Every video game by all major publishers has an ESRB rating attached to them. The ESRB rating is simply the age recommendation for the usage of the video games. ESRB reviews every game and rates the game's suitability for a certain age depending on the content of the game. It usually analyses the story of the game, language used (occurrence of slangs), the level of blood and gore involved, et al. Ensure that the game you are buying has the recommended ESRB rating for your kid's age. This will ensure that you are not exposing him to content unsuitable for his age.
Check Online Reviews
There are numerous resources online which cater to discussions about the latest or old video games. Make sure that you go through them in detail before deciding to buy a video game for your kid. Just because he wanted it doesn't ensure that it is the right choice for him. Also try and talk to other members of the family or friends who have a knack for video games. They can provide you with helpful insight.
If Possible, Play The Demo
Reading reviews and ESRB ratings can only take you as far. Nothing beats your own opinion about the game and whether you think it will be suitable for your kid. If you are capable, try and procure a demo copy of the game that you want to buy. Demo copies are free and available for download from the internet (it is not piracy). This will give you a fair idea of what you are gifting to your kid.
Check The Platform
Gaming has evolved from the days when it was limited to 'Snakes' on your favourite cell phone. The modern day video game industry caters to computers and gaming consoles. Check the platform the game is made for. Buy it only if you own that platform. The last thing you want to do is buy a whole new gaming platform (which are very expensive to say the least) because you bought the wrong game.
Check The System Requirements
Though India has seen an upsurge in gaming consoles, the personal computer till date remains the most common gaming platform. The hardware required for playing the latest games can be quite costly. When you are buying a video game check the system requirements, it is usually printed on the cover of the package. In case your computer doesn't match the required system requirements, don't buy the game. Upgrading your computer just to accommodate your kid's demand for games will prove to be very costly and will spoil him.
Video games, if properly chosen and moderately used can prove to be very helpful for a child's development and maturity. Choose carefully and don't spoil your kid with the wrong assortment of video games.