The Fifth Column: Recession Proof Gaming
How do you fund your gaming habit? Given the tough economic climate, gaming has become a very expensive habit. With games averaging in the region of R600, excluding any DLCs, it is not an expense that can easily be justified, especially if you think about what else you have to spend your hard earned cash on. With the next generation of consoles on the horizon, the demands on your beleaguered wallet are even greater.
There are a number of options to better manage your gaming spend. My personal favourite is the ‘bang for buck’ method. With this method you opt for games that have a strong multi-player component because it maximises your rand/gaming hour. My first choice franchises for this are Gears of War for the co-op campaign mode and the Call of Duty/Black Ops series for the zombies, death match and other team based game modes. I am not a huge fan of RPGs but the genre does lends itself to extended play time and therefore fits quite neatly into the bang for buck method. There are a number of other great co-op franchises out there and the best place to find your fix is at Co-Optimus , a site dedicated to reviewing co-op games.
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The next option is the ‘loan ranger’ with this method you find a few like-minded friends and decide on a number of games that you will buy to put in a pool. This will work best with single player games because the multi-player games will require each member to have a copy of said game in order to play online and the idea of the pool is to have as wide a variety of games available for loan. If you desperately need your multi-player fix, you could go crazy and mix up your ‘bang for buck and ‘loan ranger’ but don’t come crying to me when you can’t buy food and discover that game manuals have very little nutritional value.
The third method is the ‘trader’, here the idea is to finish a game as soon as possible so that you can retain a decent re-sale value to fund your future purchases. In order to realise a good return on your initial investment you may have to brave the cess pool of online classified ads. If you do not have the stomach for the online market place then your other option is to get ripped off by your local retailer with their laughable trade-in values. A better bet may be to sign up for a game rental service but I doubt that it will be well stocked with new releases of your favourite AAA titles.
But unfortunately none of the above really helps if you are keen on the new generation of consoles. With estimated price tags upwards of R5000, the Xbox One and PS4 do not come cheap. You still need to add your favourite accessories and AAA titles to the price which adds significantly to the final bill. The alternative of course is to save from now until the respective release dates, live on a diet of peanut butter sandwiches and hope that the Rand does not drop any lower in the international currency markets.The last best choice is to batten down the hatches, hold onto your current gen console and wait for the financial storm to pass. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 will continue to receive support for a few years after the next gen consoles are released. This will allow you bide your time and take advantage of any clearance sales that your local retailer may have in order to clear shelf space for the new consoles.
Which ever way you cut it, your gaming hobby is not going to get any cheaper. Given the current economic conditions, it is likely to become even more expensive over time and even more so with the arrival of the new generation of consoles. As with so many other things, the current economic storm will pass but until it does, it may be a good idea to tighten your gaming belt and adopt a few cost saving and game sharing habits. If you do decide to spend your food budget on the latest games, remember that the manual and disc cover are not edible. Happy saving.