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Play More, Spend Less: How to be a PC Gamer Without Breaking the Bank

Play More, Spend Less: How to be a PC Gamer Without Breaking the Bank

Indian gamers sure don't have it easy these days: EA Games recently announced that they're going to increase prices by 66%-133%of their titles in India, which prompted many to protest on Twitter . Plus, with the Rupee in the shape it's in, players will have to shell out more for games from other publishers who are adjusting prices to make up for the currency fluctuation.

So what do you have to do to get some quality games around here without breaking the bank? Turn to the web and embrace both downloads and international shipping. There are several online stores where you can buy discounted games, legal CD keys and boxed titles at prices far lower than what you pay in local stores. Let's take a look at where the goodies are available.

Online marketplaces
There are several online 'app stores' for games, such as Steam , Desura , Greenman Gaming , Good Old Games and others, where you can purchase games and download them to your PC. These are great for kicking off your journey into the world of discounted gaming, as they almost always have titles on sale.

Steam is perhaps the most worthy of your time, with discounts running as deep as 90% off, depending on the season and the age of the title. Founded by Valve, Steam also offers special discounts on multi-license packs for multiplayer games and runs free weekends, where you can download and play select titles at no charge, until Monday comes around.

Tip: Steam is currently running summer sales everyday, so be sure to check out all the great deals they have to offer.

CD Key Stores
If you want the latest games at the lowest prices, your best bet is the gamut of CD key stores online, which sell serial codes to authorize games and game downloads. What this means is that the store itself does not host downloadable games -- you'll have to get the game from an online marketplace and activate it using the code you bought.

You can hit up stores like SimplyCDKeys , G2Play and Zavvi regularly to look for deals, but you'll also find many more mentioned on social networks (more on that in just a bit). Brand new titles like Metro: Last Light (which generally goes for £44.99, or Rs. 4,050 approx, at present) are available for as little as £14.99, or Rs. 1,350 approx, within weeks of release.

Is it safe to buy CD keys? "They work most times. I've had Steam ban the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 key I bought from G2Play because it was for the wrong region. G2Play later gave me a new working one," says Sameer Desai, Founder, IVG . Just remember to check with those stores' support staff to get another key or a refund if you encounter anything untoward.

Bundle sales

There are a few great sites that sell bunches of titles together for low, low prices -- some even allow you to name your price! The Humble Bundle regularly lists wonderful cross-platform titles among other goodies like ebooks, and even has a weekly sale for you to get your fix -- and you can contribute to charity while you're at it. You can also check out The Indie Gala for solid deals on releases from independent developers, and Bundle Stars for both indie and mainstream offerings. (US PC downloads)

Amazon's US site routinely offers insane deals on games old and new, and their PC downloads section is worth checking out year-round. To buy games here, simply register and enter your credit card information, but provide a US billing address. You'll find a mix of Steam codes as well as direct downloads available here.

Social networks
Want to get regular updates on the best deals on games? Just ask the internet! SavyGamer posts deals on Twitter as they get word of them. Over on Reddit, there's the great GameDeals subreddit for offers and discounts, which is always humming with activity.

Another benefit of buying downloadable games online is that you can instantly gift them to friends and family, without having to bother with physical delivery. But if you absolutely want the retail box of the game, you're not out of luck yet.

International Stores for boxed titles
If you prefer scoring physical copies of your favourite games, consider purchasing them from foreign retailers who ship to India. Play-Asia and ShopTo both ship internationally and feature regular sales (including discounted game + DLC bundles) that are worth checking out.

However, it's worth noting that you'll probably end up paying full price for games that have just launched, and so these offer better bang for your buck a couple of months after release.

Happy gaming!

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