Well, we’re finally here, guys. Within less than two months, next-gen systems will be released and spread across the globe, ushering in a new age in gaming as we know it. For me, it’s a bit amazing to think that it’s happening; it seems like just yesterday that I was flipping through the Game Informer magazines that showcased new details on each system. With all the hype coming to a head next month, we can’t forget about the current generation systems; there’s still a lot of life left in them. Microsoft and Sony are keeping these systems relevant, and third-party retailers like Gamestop are as well; price cuts are on the way.
Let’s start off with Sony. For an inexpensive PS3, the frugal gamer has two options: the Slim and the Super Slim. The Slim model runs about $200, but for that price, it only includes a 12GB hard drive. The Super Slim is even smaller and quieter than the Slim, but at a bit higher price: it costs $250, but comes with a 250GB hard drive in return. The PS3 was always the more expensive of between itself and the 360, but $200 is reasonable, in my opinion. This is quite a feat, especially considering the initial outrageous $500+ price tag, depending on the hard drive size at launch.
Of course, there are other bundles that can be bought, and these are generally a good idea; a much better value than simply buying the system, considering you’ll need a game to go with it anyway. For example, a Blue 250GB Super Slim + the Jak and Daxter Collection (a $20 value on its own) costs $250 at Gamestop. For $20 more, you can swap out the 250GB hard drive for a 500GB, and nab GTA V ($60 on its own) instead of Jak and Daxter; it seems like a no brainer to me, even if this deal includes a black system rather than a blue one.
Next up is Microsoft. Yesterday, it was announced that Microsoft would be selling three new bundles this holiday season, and although the price point has not been released yet, they’re shaping up to be great deals. The bundles are as follows:
250 GB system bundle that includes a Kinect device, Kinect Sports: Season Two, Kinect Adventures and Forza Horizon, as well as one month of Xbox Live Gold
4 GB system that includes a Kinect device, Kinect Sports: Season Two and Kinect Adventures, along with a month of Xbox Live Gold.
250 GB Holiday Value Bundle that includes Halo 4 and Tomb Raider, along with a month of Xbox Live Gold (Prima Games)
The kicker? From Mid-October to the beginning of January, these bundles will be at a price $50 cheaper than they will usually be. Considering that Halo 4 and Tomb Raider are among my favorite titles this console generation, I would definitely recommend this bundle if you don’t already have a 360.
Considering the fact that these bundles all include at least two games, a free month of Xbox Live, and the $50 price cut from their yet unspecified regular price, these bundles are going to be steals. The best value will probably be the second system; it has the smallest hard drive and the least expensive games. This will be the budget system for holiday shoppers, and will give Microsoft a final push before the questionable waters they might be traveling next generation; that remains to be seen.
Finally, Gamestop is offering pre-owned deals of their own. For $100, you can get a pre-owned original model Xbox 360; this is the model I have, and although they run the risk of RROD, I’ve never had an issue with mine, and the backwards compatibility with original Xbox games is a must; I have to be able to play my copy of Halo: CE. For $20 more, you can get a pre-owned Slim model, 4GB Xbox 360. Finally, for any pre-owned PS3, you’ll only pay $150. Finally, for all of these pre-owned systems, a pre-owned game of your choice comes for free, as long as its value is $20 or less.
As you can see, these are steep savings compared to the new bundles, and if there’s any time to buy a current-gen console, it’s now. Classic titles such as Halo 3, Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, and more can be found in the bargain bins for under $10 apiece; there really is no better time to buy than now, although it sounds like a generic marketing pitch. These games are probably nearly as cheap now as they’ll ever be. You might save a few more bucks by waiting a few more months, but these savings won’t be enough to justify waiting any longer, if things depreciate the way I think they will.
Do you think you’ll be picking one of these consoles up this year, or are you waiting for the next-gen releases? Maybe you answer negatively to both of those; maybe you’ve already got a PS3 and a 360, and a backlog of games for both. Either way, it’s a great time to be a gamer.
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