Gamer Guidance Holiday Edition: How to prepare new consoles for Christmas morning

A lot of folks may wake up on Christmas morning this year with a brand new, shiny game console sitting underneath their Christmas tree. The current generation of consoles have been sitting on store shelves for two years now with a couple of price drops under their belts, so now is the time for a lot of families to hop on board the Playstation 4 or Xbox One bandwagon.


Video game consoles are not what they used to be. As a kid, the setup process for a new console was as easy as plugging it into a television and giving it power. Thanks to the power of the internet and system updates, game consoles are much more complicated to set up. No longer can a kid hook up an Xbox One, pop a game in and start playing. The console’s firmware has to update first, which can take hours. Each game has to install on to the hard disk, which can also take up to an hour. Each game typically has an update or day one patche that must be downloaded in order for the full experience to come through, which can take anywhere from 10min to several hours depending on the size of the update. Setting up a Playstation Network or Xbox Live subscription must be accomplished before any online play can occur. Basically, it can take HOURS for a new console owner to actually PLAY a game once they set their new console up. Not to mention last year a group of jerk hackers decided to DoXX the online servers for Xbox Live and Playstation Network, making the PS4 and Xbox One almost useless due to shutting the servers down on Christmas morning due to overloading them with fake traffic. Getting your consoles prepared beforehand can help prevent this from happened once again this year.


The Gaming Outsider figured that providing a small checklist of things to complete before handing over that new game console on Christmas morning would help families jump in and have fun much faster than those who are not prepared. Now before we proceed, you will have to open the box to your game consoles and games before gifting them to someone else, so repackaging the console and games will be a requirement here that some families may not want to do. If you’re not okay with opening the packaging prior to Christmas morning then your only option is to perform all of these steps after the present has been opened and given, prolonging any actual gameplay. We would recommend opening and setting everything up before Christmas morning but this is totally up to the gift-giver.



  • Hook the console up and sync any wireless controllers.
    • Each controller must be synced wireless to the console before using it. Read your owner’s manual to find out how.
  • Create any accounts necessary, such as a PSN, Nintendo ID or Xbox Live account.
    • New consoles require user accounts in order to save data, sign up for online services and use social media features.
  • Connect the console to the internet and download the latest firmware.
    • Simply connect the console using a wireless hotspot or hard-wire it to your home network. Each system should begin to download the latest firmware once it detects a solid connection. If not, simply navigating to the system settings can start this process manually.
  • Install any subscriptions for online services, such as Playstation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.
    • If you purchase an Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus subscription in-store, scratch off the number on the back and type it into the console’s “redeem code” field on their respected online store. Now players can access online features and download any freebie games.
  • Open any games being given and let them install to the hard drive.
    • Peel the shrink wrap back, pop the disc out and feed it into the console. Give it time to allow each game to install. Repeat with any other titles you purchased. Digital games must be redeemed the same as a subscription code so downloading those to the hard drive will need to occur too.
  • Download any patches and update to the games being given as gifts.
    • Typically, games will auto update once they are installed. Some Xbox One games need to be launched before it initiates a game update though so try that if the game does not do so during installation.
  • Re-package everything as if it was never opened, gift wrap it and place it under the tree.


At this point you should be golden and the person receiving their new game console can hook it up Christmas morning and jump right into a game without any hassle!


Josh Faulkner

Josh is a native Ohio-an who grew up in a small town that had very little for kids to do. As a result, Josh picked up video games at a very young age. Video games played a huge part in his childhood and continued to do so in his adult life. Starting out on an Atari 2600 when he was 3 years old, gaming has sort of grown up alongside with Josh and continues to be his biggest hobby. As an IT technician by day, Josh is an aspiring gaming writer by night who founded a few websites including 16 Bit Heroes and Too Busy Gaming, while also dabbling in retro gaming YouTube videos and live streaming events.