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Posted: 4:00 a.m. Monday, July 14, 2014

Stop Getting Ripped Off When You Buy Video Games Online

By Zach Ames

www.Savings.com

If you’re buying video games online, then you’re probably paying more than you should. It’s much easier to download a game than get in your car and drive all the way to a dumb store. That’s sort of the problem with buying games on-line. Being able to instantly have any video game makes it too easy to go crazy with impulse buys. Now me wants to play this new game. Future me can worry about paying rent. That trip to the store is enough of a buffer to keep most people from dumping all of their savings in to video games that they don’t play. There are ways you can make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth when you download video games.

Avoid New Releases
Don’t buy brand new games just because they come out. Game companies will usually have something special unlocked as a reward for your pre-order loyalty. You must resist the temptation! It’s fine to buy a new game if you really want it, but I know that I’ve bought several games on release day only to have them gather digital dust after only a few days of playing them. Curse you Aliens: Colonial Marines!  Nowadays, I thoroughly research a game to decide if it’s something that I must have right now or if it’s something that can wait a little while. You need to make sure you research new games a little bit before you buy them. It doesn’t take very long to do a quick Google search to find early reviews. If you’re iffy on it then don’t get it. Your bank account will be thankful when it’s not down $100 from a couple of impulse buys.

Wait for Sales
There are several ways to save money buying digital copies of video games on consoles. The best way that I know is to wait for sales. Playstation and Xbox both have weekly sales that you can jump on. They also heavily discount older games. Award winning games are still awesome even after they’ve been out for a few years. Another way to save is to buy discounted gift cards. Amazon will sometimes have sales on gift cards and game download codes for both Playstation and Xbox. These sales don’t happen often, but it’s worth taking a quick look before you make a purchase.

Earn Points with Your Purchase
If you’re a WiiU owner then you have a way to earn money back on your digital purchases that you might not realize is available to you. Anyone who owns the Deluxe version of the WiiU is entitled to 10% money back of all their purchases. For every $10 you spend, you’ll get $1 back in the form of bonus points. The catch is you have to visit the Nintendo site to start redeeming points. It doesn’t happen automatically. Nintendo also has sales, but usually there aren’t a lot of WiiU games available compared to Xbox and Playstation so the selection kind of sucks.

Create a Wishlist on Steam
In my opinion, the best place to download cheap games is through Steam. They have games available for PC, Mac, and Linux. Steam has really awesome daily sales on all kinds of video games. Their library is huge. I regularly see games for as much as 50-75% off. I’ve bought a few games that were 90% off. One time they straight up gave me the game Left 4 Dead 2. I had always wanted that game, and it was quite the surprise when it suddenly showed up as being free in their store for a few days. You don’t get much better than free.

The cool thing about Steam is that you can make a Wishlist of every game that you want to own. You can set Steam to notify you when one of your Wishlist games is on sale. If you aren’t into the idea of playing games on your laptop, then hook your computer up to your TV. I promise you that a few cables to hook your computer up to your TV is going to be much cheaper than buying a brand new gaming console. Most Steam games have controller support too. I mostly play Steam games using a USB Xbox 360 controller. The one thing you have to worry about when buying Steam games is that not all games will run on all computers. If you aren’t sure if your computer can handle the intense graphics of newer games, check the system requirements before you make a purchase.

With these money saving tips, you’ll feel like a winner before you even start your new game!

Zach Ames is a half-human half-pizza monster of modern science who lives and writes in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @zachlunch

(Source: Savings.com)