5 Quick Tips to Help You Save Hundreds on Video Game Purchases

Let’s face it, playing video games is an expensive hobby. With a tight budget, often times the thought of shelling out 60 bucks for a brand new game is out of the picture. Fortunately, there is a handful of LEGAL ways to play all of the years biggest games without leaving a massive dent in your wallet. Here are five quick tips that can save you hundreds of dollars each year on video game purchases.

Tip #1 Do Your Research

This first tip kind of goes without saying. Making sure you’re at least moderately knowledge about the games you’re interested in playing will help you make better-informed purchasing decisions. Don’t fall for the hype! Making a decision to purchase a game after watching one cool trailer is almost always a bad idea. Instead, research different video game websites and find a group of journalists you trust. Read reviews for games, watch ‘lets plays’ on youtube, and listen to podcasts. If that sounds too time-consuming, Metacritic is a great resource to gauge the general critical consensus of a game without having to do any real research. By aggregating the review scores from all the major gaming publications, Metacritic will present you with an average review score.

Tip #2 Don’t Spend Money on In-Store Pre-Orders!

This always confuses me when people do this. Paying five bucks to guarantee a copy on day one is almost always a waste. Game shortages are very rare nowadays, and as long as there is demand for a game, copies will always be readily available as soon as possible. Also, don’t fall victim to pre-order bonuses. Publishers use these bonuses in connection with retailers to incentive pre-orders sales by offering exclusive content to only the consumers who pre-order the game. Most of the time, these bonuses provide very little, if any meaningful content and often only amount to in-game cosmetic items. Another way publishers try to push pre-orders sales is by offering early access to the game through a demo or beta. Although it may seem enticing at first to spend a few extra bucks to test out a game before release, these betas are usually only used to stress-test the games online servers, are often broken and serve as a poor first impression of the game.

Tip #3 Avoid Day One Purchases

So you’ve done your research, passed on the pre-order bonus, and the game has finally come out. The time has come to buy your new game, right? Unfortunately no, it’s not. For many reasons, it’s become a bit of a trend for publishers to release completely broken games at launch in this current console generation. This pattern goes double for multiplayer games. When Battlefield 4 was released as a PlayStation 4 launch title, conquest mode (the most popular game mode for Battlefield) was completely broken for the first couple months. Halo Anniversary, Microsoft’s biggest exclusive game at the time was completely unplayable for its entire holiday season and remained broken for some time afterward. Even single-player games tend to be broken at launch now. Assassin’s Creed Unity was riddled with bugs at launch and the most recent Fallout 4 unsurprisingly released with game breaking frame rates. It’s no longer safe to purchase games on day one. Instead, the best course of action is to wait it out and see how stable the game is after release. If the game is still a broken mess after one or two months post-release, it’s probably time to reassess your interest and wait for a sale.

Tip #4 Buy Used Games

When researching games, sometimes I will come across a title I’m moderately interested in but not quite willing to drop 60 dollars on. Other times a game that I’m very interested in, but for whatever reason, currently don’t have the time to play. After missing the zeitgeist of a new release, it’s best to wait for a game to substantially drop in price before you decide to make a purchase. The cheapest way to purchase older games is to buy them used, and the best places to buy used games are on sites such as Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist. When you’re purchasing used games from these sellers, the cut Amazon or Ebay takes from a game sale is far less money than opposed to a place like Gamestop. One of my favorite tools I use to purchase used games is a site called camelcamelcamel.com. This tool allows you to create price watches on Amazon for specific products and the site notifies you via email once the product falls below a certain price threshold of your choosing. So if you’re only willing to spend a certain amount on the desired game, used or new, camelcamelcamel will notify you via email when the price has dropped.

Tip #5 Never Purchase Digital Games at Full Retail Price.

Purchasing digital games at the full retail price is the number one biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to buying new games. Once you purchase a game digitally, you as a consumer are now locked into that purchase. Frequently people will buy games they’re interested in and either finish them too quickly or just end up not enjoying them as much as they thought they would. This is by far the easiest way to waste your money. Instead, what you should do is purchase physical copies of your games and put them up on craigslist once you’re finished with them. Depended on the current demand of the game, you could potentially collect anywhere from 30-45 dollars back after selling a game on craigslist. This would mean that you are spending $20 bucks for a game as opposed to $60 saving upwards to around 40 dollars. And also never trade-in your games to Gamestop. The MAXIMUM you will get for a new game is usually around 30 bucks as opposed to 40-45 on Craigslist. 

So there you have it. Do your research, save an easy five bucks and avoid the pre-order bonuses, and try to resist the temptation to purchase games at launch. If you miss the initial discussion of the game online or for whatever reason loses interest in the game, wait for the price to drop or buy it used. And if you absolutely must own a game on day one, purchase only physical copies of them. Being able to sell games back will save you a substantial amount of money. Follow these quick and easy tips and you will be well on your way to playing all of the biggest titles of the year without having to worry about shilling at a ton of cash.

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How Sony Launches the most Successful VR Headset of 2016

With the launch of Oculus Rift looming a mere month and a half away at a whopping $599, and a likely more expensive HTC Vive soon to follow, we have yet to hear from Sony regarding the price of the PlayStation VR. With a current install base of 35 million units, Sony has been dominating console sales with the PlayStation 4 outselling its direct competitor the Xbox One nearly 2/1. With an install base of that magnitude, if Sony could find a way to undercut the price of the Oculus Rift by at least $50 and provide content on par with the competing headset, PlayStation VR would lead the charge in virtual reality sales in 2016.

