Get the Most from Games Consoles

A video games console can be expensive to buy and costs even more if you are constantly paying out for new games. By waiting for inevitable and substantial price cuts and finding alternative means of buying games, you can have fun at a fraction of the cost without falling prey to the marketing ploys of the manufacturers.

Be wary of the latest consoles

The best way to save money on video games consoles is never to buy the latest console when it’s first launched. Manufacturers are careful to manage supply and demand to keep prices right up at list price. Consoles get to their natural prices—about 25% lower—after six months or so. After a year or so, they can fall to half their original price.

Avoid getting into format wars

When a brand-new type of games console is launched, there is always the possibility that it may not make the grade.

If the new format proves unpopular, software companies stop making games for it. It’s best to hold tight and evaluate the longevity possibility of the console before buying one. Popular consoles such as Playstation 2 and Xbox will have a never-ending stream of new games and are therefore a far better investment.

Who needs a DVD player?

Many new consoles work as DVD players, able to play back DVD movie discs, as well as games. You could save $40 or more on the cost of buying a separate DVD player.

Top tips for buying games

The cost of new video games is also high, and when they are just launched, you often have to pay close to the full list price—thanks to heavy promotion and pre-launch hype.

Wait it out
If you can bear not to have the newest, must-have game you’ll benefit from waiting a few months to decide on whether to purchase or not. Read the user reviews on the Internet (see Resources, left) or in your favourite games magazines to see which games have failed to live up to the hype, and save the expense of buying a dud.

Buying used
Stores that sell pre-owned CDs and DVDs also often have used video games for sale. Prices will depend on how new the release is, but they can easily be less than half the price of a new game. You can check buy used from online auctions.

Many local video stores also rent the current big-selling games. The cost is about $8 per week but you’ll pay an additional $20–$25 per week if you need the console. You can also join an online DVD and game rental club for a fee of between $25 and $35 per month, depending on how many discs you want for the month.

New games for free

When you’ve finished with a game, sell it quickly to help pay for the next one. The longer you wait, the less you’ll get for it.

If your children are the biggest game fans in your house, encourage them to set up a games exchange with friends. You will also find video games swap sites online.