May 11

Gaming on a budget: how to save money on your hobby

Playing computer games is one of the world’s favorite hobbies, but for someone just thinking of taking it up, getting started can seem dauntingly expensive. The latest console will cost you hundreds of dollars, and you’ll need a state-of-the-art 4K high definition TV set in order to get your money’s worth. Then there are endless peripherals, starting with headsets, extra controllers, and so on: for a neophyte, it’s hard to know which are essential and which are luxuries. One thing that’s certain is that you could easily invest over $1,000 before you even buy a single game.

However, like many other hobbies, gaming can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. It’s true that AAA video games cost upwards of $50 to $60 on the first release. However, there are also many great games that you can play online for free, including Michigan online casino real money games, where, if you’re lucky, you might actually come away with a profit. With this in mind, here are some tips for gaming on a budget, and making sure that you get the most enjoyment possible for your investment.

Getting started

The first thing to understand about gaming is that you probably already have all the tech you need to get started, albeit in a modest way. In fact, if you’re reading this, it means that you’re able to connect to the internet, which means that you have thousands of games at your disposal, many of them free to play. If you have a desktop PC, a laptop, a tablet or even just a decent smartphone, you already have a basic gaming machine and can start playing.

Let’s start with your phone or tablet. Go to your app store and you’ll see a huge list of games. Check out the charts and see which are most popular. You’ll find everything from simple, casual games such as Candy Crush Saga to puzzles such as Sudoku and adaptations of classic board and parlor games such as Monopoly, Scrabble or patience.

You can also connect to online casinos from a phone or tablet and play mobile-optimized versions of some of the most popular video games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite. The processing power of the humble phone has increased massively in recent years, and it’s now seen as a premium platform for game developers. However, it still remains the case that if you want to get the full gaming experience, in most cases, you have to go for something a bit bigger.

Console or PC?

Choosing between a console and a gaming PC can be a tough decision from a financial point of view. On the face of it, buying a console is the cheaper option, especially if you don’t buy the latest PlayStation or Xbox model as soon as it comes out. Wait for a while until the price goes down, or go for a less expensive brand such as the Nintendo Switch, which still has plenty of great games to choose from.

As mentioned above, you’ll need a top-end television set to get the most from your console, but we’re guessing that you already have a TV of some description that you can plug into. And, of course, better gaming isn’t the only reason why you might want to upgrade to 4k.

Although you can get a decent gaming PC for under $500, buying a fully optimized model will generally cost you a significant amount more than a console. However, instead of purchasing a ready-made gaming PC off the shelf, you can create a killer machine bit by bit. With a little knowledge and a willingness to experiment, you can start with a cheaper or even second-hand desktop PC or laptop and upgrade it as you go along. You may even be able to work with a machine that you already own.

Technology upgrades

If you’re a real computer whiz, then you could build yourself a high-end gaming PC from scratch, saving yourself hundreds of dollars by picking up individual components and putting them together yourself. This modular approach also means that you can replace and upgrade separate parts when they wear out, or when a better version becomes affordable.

For the rest of us, however, it’s still possible to convert a humble office PC into a gaming-ready machine, step by step. First, when you buy your basic computer, make sure that it’s possible to upgrade the crucial elements. If for any reason, what you buy is what you’re stuck with, you’ll want to make sure that in this respect, at least, the spec is as high as possible.

The most important element of any computer is the processor. This should be as powerful and as up-to-date as you can afford. Next is memory, and the good news is that you can generally add on additional storage and hard drives. Get an SSD drive to improve responsiveness and to cut down on loading times. Finally, your graphics processing unit (GPU) or graphics card should be as close to top of the range as possible, though there’s no point getting a powerful GPU if your device doesn’t have the screen resolution to support it.

Choose your games carefully

Unfortunately, the expense doesn’t end once you’ve got set up. Most gamers regularly shell out $100 or more per month on new games, but once again, it doesn’t have to be this way. The price of new games usually drops dramatically just a few months after release, and even games that are a few years old are worth picking up. If you’re a new gamer, investigate some of the classics of the last few years: you’ll get better value than if you immediately buy into the latest hype.

Second-hand games and trade-ins are a good place to look, as are the many free-to-play games, including all-time greats such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. Look for games that you’ll enjoy for a long time, so as to get as many pleasurable playing hours as possible for your money. With the market now encompassing streaming and downloadable games as well as shop-bought cartridges, there are options for every budget.

The expense of taking up gaming is relative – many other hobbies, from the following football to mountain climbing, require similar or greater financial outlay. The great thing about games, however, is that you can start playing for next to nothing, and gradually scale up when you can afford it. There really is no reason not to dive straight in.


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