It’s no secret to any gamer that our hobby can get plenty expensive. And it’s not just the new consoles (okay, PCs as well) we have to spend money on. There are also countless new games to get, not to mention the seemingly never-ending influx of downloadable content or season passes that we just can’t live without.
But as someone who’s entrenched in the video game subculture, we were still pretty surprised to read about how much we really spend on video games (we prefer not to tally up our spending – we’re afraid to see how much we’ve spent through the years!).
In this report released by the Entertainment Software Association, we see just how much American gamers have spent in 2018:
“The total consumer spend on the video game industry was $36 billion in 2017.”
And the report provides a breakdown of that spending:
“Content: $29.1B, Hardware: $4.7B, Accessories, including VR: $2.2B”
… that is a pretty hefty chunk of change, right there. We’re almost afraid to find out how much people have spent individually on games. And it’s not just retail prices that are high. Remember how people freaked-out over the NES Classic when it sold out almost instantly? Well, most of those units popped up on the secondary market at inflated prices – so much so that even Nintendo had to plead with people not to buy units at those prices.
How to Save Money on Video Games
It’s safe to say that we’re always looking for ways to save on our hobby. That has led us to learn different techniques, whether it’s finding the best time to buy video games, or hunting for the best video game discount. We’re not alone in that pursuit. To help you save on the hobby, and find the best way to buy video games, we’ll be sharing our top tips for saving. Read on!
All You Need is Just a Little Patience
Full confession: we were one of those suckers who forked over a big amount of cash (we won’t say how much — we’re totally embarrassed about how much we paid) for an NES Classic the week it dropped. And the crazy thing was we didn’t even pull it out of the package. We already have an emulator and a well-stocked library of ROMs. It stayed in the package for over a year and eventually got sold for sticker price to a friend who happened to be a dedicated retro gamer.
We felt foolish then and still do now. We were impatient and ended up losing money in the process. The truth is, we don’t always have to get stuff on the first day of release — or even the first week, for that matter. And what’s even the point of getting something right away? Most of us have stacks of unplayed games, so it’s not like we’d be able to play, never mind complete, them right away.
Eventually, games get discounted. For example, when Far Cry 5 came out in March 2018, it retailed for sixty bucks. But as of this writing, the game can be found on some online retailers for much cheaper. So fight the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and focus on your gaming backlog first. When a game has been around for a while, you’ll be able to get your video games discounted.
Use Promos Exclusive to Your Platform
Gaming doesn’t always have to be expensive. Lots of discount programs — and even free games — are available to most gaming platforms. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all hold sales on their digital stores weekly. And members of the Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus programs can get even more discounts.
Those two programs even go so far as to give subscribers free games every month! The only catch is that you’ll only be able to play those games as long as your Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership is active. But most dedicated gamers will already have that, so it’s no big deal.
Pre-Order on Amazon Prime for Greater Savings
This money-saving method might not be for everyone, since it requires an Amazon Prime account, which $119 as of this writing. But if you happen to live in an “Amazon household” like us, then it’s good news! We do most of our shopping on through the site, and the savings and benefits of our Amazon Prime account are definitely worth the price of membership.
One of the perks of being an Amazon Prime member is that you will get the opportunity to pre-order some popular games and get a pretty sweet $10 credit! No waiting in line, or hitting the F5 button constantly on the day of release, only to come up empty-handed. Remember what we said about being patient? Yeah, Amazon Prime kind of removes the necessity of that!
If you prefer not to get an Amazon Prime account, you can try other stores. Best Buy, for example, used to have a “Gamer’s Club Unlocked” program which gave 20% discounts. Sadly, the program is no more, but we are sure there are more like it out there.
Hunt for Bargains on Coupon Sites
We used to associate couponing with boring stores – that is, until we came across a blog post on a site called Hip2Save. The site finds online bargains and collects them within its site. And lots of these bargains are very gamer-relevant. Check out these sweet PlayStation-related discounts!
Use Gift Cards from Rewards Sites
Here is one of our favorite ways of saving money on video games. You might be familiar with rewards sites, but our favorites include GrabPoints and…dun-dun-dun – GCLoot! On these sites, all you have to do to earn points is answer surveys, complete offers, and watch videos. Whenever you complete one of those simple tasks, you earn points. You can later trade these points for all sorts of rewards, including gift cards for Steam, PlayStation Store, and other gaming-related rewards! We recommend both because they process payouts in 48 hours – that’s blazing fast! Perfect for those times when you need to reload your Steam wallet.