So this might seem like a very funny word and one that you have never heard before. Yeah it’s a word that is fictitious but has a lot of meaning, Gamer-conomy. In today’s market with high unemployment rates, struggling families, college debt, and more it’s tough to be a gamer and be able to play the games you want when they are still relatively new.
I am a thrifty shopper and anyone of my friends and family will tell you right away that I find deals and find them to benefit me, with video games. I don’t spend a lot and I play most of the games that I want right at, or shortly after, the launch date. This is because I have learned to adapt in the gamer-conomy. I will be the first to tell you that I am a father of two, married, work forty hours a week, and just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Art and Design. While time is the biggest hurdle in getting my game time in, financials are too. I have sought the deals, and found a good formula to getting stuff I want. Did you ever hear the story of the man that turned a paper clip into a house? Well that’s gamer-conomy in a nutshell, obviously on a much smaller scale. While we’re not trying to trade a copy of Halo for a Ferrari; we are trying to turn a couple games we don’t play into that new blockbuster that just hit store shelves. How is this done you might ask? Well I’ll give you some tips of the trade and with time, and patients you’ll get to the point where you’re paying $20 for that $60 game.
1. Check your weekend ads
This may sound simple and like something that most of you may do, but check the ads at all the major retailers that carry and publicize video game deals. There are some gems, and while this season has started rather slow with the big games coming, check more and more because eventually your sure to find that diamond in the rough.
The best ads to check every week are Best Buy, Kmart, Toys ‘R Us, and Target. All of these stores consistently run great deals, whether it’s that game that just came out a week before and is now $20 off, Buy 2 Get 1 Free deals, or a great gift card offer there are deals at every store to find.
2. Join Trading Sites
There are some tricks when it comes to trading sites because some make you pay to trade or have weird points systems, but there are some that let you trade and just do it with whoever, whenever you want. These sites are ones like CheapAssGamer and GameTZ. Both of which allow you to part with unwanted games to other users and turn them into games you want. Now I’m not saying every single one of the trades you want are going to go through, but it’s a great way to get stuff out there and turn a couple games that are older in to newer ones.
There are other perks as well, CheapAssGamer and GameTZ both have a Hot Deals Forum and they are users posting great finds for other people. Some will run out before you get there, and others will be there for your taking, but check on these as much as possible. CheapAssGamer also has a summary portion that summarizes the deals from the weekly ad, but that’s not the only perk they offer. CAG has one of the gaming world’s newest heavy hitter when it comes to video game deals, KMART. KMART may not seem like your ideal place to buy games but Josh Deane, the man in charge of these deals, posts his weekly deals that aren’t in the ad on CAG for all to see. This is just one more reason to join these sites and check them out.
3. Know your Internet Retailers
There are many, many internet retailers when it comes to video games and all of them are fighting for your money when it comes to buying them. Some store’s online retailers have great deals, but for the most part those are few and far between. It’s always good to check, but stick with the online only internet retailers. Amazon is on everyone’s radar when it comes to online retailers, and for good reason. Make sure you’re visiting the Deal of the Day for video games often. Amazon has some really good sales come through that are normally good until about 7 PM EST. While they run through Midnight, or are supposed to, when stock runs low they cut the deal, so the earlier the better. Not to mention that they run great lightning deals from time to time where for the entire day you get deals every hour that are games and accessories.
GoHastings.com is another great site, they tend to have buy two get one for a penny deals on used games, offers coupons for percentages off (like the 40% one they just offered for liking their Facebook), and other great deals, as well as NewEgg.com which also has some diamonds in the rough from time to time. Other place like Best Buy’s Clearance Center or Closeout Warehouse is another great place to check for periodic game deals. EBAY from time to time has BUY.com and others sell stuff that you know is legit at discount prices and limited quantities too.
4. Work for a “Gaming” Retailer? Make it pay off.
A lot of people that work for places like Best Buy, Gamestop, Target, KMART, and more don’t realize that they are eligible for Microsoft and Sony’s Retail Loyalty Programs. You can find Microsoft’s here (http://expertzone.microsoft.com/) and Sony at (http://rls.us.playstation.com/ ) and you can get, after verifying your employment, games that are branded by these companies cheap. While they may not be every game under the sun, they should have nearly all their first party titles available for your shopping pleasure. Microsoft tends to offer stuff at about 50% of the cost in stores or off of MSRP. While some you may shrug your shoulders at, others are great deals and you’re getting a brand new copy.
