Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big sale days for gamers, whether you’re looking for hardware, software, or some gifts for your fellow gamers in the coming holiday season. If there are any games or consoles you want to buy, this month is the time to do it!
Whether you’re buying for yourself, or making your Christmas purchases on behalf of your gamer friends and family members, here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of the big post-Thanksgiving sales!
What Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the name of the infamous Friday following America’s Thanksgiving celebration, which is marked as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. As such, everything is steeply discounted, and this has made Black Friday the best time of year to shop for anything for which you don’t want to pay full price.
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday, a time when online retailers noted that online sales increased markedly. As the name suggests, this is the day for online sales, and is considered a more relaxed alternative to Black Friday, since you don’t have to go into a store and compete with physical crowds.
Which day you choose to shop depends on where you want to do your shopping. Black Friday sales take place inside physical stores as well as online, and sales are for just about everything. Cyber Monday is strictly online-only, meaning sites like Amazon or Newegg. Usually Steam has a sale around this time, too.
What Can You Get in These Sales?
The appeal of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales is that almost every retailer participates, meaning that the variety of things you can find is staggering. But what does that mean for the gamer? What should you be looking for after Thanksgiving?
PCs and PC Parts
If you’re undertaking the PC gamer’s rite of building your own PC, then Black Friday or Cyber Monday (or both) might just be the day you have your biggest shopping spree. Amazon, Newegg, and various other retailers will be selling some of their PC components.
This is one of those situations where it’s best to have a shopping list. Knowing ahead of time which are components you want, based on their record of quality, could save you from buying subpar parts that happen to have steep discounts. Here are a few other mistakes to avoid if you happen to be building your first PC.
If you just want to buy a ready-made PC (which might be more cost-effective for some PC gamers), then you can be sure that most major brands of PC will be discounted through the usual retailers. If you can, try buying directly from the manufacturers’ websites and see if they offer extra deals.
Game Consoles & Bundles
Game consoles are usually a big ticket item for gamers, but right now the market for them is a little complicated. The Xbox One S (our review) is currently out on the market, as is the PS4 Slim and its upgraded counterpart, the PS4 Pro. If you haven’t invested in a current-generation console, this is a prime opportunity to do so. Also, if you want to upgrade, this is also good chance.
If you can find a good deal on a console bundle, then buy one. Assuming you don’t already have the game in the bundle, it’s likely to be a better bargain than just the console itself. These make especially nice gifts as the recipient can immediately put the console to use.
But the newest contender on the console market is not going to be available on Black Friday — namely, the long-awaited Nintendo Switch. If you are an ardent Nintendo fan, or the person you’re buying for is, it might be worth your while to not delve into the console market just yet. The Wii U will be for sale, but waiting until the Nintendo Switch might be the more sensible option.
That said, Nintendo have announced that they will be participating with some retailers to offer special black and white, Mario-branded versions of the New 3DS XL for a discount on Black Friday. The exact price differs depending on which report you read, but it’s an option for those looking to get a handheld for Pokemon Sun & Moon.
Individual games are obviously going to be easy to pick up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If what you want is to pick up games that you wouldn’t normally pay full price for, this is your chance to do so.
Both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live have pages up promising Black Friday sales, so presumably you could do your Black Friday game shopping directly from your console. Nintendo’s shop has nothing about a Black Friday sale in particular (other than the aforementioned 3DS), but one can presume they will participate in some way or other.
Other than this, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and many other retailers all offer games as part of their Black Friday sales. See below for more information on digital distributors.
One of the best ways to take advantage of the Black Friday discounts is to buy gaming accessories or merchandise. These things are not usually essential, so you may be reluctant to pay full price, but you want them all the same.
Now is a great time for you to grab up headphones, mice, controllers, and console fans. If you have a gamer in your life and you want to buy an accessory for them, this list of gifts for gamers might be a good place to start!
Track Black Friday Ads
Most retailers show their Black Friday ads ahead of time, allowing you to see what will be available and whether it’s worth it to brave the stores on the actual day. Many of these are large enough to be catalogues; Walmart’s 2016 ad is 36 pages long.
You can use sites like BFAds.net to find all of the deals and ads released or leaked to the public. Most of these sites have email newsletters to make sure you get all the news you can.
Ads for Cyber Monday are not necessarily as closely monitored as Black Friday deals, but several websites, including Amazon and Best Buy, have pages announcing their Cyber Monday sales. In order to keep abreast of those sales, consider either bookmarking those pages or signing up for email alerts from the sites you plan to buy from — you can always unsubscribe from all of them later using mass unsubscribe tools.
Digital Distribution Sales
Steam sales are justifiably famous for their generous deals and bundles during their many seasonal sales. They get in on Black Friday just as everyone else does, and the rumor is that the Steam Autumn sale will span a week that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Other than Steam, EA’s Origin and GOG.com typically participate in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales as well. One of the advantages of buying games via these platforms is that you’re not competing with other people for stock, meaning you can buy throughout the day without having to worry that they’ve run out of what you want to buy.
Black Friday Tips to Keep in Mind
Be sure to keep an eye on your budget, because low prices can lure you into buying more than you originally intended. Steam sales are especially tempting, and you may find yourself buying games you otherwise wouldn’t be interested in. Likewise, a PC component that might seem like a tempting bargain might not be worth its price.
Also, be sure to conduct your transactions as safely as possible. If you are concerned about the safety of certain online banking solutions (and if you aren’t, maybe you should be), then stock up on gift cards, Steam cards, or whatever other form of safe currency you use to buy things online.
Finally, not every price drop online is a bargain. Some prices are marked up before they are then marked down. Use resources like the Camelizer extension to find the real bargains.
Do you have any tips for gamers looking for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Let us know in the comments below!