Get Video Games on the Cheap
Edited by Sean, Eng
- 1 Gaming on the Cheap
- 2 Video Game Deal Aggregate Websites
- 3 Best Websites for Video Game Sales
- 4 Final Notes
- 5 Resources
- 6 Comments
Gaming on the Cheap
As someone who went through college with only a non-paid internship and a small part-time job to pay for everything, well, gaming was tough. Trying to pay for those new releases that everyone was raving about was pretty much impossible, so I had to learn how to get the best and cheapest deals I could find for console and PC games. This guide will show you how to find sales and deals in a variety of ways, whether it is specific websites that do all the work for you and compile deals daily, certain times of the year that are particularly fantastic for sales, specific seasonal sales to watch out for certain platforms, or websites that provide unique sales for certain types of games. It is all here and all below.
Video Game Deal Aggregate Websites
First, before trying to jump to any specific distribution website you might want to just go find some places that host sales, filter them a bit, and show you what are some of the best deals floating around. For the websites below you can see what types of games they focus on, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to approach them.
Focus: Consoles, PC, Handhelds (everything)
Type: Community based
Slickdeals has deals for everything, not just games, but their gaming section is decent and community based, meaning that their community posts the sales, rates them, and comments on them to help filter them. The website is updated constantly as well and doesn't have everything, not even close, but the deals here are usually more console/handheld related and don't offer much for desktop gamers. However, whenever big sales come around Slickdeals is all over it regardless of what platform and their community is pretty reliable. Worth a look.
Focus: PC only
Type: Community based
If you've never used Reddit then that title is going to make no sense to you, but Reddit's r/Gamedeals is a subsection of that website that is focused exclusively on gaming sales and deals. They pretty much only focus on PC based stuff, sometimes deals for mobile or console games will slip in, and like Slickdeals they are community based. However, r/gamedeals is massive with over 250,000 members that constantly post new deals (just click on the New tab to see everything coming through) and filter them out with Reddit's upvote/downvote system. One drawback of r/gamedeals is that it almost exclusively focus' on sales for digital versions of games, but if you are looking for deals for PC games then this is one of the best places to go.
Cheap Ass Gamer
Focus: Consoles and PC
Type: Community based
Similar to Reddit's r/gamedeals, Cheap Ass Gamer is strictly a community based forum where people post tons of deals all of the time. The difference here is that Cheap Ass Gamer isn't as focused on PC only deals, and not only digital sales, and that the website is more of a traditional forum. It is a bit tough to navigate as a result and it's definitely tougher to see what the newest deals are, but they also have a huge community that is pretty dedicated to finding great deals and sharing them.
Focus: Consoles and PC
Type: Author based
SavyGamer is pretty different from every single other website on this list. First off, this one is for you anyone reading this list in Europe since this website is UK based. Secondly, it is not community based and it is run by the people who own the website. With that said, SavyGamer is a pretty decent place to go with deals posted regularly for PC and console games. It does have some community based comments and discussion, but it's not nearly as large as the previous two websites.
Best Websites for Video Game Sales
While the set of websites before show you how to find and locate deals, these below websites are often the ones that host those deals and you can go straight to them to look for deals. Most of these websites are dealing exclusively with digital copies of desktop games for PC, Mac or Linux, but the very last one on the list covers just about everything and a few of the websites from the Video Game Deal Aggregate Websites section also don't focus exclusively on desktop games.
The king of sales! Steam is by far the most popular thing on this list and part of the reason Steam ever became so popular is because of fantastic sales all year around. They are also of course a digital distribution platform with a focus on user generated reviews, content and discussion for any and all games. Steam actually has quite a few different sales and here are some tips for those:
- Seasonal Sales: You're going to see this trend between most of these websites and companies, but the deepest discounts often come during seasonal sales, specifically Steam's Christmas and Summer sales events, which run from anywhere to a week to a month.
