Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big sale days for gamers. Whether you’re looking for hardware or software you should be able to find something to buy for 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 Christmas purchases for others, here’s everything gamers need to know to get the most out of the big post-Thanksgiving sales.
What Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is the name of the infamous Friday following America’s Thanksgiving celebration. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. As such, tons of products are steeply discounted.
This makes Black Friday the best time of year to shop for anything that you don’t want to pay full price for.
In 2018, Black Friday takes place on November 23.
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday, a time when online retailers noted that their sales sharply increased. As the name suggests, this is the day for online sales, and is a more relaxed alternative to Black Friday. Since you don’t have to go into a store and compete with physical crowds, it’s less intense.
In 2018, Cyber Monday takes place on November 26.
Which day you focus on depends on where you want to do your shopping. Black Friday sales take place at physical stores as well as online, with sales for just about everything.
Cyber Monday is strictly online-only, meaning sites like Amazon or Newegg are your destinations. Usually, Steam and console digital markets have sales 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. This means the variety of items you can find is staggering.
But what does that mean for you as a gamer? What should you look for after Thanksgiving?
PCs and PC Parts
If you’re looking to build your own PC, then Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday can help you save money. Amazon, Newegg, and various other retailers will certainly have deals on PC components.
It’s wise to have a shopping list. Know ahead of time which components you want to buy to save you from buying junk parts with steep discounts. And keep common PC building mistakes in mind to avoid making blunders.
If you want to buy a ready-made PC, keep an eye out for discounts on major brands. For comparison, try shopping directly on the manufacturers’ websites and see if they offer extra deals.
Game Consoles and Bundles
Consoles are usually a big-ticket item for gamers. If you’re in the market for one, you should know what’s available right now.
Thinking about an Xbox? The Xbox One S, which is capable of 4K video playback but not 4K games, is the cheaper option. Microsoft’s more powerful Xbox One X, released in 2016, is much more powerful and thus capable of 4K gaming. We’ve compared the Xbox One models if you need help deciding between them.
If you’re interested in a PS4, you can pick between the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro. The Slim is the standard console without any 4K support, while the Pro is beefier and capable of 4K gaming.
Nintendo’s newest system, the Nintendo Switch, will likely be on sale too. Nintendo isn’t known for steep discounts, so if you see a Switch bundle that includes a game you want, snap it up while you can.
The only current handheld system is the Nintendo 3DS (and 2DS). It’s a bit long in the tooth now, but still has a fantastic library and is a great choice for kids. Check out our 3DS model breakdown for more info.
In general, bundles are a good buy. Assuming you don’t already have the game in a console bundle, it likely offers a better value than the console itself. They also make especially nice gifts, as the recipient can immediately put the console to use.
An extra controller is fantastic, as they don’t depreciate in value as quickly as games.
Individual games are easy to pick up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is a great chance to score deep discounts on games.
Both the PlayStation Store and Xbox Market have pages up detailing Black Friday sales. If you don’t mind digital games, you can do your Black Friday game shopping directly from your console. Nintendo’s eShop doesn’t indicate a Black Friday sale, but you’ll presumably find some deals for the Switch and 3DS there.
Steam sales are justifiably famous for generous deals and bundles during the many seasonal events. The distributor gets in on Black Friday, of course, so wait to buy PC games on your wishlist until the sale goes live.
Other than Steam, EA’s Origin and GOG 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 others for stock. Thus, you can buy throughout the day without having to worry that they’ve run out.
One of the best ways to take advantage of the Black Friday discounts is to buy gaming accessories or merchandise. These are usually not essential, so you may be more apt to buy them when they’re under full price.
Now is a great time for you to upgrade or pick up new headphones, mice, controllers, and charging docks. If you have a gamer in your life and want to buy something for them, accessories are a good pick. Check out our list of essential PC gaming accessories for some ideas.
Track Black Friday Ads
Most retailers show their Black Friday ads ahead of time. These let you to see what will be available and decide whether it’s worth braving the stores. Many of these are large enough to be their own catalogs, so take a good look.
You can use sites like BFAds to find all the flyers released or leaked to the public. Most of these services have email newsletters so you can get updates right away.
Ads for Cyber Monday aren’t as closely monitored as Black Friday deals. However, several websites 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 later.
Black Friday Tips to Keep In Mind
Now you know what to look for as a gamer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But don’t get too carried away.
Be sure to keep an eye on your budget, because low prices can lure you into buying more than you originally intended. Don’t buy games you otherwise wouldn’t be interested in just because they’re on sale. Likewise, a PC component that seems like a tempting bargain might not be worth its price.
Remember that not every price drop is a bargain. Some prices are marked up ahead of Black Friday and then “marked down” again. Use a price comparison tool to make sure you’re actually getting a bargain.
Finally, make sure to conduct your transactions as safely as possible. Review our ways to protect yourself against Black Friday scams; it might be worth using gift cards to buy digital games if you’re concerned about security or overspending.