Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas… these major shopping and deals events are coming soon, and, I don’t know about you, but for me the last 2 months of the year easily represent 50% of my video game budget. This year is not going to be any different. Between new hardware such as the PS4 Pro, Playstation VR, or even the NES classic; as well as upcoming games, there are lots of things I’m thinking of buying. Also, stuff that was cool 6 months ago might get heavily discounted, and for those who can wait, Black Friday is going to be a massive opportunity to snatch fairly recent games at low prices.
There are two problems I typically face in the deals season: First, seeing the deals on time (some of them run out very fast) and being ready for them, and second, avoiding the risk of buying a “fake” deal or more generally buying too much stuff I don’t really need. So, I can shamelessly admit that I have a battle plan. Here it it:
Make a list of the stuff you plan to buy
Know in advance how much you are willing to pay for it (what you’d consider a deal)
Jump on surprise “flash” deals that are too good to ignore (e.g. 75% off a game you were on the fence about getting). Worst case scenario you will be able to resell the game easily (even maybe for a profit) afterwards.
It’s not only about video games, there’s other stuff you probably want/need to buy and now’s the right time: clothes, etc… Include those in your list
Do a bit of comparison shopping, but don’t waste too much time (you could lose a deal if you hesitate too much). You probably already have your favorite sore anyway, that’s where you’ll get 90% of your deals. You don’t need to do comparison shopping if you already know how much you are willing to pay for the stuff you want! (see steps 1 and 2)
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1. Make a list of the stuff you need/want
So, that one is simple: ahead of the sales days, I make a list of what I want and need. Typically I’ll be looking at the video game section on Amazon, and make lists of the games I’ve thought about buying this year. In my case, this year, I’m looking for a few couch co-op games to play with my 5 year old kid, so I’m looking at Minecraft, some Lego games, Rayman Legends, potentially Diablo III (any suggestions for nice co-op games?).
I’m also looking in the direction of the PS4 Pro or the PS4 Slim. With the recent news of a PS4 4.01 Jailbreak, I’m thinking now is the right time to keep a PS4 on firmware 4.01. So I’m thinking of getting a PS4 Slim as my new “gaming rig”, and keep my old PS4 at firmware 4.01. I have to admit, this is the main reason I cancelled my PSVR preorder: I’ll probably get a second PS4 instead with the money.
The PS4 Pro: This will be a hot item this holiday season. Unlikely to get great deals on this one, but who knows.
2. Know in advance how much you are willing to pay for the things on your list
Once you have a pretty good idea of what you want to buy, you have to know what’s a “good” price for you for that game or piece of hardware. You can search the net for some price comparison to understand how much the game currently sells for. Then you have to know if you would buy it even without a sale, or if you’re really looking for a sale to justify the purchase. In the first case, this is simple: if you catch that game on sale during the holiday season, just get it without thinking, even if the sale is just a mere 5% off or some gift code you don’t intend to use. You would have purchased the game at retail price anyway, so you might as well do it. In the other case, ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for that game, and set that as your limit. If the game doesn’t sell for your target price, then you’ll wait for another opportunity, you don’t have to buy it this year.
Here are a few examples: I know that I can get a used PS4 for about $200 right now. I also know that the PS4 Slim + uncharted 4 will be discounted to $250 in several stores for black friday. I feel that if I can snatch a PS4 slim + 1 Game around $250 I’ll get it. Anywhere above $250 and I’ll hesitate. Anything above $280 (for the PS4 + 1 game) and I know that it’s not really a deal.
I also really want Rayman Legends to play with my son. It retails for about $20, and I can find used copies for $17. At $15 or below new, I’ll jump on it.
3. Be open for surprise deals that are too good to ignore
While always keeping in mind that you don’t want to buy stuff you’ll never play, keep an open mind for really good deals. This year during Amazon Prime Day I was able to buy Uncharted 4 Special edition, new, for $18. The price was insane! 6 months later, the best prices I can find for this game, used, are around $40. This was clearly a good deal and I jumped on it as soon as I found out about it. Similarly, not so long ago, Doom 4 was sold on many retailers for $19.99. I wasn’t so sure I would have time to play the game, but for such a great game at such a low price, I did not hesitate. (And yes, I did play the game and it was awesome)
So, generally, have a list of what you want, but also be open for such opportunity deals, if the item on sale is something you would like to play at some point
4. It’s not only about video games!
I tend to focus my shopping spree on my hobby which is video games, but there’s also a bunch of things I need or want to buy that I’ll include on my list. This goes from board games for my family (looking for good co-op games, I’d definitely buy Pandemic or Forbidden Desert if they are part of any deal, but following my rule above I’ll also try board games I’ve never heard about if they are massively discounted), but also more “everyday” stuff: I need a new blender, some shoes and clothes…
Board games: mommy doesn’t like video games, but these are ok 🙂
For all of these, just like for games, I have a vague idea of what kind of stuff I want, and will be on the lookout for deals in those categories.
5. Price is not the only convenience you should look for
I’ll be very bold here, I do most of my shopping on Amazon. There’s so many places one person can look at during the shopping season, and rather than miss on a good deal just because I want to compare prices, I’d buy on Amazon. I don’t want the shopping season to become an obsessive price comparison thing, so I’ll only do the occasional check on target, Newegg, bestbuy, eBay, or walmart if I come across some surprise deals over there. Your choice might vary. I am a member of Amazon prime and have gotten back that investment tenfolds since I subscribed, but you might have your favorite retailer too. Pick your main choice, but stay on the lookout for deals on other retailers if possible.
For those of you in the US looking for video game deals throughout the shopping season, we’ve got your back: I’ll be looking for video game deals as much as I can, for myself and for you, so you don’t have to. The most convenient way to get deals as soon as they show up is to follow me on twitter. I’ll be a bit spammy regarding deals in November or December, and I apologize in advance to those who are annoyed by this, but over the years I’ve received very positive feedback from many of you who have been able to catch those deals as I found them for you. Many of you got Doom or Uncharted 4 at heavy discounts and thanked me directly for those deals. It makes me super happy!
If you’re looking for something less immediate, we have a deals mailing list, where I’ll keep people updated on the upcoming deals, on days where it matters. This is a good way for you to get reminded of upcoming announced deals ahead of time. You can subscribe below:
If you’re looking for deals on specific games or hardware, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to look for those in particular in the weeks to come!
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