According to the Wikipedia entry, the global video game market in June 2011 was valued at $65 billion. That number doesn’t surprise me at all, actually. In fact, I expected that number to be a lot more because of the casual gamers and the WoW players. That $20 a month subscription definitely adds up when you multiply it by 15 million people. Here are some excellent ways to cut down the cost that YOU are paying to the video game industry.
1. Use Older Consoles
We have a PS2 here, one which is used quite liberally for the Japanese RPGs. Quite often, I’ll pass by and see fights in Mana Khemia or one of the Final FantasyFinal Fantasy games. If you’ve not played it, it’s new to you, right? The cost of a PS2 on Amazon is $99. The cost of a PS3 is $250.
The difference in the games themselves is just as dramatic. For one of the newer games on the PS3, you can expect to pay $50. For one of the games on the PS2, you’re looking at around $20. The savings you can receive on these games definitely adds up.
2. Borrow From Friends
There’s a great possibility that your friends have some of the same tastes as you when it comes to your favorite video games. If the both of you are gamers, you might have had long arguments over whether an amped up Mephisto run was harder than The Ancients in Act 5. If they play the latest and greatest games, see if you can borrow one of them. Chances are, they’ll say yes and you don’t have to spend a dime.
Reviews are your friend. They can give you an excellent idea about whether a game sucks, what the sticking points are, and other information which will form your opinion about whether you want to spend your precious time on a game that can last many hours.
These sites offer reviews on both the latest and greatest as well as the older games. If you find out that the game sucks, watch the ending on Youtube and save yourself the cash.
4. Play Flash Games
Yes, there are thousands of free flash games which don’t measure up to your standards, but there are always going to be a few gems which do. As a gamer who wants to save some money, you can quell that thirst for games at one of the many free flash game sites around the web. The best one of these that I’ve seen is Jay Is Games. This site caters more to the indy crowd, highlighting games from small developers who want to make their mark. They offer eclectic and honest reviews of the games, and haven’t steered me wrong.
5. Try Before You Buy
For those folks out there who love the hidden object, match 3, and adventure games, take a look at Big Fish Games. Every game on their site is $9.99 or less, and they offer a 1 hour trial period on all of them (with few exceptions). I can’t tell you how many games that I’ve tossed back into the pond after playing the free trial. If you’ve already got one of the popular systems, you can play some of the latest and greatest games at a store which carries them (don’t buy your games there, just play theirs).
Gamefly is a service which is much like Netflix. You can rent up to 2 games at one time for a fee of $22.95 a month. Instead of purchasing a game and being stuck with it, you return it as soon as you’re done. For those like me who love trying out everything, this makes a perfect fit because you have unlimited access to their expansive library. You have the choice to simply download the game or have the disc mailed to your home.
7. Internet Cafes
Gamers are everywhere and internet cafes are springing up to take advantage of the business. These internet cafes offer LAN services so that you and your buddies can play great games on state-of-the-art machines. If you’ve been itching to try out the new FPS, you have your chance. You can expect to pay around $10 an hour to play, so it is not cost-effective in the long run, but it is quite useful for a single-shot skirmish.
Video games is often thought to be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be at all. Using these tips, I spent around $30 on games last year. I’m expecting to pay more this year because I want to get my hands on Diablo 3 and Borderlands 2. When you keep money in your pocket, you have more for the biggest, best, fastest, and strongest passions in your life.