Black Friday Aftermath – 2018

If you’re reading this it means you survived another Black Friday. Congratulations. I hope that you’re not too traumatized, either physically or mentally, from any of the horrors you might have seen while out hunting for deals. As has been the case for a number of years now, my Black Friday was once again a purely digital shopping experience. It wasn’t all fun and games while I sipped cocoa in my pajamas, but I do miss the thrill of being on the ground hunting in the traditional way like the shoppers who came before me.

Let me start by saying that in general this was a much better Black Friday than last year’s. Black Friday 2017 was as bad as the rest of 2017. This year we had some actual deals and even in a fully digital marketspace, like I had, we had to actually shop around and locate the best prices. I bought double the number of games I did last year because there were just so many great deals between the various digital storefronts I visited. Many stores were changing prices throughout the last week through Cyber Monday, so it was imperative to stay diligent in the pursuit of discounts. This is the way Black Friday is supposed to be.

Black Friday Thumbs

As far as my personal list going into Black Friday, I managed to snag seven of my hoped for titles. That’s two more than last year but due to the volume of titles in this year’s list compared to last year’s, it’s only a 5% increase in success rate. That being said, I did actually manage to find a couple more titles from my list at the prices I wanted but was unable to get them because of limitations like “in store only”, which I cannot do, or I found the game at/below the price I wanted on the wrong platform. For instance, I wanted to pay $10 for Shaq-FU: A Legend Reborn. I specifically wanted it on Nintendo Switch, for reasons I still can’t summarize or justify properly, and never found the price I wanted. I did end up purchasing the game but I paid $15 for it, which is 50% higher than what I wanted to pay. I found a copy of it on PS4 for $5. That’s a failure on Nintendo’s part for their hubris and mine for my stubbornness. I also found some games at the right price but decided not to buy them yet. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Definitive Edition is the best example of this. I found it for $20 but chose not to buy it last minute because I haven’t finished the first game yet. Overall though, I managed to pick up a lot of games for great prices.

Pirate Booty

Here’s what I managed to get from my original shopping list.

  1. Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy (Nintendo Switch) – $25
    1. I overpaid by $5 to get the Switch version. I actually did find the PS4 version at my desired price but I really wanted it portable for some reason.
  2. Injustice 2: Legendary Edition (PS4) – $18
    1. I beat my desired price by $2.
  3. Cuphead (PC) – $7
    1. It took some maneuvering but I managed to beat my desired price by $3.
  4. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (PC) – $15
  5. Shaq-FU: A Legend Reborn (Nintendo Switch Physical) – $15
    1. I overpaid by $5 to get the Switch version. I actually did find the PS4 version at half my desired price after already purchasing but it was an in store only deal.
  6. Just Dance 2019 (Nintendo Switch) – $25
  7. Sonic Mania Plus (PC) – $9.28
    1. I gave up on the Switch version but was able to get the PC version for $5.72 below my desired price by purchasing the game and DLC separately.

I also managed to find South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins at or below the prices I wanted but was unable to get them or chose not to get them because of extenuating circumstances.

I also managed to find a Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitness Watch for $99. $10 higher than I wanted to pay but it came with a two year warranty so I felt that it was worth the extra cost in case my girlfriend breaks it.

too-many-games-too-little-time big

What is more impressive is the number of games I got that weren’t on my list because of how good the deals were. I bought three times the number of off my list games than I did last year. And I actually wanted to buy more but couldn’t because of in store only limitations and some region locked prices. The one I was most angry about not being able to get was a physical version of The Banner Saga Trilogy on PS4 for $10. Best Buy screwed me with an in store only deal.

  1. Wolfenstein 2-Pack (The New Order + The Old Blood) (PC) – $9.89
  2. The BIT TRIP Collection (Includes 6 games) (PS4) – $0.99
  3. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (PC) – $4.79
  4. 1 Year PS Plus – $40

While this wasn’t the best Black Friday I’ve ever had, it was a great improvement over last year’s disappointing month of lackluster sales. I’m most happy about the fact that I finally managed to get Cuphead. I’ve been waiting to be able to get that for under $10 since before it released. I had started to lose hope that it was ever going to happen.

Runner 3
A difference of 52% in price between USA and Taiwan.

