Stop Paying Full Price for Video Games

Stop Paying Full Price for Video Games
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It’s November, which means it’s Black Friday season again (the Friday after Thanksgiving, now an entire month long), and online retailers — and the rest of the brick-and-mortar chains — are giving up deals. Traditionally, this is the best/worst time to be a video game fan. Best of all, because tons of A-level games are on generous sales, some for the first time. And worst of all, because you bought most of these games at full price when they came out, and if you’re like me, you’ve pretty much played them since.

So, to never feel the sting of unrealized savings, I vowed to never pay full price for a game again, and you should too.

FOMO vs. reality TV

Before you rush to tell me I’m wrong, I’ll start with a warning: If you’re just a gamer needed play the hot new game when it’s the newest and hottest, then do this. But before you preorder, be honest with yourself: How many games are left? How likely are you to start the game on launch day? Even waiting a few months can get a significant discount off the $50 or $60 list price due to a sale at Target or a price drop on a digital download.

I’m not exactly a hardcore gamer – I currently only own a Switch that I didn’t pick up until last year. Still, over the past year and a half I’ve collected dozens of games, almost all at deep discounts, I currently have more titles than I can play in my backlog. You probably do too. So why not play one of them while you wait for the hot new game to hit the market? I promise you heavenly it’s still as good as the day you first downloaded it.

Bonus: If you’re not begging for the latest games, you’ll feel more content waiting to receive PS5 or Xbox Series X without pulling your hair out-and when you finally earn a point, you’ll have a huge library of older, cheaper games to choose from.

Avoid bugs, enjoy DLC and don’t burn out

Waiting a bit also means you won’t suffer the frustration of launch-day confusion — which plagues big names more than it really should (two recent examples: Cyberpunk 2077 and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet). By the time you get the game on sale, the biggest bugs have been patched or are too big to fix, which means you’ll be able to get away with them if necessary.

In this regard, you will be able to review more reviews. Yes, the biggest games are usually reviewed by major outlets (like our sister site Kotaku) within the first few weeks. But a review So they can get a timely critique from an expert trying to cram a 20+ hour game into a few days may say much less about your own gaming preferences than a small outlet or content creator’s post or video posted weeks or months later. And because the volume of games decreases every week, many indie games are not widely reviewed until weeks or months after release.

Plus, many titles these days, from both mainstream developers and indie studios alike, receive new features and gameplay enhancements via DLC, which can arrive weeks, months, or even years after initial release. Sometimes these updates are free, so if you wait, you’ll enjoy them right away. Other times the DLC will cost you a few bucks, but again, often the wait means you can get a “deluxe” version of the same version. including all DLC at a lower price than what you’d pay for the base game to begin with. (A good recent example of this: Indie hit Children of Morta It was $22 on Switch when it released in 2019; Earlier this year I took it Children of Morta: Complete Edition, For about $10, including $7 worth of DLC.)

There’s also the fact that even after doing your research and reading all the reviews, you might not like a particular game. Since returns are rarely an option these days, especially if you prefer digital downloads, you’ll be less upset if you pay $7.99 instead of $25, $40, or $60. (Children of Morta actually here’s a good example: I’m glad I just paid $10 because, despite enjoying the thrills, it turns out I’m pretty bad and can’t get through the first dungeon.)

It’s easier than ever to never pay retail for a new game

In ancient times, it was more difficult to buy cheap games. (I’m old in gaming years, so I remember the only way to get a Nintendo game for less than retail was to hope it earned Gamer’s Choice status.) Now, the magic of the internet means you can probably find every game on your Wish List at a generous sale. It doesn’t take much to do – except develop some healthy patience.

sites like DekuDeals (for Switch games), Cheap Player, and many others lets you create a wishlist of all the games you’re interested in and sign up to receive alerts when their price drops. My DekuDeals wishlist currently consists of about 30 titles, and on any given day, four or five of them are on sale. Helpful bar graphs tell me how that day’s price compares to past sales, so I can make an educated decision about whether it really is a good time to buy, or whether I should continue to wait and return to my backlog instead. Just this week, I picked them both up while doing some early Christmas shopping the latest Mario Party and adores criticism Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga only $60 is what I paid for one of them on release date.

And that’s not to mention subscription services like PlayStation+ and Xbox Game Pass, which give you access to dozens of high-end titles every month for a monthly fee that’s cheaper than the price of a single game on sale. Many major titles will eventually find their way to one of these services, giving you plenty of other things to play with in the meantime.

Exceptions prove the rule

Sometimes there will be games that capture the zeitgeist and demand immediate play: Elden Ring and Animal Crossing two pandemic era examples that come to mind. But think how rarely these witches come. Examples like the recent indie sensation are more common Neon White, which caused a huge pre-release buzz and had everyone talking… for five days. Then the gaming media’s interest moved on to the next thing, giving you enough time to pick it up on sale.

I’m not saying I won’t buy a game at full price again. But every one I don’t buy before it’s on sale saves $10 or $20 or more from my gaming budget that I can spend on older (cheaper) games that would be just as satisfying. Just don’t wait too long –You don’t want to risk turning your must-play title into a vintage collectible.

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