5. Scour Clearance
Some have great clearance, and others have NOTHING, but clearance is a great way to pick up a game you want cheap. Target regularly offers clearance and in many cases can be one that turns over fast because of their limited shelf space. Sears is another that from time to time you’ll find stuff really cheap you didn’t expect. Always if something is on clearance, ask them to scan it because they are not the best at ticketing it. Best Buy is much more hit and misses, but do have some clearance to check out.
6. Trading Games In
When trading games in, you have to treat it as though it’s a stock market, buy low and sell high. While games will drop off in value, know when the trading portion of getting them into stores is at its peak. Many people think that Gamestop is the devil of the video game world and is one that should be avoided at all cost but watch for things like their 40 and 50% bonus credit deals. Think of it this way, if you’re a Power Ups Rewards member and you have a copy of a game you just finished that is less than a month old. You’re done with it and want something new and they have a newer release, used, that you didn’t have the funds for originally or were hesitant to grab; this is where they might be offering a great deal.
For instance, they are running a 50% bonus credit toward a used game, while you might be thinking the max you’ll get is $18-20 take a step back and look at the big picture. Your $20 game just turned into $30 dollars with the bonus credit, on top of that your edge card is going to give you 10% more on that too so you’re up to $32. That newer used game is $54.99, but wait your going to get 10% off of that too and wind up with that same game for $49.50. So now your net payment is $17.50 out of pocket. Not so bad after all huh? Not to mention if you have an older game that your still wondering why your hanging on to, cough, cough Viva Pinata, cough; trade that in too and you’ll be spending even less and reaping even more.
On top of all that, Best Buy has started a great new program and also is doing the same paid for membership that Gamestop offers starting in September, and in their @Gamer magazine you get coupons to save even more money and on top of that they offer great bonuses on games that you reserve and such too. They also now have a used game selection, too, with all of the trades.
It is better to check the values before you go in because one maybe better than the other. There are a couple ways to do so. Best Buy allows you to check it on your Android Phone, iPhone, with their Gaming App or online at home through their trade in link at the bottom of the page. I have yet to have a discrepancy in store. The other for Gamestop is going back to that great site of CheapAssGamer and using their trade in value link. Users post the values they get and most of the time are very close as long as the days since they traded it in isn’t too far away from when you are.
Check Amazon too, while the process is a bit lengthier, they a lot of times are the best of the three in terms of value.
7. Price Match
This is one of the biggest loop-holes out there in the gaming world, price matching. Know what stores will match and which won’t. Target and Walmart will match advertised prices, as long as you have the ad with you, and it’s a sale price. No gift card offers, promo bundles, or special buys, like B2G1 free. Best Buy is the most lenient and will price match all of those except bundle deals. This is great if you have games to trade and Toys R Us is running a free gift card offer or buy 2 for $50 like they messed up with at one point. Best Buy stores did price match it, and games like Duke Nukem, Fear 3, and LA Noire all were games that you got in the deal for AMAZINGLY low prices. This is another way to swing things in your favor.
8. If you sell, Craigslist or Trading Sites, NOT eBay
This is a rule of thumb, if you’re selling your games and not trading, which is a great thing to do, then make sure that you sell on Craigslist or use game trading sites to sell. While at times you can get some good money on eBay, too many people are on their swooping in at the last second nabbing things for cheap and on top of that you have to pay fees on the money you make. Save the hassle, get rid of them on Craigslist for more and use trading sites to avoid the fees when selling. Make sure your not posting games for what they can be had in the store for used, give people a deal but you’ll still make more this way than eBay and in some cases rather than trading them in.
Well this sums up most of what I do, and of course a magician can’t tell all of his secrets so a couple I will keep in the bag, but this gives you a great look at ways to get games cheap and turn them into more and more games, and wind up spending less and less in this crazy, Gamer-Conomy!