If you’re looking to load up on games and gaming hardware, there are few better times to do it than Black Friday. Sure, there are some times that are as good, but gaming is one of those places where we actually do see some of the best deals of the year on the day after Thanksgiving, and so you can safely make purchases without wondering too much about whether or not better deals will come along int he next few weeks–not necessarily true about the trickier worlds of TVs and such. GameStop is usually one of your best bets, too: as the only large-scale gaming-focused retailer in America, it wants as much of the attention of the gaming world as possible. Here’s what to expect from its Black Friday 2018 deals.
I’d expect the biggest discounts to come through bundles on Xbox One X and Xbox One S. Not only has this historically been true this generation, but Microsoft seems to have been pretty enthusiastic about Xbox One X discounts recently, something that I don’t expect to abate as we move into the holiday season. The biggest side of this is done through bundling, and I’d expect Gamestop to throw in a whole lot of “get 1/2 games free” alongside extant bundles for major games. I’d also expect a $100 blanket discount on both Xbox One X and Xbox One S standard bundles, with extras like controllers or subscriptions shifting things around one way or another.
This is pretty comparable to some of what we’ve already seen both in Black Friday pricing and things like the recent Red Dead Redemption 2 bundle.
PS4 will follow a similar pattern. $199.99 will be the base price for standard PS4 bundles, with extras being thrown in to move it one way or another. PS4 Pro will have its first year of major deals, with prices likely starting at $299.99 for standard bundles. Sony has very strong first-party development, and we can expect to see exclusives like Uncharted 4 and the Uncharted Collection thrown around like candy. More recent exclusives like God of War and Spider-Man will likely figure prominently as pack-ins as well.
Things are going to be a whole lot more conservative with Nintendo Switch. Nintendo isn’t an aggressive discounter overall, but I do expect things to be a little looser than they were last year. I’d expect some nice first-party bundles with games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, especially since we’ve already seen the latter from Target. I’d also expect a ton of peripheral discounts and bundles, especially from those that aren’t made by Nintendo. Non-Nintendo companies have a bit of a freer hand with pricing, and it’s easier to bundle a switch with a carrying case and some other accessories than it is with new software. What I’d really like to see is a reasonably-priced starter bundle with a game, a micro-sd card and extra Joy-Cons.
Lastly, Gamestop is likely to do one of those tiered discount-fests that we usually see with software from major retailers. We can already see what Target has been up to with that, and I’d expect Gamestop to be more or less in line, especially considering that Target’s deals are already excellent.
Games to receive small price drops are the recent AAA releases–that means Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Red Dead Redemption 2 and sports franchises like Madden and FIFA. Don’t expect these to go below ~$45, but do expect to be able to grab these below the $60 MSRP at which you can see them now.
Expect substantial price drops for the near-past of fall AAA releases: think Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, God of War, Far Cry 5 and more. These are games without quite the same cache as Call of Duty and Red Dead Redemption, so publishers will be pushing them a little bit harder. These might go for $30 or lower.
And the bargain basement will go to last year’s titles: Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Wolfenstein 2, Call of Duty: WW2 and more. These are going to be in the $15 range, and as usual, you can save a ton of money on video games by just pretending that it’s last year. Buying new games is expensive and comes with problems, but buying old ones gets you less buggy experiences at a substantial discount.
We should expect to see these ads soon, so stay tuned. It’s also pretty hard to predict what GameStop and ThinkGeek’s ever-expanding collectible offerings will look like, but we can definitely expect a lot of those.