Video gaming is an expensive hobby. Not only is gaming hardware, like video game consoles, VR headsets, or PC components, frighteningly expensive, but the games are also expensive too. Before you know it, you can spend a small fortune on your gaming hobby, but there are quick and easy ways to bring the costs down. Here are some great tips on how to save some money and still have a great time playing quality video games.
Never Pre-order Your Games
Many gamers over the year have been the victim of shelling out a huge amount of money for a AAA game title, and when it finally comes out it doesn’t deliver on any of the marketing that came along with it. Perhaps the most famous title that fell victim to pre-order hype was No Man’s Sky. It’s a great game now with a deep and rich gameplay loop, but on launch, it failed to meet many of the promises from the developers. Cyberpunk 2077 came out earlier this year and fell victim to years of hype from the press and developers, which it didn’t live up to. Wait for the game to come out – not only will it be cheaper, but you’ll have a better idea if it’s worth it. Don’t be tempted by pre-order bonuses.
Read the Reviews First
Of course, one of the most obvious reasons for waiting until a game is out or near release is the ability to read gaming magazines and news site reviews of the title. They’ll give an honest and accurate summary of the game, what you can expect, how much playtime you’re likely to get from it, and most importantly, how well it lives up to the trailers and marketing. This is particularly true for the expensive AAA titles, and even more important for new IP. The next release of Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed is probably a safe bet, but as we saw with games like Anthem and Cyberpunk 2077, a development studio’s previous work isn’t a guarantee of quality.
Wait for Video Game Sales
Video game sales are a video gamer’s best friend. These frequent discounting of video games can mean huge savings on games that might not be brand new but still offer a lot for the gamer. If you’re in the market for something new to play, take a browse through your game platform’s sale section and see what they have on offer before splashing out on a full-priced title. This can be particularly good advice if you’re a PC gamer. There are always frequently updated deals for gamers to take advantage of.
Consider Switching to PC Gaming
Video game consoles have a lot to offer, particularly the next-gen consoles that support 4K gaming and unlocked frame rates, making the gap between video game consoles and PC gaming even smaller than it already was. One place it isn’t equal, however, is the cost of the games themselves. Digital distribution platforms for PC like Steam and the Epic Game Store offer really great value and constant sales and specials. Steam users can take advantage of the quarterly store-wide sales where even big games can be bought for a fraction of their normal price. Getting set up for PC gaming is a lot more expensive, but it won’t take much time to recover the costs with the game’s pricing. Plus, you’ll have access to the latest technology first, like VR and raytracing. Naturally, you can also use your PC for things other than gaming, as it’s arguably a more versatile device.
Check the Used Games Market
Many big box gaming retailers offer pre-owned copies of console games and will sell your games for you. It’s an excellent way to save some money on your games. You might be able to trade games with friends or via trading platforms too. Before you go this route though, be sure you’re done with the game. If you use a digital distribution platform like your console’s store, you naturally can’t sell or trade used games – and if you have a console like the new Xbox Series S that doesn’t have a disc drive, you’re also out of luck.
Take Advantage of Subscriptions
There’s been an enormous surge in the popularity of gaming subscription services and for good reason. Many publishers and platforms are now offering a selection of games in their library for a monthly fee. The most popular of these is Microsoft’s Game Pass, which works on both Xbox and PC and provides around 200 games for a few bucks a month. Subscriptions like this and others like Ubisoft’s Uplay and PlayStation Plus offer video gamers great value because you don’t need to shell out a large amount of money upfront. The downside is, of course, if you cancel your subscription you are no longer able to play the games in the library.
Stay Away from Microtransactions
Microtransactions offer time incentives in your game, either offering you cosmetic unlocks like skins or, more in the mobile game market, powerups or items that will speed up your gaming experience. They’re often small seemingly insignificant amounts of money, but over time these entirely optional transactions can add up to a lot of money – money that can be better spent on full games instead of skins or microtransactions.
You Don’t Need to Upgrade
PC gamers are particularly guilty of constantly upgrading their computer hardware. New graphics cards, keyboards, and mice being released might offer small upgrades to your existing hardware, and as a PC gamer, you’re probably tempted to replace your current hardware with the newer editions and versions. There’s even a term for it – CUD, or Continuous Upgrade Disorder, popularised on Reddit. Run your hardware for longer and don’t upgrade before you need to and you’ll save a huge amount of money that you can rather use to buy new games.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time to maximize value from what you spend as a gamer. Not only will you save money by following the tips outlined above, but you’ll likely get even more value from your money spent. You’ll be playing more and better games in no time.