One thing that surprised me a lot this year was how vastly different the prices were between the Taiwan and USA digital markets. Because I live in Taiwan but have American accounts that I started when I was still living in the states, I end up looking at both sets of prices for UPLAY, Steam, and a few other digital stores. Taiwan gets considerably better prices. For example, the reason I didn’t buy Assassin’s Creed Origins was because if I had wanted it on PC, which admittedly wasn’t my ideal platform, from the US UPLAY store it would have cost me $39.99 but with the 20% additional discount they were offering for 100 UPLAY coins I could have gotten it for $32. In the Taiwan UPLAY store the starting price was $31.50 and the 20% off dropped it down to about $25.20. I absolutely would have bought it at that price but the Taiwan UPLAY store wouldn’t allow me to claim the additional 20% discount. Issues like this kept me from buying some other games I really wanted as well.

In general, I’m happy to see that Black Friday this year was much better than last year. I saw some amazing deals that were irrelevant to me such as God of War for $17. If I didn’t already own it, I would have for sure purchased it at that price. The Steam sale had a lot of great deals but the store wasn’t organized as well as I’ve seen in past years so I actually missed out on buying some games because some prices were limited time only, causing me not to see some stuff till it was already too late. The PSN sale was fairly decent but the Ubisoft titles, which were some of the most noteworthy in the sale, were not discounted nearly enough.

cyber-monday-deals big

GOG was a straight disappointment because they really only offered the same sales we’ve now seen countless times. Like The Witcher 3 GOTY for $20. That’s a great game but that price is nothing new. The point of Black Friday is to have the best deals of the year. Not the same deals over and over. And a lot of their prices weren’t even better than Steam and PSN. I was actually going to buy The BIT TRIP collection on PC but the price on GOG for all six games was like three times higher than on PSN. Their price for Runner 3 was way higher than Steam’s limited time promotion for the game and almost three times higher than the Steam Taiwan price.

For physical stores, Best Buy and Amazon had the best deals this year. Best Buy actually had the best deals but because so many of them were limited to in store only, it was impossible to fully take advantage of all their offerings for me. Something I noticed on multiple store fronts, including digital, is that prices weren’t fixed or constantly descending. This is not supposed to happen on/during Black Friday weekend. All prices are supposed to be fixed or continue dropping as demand waivers and supply clears. Some prices went up and that goes directly against the purpose and practice of Black Friday where the main goal is supposed to be clearing stock for the Christmas season and New Year stock.

nintendo fail big

Of course the most disappointing company for every Black Friday is still Nintendo. Whether it’s physical or digital, their prices are always the highest on the market even with the lowest hardware specs. The fact that I paid three times the value of Shaq-FU: A Legend Reborn is par for the course with them. The only game that was actually properly priced for the Switch was Just Dance 2019 and that only applies to the physical version. The reason I put $25 on my desired price list is not because I was guessing at the price. It drops to that on multiple stores every year and I almost always buy it from Amazon. But I could have gotten the physical version on any platform, including the Wii, for $25 just like with 2018, 2017, and so on. But the digital version on Switch was $28. I’ll never understand why they feel like that’s OK. I had hoped to buy Super Mario Party and possibly even Pokemon Let’s GO Eevee but those prices didn’t move a cent.

I hope this year was the beginning of a trend of making Black Friday meaningful again. Last year was worrying because it showed a continuance of a trend in declining Black Friday deals quality. This year went in the other direction. I hope that continues for Black Friday 2019.

How did Black Friday go for you this year? Did you see any notably great deals? How did it compare to last year for you? Let me know in the comments.

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Black Friday 2018

Do you hear that? That sound. It’s the sound of war slowly creeping towards us. The war for deals. Each year we commemorate this time of year with a battle. The battle to end all wallets. It’s a violent day. It’s a mad day. A black day. Black Friday!

When I look back at Black Friday 2017, I am not impressed. In fact, I flat out disappointed. I failed myself in battle last year. More accurately, the deals failed me. Of the list of 15 games I wanted to get during Black Friday deals last year, I only managed to get four of them. The deals just weren’t there. To this day, I’ve only managed to acquire six games from that list total. The prices for them simply will not drop by a reasonable amount. So there’s gonna be some repeats on this year’s list as well as new additions.

