Gaming doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being an affordable hobby. We would argue that video games actually offer a lot of bang for your buck. A single game can give you weeks, sometimes months, of fun, which is probably more than other hobbies with similar costs.
But just the same, we’re sure every gamer looks for ways to save money. And for good reason – the more money you save, the more money you have to buy even more games, right?
In this post, you will be shown ways on how to save money on video games. These methods will be applicable to both PC and console gamers (we don’t like to discriminate!).
Buy Games from Digital Distribution Platforms
The digital distribution model has greatly reduced the cost of games. And it’s easy to see why. Online platforms like Steam don’t need to maintain brick and mortar stores, nor do they have to worry about distribution costs.
The costs associated with maintaining shops and distribution are passed on to customers. Since digital distribution platforms don’t have to worry about all that, games can be sold for cheaper. Steam is one of the most popular platforms around, but there are others you should check out Microsoft Xbox Live, PlayStation Network (PSN), Origin, Direct2Drive, GreenManGaming, and uPlay.
Of course, this means you’ll need a steady internet connection, but pretty much all gamers already have that.
Buy Used Games from eBay and Amazon
Here’s a potentially unpopular opinion: you don’t always have to buy games the day they come out.
If you’re like us, chances are you’re not even done playing a game when a new must-have game comes out (we have a huge gaming backlog). So forego buying games the day they drop. That gives you the chance to work on your backlog. Plus, we could later get physical copies on eBay long after the hype had died down. Games can be found on eBay for really cheap prices, and it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for modern games or retro ones.
If you still prefer to buy on release day, you can try your luck on Amazon. Since competition is pretty stuff between sellers, there’s a strong chance you’ll find good deals on new games.
Make Use of Price-Matching Offers
Many retailers, from online to physical ones, will have price-matching offers. This means that they will match (and sometimes even beat) the price of an identical item being sold in a different shop.
This is one of the best ways to buy video games. If a shop that is far from you is selling a title at a good price, you can ask your local store to match the price, giving you both convenience and savings!
Be on the Lookout for Seasonal Sales
Flash sales are fun, they’re hard to plan around. Instead, try to base your yearly buying schedule around seasonal sales. This is easier to work around since you know they take place yearly.
We’re talking about sales on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, as well as all the sales that take place around Christmas and New Year. Your local shops might also have sales for different occasions, so make sure you take note of when they’re most likely to hold sales.
Just like concert tickets, video games are cheaper if you buy them before the release date. Pre-sales usually offer pretty good discounts – sometimes up to 10%, which is a pretty considerable amount. Sometimes, pre-ordering might even give you a few extras with the game you’re buying. We used to get swag like caps and stickers included in our orders.
Rent Games Instead of Buying Them
Be honest: how many of you have old games you’ve never bothered playing after you’ve beaten them? We have a few old games we still play – the oldest of which is Super Mario Bros. 2, which is great for doing speed runs.
However, the rest just takes up space on the shelf, gathering dust. While it’s great to have a wall lined with games, that could get costly – in addition to the cost of buying games, you also need to consider the cost of storing all those goodies. And that’s why, for certain games, we recommend renting instead. GameFly offers great deals on game rentals, which will save you money on both the acquisition cost and the storage costs.
Trade-In Your Old Games
Another option for your old games is to trade them in. Stores usually offer decent buying prices for games, especially if the game isn’t too old. And some will even give you a higher rate if you opt for store credit instead of cash. Store credit is totally fine with us because, let’s face it, the money we make from selling old games would go to buying more games anyway!
Rack Up Your Loyalty Points
While we buy my games from a wide variety of shops, we do try to buy from local shops whenever possible. We do it because we like to support local businesses.
But the shop also has a pretty rad loyalty point program. Basically, the more we buy from them, the more savings we become entitled to. Most shops – from your local mom and pop to the larger chain stores – will have a loyalty program. We used to ignore loyalty programs but learned these could offer pretty good rewards. So make sure you inquire about the loyalty program in your local shops and use them to your advantage.
Buy Console Bundles
Granted, this method isn’t as useful as the previous items, since we don’t really buy consoles that often. But consoles usually come bundled with a game, and if you hadn’t gotten that console yet, it’ll all amount to a pretty good bargain!
This happens often enough that we actually hold back a bit on buying a console when it drops. We like to wait a bit until we have a better idea about what sort of games will be bundled with it.