Saving Money on Games

5 Tips TLDR; for Saving Money on Gaming

  1. Scoop up free giveaways, check r/GameDeals
    • Epic, Twitch Prime, publishers
  2. Free Demos
  3. Play the games you have (I'm not the one to talk..)
  4. Trial subscription services for short periods of time
    • XBox GamePass PC Beta for $1 is a fantastic deal
  5. Buy on sale, be patient and know historical prices and use notifications on tracker sites
  6. 3rd party Game bundles (Humble, Fanatical, Indiegala, GMG)- sometimes these can be fantastic deals, esp. tied to historic events.

Disclaimer: As I am primarily a PC gamer with a PS4 Pro on the side, the tips are slanted more towards those two platforms.    If you’ve got juicy money saving tips, please share in the comments below.    With anything that is digitally distributed, patience is your greatest virtue and if you wait long enough, you are going get it for free or for pennies to the dollar.   

But don't let free and cheap games make you into hoarder...

Free Game Giveaways

Obviously getting stuff for free is the best.   Now you may think to yourself  I’m gonna skip these giveaways because I only have a console or a mac or my PC is a potato.  Some games are supported on Mac or have low specs. You never know when you might have access to a gaming PC in your future so grab freebies while you can. Regardless,  cloud services like Blade Shadow allows you to game on a remote Windows instance. Unfortunately Nvidia Geforce Now which is the biggest PC remote streaming service has limited Steam catalog access due to the publisher kerfuffle and it does not allow access to your Epic Game store catalog but that may change in the future.     Also you might be all snooty and selective saying I’m never going to play as a chunk of meat evading sawblades... Friends, just grab them because you cannot predict your future gaming tastes. And yes, I do regret turning my nose down on Supermeat boy.

  1.  Epic Game Store - New game giveaways till 12/2020
  2. Twitch Prime - Free if you have Amazon Prime
    1. Rather than the outdated title giveaway, you may be more interested in the free loot for various on-line games.   If you link your Rockstar account with your Twitch Prime account, you can get some free GTA5 and  Red Dead Redemption online goodies including $1000 cowboy bucks.  If for whatever reason you need an in game currency boost, try to go for free promos like this one.   I try to play pay-once play-forever type of games  but I’ll take the free $1000 cowboy cash just in case.

  3. Free Publisher Giveaways - These are opportunistic so check reddit (signal to noise ratio is low but crowd sourced reddit is the most comprehensive). Ubisoft is one of the more generous, I've gotten the educational version of AC Odyssey and AC Origins,  Watchdogs 2.

Checking Sales and Historical Prices

  • - nicest UI, however they do present key sites so be ware.
  • isthereanydeal - has history tab and bundle participation

Free Demos

There is a glut of  free demos on PS4 and Steam and sometimes a taste is sufficient.

Some I personally found interesting:
  • A Plague’s Tale
  • Detroit Become Human  
  • Stygian Reign of the Old Ones- If you just wanted to experience different Lovecratian horror art style.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider - not recommended for those who hate having to be forced to look at Lara's booty
  • A lot of the racing sims try to lure you with a demo. Personally if I was serious about trial a subscription service. I.e. XBoxGamePass PC has Forza series.
  • Indie titles
    • Backbone - play as a racoon detective in this charming hi-bit 2d pixel title
    • Braid- Jonathan Blow's original innovative puzzler.
    • Stanley Parable

No Own Subscription Services

Over the long haul, subscription services that offer you game access while subscribed may not be good value except for short periods.
  • Xbox Gamepass PC - you can try a month for $1 and it's the best dollar I've ever spent in gaming. I tried both Ori games, Gris, Hollow Knight, Metro Exodus plus a whole host of other indie titles Brothers, Old Man's Story. A lot of games will be offered temporarily. The price increased from beta price of $5 to $10, you can still get the $5 by converting Xbox Gold yearly card.
  • Apple Arcade - Month free trial is good enough to sample what they offer.
  • PS Now - I think it's too expensive at $12 but worth having for a month as there's some decent platform exclusive titles offered.
  • Viveport Infinity - A great way to try games VR titles which unfortunately are low content and more expensive than pancake games
(I'm not covering remote streaming services here and will put in a different article.)

Sales & Ultra Cheap Bundles  

In context, even full price triple AAA games of $60 can be good value for money compared to going to a movie theatre, play, or a music concert. However it's not that a single purchase will kill your budget but a multiplicity of them and the value declines faster than a used car.

If you are patient, almost every game goes on ever steeper sale. For a PC gamer, Steam sales are a staple. But 3rd party sites like Humble and Fanatical can provide mind bogglingly good value by offering the game you want for less than the price you pay with an entire bundle of games. I've dumped all the bundle/sale on a separate page.

Lastly a PSA

When you part with some of that coin to buy a game or even if you get it for free, the game license is merely the token for entry. In the long run, it’s really your time and energy that was of greater irreplaceable value.  That would have been time you spend with your partner, your family, or gaining skills of real world value.  

But gaming gets unfairly a bum rap.  Why is it socially acceptable to binge watch Netflix or junk out on youtube or the internet.  Many types of gaming, dynamic interactive nature, I find requires a lot more brain energy than more passive forms of media consumption. Since I am an irredeemable gamer, we’re going to focus on how to have game experience for the lowest cost so you can saving that bag of gold for stuff that really matters.

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