- Weekly Sales: These are generally smaller sales that seem to pop up at any given time on Steam. Sometimes they run for a day, for a week or just weekend. These sales can offer some great discounts, but it is almost guaranteed that whatever it is will be on sale for more during seasonal sales events. However, they are still worth paying attention to.
- Early Access Sales: If you are really looking forward to playing something and don't want to wait until it comes, then check Steam to see if they are offering a pre-order or early access deal (if it is available on Steam Early Access before release). These discounts are tiny, usually 10-20%, but anything helps if you are trying to pick up something new.
Steam is definitely somewhere you should check if you are looking for deals on any digital version of a game for PC, Mac or Linux. However, the caveat is that you have to use Steam's platform and make an account there, but you'd also be joining a community of over 75 million gamers. If you are looking to check out Steam for the first time check out our VisiHow guide on installing Steam and setting it up.
When everyone saw Steam dominating the digital distribution market for PC games a few companies try to stand up to them in order to get them to share part of that market and Origin is one of the more successful efforts in doing so. Electronic Arts created it and it is very similar to Steam. It has a smaller community and fewer tools for community interaction, but they do have some great sales and policies for purchasing games from them (they actually allow limited returns of digital content). However, most of the games they sell are either made or published by EA, so there are far fewer titles to look through. They only have two sales that you should look out for:
- Seasonal Sales: Like everyone else, Origin has their deepest discounts whenever a holiday sale rolls around. Lately, these sales have been rather impressive and competitively priced with other major sales from other digital distributors.
- Weekly Sales: Origin has random sales throughout the week, which are sometimes related to releases or events (like anniversaries of a game being out), and they can offer some good discounts, but not quite as good as their seasonal sales prices.
Origin has a fairly small marketplace that has been steadily growing in size throughout the last couple of years and they have managed to not crumble against the might of Steam. By challenging Steam, Origin has created a few things that make them unique and worth checking out for deals. For instance, they have a new thing called gametime that basically lets you demo a full game for a specific number of hours. If you are looking to check out Origin for the first time then take a look at our VisiHow guide on installing it and getting it all setup.
Green Man Gaming.com
Unlike the previous two entries in this section, Green Man Gaming is just a website, not a digital distribution service. This website, often written as GMG, offers some sales that kind of work around what everyone else is offering and tend to not having overlapping deals. Also, unlike most of this list they offer deals in the United States and Europe. These are the two types of sales Green Man Gaming has:
- Pre-release sales: Green Man Gaming's pre-release deals are there to save you a bit of money if you just have to have that game on release day, but with a discount. These sales range from 10-25%, like Steam's, except check out what I have to say about their coupons below.
- Weekly sales: They have random sales like everyone else and these range from insignificant to intriguing, but the great ones don't come that often.
What makes Green Man Gaming great at times is their coupons and their services. At any given time you can search on Google to see what coupon they currently have floating around, and with those you can often throw on another 10-25% on top whatever is currently on sale. Sometimes the coupons don't stack, but when using those with pre-release discounts you can get some enticing deals. They have a few services too, like offering credit back if you want to trade in a game you bought or even credit with them just for purchasing certain games at certain times. They often sell games for Steam, Origin or other platforms, and just provide you a code. They are worth checking out in certain situations.
Humble Bundle is one of the newer websites/services on this list and you may know them for their bundle sales, like the Humble Mobile Bundles or their more recent Book Bundles, but they also have somewhat recently opened up a storefront on top of everything else. They mainly have deals just for desktop games and mobile games, but here are the types they offer:
- Bundles: This is what made Humble Bundle a success and who the are today, their bundle sales. These sales group up a bunch of games based on some criteria, like the developer, genre or even just indie, and sell in tiers. You can often pay $1 for a certain bunch of the games in the bundle, then there is another bunch that are locked unless you pay whatever the average price people are paying, and that is usually $5-$8. These are occasionally fantastic and you just have to look out for games you would be interested in. They seemingly do these every week, if not more often, and they are almost always a great value.
