There are two camps when it comes to buying video games: those who want to join the conversation immediately, and those who don’t mind waiting a bit and grabbing a great video game deal. In the complex and gigantic world of video game deals, sometimes those two needs converge into one: game preorders, for example, will often see discounts or other enticements ahead of release. But generally speaking, the best way to get a deal on a video game, whether it’s for your PS5, your Xbox, your Nintendo Switch or your PC, is to just wait.
It’s no secret the best time to buy an Ubisoft game, for example, is a few weeks after launch. Ubisoft is often generous with its video game deals, so if you don’t absolutely need to play the newest Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry, just wait a bit and you’ll get it for less than retail. As time goes on, that deal can become even better. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a great example. A full-priced game at launch back in 2017, you can find it now for less than $20. And it’s a great game, too.
The Best Video Game Deals
Click one of the links below to jump to the best video game deals for your preferred platform.
- Best PS5 Video Game Deals
- Best Nintendo Switch Video Game Deals
- Best Xbox Video Game Deals
- Best PC Video Game Deals
Best PS5 Video Game Deals
Best Nintendo Switch Video Game Deals
Best Xbox Video Game Deals
Best PC Gaming Deals
When Are the Best Video Game Deals Happening?
There are always video games on sale. Sometimes, those deal prices will be the lowest prices, ever, and will occur over an otherwise nondescript time period. You can find games on sale constantly, but the absolute best times to score deals on games generally fall into two categories: special publisher events, and Black Friday.
Black Friday Video Game Deals
Without a doubt, Black Friday is the best time to score tons of deals on everything, but in particular, video games. Once upon a time, Black Friday was the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving, but the event has grown to encompass a two to three-week window starting the weekend before Thanksgiving and running through Cyber Week (the week immediately following Black Friday week).
That being said, the brunt of these video game deals happen at the start of the Black Friday shopping extravaganza, sometimes as early as Sunday afternoon. Many of those easly deals will last through the actual Black Friday date, but the absolute cream of the crop often sell out before Monday. Fortunately IGN Deals covers Black Friday extensively, so make sure to follow us on Twitter @IGNDeals and bookmark our official IGN Deals page.
Publisher Game Deal Events
Outside of Black Friday, special publisher and storefront deal events are the absolute best way to overload your backlog for less. If you’re a PC gamer, you know all too well the allure of Steam Sales and how it’s hard to resist a 90% price reduction even when you have a backlog of 100 games already. The biggest downside is while Black Friday is predictable, most of the publisher events aren’t, with the exception of stuff like Nintendo’s “MAR10 Day” promotion on and around March 10 each year. Here are some major video game deals events to keep an eye out for.
- PlayStation Days of Play Event
- This one usually happens around E3, or at least, what used to be E3, in June. In the PS4 days, Sony would even offer up a limited-edition Days of Play console in addition to tons of savings on games.
- Xbox Ultimate Game Sale
- This one is similar in scope, size, and duration as PlayStation’s sales event, with huge discounts on games for Xbox, as well as deals on controllers and things like Xbox Game Pass.
- Nintendo eShop Summer Sale
- Also occurring in the early days of summer, Nintendo slashes many of its first-party games to $40 or less, and offers tons of deals on indie games and more.
- Steam Sale
- Perhaps the most legendary and celebrated video game deal event of them all, Valve puts the contents of its massive PC gaming library on sale several times a year, with the Steam Summer Sale and Steam Winter Sale being the two greatest chances to save big time on gaming.
There are plenty more deal events, but those are easily the biggest and the best of them.
When Is a Game Deal Really a Deal?
There comes a time when a game has been on sale for so long, it’s not really so much a “deal” as it is simply the new price. So for example, you might browse Amazon and see a game is listed at 20% off its MSRP. The IGN Deals team tries very hard only to face new and legitimate deals, and obviously I recommend you just let us help you. But once you’ve been in the business of browsing deals, you just sort of know when a game is on a perma-deal.
You can also check the price at a site like camelcamelcamel and see, with certainty, whether or not it’s a new discount, or just a new low-price masquerading as a discount. Amazon has also started adding little notes to some of its listings, like “Lowest Price in 30 Days.”
Seth Macy is Executive Editor, IGN Commerce, and just wants to be your friend. You can find him hosting the Nintendo Voice Chat podcast.