Gaming can be an expensive hobby. Certain new releases are approaching the £60 mark and that’s not for a special edition. Despite that, there are plenty of ways you can maximise your spend and be a top notch Savvy Gamer. And if you’re a parent with kids clamouring for the latest releases, these tips will interest you too!
The Savvy Gamer Shops Around
It may seem obvious, but loyalty to a specific shop or brand these days is bad for your wallet. A Savvy Gamer doesn’t buy that new title in the first place they see it, they look around and find the best price. Often your big high street chains like Game are the absolute worst option. There’s better choices out there!
If you prefer brick and mortar retail, check supermarkets for new releases. They tend to stock games that are in the chart and often at prices below what a specialised retailer can offer. It’s nice to support independent game shops where possible too, so if you have any in your area pop in and check how they compare.
If you’re happy to shop online Amazon is a pretty good option, particularly if you’re a student or a prime member, as you can get an extra £2 off the list price of most games. Also, try looking at smaller specialised online websites like shopto.net. I bought Lego City Undercover from there for my Switch for just £37.85 and it was delivered on release day!
Pre-owned Games Save Pounds
There’s been a market for physical pre-owned games virtually since the medium began. The Savvy Gamer, who isn’t too worried about getting the game on the day and date of release can save a few pounds by waiting for someone to trade their copy in. Most game shops have some sort of trade in system in place and you’ll be able to grab a copy for less than it’s new counterpart.
It’s certainly an option worth considering. Do however refer back to tip number one. Shopping around is still key. I’ve almost been caught out myself by what looked like a tempting price for a pre-owned copy of a title in Game. I used my phone to have a quick check and to my surprise, found a new copy of the same game on Amazon for cheaper! Make the most of having a smartphone, price check as you go!
Sales and Trade-ins Mean Cheaper Games
I admit I’m not really a trader. I like to keep hold of my favourites and build a back library so that if I ever want to play something again it’s there and waiting. Some games are collectible items too! If you’ve got a box full of old N64 cartridges hidden in the loft, you might be sat on a surprising little investment. Even the older consoles and accessories themselves are becoming more pricey.
The obvious option here is to use auction sites like eBay, but bear in mind you’ll lose a portion of the sale price in PayPal fees and to eBay itself as a commission. There’s plenty of local Facebook selling pages you might consider too if you don’t mind a bit of extra risk and hassle. For many though, especially for parents who are looking to swap games for their kids, trading in at a brick and mortar retailer is the best option.
Once again, refer back to tip number one. The Savvy Gamer doesn’t take the first trade in deal they see. Try different options on the high street as some will guarantee to beat an offer from another shop. You’ll also want to check stock on the item you’d like to trade towards and confirm it’s price. If you’re going to get a £20 trade against a £30 title from one place, but £19 against the same game for £27 somewhere else, you’ll obviously want to go with the second option.
The Savvy Gamer Borrows from Friends
Shorter single player games in particular are great options for sharing among family and friends. If there’s two or three releases you’d all like to play, buy one each and swap when you’ve finished. It’s a system that’s worked remarkably well for my brother and I, plus a select set of friends I trust to look after my discs.
This relies on you having a physical copy of the game obviously, which we’ll discuss again in the next heading. Just make 100% sure that you trust your trading partners to look after your merchandise. You don’t want any scratched discs or coffee stained boxes coming back to you, right?
Unless You’re on PC Avoid Buying Digital
The PC market is very different to consoles. Digital became the de-facto option some time ago. On PC games are often cheaper than their console counterparts. Regular and generous sales also abound on platforms like Steam and GOG. This offsets some of the downsides of a dwindling physical marketplace.
When it comes to console however the landscape is very different. Digital distribution is still finding it’s feet on closed platforms and as such tends to be vastly more expensive. Part of that is down to deals that the platform holders make with brick and mortar stores. They make commitments on price to support the high street retail market.
For console gamers this means that you will only find competition and thus lower prices on physical releases. There are of course games that are digital only, particularly indies and as a result how or when you make those purchases is up to you. In virtually every other case, the Savvy Gamer will find the best options are physical. You can’t trade in or sell a digital copy if you finish it or find it’s not to your taste either. The lending and borrowing option is out too!
Don’t Buy Day One and Never Pre-order
Like other forms of entertainment games vary in quality from sublime to downright rubbish. I’ve been caught out in the past by a poorly judged pre-order on a game that turned out to be trash. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Patience means pounds for the Savvy Gamer. Not only will you avoid duds by waiting for opinions from your fellow gamers or reviewers, you’ll also find better prices.
These days releases are so common place and packed throughout the year publishers are jostling for attention. The result is that many games have generous discounts after only weeks on the market. If you’re willing to wait longer than that, there are even better options to be found.
How many games have you bought that release a remaster, complete or GOTY edition down the line? If you’re willing to wait, you might snag the whole game and any expansions or additional content for less that the original release. RPGs and racing games are good options for this wait and see approach.
Are You a Savvy Gamer?
I hope this post has been useful. Especially for fellow parents looking to maximise value when buying for the kids. Remember that patience is key and shopping around is a must. Gaming like any other hobby has plenty of bargains to be found. Just be willing to put a bit of extra leg work in!
If you have any other tips or a real bargain you’d like to share, drop me a comment!