Gaming on the Cheap
We’re seeing more and more video game releases every year that demand for a share of your paycheck. At $60 a game (usually), gaming can become an extremely expensive hobby. It doesn’t have to be however. There are plenty of ways to get your fill of gaming without breaking the bank. (Your Backlog however, may break pretty quickly). Note: These tips are primarily focused on Console Gaming. Be honest PC Gamers, you already know that nothing can beat the almighty Steam Sales… Anyway, ONTO THE TIPS!
Unlocking the Best Discounts
If you’re anything like me, you have an urge to play the newest and greatest games so that you can be a part of the conversation, be it news, what your friends are playing, or just buying a ticket on the so called Hype Train for the newest outing from your favorite series or developer (expect to hear nothing from me after Persona 5 comes out). The greatest advice I can give to you is to go to your local Best Buy and immediately buy a membership for Gamer’s Club Unlocked, often referred to as GCU.
Best Buy’s GCU program, and more recently Amazon Prime, offers gamers 20% off of new games, as soon as they come out. Whereas Amazon only offers this during a title’s first two weeks of sale, and doesn’t adjust to sales, Best Buy cuts 20% off the top, sales and promotions included. Not to mention, Best Buy will also include $10 back in reward points for most big release titles coming out, giving an even deeper discount if you buy most of your games from them.
There is a price associated with these services however. Best Buy’s GCU will run you $30 for 2 years, which you will make back in 3 games. Amazon’s discount requires Amazon Prime, which is $100 a year, but also includes free two-day shipping, access to Amazon’s version of Netflix, and plenty of other services.
Being a Patient Gamer
20% discount aside, buying a game brand new on the day it comes out is always going to have you paying the most amount of money for a game that you ever will (with the exception of almost anything made by Nintendo. Typically, they stay roughly the same price and then rise once the title become vintage.) It isn’t unheard of for a game to drop anywhere from $20-$30 a few months after release. So if you really want to play games on the cheap, or are interested in a game, but don’t mind waiting a little bit, you can buy games significantly cheaper after they’ve been in the wild for a few months.
Luckily for us, the internet is a beautiful place, where you can be a part of any conversation you want to have. That’s where reddit.com/r/patientgamers comes in — an entire subreddit that is focused on waiting to play games until they are dirt cheap and then talking about them. Creating a way to still be able to talk about the incredible tale of Spec Ops: The Line or the beautiful journey of… Journey.
The internet is also your best friend on buying games cheap. Forums like Cheap Ass Gamer or r/GameDeals are devoted on keeping people up to date on the latest deals and sales from everything to clearance titles at your local Target, all the way to being able to preorder a limited version of your favorite game before you have to pay triple the price on eBay.
Never Leave Home Again!
In an effort to keep up with the aforementioned incredible Steam Sales, consoles are starting to get deep discounts on their digital titles as well. Since you are already waiting to play games, give a check on your favorite system’s store when they refresh (Xbox and PlayStation on Tuesdays, and Nintendo on Thursday) to see what their weekly sales are. More often than not, there will be a few sales that may catch your eye, and you won’t even need to leave the house for it!
PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold
Finally, I’m guessing that if you have either a PS4 or an Xbox One, you probably play online. If that’s the case, then you are required to have a subscription to either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. However, these subscriptions give you so much more than access to get beaten by 12 year olds at Call of Duty. First off, both services will typically give you an additional discount to the aforementioned weekly sales, making them just that much more enticing. More enticing, however, are another key thing these services offer: free games.
Sony launched Playstation Plus in 2010 and offered “free” games to those who subscribed to the service. The program slowly evolved and added in more and more titles a month, and by the time the PS4 launched (which required PlayStation Plus in order to play games online) the membership service was offering six free games a month (two for PS3, two for PS4, and two for PS Vita). The only downside to this service was that if you let your Plus subscription expire, you would lose access to all of the games you downloaded while being a member of the service. However, if you re-subscribed, you would regain access to your old collection.
Not to be outdone, Microsoft announced “Games with Gold” in 2013, allowing those who subscribe to Xbox Gold to download two free games a month. This time, however, users don’t need to keep their subscription to keep their games. Expanding when the Xbox One launched, Games with Gold now offers two free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
So there we have it. Multiple options for any type of gamer that you are or want to be. If you’re already in line to pick up Dark Souls 3, then take a quick run to Best Buy and get 20%, or maybe you can download the incredible Sunset Overdrive from Games with Gold and go chat about it on the patient gamers subreddit. Regardless, your wallet will thank me, or, you know, hate me because you now have more money to buy more games.