Black Friday 2017 Aftermath
Black Friday 2017

Last year I only wanted software, which is always my preference because hardware shopping can be even more troublesome than games. But this year I’m not so lucky. Along with a hefty list of games, I need two items of hardware as well. May the deal gods smile upon me in battle this year.

The rules of engagement, for those not aware, have not changed. There is a list of products I want for prices I have set based on a combination of factors. I will not go above my price range for any product. If I cannot find the deal, I simply take the L and continue waiting for that ideal price point. Once again, I recruit you into my deal force. I need you to help me find the deals I seek. If you see something on my list at or below the price I’ve listed available for online purchase, please, please, please take the time to leave a comment with a link or tweet me directly for me to see it even faster. And of course I shall I assist my comrades in arms as well. Link me your lists in the comments and if I see anything I’ll be sure to send you a link. So without further ado, here are my targets for Black Friday 2018.

Black Friday 2018
Black Friday 2018
  1. Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy (Nintendo Switch) – $20
  2. Injustice 2: Legendary Edition (PS4) – $20
  3. Cuphead (PC) – $10
  4. Assassin’s Creed: Origins Gold Edition (PS4 or PC) – $30
  5. Middle-earth: Shadow of War Definitive Edition (PS4 or PC) – $20
  6. South Park: The Fractured But Whole Gold Edition (PS4 or PC) – $30
  7. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (PS4 or PC) – $15
  8. Shaqfu (Nintendo Switch Physical) – $10
  9. Super Mario Party (Nintendo Switch) – $30
  10. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (PS4) – $20
  11. Shadow of the Tomb Raider Deluxe/Croft Edition (PS4 or PC) – $20
  12. Just Dance 2019 (Nintendo Switch) – $25
  13. Vampyr (PS4 or PC) – $15
  14. Unravel Two (PS4) – $5
  15. Shenmue 1&2 Bundle (PS4) – $15
  16. Sonic Mania Plus (Nintendo Switch) – $15
  17. Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4) – $20
  18. Nintendo Switch Bundle with Any Game – $200
  19. Garmin Vivosmart 4 or HR+ Fitness Watch – $90

Please note that while the platforms aren’t negotiable, the games can be in physical or digital form. They just have to be at or below the prices listed.

Black Friday 2018 Prices
Black Friday 2018 Prices

Probably the most important item on the list this year is the Nintendo Switch. It’s not for me. I already have one that I bought around Black Friday last year and I absolutely love it. It’s for my nephew. He’s 10 and I’d really like to be able to get him a console that he can enjoy with games appropriate for his age that are fun for the whole family. I’d like to be able to give him the best Christmas ever like when I was a kid and my parents got me a Nintendo 64.

As always, I have prepared a convenient graphic with target prices to make my list easier to reference for my comrades in arms. Save it, share, it, reference it, use it for yourself. Thank you in advance for helping your fellow gamer find and capture his prey. And as always, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers out there. Happy Black Friday, and may the deals be ever in your favor!

 

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Black Friday Aftermath – 2017

Well Black Friday (the month since it’s no longer a 1 day event) is over and it’s time to recount the hopefully many great purchases we all made and appraise how well I/we actually did in terms of my goals going into the joyous event.

I have to say that this was a pretty disappointing Black Friday. The deals were limited and not nearly as drastic as I’ve seen in past years. Certain games barely budged and other ones were/are being way overly valued relative to standard gaming pricing degradation. For example: I bought Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in a Black Friday sale last year (2016) for $20. Having recently just beaten the game, I have to say that it was an excellent game and I have no regrets about the $20 I spent. But let us remember that Uncharted 4 came out in May 2016. So I paid $20 for a six month old highly acclaimed AAA game. That’s fine and fair. No one can objectively complain about that scenario. But why was Uncharted 4 being sold for $20 in Black Friday sales this year? We’re now talking about an 18 month old game that has since then had a “sequel” or spin-off if you prefer. The spinoff, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, was released August 2017 for $40. I was able to buy that, as a standalone physical, during Black Friday this year for $15. That means a newer game from the same series degraded in price by 63% in just three months, while a game that’s been around for literally six times as long has only managed to degrade by only 66%. That’s mathematically ridiculous. Regardless of the quality of Uncharted 4, and again it’s is of the highest level of quality as far as modern games are concerned, it still should have been in the $10 pile for Black Friday 2017. This was the kind of lackluster deals and overvalued games I saw this year. And as such I only made a fraction of the purchases I had wanted to.

