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A Guide to Buying Cheaper Video Games

Updated on July 4, 2017
M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer has been a gamer for more than 20 years, with a preference towards adventure games like the Legend of Zelda and Tomb Raider.


Video games can be a fun form of entertainment, but unfortunately it is an expensive little hobby to upkeep. With new video games sitting in the $50-$60 range and the constant fluctuation of console prices, it can be a sad day when you go to browse your local video game store. This guide is here to help you ease your shopping woes and get video games on the cheap.

Purchase Used Games

Used games, whether the game was just released or was released five years ago, will always be cheaper than a new version of the same game. You can find used games in most video game stores, though they aren’t commonly available in supermarkets or stores that sell more than just video games.

This step is particularly important because when it’s combined with all the steps below, it can add even more savings.

Purchase "Greatest Hits" Games

If a video game is very popular it will be re-released as a ‘greatest hit’. They may be referred to as ‘players choice’ or ‘platinum hits’ depending on which console your buying the games from, but the general idea is that the new release of the game is now cheaper than the first release, but both of them are new copies. These versions also have the potential to have added content. Usually this happens when the game also exists on the PC. The PC version has received an expansion so they use the re-release to add that content onto the old game for the consoles. So not only is it cheaper, but you’re getting more than if you had bought it on its first release.

Purchase Older Games and Older Consoles

I know that those new video games on the market are extra flashy and filled with features that were never thought possible several years ago, but unless you’re a hardcore gamer, you haven’t played a great deal of games from previous console cycles (the life span of a video game system). So while you could shell out the extra cash to purchase the playstation 3, you could pay even less and have a much larger game library to choose from if you purchase the playstation 2 instead. In certain instances this is a great option because the newer consoles support backwards compatibility so all the games you buy for the old system will still work with the new one. The Wii is a great example of this because it plays all GameCube games.

Purchase a Discount Card

You’re probably familiar with the discount card situation. This is most commonly brought up when you’re buying a video game and the person behind the counter asks if you’re interested in their discount card. In most instances the cost of these cards is hard to earn out with savings. You have to purchase a great deal of games in order to make up the difference. However if you intend to buy a lot of games, or you get the discount card at a store that sells more than video games, you can make up the difference without too much effort. This is a good method because certain games don’t ever get a greatest hits edition. They remain at their high price tag for years, making it harder for you to purchase. But, if you can find a used copy and couple that with your discount card, you can get it for a good amount less than the high price they are asking everywhere else. It may not be as cheap as the greatest hits editions, but its still less than its highest asking price.

Sell and Trade in Old Games

A lot of video game retail stores allow you to trade in or sell back your older games. If you’re like me and you’re a pack rat, then you probably won’t explore this option. But if you don’t mind parting with the games you no longer play, then this is a great option to give you credits or direct cash towards purchasing newer games. Ask around various stores to see what their trade in policies are. Some places might offer you more than others.

Learn to be Patient

I understand that you might not always want to purchase older games. New games just look so cool. But if you can be patient and maybe create a list of new games you want, then you can wait until used and greatest hits versions become available. You might feel bad that other people are playing the latest and the greatest, but it will all be worth it when you first see that fifty dollar price tag go down to twenty dollars. Being patient when purchasing video games can save you countless dollars down the road.

Additional Tips

-eBay and Amazon are also good sources for cheap video games because you are purchasing from an independent seller rather than a retailer.

-Make sure to check the backwards compatibility before purchasing an old system. Some consoles like the Xbox 360 only support certain older Xbox games.

-Remember to test out all of your used games within the return or warranty period. Sometimes they can have scratches that make them unplayable, and you will want to replace that while you still can.


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