- Weekly sales: Pretty much the same as everyone else. Humble Bundle has weekly sales on their storefront that can be on a wide variety of games and these are almost exclusively desktop games. I've yet to see any of these types of deals beat out Steam, Amazon or Green Man Gaming, but they do usually have different deals gong on than everyone else.
The Humble Bundle doesn't seem as formidable and their main offering to you is their bundle sales, but they may be more of a dominant force in the future if they can start offering unique and strong sales that counter those of other big digital retailers. For now, check them out to see if this week's bundle has anything you are interested in because it is hard to beat $1-7 for a half dozen games or more.
This digital distribution website used to be called Good Old Games, but now it is now only referred to as GOG.com and that old name seems to be dead. However, that is still what this website is focused on. GOG.com offers deals and sales on some new games, but the large majority of their catalog of digital desktop games is from older games that are often setup to make sure they work on newer operating systems and computers. GOG.com is also available in any country that allows it according to their FAQ. Their main selling point, on top of having classic games, is that they offer everything DRM-free. Here are the types of sales they offer:
- Seasonal sales: Surprisingly, GOG.com has some pretty interesting and different seasonal sales. Sometimes they are just straight up deep discounts on a wide variety of games, but other times they are little events that have you participating in something in a playful way that makes everything a little more random and unique. These sales often range from 50-90% off on participating games.
- Weekly sales: If you are looking for classic games then you'll love GOG.com's weekly sales. They will pick genres or collection of games, like a bunch of classic adventure games, and just throw them on sale on for 30-50% off at any given time.
GOG.com is a really unique website that offers games and an atmosphere that no one else does with their DRM-free offerings, focus on classic games, and random infusions of new releases from smaller developers. They are also a very generous company that gives games away for free occasionally, is extremely customer friendly and is very open about everything they do. Check them out.
Believe it or not, but Amazon.com has some fantastic gaming sales every so often. Their sales often cover everything from consoles to desktop games, even handheld games occasionally, and their marketing department does a great job going out to forums, like Reddit, to make people aware of their sales. Their gaming sales also occasionally extend to psychical versions of games too if you aren't too keen on digital versions. Here are the types of sales they have:
- Seasonal sales: These are their huge sales that really show that they are worth paying attention to. In recent years their seasonal, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales have offered deals that sometimes surpassed those of Steam, Green Man Gaming or Origin. These are worth watching out for and usually have some unique discounts, like 50% of recently released games.
- Weekly sales: Amazon's structure isn't really designed to show off sales too well, so these are hard to find and you usually on notice these when you are looking at aggregate websites like in the first section of this guide. These weekly sales can be decent, but nothing special.
Amazon.com may be known for selling everything and making it easy to find anything, but they usually aren't known for offering serious discounts on games. For most of the year that is true, but when the seasonal sales roll around make sure to go check out Amazon.com's video game section for discounts on a huge selection of games.
With all of these websites and tools available for you, then you all you need is some patience and luck in order to acquire the game you desire for a price you can afford. As I mentioned often, a lot of these websites and places go crazy with deals when seasonal sales come around, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, so here are some last few tips if you are looking to get the most for your money:
- If you are really patient, you can almost always get any game you want at 50% off or more if you wait until Black Friday, Christmas or the big Summer sales, but the game needs to be not particularly new (usually needs to have been out for at least three months).
- Desktop games have the best and cheapest sales, but they are almost exclusively just for digital versions of games and finding a hard copy will be tougher, and more expensive.
- Console gamers do have some console specific season sales showing up on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace, with some great deals often, but also mainly just for the digital versions of games.
- Gamers who have a subscription to PlayStation Plus (mandatory for PS4) or Xbox Live Gold get free games monthly as part of initiatives by Sony and Microsoft.
So, as you see, no matter what kind of games you play or what platform you play them on, there are sales for you and all you need to do is keep your eye for them. As always, if you have any questions about any of this feel free to ask. Good luck and happy hunting!
- Shut up and Take My Money meme - Knowyourmeme.com
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Gaming
Recent edits by: Sean