PS2 / Wii / PS3 / Xbox do you buy £20-£40 console games? A simple strategy to cut the cost.

The computer games industry is now bigger than the cinema. Whether you’ve got a Playstation, Wii or X-box, buy a game and it will easily set you back £20 – £40. If you consider the thousands of hours that go into creating a top game, and the hundreds of hours that you play it for – then it’s not too bad (especially if you buy it as cheaply as possible either via top online shopping or trade-ins from the high street. Yet there’s a glaring problem with buying games….


While you can read the reviews, most gamers like to actually try it themselves, and many rush straight to the front of the queue to buy the latest must-have release. Yet at £40 a pop, this isn’t cheap, especially if after an hour you realise the disc is best used as a drinks coaster. So my strategy is simple, rent the game before you buy.

While you may be sitting there going “well that’s obvious, it doesn’t need a Money Saving Expert” – what I really want to do is prove the impact of this strategy with a few calculations.

Suppose you want “Grand Theft Auto: MoneySaving City” for the PS3:

• Rental price: £4 for 2 nights from Cubebeater
• Cheapest price to buy: £35

Two stats we can draw from this:

• You’d have to play it for over 16 nights before it’s worth buying
• If you rent then buy it adds just over 10% to the purchase price.

The most important of these is the second one, as we can thus see the additional cost of trying before you buy.

“It only takes one-in-eight games to be naff for this strategy to be worth it!”

If you always adopted this strategy, even if only one in eight games wasn’t worth buying, you’ve actually saved cash. Now think how many games in your collection you’ve quickly got fed up of, bored of, or decided what you were playing was better and resorted to it. Plus the other additional benefit of renting, is if you really like it, you can then take a little time to find the game as cheaply as possible on the internet (see the Top Shopbots article for how to do that quickly).

Trade in old, unplayed games

Some may argue this isn’t such a problem because they trade in any old games they don’t play anymore. If you’ve a full cupboard of unused games, do trade them in or eBay them. Yet trading-in in general doesn’t solve the conundrum. Remember the moment you buy a game from a shop (whether online or offline) and open that packaging its value has just diminished. Take it back as a trade in a week later and you’d be lucky to get a half of the value you paid for it. So again, the try before you buy strategy is worth it – but here at perhaps a one-in-four rather than one-in-eight ratio.

Discuss this blog and/or add your gamer buying tips