How to set up a console for Christmas morning

So you've done it; you've taken the plunge and bought a loved one the gift of gaming for Christmas. You've got your console, your games, and your accessories. Now all that's left to do is get everything wrapped up and wait to see their face on Christmas morning, right?

Well, not exactly. See, the days of simply opening a box, plugging in a couple of leads, choosing your game and playing are unfortunately a thing of the past. Nowadays, consoles invariably require updates, games need downloading and accessories need setting up.

Here's our top tips for getting a console ready for Christmas morning.

Turn the console on and connect it to the internet

Games companies are consistently taking advantage of the internet age we now live in in order to improve what their consoles have to offer. This means that they regularly release new software patches for consoles. Some of these patches effect changes that are basically invisible, others have a much bigger impact.

The size and number of these patches will depend on which console you've bought and how current the version you've got is. For example, if you were to buy an original 'phat' PS4, which was discontinued a while ago, you'd be hit with a long list of required updates before you could start playing. However, if you bought a Nintendo Switch, which is less than two years old, the wait time might only be a couple of minutes.

Download any digital games

One of the most common mistakes to make when buying a console bundle - where the unit comes packaged with a game - is to assume that the copy of the game will be physical. In the vast majority of cases nowadays, the game included within a console bundle will be a digital copy. These require you to input a unique code into the console once it's connected to the internet, which will trigger a download.

Because there's no physical media, these games need to be completely downloaded via the internet. This can mean hours of downloads - the recent Red Dead Redemption 2 was almost 90GB big. You'll definitely want to get any digital games downloading beforehand unless you have lightning internet or you're happy to wait until Boxing Day to play them.

Consider installing physical games

While physical games (ones where you have a disc or cartridge) won't need such huge downloads, and can often be played while other parts are downloading, they still do often come with some downloadable updates. If you're at all worried, it can be a case of better safe than sorry.

Familiarise yourself with the set up process

While the current crop of consoles are fairly straightforward to get up and running in terms of getting them connected, it can still be a good idea to get everything ready to go. Make sure you have enough power outlets available within reach of your TV, and check to see if you'll need to invest in an HDMI switcher or if you've got a port spare.

Things get more complicated with accessories such as the PS VR headset, so if you're indulging in some extra dimensional gaming this festive period, you'll definitely want to look into what you'll need to make the set up as pain-free as possible.

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