It is fair to say that the costs of gaming are not cheap. For those of us who spend a great deal of time on our PCs, consoles and mobile devices, this can really add up. I am not expert in the field, but over the years I have developed a number of strategies to help save my pennies.
I play across every platform, but I find PC gaming the easiest platform to reduce costs.
Steam and GOG.com offer great ways to save money. Note that in many cases you need to exercise a little patience. If you need to play a game the instant it is released, there is little hope for you! I get it too. I used to be the type who just could not wait. But given the overwhelming choice we have these days, I find I can wait a little longer. I use the time to complete Just Cause 3 or gain a few more levels in Grim Dawn. Every day you wait offers more choices and the potential to save more money.
Anyone who uses these platforms will know that Steam and GOG.com offer some amazing deals. I purchased The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, GoTY Edition on GOG.com for under $30 during some holiday special. That is unbelievable value. Mind you I waited a year before purchasing it as I had other games to tide me over. However, not all of you can wait that long. In a recent example, I was not willing to wait for Assassin’s Creed: Origins to drop to less than half price.
However, there are still ways to save. The beauty with Steam and Gog.com is that you can enter a Key that proves you own the game and can add it to your library for good. I ended up purchasing Assassin’s Creed: Origins for $50 within 2 months of its release from G2A.com. This was a saving of about 40%. I received an email instantly with the game key and within minutes I was downloading it to my games library. A warning though: Ensure that you are purchasing the game for the platform you want. The product description will list it is for either Steam or GOG.com. Whilst I do prefer Steam, the cheapest I found was for GOG.com. So if you do not mind using both platforms you have even more opportunities to save.
To save money on new releases, I always buy the bare bones game. I have always found buying premium, gold, etc. versions is simply not worth the money. Unless you are seriously into collectibles, I find they are always well over priced. Also if they offer you in-game items, this is just a blatant money grab. Games are so filled with customisation these days, you will hardly notice missing out on one costume. Well I don’t anyway, and this has certainly saved me a decent amount. Like I said, unless you are a serious collector or completionist, try not to get sucked into these schemes.
As far as gaming rigs go, I highly suggest a last generation machine. These still have the hardware to run games at high and even ultra settings and you can save over a $1,000 by not having the very latest video card and processors. There are some computer stores that bundle rigs together that suit a number of different budgets. Don’t get despondent that you cannot afford the $3,000, because you would be surprised what a sub $1,000 machine can also do.
My time spent on consoles has reduced dramatically, especially since purchasing my MSI GT62VR laptop. When it comes to consoles it is more difficult to save money on new titles. The key here is patience. One of your best options is to wait until a pre-owned version becomes available. Here you can easily save 10-30%. You can find them not too long after release, given how quickly some players are able to complete them. I have found most of my better savings on eBay.com.au.
eBay also offers new titles at better prices than some stores, so make sure to do some research before you buy. I recently noticed shops were selling God of War for $90. A quick search on eBay revealed prices of $70, with free postage, and second hand copies for even less.
Specialist game stores such as EB Games often have bargain bins that offer huge savings. I have often found this a great way to kill some time by playing a new game I would not normally have purchased. But for $10 – $20 it is hard to resist.
One of the advantages of consoles is that you can actually share game disks with your friends. This is particularly useful with single player games. If you want to play the same game together remotely, then you all need to own the game. However, as a single player gamer, my opinions generally revolve around these types of games.
Again with the consoles themselves, if you can wait for a pre-owned one you will save a considerable amount. Alternatively, just shop around and look out for any eBay tech discounts. If you have a console you are replacing, this is usually a good time to sell it to put the money towards upgrading. It is surprising how much you can get for a second hand console, especially if you have kept the original box and all of its contents.
Mobile gaming is a tough one. There is not really much you can do to save here. It is worth looking out for sales, as the App Store does have regular discounts. I have purchased games on sale for $0.99 down from $7.99. It is a shame that the store does not categorise games on sale in a clearer format. But keep a look out!
CheapCharts (Free Download) is actually a useful app for tracking current specials. Just launch it and browse through current games that are on sale.
One big feature of mobile gaming is the choice we have of ‘free’ games. Many of these free games do offer some extended play-ability. But it soon becomes clear that you need to pay in order to progress unless you want to grind for days or even months.
As mentioned in my previous article the in-app purchase farce, you need to be mindful of what you are getting for your money. I have seen some games offer in-app purchases that seemed fair, only to find that you use the currency up within a very short amount of time. This prompts you to then buy more. Many mobile games do offer the occasional deal that can save you a fair amount. I have often purchased in-app currency for up to 80% off. Also look out for bulk deals.
Make sure you limit your budget, and if you see a bulk deal that offers a lot more bang for your buck, then go for that option. But always make sure it is worth your money. For example, spending $10 may reward you with more bonus in-app currency than if you spent $2. You might get an even bigger bonus for spending $99; but do you really want to spend that much on an app? Don’t do it to yourself. Go buy a real game instead!
It is also worth noting that App Store cards can also be purchased on sale. For example you can usually pick up a $100 card for $75, which results in a pretty decent saving.
I hope some of these suggestions provide some incentive to help you save. If you know of any others, I would really love to hear them.