Update: Black Friday ads have started to leak!
Statistically speaking, you are probably shopping for a gamer this holiday season. Are you finally ready to drop some cash on a current-gen console? Will you fill your cart with 2015's hottest AAA titles? Or perhaps fill your hard drive with PC game downloads? No matter what your gaming goals are this Black Friday season, we've got the predictions to keep you — and your budget — happy.
Console Bundles Are Cheaper Than Ever
Should you be shopping for an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 this Black Friday season, you really don't want to buy that console by itself. The 2015 holiday bundles for both platforms are coming out, and their prices are already plummeting.
Console bundles are the best way to score savings on the most recent 2015 titles, with release dates in October and November. Sony recently cut list prices across the board on all of its PS4 holiday bundles. And while those list prices now start at $350, we've already seen deals knocking the recently released PS4 holiday bundle with Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection down to just $310. As such, we're predicting that PS4 holiday bundles will start at $300 on Black Friday.
We also expect Xbox One's 500GB holiday bundles to start at around $300, as we saw the FIFA 16 holiday bundle for $310 recently. If you've got your heart set on one of the new 1TB console bundles, you can expect prices to start at $350. After all, we saw the 1TB version of the FIFA 16 bundle for $360 in September.
Note that many stores may offer these consoles at list price, but throw in a $50 gift card to sweeten the deal. Moreover, always do the math and compare it to console-only deals; if you'd end up paying more than $60 per game in a given bundle, it's not worth your cash.
This Year, Second-Hand Consoles Just Aren't Worth It
A red herring in this Black Friday season could be second-hand consoles. Based on current trends, we're predicting that you could grab an Xbox One or PS4 for $250 on the shopping holiday. But when you can get a brand-new bundle for $300, why would you opt for a used one? Previous-gen models are getting harder to find, but you might score a second-hand Xbox 360 for $150, or even a $100 PS3. Along the same lines, a new PS Vita (perhaps even bundled) could be had for $150, while a refurb or used unit will hit $100.
Nintendo consoles, being several years older than the rest of the pack, are somewhat rarer. That said, we predict that a new Wii U will hit $225, while a refurb will be $180. Finally, a new 3DS or 2DS could be had for $125 and $70 respectively, while refurbished units will fall to $100 and $50.
Get 2015's Hottest Games at Half Off
Assuming you've caught up on all the previous titles in your favorite series, Black Friday is the perfect time to bulk up your collection with this year's latest hits. While the console bundles mentioned above are the best way to pay next to nothing for new releases, many AAA video games will see their list prices halved for the shopping holiday.
As we've previously mentioned, video games are discounted at a highly predictable rate. Non-Nintendo console games with a release date from January to May will hit $30 around Black Friday. In fact, Dying Light and Mortal Kombat X, released in January and April respectively, have already hit this price. Games with a June to October release will fall to $40, while November titles could go as low as $45. This trend doesn't hold for Nintendo games, alas; the best price fans can expect is $50, or $10 off list.
PC Gamers Should Shop Early — Like Halloween
Love it or hate it, Steam is the big name in PC gaming, and lately Steam sales are getting complicated. Shady pre-sale price hikes aside, our data for recent Steam sales suggests that the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race might want to take its Black Friday money elsewhere.
Last year's Black Friday sale advertised discounts of up to 75% off, whereas this year's Summer Sale took up to 90% off. For what it's worth, last year's Halloween sale at Steam also took up to 90% off, so you might consider trick-or-treating with Valve this year.
Steam's lackluster Black Friday doesn't mean PC gamers should avoid the shopping holiday altogether, though. Amazon, Green Man Gaming, GOG, Origin, and other sites will all host their own Black Friday sales for gamers. Not only do these sites often price-match Steam, but they'll also probably offer sitewide coupons to crank up the savings — expect to shave at least an extra 20% off your purchase.
PC gamers definitely have an advantage when it comes to buying 2015's titles. (Well, most of 2015's titles.) Games released between January and May will drop to $20 for PC, while June to October games will fall to $30. However, PC players are on equal footing with their console counterparts when it comes to November releases: no matter what platform you play, your best possible price will still be $45.