Black Friday 2017 with Prices

Here’s what I managed to get and how much I had originally planned to spend based on my shopping list going into Black Friday this year.

  1. Nioh Complete Edition (PS4) – $40 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I will also note that I actually could have gotten this for a few dollars less on PC but due to the reported issue with the port I settled on the PS4 version.
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition(PS4) – $40 (Originally hoped for $35 but planned for $40)
    1. Made as separate purchases for all content through PSN
  3. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $15)
  4. Knack II (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $20)
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Explorer’s Edition (Switch) – $60 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I am extremely unhappy that I had to pay above my intended value for this but I was worried about not being able to get a copy of this edition later because of Nintendo’s tendency to under produce in demand products.

I also managed to get a few games that weren’t on my list.

  1. Unravel (PS4) – $5
  2. The Surge (PS4) – $20.46 (46 cents higher than my intended price for this game when I decided I’d eventually buy it.)
  3. Yooka-Laylee – $14.21

As you can see, I only managed to grab eight games this year, down from the nine I got last year, and my net savings based on my personal spending goals was only $5, which when you take into account the overpriced sales tax I incur as a resident of California, my savings were basically negligible.

Bad Deal

I was also surprised by a lot of the deals I didn’t see this year. If you look at the items on my original list that I didn’t buy it comes down to a lack of deals. As I said in my original Black Friday 2017 post, there were some games that just weren’t going to hit my desired prices because they were just too new. I didn’t legitimately expect to be getting Injustice 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, South Park: The Fractured But WholeMiddle-earth: Shadow of War for a good price this Black Friday and I didn’t. But I very much did expect to see the other games on my list at, near, or even below my intended prices this year. I was also very surprised by how disappointing both the Steam and GOG sales were this year. I literally didn’t buy a single PC game for Black Friday this year and that’s very abnormal for me.

I do not understand how Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is still $60 both digital and physical. The game was released in 2014. My only conclusion is that it was published by Activision and as we’ve recently seen with Destiny 2 and their plummeting stock prices, they don’t know shit about running a business in the current gaming industry. I will say pretty much the same thing about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, also published by Activision, but released in 2016. This year I finally decided to give up and remove both from my shopping lists altogether. They just aren’t going to happen.

Activision Sucks

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 got a little bit of a discount but I expected better in the wake of Dragon Ball FighterZ coming out soon. Once that game drops DBX2 will essentially be dead in the water so I expected them to try to garner as much sales as possible before the inevitable demise.

Cuphead, Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice all got discounts, but none of them as much as I predicted based on where those games currently stand in the market. So while I didn’t purchase any of them I do believe that I’ll be seeing the discounts I expect(ed) soon enough and will then end up picking them up.

Black Friday 2017 Sucked

Overall it wasn’t a great Black Friday and compared to last year and the year before, shows a trend of the quality of deals steadily declining from year to year. I hope to see this trend reverse in 2018, otherwise the frugal gaming community stands to suffer greatly in the coming years.

How did you do for Black Friday this year? Let me know what you got in the comments and how you felt about the holiday overall compared to last year.

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Black Friday Aftermath

It was a long and arduous week, but the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season has finally ended. Many a purchase was made and though I sadly had to do all my purchases online and couldn’t go out into the cold and fight for what’s mine in physical form, there was still quite a bit of struggle. I had to scour multiple websites hoping for deals that never came. Sadly there were very few updates to pre Black Friday deals like there always have been in past years. Truth be told I ordered more stuff the day before Black Friday than on the day itself. At one point my credit card got put on hold for unusual account activity. It was a challenging shopping fest this year.

Probably the most annoying part of Black Friday this year was that I got tricked by Amazon into making all my orders separately instead of doing large bulk orders. This was because of the lie that is Amazon Prime Pantry credit. When you do the “No Rush Shipping” option on Prime you are told that you will get $5 in credit for Prime Pantry. For me this seemed like a steal so instead of ordering all my stuff in groups, I did each one separately in hopes of racking up more credit. At the end of it all, I made 15 different orders from Amazon, all of which obtained $5 of Prime Pantry credit for a supposed grand total of $75 in credit. For me that meant I was gonna get a ton of Cheeze-Itz and Frosted Mini Wheats. What they don’t tell you is that the Prime Pantry credit isn’t real credit. It can only be used in $5 increments for shipping, which costs $5.99 a box. Basically the credit is useless unless I want to make 15 different Prime Pantry orders and pay a buck to make up the difference in shipping. I have total buyer’s remorse and wish I had of just taken my Prime two day shipping. I’ll never fall for that bullshit again.

scam
Take the 2 day shipping.

