something for everyone. If your giftee already has a single-user subscription, they may want to use the extra credit to move up to a family ($14.99 / month) subscription.
  • Hulu ($25 - $50): Get access to a slew of movies, network TV shows and original programs like The Handmaid's Tale and Castle Rock.
  • Audible ($15 - $150): Access to the leading library of audiobooks makes a great gift for readers on the go.

5. Online game services

Sure, your giftee has a powerful game system with lots of games, but do they have the subscription they need to play online and broadcast streams? Here are some subscriptions that can help them. Unfortunately, the best offerings here are primarily for console gamers.

  • XBox Live Gold ($59.99): This service not only connects you with other gamers online and lets you stream to Twitch, but it also provides free games and huge discounts.
  • PlayStation Plus ($59.99): If your giftee has a PlayStation 4, this membership will allow them to play multiplayer, online games, store data in the cloud and even get a couple of free titles a month.
  • Nintendo Switch Online ($34.99): Play multiplayer Switch games and free access to some classic Nintendo titles.