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AAA Video Games Can Drop From $60 to $30 in Just 1 Month

It's tempting to purchase popular AAA titles as soon as they come out, but most games will see huge discounts in the month after they're released.
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video game prices

Gaming is an expensive hobby. You throw down some serious cash for the latest console, and then you've still gotta shell out more to build up a stable of games. There's a lot to be said for grabbing a hot new title on the day of its release, but is that feeling worth paying full price? Of course not!

The most expensive season for a dedicated gamer has got to be Q4, which roughly spans from October through December. This run up to the holiday season is when all the big studios drop their AAA titles, the sure-fire hits every gamer has been lusting after since the trailers dropped at E3.

We tracked the prices of several big PS4 and Xbox One games from Q4 2014 through the end of February, with one question in mind: When should you buy? Check out the chart below, then read on for our full analysis.

2014's Biggest Games: When Should You Buy?

Video Game Chart

Black Friday is Only Your First Chance to Score

Overwhelmingly, the majority of titles we tracked saw massive price drops during the Black Friday season. For instance, Alien: Isolation dropped from $60 to its all-time low price of $30 on November 27, or Thanksgiving 2014.

However, that was only your first opportunity to score this game at that price. Xbox LIVE members had another shot at this 50% discount on December 23. Alternatively, Far Cry 4 has seen several lows in the $26 to $30 range since its initial price drop on December 3, a week after Black Friday.

Release Date Matters

The games most likely to see the biggest drops on Black Friday were the "older" titles. Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation had been out for nearly two full months by the time Black Friday rolled around, so they saw dramatic discounts. Even Just Dance 2015, which was released in mid-October, was reduced to half price during the shopping holiday. Games released in November saw more modest discounts around Black Friday; for example, Dragon Age: Inquisition only received a $10 cut.

Games released in November are much more likely to see their first serious discounts in December, just in time for the holiday rush. Once the New Year rolls around, all bets are off. While prices will always fluctuate, almost every game we tracked hit $30 (or less) at least once in January or February.

A Little Bit of Patience Will Bag Savings of Up to $30

Our data is crystal clear: Waiting just a few months can dramatically reduce your video game costs when it comes to that year's biggest titles. Patient gamers will ultimately have more money to spend on their hobby — keep that in mind the next time you line up for a midnight release!

What do you think, readers? Are there games you just have to have on day one? Or are you willing to wait for that AAA bargain? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Senior Editor, Blog

Michael adds the finishing touches to most of the Blog articles you'll see on DealNews. His work has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. See him rant about video games by following him on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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4 comments
dealnews-mbonebright (DealNews)
@philbo0042-

Great question! Obviously, you can always create a DealNews alert for games (https://dealnews.com/mydealnews/alert/create/), but you may miss more obscure titles that way. You've got a few options:

(1) Create a DN alert for video games in general, and check out any sales or coupons that come up.
(2) For PC gamers, you can create a Steam Wishlist. Most of the PC gaming download sites base their sales off of Steam's, so if you see a price drop there, the discount may get bigger (or stack with a coupon) elsewhere.
(3) For console gamers, an Amazon wishlist is probably your only other option, but remember that Amazon is big on price matching! If you see your game drop there, compare prices elsewhere to make sure you don't miss out on a stacking coupon.

Hope this helps!
schulzey
Been training my nephew to spend his money wisely and never pay more than $40 for a new game and that he can usually get the game he wants for $30 if he's patient. The only time that doesn't work is for multiplayer focused games. The player base is generally at its largest the first month of release. Of course, if you waited on BF4, you would've got a great game AFTER it was fixed and at a massive discount compared to everyone that bought day one. One thing this column doesn't say, but is obviously implied, pre-ordering is rarely, if ever, the best option for buying. It is most often your worst option.
undersaur
Great article!

I've personally been holding the line at $15 new for last-gen and $20 new for current-gen. Almost everything gets to that range in 12-18 months, with the exception of niche titles (e.g. JRPGs, or first-party Nintendo).

The danger is that you're playing chicken against niche titles: they may go OOS before they hit $15-20. Then you'll often have to pay $20-50 for a used copy.
philbo0042
Thanks for the info Marcy! I almost never buy at full retail anymore. The most recent exception was Destiny. I can't remember the one before that. My preference is to buy GOTY editions at $20-$30. I bought DriveClub last week thanks to Dealnews' mention about it being on sale at GameStop and an awesome price-match policy at another store.

Do you have any tips on tracking prices for specific games? I keep a wishlist on Amazon and check it often. If you have any tips, they would be greatly appreciated.