For those of us that indulge the beast that is gaming, we know the expenses that come with it. Whether you use PC, Mac, handhelds, or a console the cost of being a gamer takes its toll. Lucky for us there are ways to cut the costs without giving up what you love. Here are a few tips:
Be patient, don’t buy right away
This strategy is common sense with any technology that hits the public. At a certain point high technology becomes mainstream, more accessible, and more importantly: cheaper. The same can be said for video games. The urge to buy a game right when it comes out is immense: you want to experience the new story in a series, play online with your friends, or just be active in the discussion. If that game is a big name title (i.e. Skyrim, Black Ops 2, or Halo 4) it will most likely be around $60 and possibly more if you count the upgrades you might make to your PC. Waiting allows several factors to set in:
-People who didn’t enjoy the game return it to stores, making used copies available and cheaper
-The game is exposed to criticism by the media and fans, causing the price to drop if reactions are negative (see Duke Nukem Forever)
-Prices naturally fall due to decreased demand for the product
Utilize rental services
Gamefly and RedBox have changed the way gamers gain access to games they rather not pay full price for. With a wealth of games at your renting disposal it sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s partially accurate. Depending on what kind of gamer you are these options could be perfect or a complete waste of money. If you’re the kind of person that wants to sit down and commit yourself to playing a single game to completion over the course of a few days then these services are perfect for you. But, if you’re like me and can’t focus on one game at a time you might want to try something else. I might use Gamefly to rent and beat Portal (a game that takes about 3 hours to complete) over the course of a weekend but would never consider renting a game like NBA 2k12 (something I play nearly every day) from them. It’s just not worth it to rent a game with that kind of replay value. Not to mention Gamefly rarely sends you a game that’s at the top of your queue and the cost to rent more than one game at a time is just not worth it.
Buy used games
GameStop can be the bane of gamers’ existence while simultaneously being their savior. The used game store provides all the new AAA titles you’re looking for as well as older games, consoles, and equipment for cheap prices. Buying from GameStop is a relatively stress-free experience, but selling or trading in can be a hassle. They certainly aren’t known for their generous offers for used games and don’t always have the best customer service. If GameStop isn’t your thing, then try out some local game shops. They typically have competitive prices and if you’re lucky enough they supply games going back to the days of the NES. Enjoy the used games while they last, because they might not be around for long.
Gabe Newell, the managing director of Valve, is a god to much of the gaming community and it’s hard to argue against the sentiment. His company has produced some of the greatest games in the past decade while maintaining outstanding customer service and unbeatable prices. If you’re a PC gamer go install their Steam platform as soon as possible. If you’ve never experienced a Steam sale, you’re certainly missing out. Whether it’s the Steam Summer Sale, Holiday Sale, or even their Midweek Madness, you’re constantly given the opportunity to purchase some great games for ridiculously low prices, up to 90% off. This can be a good and bad thing. If you’re waiting for a game to go on sale you will eventually be rewarded for your patience and find it for 75% off and be happy with that, or you can end up buying ten games for $50 that you’ll never play. As with all sales, it is designed to get you to buy more than you actually need. So go join the fun, but beware.
As much as you’d love to sink a few hundred more hours into World of Warcraft, sometimes it just doesn’t seem like that monthly subscription is worth it, even if you are a fan of the Pandaren. The good news is that you can maintain your fix but not incur the same financial burden thanks to the multitude of free MMORPGs out there. For those of you who don’t know MMORPGs are Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. Hack College recently listed their top 5 but failed to mention a big one on the horizon. Star Wars:The Old Republic, famous (or rather infamous) for its missteps, is now transitioning to being free to play up to level 50 starting this fall. Add that to the multitude of games available to play on Steam (i.e. Team Fortress 2, Blacklight Retribution, and Age of Empires Online) and you have more than enough options to satisfy your taste for adventure while not breaking the bank.
How do you avoid the imminent expense of gaming?