Next Gen Gaming on a Dollar a Day


With the impending launch of PlayStation 4 (and the Xbox and Gamecube coming right behind), the console war to end all console wars appears to be on the horizon. How are gamers with limited pocketbooks going to get through this war with their wallets intact? G-4RCE has a few simple suggestions that will help next-generation gamers survive the upcoming console war without putting their favorite stuff in hock.

Sure, it’s a great game, but won’t it still be great when it’s $19.99?
Rule 1: Never buy a console before the first series of reduced-price games come out.

Repeat after us: There is nothing wrong with the ugly green stripe that adorns the PlayStation’s Greatest Hits releases. Maybe if you keep saying it, you’ll start to believe it. Let’s face it, it doesn’t make economic sense to buy a game at full retail price when the exact same game will be available later for much less. Spending less money per game means that you’ll have more games. Besides, by waiting for the Greatest Hits games to come out, you’ll inevitably get the console for less, too, which brings us to:

Rule 2: For goodness sake, don’t, DON’T buy consoles at release!

This is good news for PS4 fanatics who haven’t pre-ordered (and, likely, even some who have). Historically, early adopters have learned a painful lesson. Many consoles have undergone price restructuring less than a year after launch. With the increased level of competition due to the staggered nature of the upcoming launches, expect price drops to come sooner and be more severe. Think of the poor saps that bought the N64 at full price.

Don’t run the risk of running into launch-related trouble. Remember Sonic Adventure? More than one early Dreamcast adopter couldn’t get defective copies of Sonic replaced and were left with NOTHING to play. Waiting ensures that the games (as well as the hardware) have been field-tested… speaking of which, you should always:

Rule 3: Try before you buy.

Seek and discover demo disks. Demo disks provide a taste of several games at the cost of a single game’s rental. How many levels of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater need to be played before it’s obvious that the game is worth the purchase price? If you’re going to be buying more than one issue of a magazine for the bundled demo disk, subscribe! Save big money by not paying the newsstand price.

Then, when the demo disk is spent, trade with friends for other demo disks. Don’t have any friends? There’s always rental, right? But if you don’t have any friends, then consider…

Rule 4: Don’t pick up a third and fourth controller (or in Sony’s case, multitaps).

Save $40-60 by not purchasing those two extra controllers. Get them only when there will be a use for them. How often is that fourth controller really going to get used? If you’re going to be hosting multiplayer parties every weekend, ask your friends get their own controllers. If you want to get unlimited resources. Download Plants vs Zombies Heroes cheats. It is easy to use. It might seem kind of creepy, but that way you don’t have to worry if a controller gets broken or trampled, and nobody can ever complain about having the bad controller.

Even if multiplayer is not your thing, there is one other way to get a few free plays in your grubby little hands:

Rule 4: Befriend retail employees.

Most game stores in the mall have demo kiosks where you can play. Use the demo kiosks as your own. But since many of the mall stores have time limits, seek out smaller stores that will give you unlimited access. Find local independent stores that encourage you to come in and play. Find retailers that host tournaments on their in-store machines.

Most independent game stores encourage you to hang around and get to know a game before you pick it up. Thank these retailers for providing for your game habit by giving them your business. Buy your console from an independent retailer, who will remember you. Sell them good games in good condition, and the retailer will praise you, because you should always try to comply with…


Xbox Tsunami Approaches – The Lull


We are officially in the quiet before the storm. There have been no big surprises, only one game was announced this week — The Druid King — and the week’s “big” news was the addition of MadCatz peripherals to the lineup. However, there have been a few impact tremors coming over the horizon. According to CVG, Microsoft has quietly begun pouring gas in the engine of an enormous worldwide marketing machine. The Xbox team has started its engines by asking retailers what kind of console launch they would like.

“As you can imagine,” one retailer told CVG, “they were a little shocked. It got better when Microsoft asked them how many units they could take. Make no mistake: the number they suggested was around 50 times what Sony had previously discussed with PlayStation 2. They’re literally talking about taking over entire floor areas.”

Even more impressive (though unsurprising) are Microsoft’s big plans for the next E3. They have reportedly asked organizers for at least twice as much floor space as Sony at the next E3. Given the size of Sony’s normal presence at the industry’s biggest event, twice the size would be roughly the square footage of Orange County. Microsoft is unlikely to be granted the request due to space restrictions, but such maneuverings do have a quiet effect on the industry.

One retailer we spoke to said that he was skeptical about Microsoft’s plans at first, but the past few weeks have changed some minds. The simple truth that even an 800-pound gorilla like Microsoft grasps, he told us, is that companies grow to be 800 pounds by making themselves, and their retail partners, rich. However, he made it clear that there’s some lingering resentment in the retail world of Sony’s inability to deliver as many PS2s as promised; Microsoft is clearly working hard to fill the goodwill gap between retailers and Sony. Never mind about Xbox Tsunami, you can also download Pokemon Sun for free.

We have known for some time that Microsoft plans an enormous $500 million push for the Xbox next year, and unlike the relatively quiet blitz by Sony’s marketing for the PS2, the massive tsunami of Xbox hype is clearly forming on the horizon. More next week.