Stop paying full price for video games

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picture: Shuang Li (stock struggle)

It’s November, which means it’s once again Black Friday season (the Friday after Thanksgiving lasts in some form for an entire month), and online retailers—and the remaining traditional chains—are dropping deals. Traditionally, this is the best/worst time to be a video game fan. The best, because a large number of first-level games are being sold generously, some for the first time. Even worse, because you probably bought a lot of these games at full price when they came out, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve hardly played them since.

That’s why, in order to never feel the sting of unrealized savings, I vowed never to pay full price for a game again – and you should, too.

FOMO vs. Reality

Before you rush to tell me I’m wrong, I’ll start with a warning: If you’re the kind of guy who simply Should Play the hot new game when it’s at its newest and hottest, then by all means do it. But be honest with yourself before you pre-order: How many games do you have in your backlog? How likely are you to start playing on launch day? Waiting even a few months can get you a significant discount off the $50 or $60 list price, whether for selling at Target or dropping in price on a digital download.

I’m not exactly a hardcore gamer – I currently only own a Switch, which I didn’t use until last year. However, I’ve collected dozens of games over the past year and a half, nearly all of which were purchased at a deep discount, to the point where it’s I currently have more titles in my backlog than I’ve ever been likely to play. Maybe you do too. So why not just play one of them while you wait for the great new game to sell out? I promise you, Celeste It’s still as good as it was the day I first downloaded it.

Bonus: If you don’t demand the latest games, you’ll also feel more content Awaiting purchase That PS5 or Xbox Series X. without tearing your hair— and by the time you finally get your hands on one, you’ll have a large library of older, less expensive games to choose from.

Avoid bugs, enjoy the DLC, and don’t get burned

Waiting a bit also means you don’t have to suffer the frustration of launch-day sloppiness – which hits big-name headlines more than it should (two recent examples: Cyberpunk 2077 movie And the Pokemon scarlet and violet). By the time you choose a game to sell, the biggest bugs will probably either have been patched – or they’re too big to fix, which means you’ll be able to get away with it if necessary.

Similarly, you will also be able to browse through more reviews. Yes, the biggest games are usually reviewed by major outlets (such as sister site Kotaku) within the first few weeks. But review From a pro trying to cram 20+ hours of gameplay into a few days so he can make a timely review It might tell you that it’s less applicable to your gaming preferences than a piece of writing or video from a smaller outlet or content creator that goes live weeks or months later. Due to the sheer amount of games dropping each week, many indie games aren’t reviewed extensively until weeks or months after release anyway.

Furthermore, many titles these days – from major developers and indie studios – receive new features and gameplay improvements via DLC, which may arrive weeks, months, or even years after initial release. Sometimes these updates are free, so you’ll get to enjoy them right away if you wait. Other times, the DLC will cost you a few bucks – but again, waiting often means you’ll be able to buy a “deluxe” version of the same version, including all DLC, At a lower price than you would have paid for the base game at launch. (A good recent example of this: indie hit Marty’s children It was $22 on Switch when it was released in 2019; Earlier this year, I picked up a Marta’s Children: Complete Edition, Including $7 DLC, for about $10.)

There is also the fact that even after doing your research and reading all the reviews, you might not like a particular game. And since returns are rarely an option these days—especially if you prefer digital downloads—you’ll be less upset about it if you paid $7.99 instead of $25, $40, or $60. (Marty’s children Actually a good example here too: I’m really glad I only paid the $10, because despite enjoying the vibes, it turns out I’m really bad at it and can’t get past the first dungeon.)

It’s easier than ever to not pay for a new retail game

In ancient times, it was much more difficult to buy cheap games. (I’m old in my gaming years, which means I remember when the only way to get a Nintendo game for less than retail was to hope it would eventually get Gamer’s Choice status.) Now, however, the magic of the Internet means you might as well You don’t have to do much at all to find every game on your wish list on a generous sale – other than develop some healthy patience.

sites like DekuDeals (for Switch games), CheapAss GamerAnd the And many other things It allows you to create a wishlist of all the games you are interested in and sign up to receive alerts when prices drop. My DekuDeals wishlist currently has about 30 titles solid, and on any given day there are four or five of them up for sale. Helpful bar graphs tell me how that day’s price compares to previous sales, so I can make an informed decision about whether this is really the right time to buy, or if I should keep waiting and go back to the backlog instead. Just this week, on an early Christmas shopping spree, I picked up both Last mario party And the Critically adored Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Totaling $60 – which is what I would have paid for either one on the release date.

And that’s not even mentioning subscription services like PlayStation+ and Xbox Game Pass, which give you access to dozens of luxury titles each month for a cheaper monthly fee than a single game on sale. Many of the major titles will eventually make their way to one of these services, and they’ll give you plenty of other things to play in the meantime.

Exceptions prove the rule

Occasionally, there will be those games that capture the zeitgeist and seem to demand immediate play: Sheikh’s ring And the animal crossing Being two examples from the pandemic era that come to mind. But think about how rarely these juggernauts appear. The most common examples as the independent modern sensation Neon White, which created a pre-release buzz and got everyone talking… for about five days. Then the gaming media interest moved on to the next thing, It leaves you plenty of time to pick it up for sale.

I’m not saying I’ll never buy a full priced game again. But each one I don’t buy until it’s on sale frees up another $10, $20 or more in my gaming budget that I can put toward older (cheaper) games that will be perfectly satisfying. Just don’t wait too long –You don’t want to risk turning your must-play title into antique collectibles.

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