Gaming is a massively popular hobby around the globe, but it’s not a particularly cheap one to have. Considering the gaming hardware you need to play games, plus regular upgrades, new console releases, and peripherals, it can get expensive quickly to get your gaming setup. Buying full-priced games, paying for additional content, and getting that monthly fee taken out of your bank account for gaming subscriptions, things can really add up. But gaming should be a source of entertainment and relaxation, and not break the bank.
Thankfully, there are a few easy steps you can take to save money, without missing out on the best gaming experiences, so you can enjoy your hobby to the fullest.
1. Play free games
This is probably the most straight-forward way to save money on games: by not paying for them. The market for free-to-play games is huge and growing continuously. Many AAA games, from League of Legends and Fortnite to Call of Duty: Warzone, Overwatch, and lots more, make use of the free model and let you jump right into the action without paying a cent. Many digital storefronts such as Steam or the PlayStation Store have a dedicated section where you can easily find tons of free-to-play games that won’t require you to pay anything upfront.
Keep in mind, though, that many of the games based on this model include in-app purchases. While some simply have the option to buy cosmetic upgrades, virtual items, extra lives, or battle passes, other games such as Destiny 2 and World of Warcraft will only allow you to play for free up until a certain point at which stage you’ll be required to pay for a subscription or pay to gain access to new content. Be wary of this. In many cases, however, you can play free-to-play games without ever having to pay anything – as long as you can resist the temptation of additional premium content.
2. Wait for sales
No matter if it’s Steam, the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, or Nintendo eShop, they all run sales with great discounts at different times throughout the year. Summer and winter sales offer some of the greatest deals, as well as the week around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While savings on newer games tend to be more moderate, you can snag discounts of up to 90% on older games.
If you want to save money on games, patience is your friend. You might be suffering from a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when a new hyped game has been released, but buying it on day one can easily set you back $70. If you can handle the FOMO and wait for a couple of weeks or months, however, you can snag great discounts. Many games go on sale after a few weeks, but the longer you can wait, the greater the discounts will be. To make sure you never miss a sale, remember to wishlist any game you want to play – that way you’ll get a reminder straight into your inbox as soon as it goes on sale.
3. Look out for special deals, bundles, and promotions
Besides large seasonal sales, keep your eyes open for all kinds of special deals, discount codes, bundles, and other promotions. If you have a look around and take advantage of deal aggregator sites, you can find excellent deals on games. You can find a variety of threads on Reddit for different platforms where the newest deals and promotions are listed. Many websites such as Cheap Ass Gamer or Daily Game Deals curate game deals, while others post them on their Twitter account. You can find deals on all kinds of games from any genre. Online casinos, for instance, are known for the welcome bonuses they offer to players. To help players find the best deals, experts continuously scan sites for bonuses and list sites that offer free spins on their slot machines for players from a certain region. Those deals let you play slots without having to make a deposit, allowing you to get the most out of your gaming session.
Another way to save is to buy game bundles. If you haven’t played several games out of a series, it can be cheaper to buy them together in a bundle. While you can usually find these on the official storefronts directly, The Humble Bumble has become a popular site for gamers to find great bundles – and support a charity in the process. Bundles are time-limited and oftentimes include anywhere between five and 100 games with a “pay what you want” model, offering fantastic value for your money.
4. Cancel subscriptions you’re not using (and take advantage of the ones you keep)
In our digital age, purchasing games isn’t as straightforward as buying them at a shop anymore. We have entered the era of subscriptions, where monthly memberships are taking over. From Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass to Xbox Game Pass, PS Plus, Nintendo Online and many more, the number of gaming subscriptions for each platform offering all kinds of benefits and perks has gone through the roof in recent years. Especially if you play on multiple platforms, it can be easy to lose track of how many subscriptions you’re actually paying for each and every month.
To make sure you’re not wasting your money on a service you’re not using, comb through your subscriptions and cancel the ones you don’t need. If you have a console you’re not using much, it might be a good idea to cancel that subscription for the time being – you can always resubscribe should you want to at a later stage. Whichever subscriptions you choose to keep, make sure to check out its game library every month. Services such as the Xbox Game Pass offer a large game library with hundreds of games that you can access for a monthly fee starting at around $12. New games are being added all the time, so be sure to check them out each month to make the most of your subscription.
Gaming is a great hobby to have, but can be an expensive one if you don’t pay attention to your expenses. Thankfully, these easy steps will help you save, so you can enjoy your hobby with peace of mind, knowing you’re getting the most for your money.