Most video gamers, whether old veterans of the early generation of consoles or newcomers who are just looking for something to fill their downtime, are all victims of a single predator: inflation. What was once an easy enough habit to pick up at any point is now becoming a powerful drain on all of our bank accounts. While everyone is clamoring over each other to pick up the newest edition of whatever tickles their particular fancy, I’m going to give a few simple tips to save you from spending too much on something that, let’s admit it, you don’t really need.
The Early Bird isn’t Always the Winner
The is probably the biggest mistake we’ve all made. A commercial for the newest installment comes on, and we’re glued to the TV. We spend months obsessing at how amazing it will be to load our new purchase for the first time. Maybe we were even roped into pre-ordering this game, despite our better judgment, for something as small as a different skin to slap onto our favorite character. Every single one of us is guilty of this, and we have all played right into the hand of the game publisher. I myself was even conned recently into pre-ordering the most expensive version of Dark Souls 2, a $125 commitment I should not have made. Now I will be stuck with a bonus soundtrack I will never listen to, a figurine that will gather dust on my shelf, and a “special” tin box that takes up double or even triple the space of an average game case. Not to mention a few bills that are now that much harder to pay. Why? Because I wasn’t thinking.
Games have a limited shelf life. After a certain point, $60 for a game everyone has already played is no longer viable. The only reasonable thing left for the store to do is to lower the retail price, in order to attract the last bit of possible income that particular game can generate. That’s when it is best to buy. The fact of the matter is, that game that you bought on opening day for $60 will be $40 in 3 months or less. In 6 months, it may even be $20 or less. So why pay premium when a little patience can grab you the same game for a third of the price?
“New” has Never Meant “Better”
Waiting on a game to lower in price has a second advantage: You can pick it up used for less. Now this is a bit of a hot topic, because some associate the term “used” for “worse”. But there are a few things to remember. First, all places that buy used games check those games for any signs of damage. If they find any, then those disks are either refurbished or refused. Second, while not all stores have a return policy, most legitimate vendors will allow you to return a faulty disk for either a new one or a complete refund. Finally, they reason that particular game was sold is usually from lack of use, not it being broken. In some cases buying used may only net you a few extra dollars, however sometimes the difference can be around $10-$15, making it worth your while.
Why Not Get Rewarded for Spending?
For those who frequent major vendors such as Gamestop or BestBuy, you have one last little bit of saving available to you, rewards memberships. Both stores offer free and paid memberships and it is most certainly worth applying for the paid membership. I know from personal experience the Gamestop paid membership fee is a small $15, and come with many perks that paid for the fee time and time again. From accumulated point that can be used to purchase items or discount them, to a special addition discount to used games (ranging from $0.50 to $2.00). For a frequent buyer, the paid membership is not only worth the money, but can pay for itself and more over any given year.
Regardless of whether you use just one or all of these strategies to save, the point is clear, there is no reason to ever pay full retail on a video game ever again. We all have bills to pay, so why not save where we can, and spend only when it is most wise? As a gamer myself I can say with conviction, $60 is just too much for any game. Wait it out, be patient, and savings you will find.