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The Bargain Shoppers Guide to PC Gaming – It’s Cheaper than You Think

by on April 19, 2013   Twitter   Google+  

Everyone knows that a "top-of-the-line" gaming PC is often equivalent to the price of several gaming consoles, that's just a result of it all if you buy one pre-made from popular retailers. However, you can also get on for a much cheaper price if you do your research and/or build it yourself. But I digress already, as that is not the point of this post; instead, I'm here to tell you how to be a PC gamer after you have the rig, and I'm here to tell you how to be a bargain shopper and get games for cheap. PC gaming is all about being smarter and better than everyone else, it is the Master Race, after all.

As you can tell, I will not be condoning pirating or downloading games illegally, I believe in supporting developers and publishers for their work, which involves you know, paying for their product. As such, console gamers and many PC gamers have it ingrained in their mind that a game costs about $60 on release if it's a "AAA" title. I'm here to tell you that's not really the case if you know where to look.

To make things easy for you, I've decided to split this guide up into several different parts, organized pertaining to different concepts. They're all clearly labeled and when combined together, offers plenty of chances for you to save some of your hard-earned cash. After all - if you spent the money to get a great gaming rig, you owe it to yourself to save money on the actual games, right?

1) Buy Digitally

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First and foremost, you need to understand that in order to save the most cash as a PC gamer, you're clearly going to need to buy almost entirely digitally. Granted, this has drawbacks, like not being able to sell the games when you don't want them anymore (which is not entirely true) and taking up that precious harddrive space. But I have responses to both of those issues: 1) Some sites DO let you "trade-in" your games for credit and 2) Uninstall the games you aren't playing...duh.

I get the issues that some people have - the fear that one day the internet will implode or the "forces that be" will suddenly decide to take all of their games away. But that's stupid, so stop thinking that. As long as you invest in a decently sized harddrive, you won't have any problems PC gaming. It's actually quite relieving to literally have all of your games a few mouse-clicks away.

2) Check Various PC Gaming Websites Regularly

You realize that your PC does a whole lot more than just play games, right? Believe it or not, you can surf the web and do a whole host of other amazing things on "high-end" PC designed for games - why not utilize it? Part of that, means doing your research. You should consistently check deals and sales on various different websites regularly if you want to get the best deals. While this list is no where near exhaustive, it should be enough to satiate that hunger for bargains. Check them out below:

  • CheapSpark - This site is sort of like an aggregate of deals on various different websites. I recommend checking each of the sites listed independently because 1) there are deals not listed that may be of interest to you and 2) it may not update as regularly as you'd like, especially for those limited offers. I'm not going to list each of the sites separately, because you can click that link and look at them, but you'll notice and recognize the first one listed below...
  • Steam - If you know anything about PC gaming, you should know about Steam. It's the #1 digital distributor of digital games, features robust community features and so much that you'd have to be the hippest of hispters to not download this immediately. They have sales daily and have MASSIVE blowouts as the seasons change, for holidays and virtually any other excuse you could imagine. Steam is awesome, use it!
  • Green Man Gaming - This site should be checked just as often as any other site on this list, it's essential as a PC gamer. Basically, Green Man Gaming sells Steam and other online service redeemable keys (and some games individually, but usually keys) for discounted prices. Don't question how or why it works, it just does. They also regularly have discount codes you can apply for even more savings on the Hot Deals section of the site. GMG is your friend, use it as such.
  • Gaming Dragons - Gaming Dragons (formerly Ultmatum Games) is very similar to GMG, in that they sell game keys at discounted prices. It functions the same, so just use it like all of the other smart people of the PC gaming world!

3) Pre-order Games You Know You Want

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I'm not going to get into the issues surrounding pr-eorder bonuses and deals or anything right now - that's a whole separate issue. Instead, I'll just say that you should pre-order games if you know you want them because you can often get them at discounted prices. Sites like Steam, GMG and Gaming Dragons allow you to pre-purchase games and usually have nice discounts on them. In addition to this, you can usually get DLC, other games for free or a whole host of additional bonuses. It's really just clever marketing on part of the publisher and distributor, but exploit it when given the chance! PC gaming is all about maximizing resources.

4) Be Patient and Wait a Few Weeks

This is sort of the polar opposite of pre-ordering, but it works as well. When a new game comes out, obviously it will stay full-price for a while. One of the key difference between console and PC gaming however, is the amount of time games take to hit a sale. Console games could be full price for months, but I can guarantee within a few weeks you can find a sale on a hot new PC game. Sometimes it's only 10% or so, but money saved is money earned. PC gaming rewards patience and research, so don't always succumb to hype - you may regret it alter.

5) Free-to-Play is Awesome-for-Your-Wallet

Why not indulge in some free-to-play offerings? Often times, they are just as good, if not better, than most of the "premium" games on the market. Check out my list of top MMORPGs and top non-MMORPGs for this year, as well as free-to-play focus over on our Youtube. Steam even has a whole section dedicated to free-to-play games! They may not have taken over the industry entirely yet, but there are so many great F2P games you'd be crazy not to try some.

5) Don't Forget to Play Them...

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I'll be the first to admit that I hardly ever even play most of the games I get during sales. Between my existing backlog of games, plus the steady flow of games to review - I find it tough to actually play all of the games I have at my fingertips. I cannot stress enough that you should make sure you actually play the games you get on sale!

It' easy to pick up a game for $5 here, $10 there and before you know it, you have more games than you can play. Then, the next big game comes out a few months later and you play it and your backlog continue to rise. While it's great to get games for cheap, it' still a waste of money if you don't bother to play them. Do yourself a favor and only buy games you actually have the time to play!

Do you have any more advice for those looking for cheap ways to get into PC gaming? Or maybe some obscure tips for those that know all of these things already? Let me know in the comments below!

UPDATES: After publishing, I updated the description of GMG and added a section on free-to-play games.

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