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Gaming can be an expensive hobby. First you need to buy a console or gaming PC, then you’ll probably need a few peripherals like controllers or external storage. Add in other optional hardware like VR headsets and it can add up quick.
All that is before we even get to the price of games. Yes, games for cartridge-based systems could often be more expensive than games are now, but shelling out $60 for a game is significant, especially if gaming isn’t your only hobby. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money on new games.
Sites like Humble Bundle and others offer great deals on digital games, but they’re not always recent releases. If you keep an eye out though, you’ll sometimes find games released during the past year or even the past few months. Well-known sites are more likely to have newer and more popular titles than less popular sites like Indiegala.
It’s a gamble, but your best bet for scoring a sweet deal on recent games comes in the form of Humble Choice (formerly known as Humble Monthly). Prices range from $4.99/mo to $19.99/mo, with the pricier option giving you a choice of nine games per month. Some of these titles may be new, some may not, but they’re always worth more than the money you pay.
Even better, any plan gets you a 10 percent discount in the Humble Store.
2. Yearly and Seasonal Sales
The PlayStation and Xbox digital game stores often have sales, as do PC services like Steam. Sure, you can cross your fingers and hope that the game you’re looking for goes on sale, but you can also be more strategic about it.
Every season, most of these digital game stores have a seasonal sale. If the game you’re looking for has come out during this season or the previous season, you’re more likely to see a discount on it. If it’s an especially hot title, the discount may only be 15 percent off, but in that case you’re still looking at paying around $50 instead of $60.
This is less common than it used to be, but sometimes pre-ordering a game can save you money. A few years ago, Amazon did this with most upcoming games. Now it’s a rarity, with pre-orders mainly offering cosmetic bonuses and other in-game items instead of discounts.
That said, you’ll still see discounts on games for pre-ordering from time to time. Of course, there are dangers when it comes to pre-ordering like delays or a game just plain being bad, but if it’s something you know you’re going to buy anyway, it could save you a little money.
4. Physical Copies
Plenty of people are buying games digitally these days. There are plenty of reasons to do this, from saving space and clutter to not having to swap discs to play a different game. That said, buying a physical copy of a game can often save you money.
More often than not, you’ll see physical copies of a game going on sale long before digital versions. This is especially true if a game is selling fewer copies than retailers anticipated. In this case, even if the digital version is also seeing sales, you’ll often find the physical versions going for much less than the digital version.
5. Subscription Services
Services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass are a great way to instantly build up a library of games. In some cases, they can also be a great way to play new games without even having to purchase them.
PlayStation Now is much better than it used to be, but it still doesn’t feature many new or even relatively recently released games. Xbox Game Pass, on the other hand, frequently has new games on the service the same day they’re available to buy. A yearly subscription for either of these services costs $60, so for the price of one new game, you get access to a whole lot of games.
Prefer Retro Games Instead?
The methods detailed here aren’t guaranteed to save you money on a game that just came out, but they should help. If you’re strapped for cash or just prefer older games, plenty are available on Steam or GOG. But what if you’re a collector and prefer physical copies?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too. Just take a look at our list of the best sites to buy retro games online.