Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big sale days for gamers. You can find something 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. 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 2017, it takes place on November 24.
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday, a time when online retailers noted that their sales increased markedly. 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. This year, Cyber Monday is November 27.
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. This means the variety of items 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 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 certainly have deals on PC components.
This is one of those situations where it’s best to have a shopping list. Knowing ahead of time which components you want, based on their record of quality, could save you from buying subpar parts that happen to have steep discounts. That’s one of the mistakes to avoid when building your first PC.
If you just want to buy a ready-made PC (which might be more cost-effective for some), then keep an eye out for discounts on major PC brands through the usual retailers. For comparison, try shopping directly from the manufacturers’ websites and see if they offer extra deals.
Game Consoles and Bundles
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 on the market, along with the new powerful Xbox One X (our comparison of all Xbox models). Then there’s the PS4 Slim and its upgraded counterpart, the PS4 Pro. The Nintendo Switch (our review) also launched in 2017. If you haven’t invested in a current-generation console, this is a prime opportunity to do so. Also, if you want to upgrade your existing system, this is a 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 a better bargain than the console itself. These make especially nice gifts, as the recipient can immediately put the console to use. An extra controller is also a good value, as they don’t depreciate in value like games.
Nintendo has announced that it will offer a special, limited edition The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D-themed 2DS on Black Friday. This unique model is Link-colored green with yellow accented buttons, and it comes with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D pre-installed.
Individual games are obviously easy to pick up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is your chance to score great discounts on games.
Both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live 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 we presume it will offer some deals for the Switch, 3DS, and Wii U.
There will also be a new Explorer’s Edition for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — exclusively for the Nintendo Switch version of the game. This special bundle includes the base game (no DLC), a 100-page strategy guide, and a two-sided map. The Explorer’s Edition runs for $59.99. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch does not come bundled with the game, so you have to buy the system elsewhere.
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 are usually not essential, so you may be more apt to buy them when they’re not full price.
Now is a great time for you to grab up headphones, mice, controllers, and charging docks. If you have a gamer in your life and you want to buy something for them, this is a great time to do so!
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 catalogs — Walmart’s 2017 ad is 32 pages long.
You can use sites like BFAds to find all the flyers released or leaked to the public. Most of these sites 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, 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 them later.
Digital Distribution Sales
Steam sales are justifiably famous for their generous deals and bundles during the 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 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. Thus you can buy throughout the day without having to worry that they’ve run out.
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 could seem like a tempting bargain might not be worth its price.
Also, be sure to conduct your transactions as safely as possible. If you’re 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 online.
Finally, not every price drop online is a bargain. Some prices are marked up before they are then marked down. Use a price comparison tool to make sure you’re actually getting a bargain.
Do you have any tips for gamers looking for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? What’s your best bargain find? Let us know in the comments below!