Now is the perfect time to be playing Xbox 360. First to enter the next generation race last holiday season, Microsoft's console has had an entire year to work out the kinks... and it shows. The future of gaming is in community and the 360's online neighborhood is currently the gold standard - hopping on and finding others to engage in friendly cooperation or fierce competition is a breeze.
If you prefer playing with high tech gadgets, cool stuff like the Live Vision camera (put yourself in games for $40) and HD DVD drive (watch movies in super definition for $200) can be had in addition to the $400 system itself. (There is a $300 "core" version available, but lacking many extras you'll end up buying later anyway, it's not much of a value). Or, you can just go plush and get a fuzzy cow or leopard printfaceplate. Go ahead. We have one already, so we're not going to judge.
Of course, a console is nothing without good games. And since the 360 has had time to build up quite a collection of worthy titles, choosing just the right one for a gift can be daunting. We're here to help, but first we need to know who you're shopping for.