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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.
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.
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.
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!