Expected to launch sometime around summer, PlayStation VR is positioned to make the biggest early impact in virtual reality sales if the rumors of the headsets price and developer support are right. Price speculation for the device began as early as late 2015 when Bloomberg reported an article in which Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Andrew House stated that Sony VR, codenamed Project Morpheus at the time, would be priced as a new gaming platform. Judging from the prices of Sony’s previous two gaming platforms the PlayStation 3 and 4, people have since been speculating that the cost for PlayStation VR will range from $300 – $500.

On January 7th of this year, Forbes reported on a price listing for the PlayStation VR at around $800 on Amazon Canada’s marketplace. But Sony has since dubbed the price from Amazon as an errorNot more than two weeks later and we got yet another leaked price for the headset from a Swiss online retailer this time at a cost ranging from $450 – $550. So far Sony has yet to comment on this leak.

I’m much more inclined to believe that the cost of PlayStation VR would be around $450-550 due to the slightly underpowered specs of the headset when compared to the Oculus Rift. But just that slight advantage in cost compared to the Oculus Rift would mean a whole world of difference in sales if Sony has the content to back up the peripheral.

Speaking with the BBC at CES 2016, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai confirmed that over 200 different developers are currently working with the PlayStation VR headset on roughly 100 different titles. But as of now, Sony has only announced a few exclusives titles for PlayStation VR, and the majority of titles at launch are releasing on the PC with Oculus Rift support as well. With specs at least comparable to Oculus’ headset, if not a little underpowered, Sony is still looking for a killer app that will help move more PlayStation VR units.

After No Man’s Sky unforeseen delay followed by yet another successful E3 appearance in 2015, analysts such as Design & Trend’s Christopher Groux began to question the reasoning behind the recent delay especially after lead programmer Sean Murray was stated saying that the game was “nearly here.”  With a now, confirmed and coincidental June arrival, No Man’s Sky seems to be on track to release right around the same time as PlayStation VR. To make matter more interesting, recent comments from both Murray and Sony’s Jim Ryan alluded to the possibility of PlayStation VR support in No Man’s Sky.

If Sony were to undercut the Oculus Rift’s price with the PlayStation VR and couple the headset with a killer app such as No Man’s Sky, the PlayStation 4 would be poised in position to be the leading virtual reality platform of 2016. But that’s a lot of if’s and Oculus is likely to have a launch head start of around two months. With the cat still in the bag, the race to be the most successful VR platform is still very much anyone’s game.

The Most Innovative Shooter Nobody Should Buy

Nearing two and a half months into release, with the first free expansion pack in the books, Ubisoft’s’ first person shooter Rainbow Six Siege continues to be the most fun and frustrating competitive game I have played this generation.

Going 300+ hours strong, Siege continues to be the most impressive competitive shooter I’ve played since The Last of Us. The synergy between environmental destruction and player equipment makes for the best emergent tactical gameplay I have ever experienced in a first person shooter to date. The gameplay still manages to surprise even after two months of consecutive play due to the sheer amount of depth present in the systems Siege provides. Siege has been the only game I’ve played to live up to the now cliche “no one match ever plays out the same” buzz-quote PR tries to spin in every game with dynamic systems. Players are always coming up with new sight lines through “kill holes” and different ways to use operator equipment to throw-off opposing teams. All of this depth provides for an ever changing meta that continues to ebb and flow as the community finds and implements new viable tactics. Despite all this praise, I still struggle with finding myself able to recommend this game to people for purchase.

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Ubisoft’s tactical whiteboard that can be used to create and plan new strategies

Unfortunately, Siege is riddled with bugs that only continue to worsen with each new patch. Every Time Ubisoft fixes a bug, they create two more new ones, each more game-breaking than the first. With the introduction of the latest patch, players are now exploiting through invisible windows, hiding in walls, and setting up invisible instant-kill traps. It’s gotten to the point where now there’s a 50/50 chance the next ranked match I play will be decided by which team can exploit the game better than the other. To make matters worse, Siege continues to have an unreliable matchmaking system and network issue.

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A new bug that renders players as some ominous black figure

It would also be easier to recommend Siege despite the bugs if it wasn’t for the fact that the game is such a bare-bones experience. It’s hard to justify a multiplayer only game when it still lacks many important features other competing games provide such as a map voting system and the ability to adjust equipment in between match rounds. Siege also lacks smaller features such as player cosmetic customization, server browsers, and decent playlist-customization tools for custom games. For a multiplayer only game, the lack of these feature gives off an unpolished feeling more akin to early access games on Steam.

Yet, all hope isn’t lost. Even as Ubisoft continues to add new bugs with every new patch, the developers also add new and smart adjustments as well. The latest patch added an increase to server tick-rate from 30 to 60, for consoles and PC players alike. Higher tick-rates allows for better hit detection thus solving one of the biggest complaints from fans since launch. Ubisoft also implemented a spawn rotation feature in ranked games that requires winning teams to adjust their spawn locations after each win. Many other little fixes and additions have made their way into previous patches as well, including additional weapons and spawn camping adjustments.

But in its current state, I still cannot recommend people to purchase Siege. At least not yet. If you have any interest in tactical shooters and competitive multiplayer I would caution people to wait a few more months and see if Ubisoft can get a grip on the bugs. Better yet, wait for a sale. As it stands now, Siege is a good game with the potential to be superb.

Even in spite of the game breaking bugs and lack of features, Siege was still my number one game of 2015 and continues to be my favorite game to play in 2016. In those occasions where matchmaking works as intended and I find myself in a competitive game without network issues and exploiters, Siege truly shines as one of the most unique shooters I have played within the past decade.