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How to Save Money When Buying Video Games

Updated on July 7, 2022
davidlivermore profile image

David is an avid gamer across multiple platforms such as consoles, handhelds, mobile phones, and PC.

Used video games are usually the way to go if you want to buy a cheap video game.
Used video games are usually the way to go if you want to buy a cheap video game. | Source

The High Cost of Video Games

Buying video games can be a very expensive, even if you just own one console system. With so many games being released across multiple platforms, the costs can go up significantly. This will either cause you to buy less video games, or spend too much money on games and not have enough money for other necessities. There are ways that you can obtain games for a very low price, or in some cases, completely free.

Trade-In Video Games for In-Store Credit

A Gamestop ad showing that extra in-store credit can be earned if games are traded in towards a new copy of a game.
A Gamestop ad showing that extra in-store credit can be earned if games are traded in towards a new copy of a game. | Source

Have you ever purchased a used game?

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Buying Used Video Games

One of the cheapest ways to buy games is to buy them used. There are some good and bad points in buying games this way:

  • Games are cheap. Used games are cheaper than buying them new. However, you probably won't find the newest titles right away. So if you want the latest and greatest, you'll have to fork out the money. If you can wait, then buy them used. However, you never know the condition of the used games either. They are tested, but not thoroughly.
  • Can find hard to find games. Some games grow popular with age, but can be hard to find. Buying them used can be the best way to go. If the title is rare, you could expect to pay a lot, but it may be less than what you would find on eBay or some other online marketplace.
  • You can trade-in your games for credit towards other games. Some places, like Gamestop, allow you to trade in your old games for credit towards new games. If you are lucky, you can catch a day where they offer higher trade-in value, or if you trade in towards a new game at that time you can receive a discount.
  • You can buy used game systems. You can find a sizable discount on used gaming systems. This can be a positive if you want to own multiple game systems. However, the risk is the system could be any number of years old, and you may not know it. So it could die soon after you purchase it.
  • Game developers and publishers don't like used games. Used game sales take a chunk of profits out of the developers and publishers who make those games. Next generation consoles are being developed with ways to prevent used games from being played on the system, with much controversy.
  • Can't buy used PC games. Older games are an exception, but the newer PC games you may not be able to buy used because they are tied to a singular serial code or something like it. Plus, PC games aren't being sold as much in box form as they used to be.
  • New games get discounts quickly. This is true for those games that didn't get good reviews or sold well. They will receive discounts quite quickly. With how often new games come out, games tend to go on sale quickly after being released. Some offer discounts prior to the game being released as well. There are some exceptions to this, like Nintendo games.

How Gamefly Works

The basic overview of how Gamefly works, as provided from their website.
The basic overview of how Gamefly works, as provided from their website. | Source

Do you prefer to rent or own your video games?

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Gamefly Deals

An ad on Gamefly advertising their used games.
An ad on Gamefly advertising their used games. | Source

Buying Games Through GameFly

GameFly allows gamers to rent games and return them all through the mail, similarly to what Netflix does. But they also give the person the option to purchase games as well. You should be aware of the following when using GameFly:

  • Renting can be better than owning. If a game is only 20 hours long, then it would be worth renting instead of buying. It can be worth the monthly subscription if you can recycle games over and over. The disadvantage is that you will never own the copy, and will have to rent it again if you want to play it.
  • You can choose to keep the game. If you like the game you are renting, then you can choose to keep it. This can come at a discounted price. However, you don't know how many people may have played it before you. So it could be damaged and you won't know it until the game system accesses that part of the disc.
  • GameFly offers nice discounts when buying games. The longer you subscribe through GameFly, the better your discounts will be. Between coupons I earned and the flat discount, there were times I was able to purchase games for free.
  • Not all games are available to buy. If it's a new game or a very old game, then there may be limited copies. So you may not be able to purchase the game right away. You can always return it and purchase it later when it becomes available.
  • Gamefly offers PC games. If you have a GameFly subscription, then you can play all of the PC games they offer for free, for an unlimited time. You have to use their client. Since there is no way to rent PC games, this is a great alternative for those who play computer games.

Have you ever had a bad experience trading a game with someone?

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Steam Sale

Steam always has a sale going on.  Usually it's one or two games at a time, but during their bigger sales, it can be hundreds of computer games on sale.
Steam always has a sale going on. Usually it's one or two games at a time, but during their bigger sales, it can be hundreds of computer games on sale. | Source

Do you think buying used games hurts the video game market?

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Other Ways to Buy Cheap Video Games

There are some other ways you can find cheap video games:

  • Go to yard sales. Yard sales are a great place to find cheap video games. Unfortunately, you can't really test most of the games and have to take the chance when buying the game. That can be a point you can bring up if you want a cheaper price. I've found some real classic games this way.
  • Buy games off of eBay. Auctions online can be a great way to buy hard to find games, as well as getting them cheaper than other places. This won't always work, but if you find a bundle it can be a good deal.
  • Buy gaming systems with cheaper games. Handheld systems, especially cell phones, offer cheaper games than the larger game consoles. Handheld systems are just as good as any other system around.
  • Work for a video game store or company. Employees tend to get discounts on games. So if you work for a company or a video game store, you can use your discount to save money on the games that the company offers.
  • Buy games when they go on sale. Steam, for example, has a couple yearly sales. They slash prices on a lot of games. People tend to overbuy during these events, but if you know what you want ahead of time, you can pick up some great games at a discounted price.
  • Subscribe to streaming services. A lot of companies are offering monthly subscriptions to services so you can download a whole catalog of games. This can be a great way to play games without having to buy them. It can be well worth the investment. Xbox Game Pass, for example, is an incredible deal.

The War on Used Games

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 David Livermore

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