Gaming isn’t a cheap hobby. One of the main “excuses” used for piracy is the cost of games and with rising production costs at the developer’s end, price increases are often considered during annual shareholders meetings of even big production houses like EA.
So what’s the frugal gamer to do? In this article I want to briefly point out a few great ways to feed your hobby on a small scale budget.
All of the major consoles have services that allow for alternatives to $50+retail titles: Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, and Wii Ware. With prices ranging from $8 – $15 the selection is quite vast and as of late the quality of these games has really picked up. Usually you expect only a few hours of entertainment from an arcade title but multiplayer games like Battlefield 1943 can provide literally endless hours of gaming. In this post I’m going to list a few of the games I got for next to no money.
Not only has the variety and replayability improved, the quality of graphics and story telling has also been taken up a notch. Shadow Complex is a great example of an entertaining, great looking, and just plain fun game that is already being considered for Game of the Year awards, despite its low price tag.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of these arcade titles is the fact that you purchase them online and download the game directly to your console. Not only does it save time and allow for lower prices, there’s also a hidden benefit to this: contests and giveaways.
You see, it’s a lot easier and requires less effort for a developer to hand out redeemable codes to fansites, via Twitter, or other contests. A lot less hassle is involved when all you’re doing is emailing someone a 20 letter code instead of mailing them a DVD case. As a result there’s usually an abundance of giveaways going on at any given time. I myself have won two arcade games purely by watching my Twitter account at the right time (Duke Nukem 3D, and Turtles In Time RS). On the flipside, we’ve given away quite a few redeemable codes for Battlefield 1943 over at TuxMedia.
Recently Microsoft even added Indie Games to its marketplace for an even greater variety and even lower prices (we’re talking a cup of good coffee here).
PC gamers aren’t left in the cold either as Steam has emerged as the premier service for easily accessible, affordable, high quality games. I haven’t had much experience with it but have heard only good things. Please comment if you would like to share your experiences with Steam.
In summary, if your budget is low, one solution is to purchase arcade games, or if you are truly frugal and don’t mind doing some searching, with a little luck on your side you can get quite a bit of gaming for free.