Ok, so you've just spent (or already have one) $500 or so on your brand new shiny gaming console and it's sitting there all plugged up and ready to go. But wait, you need games, lots of games. Unfortunately gaming is not the cheapest hobby. Over the last couple of years I have learnt several tips and tricks to getting the best price for that game you really want.
I will start with shopping within New Zealand first as it is the easiest and fastest way in regards to shopping.
Unfortunately because of our location, import charges and other stuff like that, New Zealand is one of the most expensive countries to buy games from. Just an example, a new game released in New Zealand typically retails around $100 to $120 (New Zealand Dollars). In the United States that same game will release for $59.99 USD which today is around $75 in New Zealand Dollars.
Don't let this get you down if you prefer to keep your spending within New Zealand because there are still ways to get that awesome bargain.
Don't be afraid to ask for a Price Match. Many New Zealand gaming retailers will have a price match policy to get you to buy from them. I can confirm from experience that EB Games, Noel Leeming and Mighty Ape will price match against other New Zealand stores with a few exceptions, ie. EB games requires that it be against a local store so you can't match against JBhifi if you don't have one in your area.
I believe that JB and the Warehouse will price match but as I have had no experience using them regarding price matching I can not confirm this for sure.
Price matching is great, especially if you use a loyalty program that a store uses ie. Flybuys, Banana Points, EB World etc. or even if you just like to shop at a specific preferred retailer.
Several stores (most notably EB Games and JB Hifi) offer the chance to buy preowned games at a discounted price. Personally, at first I was naturally cautious of buying games preowned, but having bought probably over 50 preowned games now, I have only ever had an issue with one.
These stores always have a preowned guaruntee policy, so that you know you're not going to get ripped off if you end up with a dud and you'll get another copy or a refund if you are unlucky enough to get a dud.
I find that the best time to stock up on preowned games is during EB Games sales. Most people know that EB is generaly the most expensive New Zealand retailer to buy from, but some of their preowned sales are great value (I've only ever bout one or two games brand new from there). Quite often there will be a buy 2 get one free or two to three for $45 etc. and because their preowned games are bought in by people who have purchased from all over the place you might find that rare gem of a game you were hunting for.
The downside to buying preowned games however is that DLC codes that would come with a brand new copy have a chance of being already used. So if you want to play a game primarily online that has an online pass or really want the DLC, buy it new.
Buying from other NZGamer's
Hit up the trade forum and see what other NZGamer's have to offer. Most users are extremely reliable and friendly and can offer you a great deal on a game that you're after. It's a good idea to check often because some deals get snapped up really quick.
Mighty Ape is one of my favourite places to buy games and other stuf from. They have great sales on a daily basis and always great customer service. Plus you're guarunteed to get your order the next day provided that you order before a specified time, or it's the weekend.They also have a marketplace feature where other people post up their games for sale and Mighty Ape acts as the middleman.
Many of MightyApes games are UK or US imports, so they also have some rarer games that are harder or impossible to find in retail stores.
The Warehouse (and sometimes other retailers) Clearances
I will focus on The Warehouse for clearance games as I haven't really seen any lately from previous retailers (d*ck Smith used to have some really good clearances).
I always check The Warehouse clearance gaming section on their website at least twice a week because they have some really outstanding deals quite often. However, you must be aware that they don't always have the product in stock even if it is listed as being available.
The best way to check if you can't get it online is to go the the clearance section they have in store. Last time I went (about 2 weeks ago now) they had about 3 or 4 Vita games down to $19.98 and several PS3 and Xbox 360 games reduced to the same price. You rarely see PS4 or Xbox One games reduced so much unforunately though there sometimes is a good reduction.
With online shopping being so accessible, ordering from overseas is a great option to get that game you want cheaper as long as you're prepard to wait a little.
After being recommended to me, NZ Gameshop was the first site that I ever bought anything from. Personally, I've never had any major issues with them (only ever when a product turned up broken but they replaced it without any problem). A game on release from NZ Gameshop is usually at least $10 to $20 cheaper than any retailer in New Zealand and in most cases cheaper than MightyApe. The only downside is that you have to wait for your game to be shipped which I have found to be 5 working days.
They also have some great specials from time to time especially on games released several months ago. I remember at one point they had both The Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls down to $34.99 on special (they were copies originally from a bundle I believe) about 3 or so months after release.
Game is a UK based store. It also has an online site that will ship to New Zealand. The downside is that it costs around $10 New Zealand Dollars to ship it here. Despite the shipping costs, Game has some pretty decent prices, some of which, combined with the shipping still makes it cheaper to buy from there. I have personally bought from there twice now and had absolutely no issues.
Zavvi is the last of my UK sources. To ship to New Zealand from Zavvi only costs around $2-3 New Zealand Dollars which makes it a great option. They have a reasonable selection and also sell steelbook cases for games and DVD's if you're into collecting those. You can get pretty good prices on older games and new games seem to come out at the $70 - 80 New Zealand Dollar mark.
PlayAsia tend to have some decent deals and specials on games that have usually been released within the last year. Because they are based in Hong Kong, they're one of the best places to find rare and harder to find Japanese and Asian games.
The website will recognise your country as New Zealand and therefore show it in our currency but because they actually charge you in US Dollars, that price is not always accurate by about a dollar or two usually. Also, if you spend a certain amount you are eligible for free shipping which is a bonus.
The biggest issue that I've had with them, and when I researched it, it didn't seem to be just me, was that one of my two games I ordered (still factory sealed) had a smashed case. The game itself was perfectly fine and intact and the other one was unharmed but having to hunt down another case because I'm fussy about those things was not so fun.
Digital stores are a great place to get a real bargain. As I have only really used the Playstation Network, I won't really delve into some of the others, especially PC ones as there are quite a few different ones for that.
Check for new sales every week
A lot of digital stores will have new sales every week. It is always a good idea to check it just in case that game you were considering getting comes up at a price you can't resist. Checking during special holiday times is also a great idea because there is quite often a sale, sometimes themed towards that holiday, for example, the Playstation Network has horror movies and games on sale over its regions (NZ,UK,US etc).
Have a US account
This won't work for all consoles, but I can confirm it for at least Playstation Network (not Vita) and Xbox Live. It seems that the US digital stores seem to get the better sales, especially when they put on a Flash Sale that seems to occur once a month. To get a hold fo these deals, it's easy enough to purchase a code from Amazon.com and use it in the US store. Provided that you have both your New Zealand and US account on the same Playstation (with Xbox I believe you can change your region on one account) you can play it on your New Zealand account.
There are many different sources to get that game that you want. To get the best deal it is always worthwhile shopping around and considering all of your options. I hope that this guide has opened up more options for you and hopefully not burn through your wallet so much.
Happy Shopping :)
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