One of the biggest disappointments for Black Friday this year was the lack luster game deals. I set pretty fair price goals for the bulk of the games on my list, based on fair market depreciation rates and past Black Fridays and only a small percentage of the games I wanted met my price points. Last year I spent considerably more in games on Black Friday and got a stack of of games 14 of which were physical copies. I bought so many games last year that there are still five that I haven’t even opened yet. This year I only ended up spending about $210 including taxes for a paltry nine games including digital purchases. From my original list I only was able to acquire five of 19 titles. The saddest thing of all is that I didn’t buy a single Nintendo game, unless you count Just Dance 2017. As per usual, Nintendo just didn’t come with the deals. But this is the first year in a long time that I can remember not getting a single thing from them on Black Friday. Let’s hope I can make up the difference during Christmas sales.

However, I was able to get a solid haul of computer components for the PC I’ve been trying to build for the last two years. I finally committed and purchased most of the components I was still missing. I’m still missing a few things, but it won’t be too much longer before my rig is finally more than just a dream.

epic-pc
No it won’t actually be this epic. But it will still be awesome.

Here’s my Black Friday Haul for this year:

Games

  1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
  2. Dark Souls III (PS4)
  3. Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
  4. Star Wars: Battlefront Ultimate Edition (PS4)
  5. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (PS4)
  6. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, India, Russia (PS4)
  7. Far Cry Primal – Apex Edition (PS4)
  8. Megaman Legacy Collection (PS4)
  9. Just Dance 2017 (Wii U)
  10. Steam Link

PC Components

  1. 32 GB DDR4 RAM
  2. i7-6800K CPU
  3. 11 TB of HDDs
  4. Audio Technica ATB2020USB+ Streaming Microphone
  5. Logitech C920 Webcam
  6. Gold Keyboard Keycaps (because bling matters)
  7. Elgato HD60 PRO Capture Card

It was an expensive year because of all the components but I was not able to fulfill the gaming related Black Friday aspirations I went into this holiday with. Let me know what your Black Friday hauls were in the comments.

Bring on the Christmas season!

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Black Friday is Coming

It’s that time of year again. The day that gaming stops being just a game and becomes reality. There will be zombies. There will be monsters. Angry mobs across the United States and certain other parts of the world. My favorite time of the year as a gamer. That’s right it’s time for Black Friday.

As is tradition, I have created my shopping list and my ideal prices. You know the drill if you were reading my old blog site. Here’s the list. If you see a deal that’s matching or better than my price anywhere on the internet before  or during Black Friday through Cyber Monday then please take the time to shoot me a link. You can leave a comment here or tweet me @GameChangerDOC. Note that these aren’t necessarily the prices that you’ll see for all these games/products. They’re the prices I’m willing to pay for them. If you don’t see them this low then that’s cool. I’ll just have to buy them at a later date. I’ve also created an easy reference photo for deal hunters on the go. It doesn’t have everything on the text list but it has the stuff I’m more confident in being found at my set prices this year.

black-friday-2016

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Full Edition (PS4) – $20
Until Dawn (PS4) – $10
Star Fox Zero with Guard (Wii U) – $20
Pokken Tournament (Wii U) – $25
Ratchet & Clank (PS4) – $10
Uncharted 4 (PS4) – $30
Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U) – $40
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PS4) – $15
Dark Souls III (PS4) – $15
Mighty Number 9 (PS4) – $5
Far Cry Primal (PS4) – $15
The Witcher 3 GOTY Edition (PC) $20
Digimon: Cyber Sleuth (PS4) – $20
Final Fantasy XV (PS4) – $40
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark (PS4) – $10
TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan (PS4) – $10
Devils Third (Wii U) – $30
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4) – $40
PacMan & the Ghostly Adventure 2 (Wii U) – $10

Good luck and may the deals be with you.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.