For many video game fans, Black Friday is an opportunity to snag some of the biggest, newest and most-hyped games of the year at deep discounts from the usual full retail price of $60.
This year's early Black Friday ads are already touting price cuts to half off or more, but the discounts often depend on timing: The earlier in the year a game was released, the more likely it is to be deeply discounted on Black Friday. Newer games, by contrast, are still riding high on their release popularity, and get shallower discounts -- or none at all.
The price of the August release EA Sports' Madden NFL 19, for example, will be slashed down to $30 on Black Friday at Target, Best Buy and Walmart. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 from Activision, meanwhile, was released in mid-October and is coming down as low as $40 at Walmart and $45 at both Target and Best Buy. Games that have been out even longer and see their popularity dwindle as new games take the gaming community's attention can go even lower.
Other major titles considered to be great gets for gamers are Sony's critically acclaimed God of War, which came out in April, at $25; EA Sports' FIFA 19, released in September, at $30; the Destiny 2 Forsaken Legendary Collection from Activision at $30 to $35; and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, released in October, for $30.
The big question on the minds of many shoppers is what price drops retailers might offer on the newest games. Many of the biggest releases of the year come just ahead of the holidays in late October and November--meaning that it's not always clear just how much those popular new games might be discounted.
If there's one major Black Friday mystery at the moment, it's Red Dead Redemption 2, from Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games. The sprawling Western epic came out at the end of October and has already been a success for parent company Take-Two Interactive, which has shipped some 17 million copies of the game worldwide.
Fans who haven't mounted up a digital horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 will be looking for an opportunity to do that on Black Friday, although given the game's continued popularity, it's an open question how much it'll actually be discounted. So far, there have only been three sales. One is eBay's week-long "Better Than Black Friday" sale, which has the game down to $48 on Xbox One. The other two sales are on Sony's PlayStation Store and Microsoft's Xbox.com digital storefronts, which only see the more expensive Special and Ultimate editions discounted.
Similar questions revolve around the newly released online multiplayer game Fallout 76 from Skyrim developer Bethesda, as well as Nintendo's Pokemon: Let's Go, which connects to the mobile hit Pokemon Go, and Electronic Arts' Battlefield V. Best Buy, Target and Walmart have put out early Black Friday ads that don't include these releases. Since they're so new, it's possible they won't be discounted at all.
Deals on video games aren't the only things for players to take advantage of on Black Friday. The shopping holiday might be even better for grabbing good prices on expensive hardware products like game consoles and items that don't often see much in the way of price cuts, such as headsets and controllers.
Console makers use Black Friday as an opportunity to get machines in the living rooms of more players, thereby enlarging their customer base for games. It usually happens in the form of bundles that put consoles together with games and come in at an overall discount, while the prices of unbundled consoles drop even more. This Black Friday, the Sony PlayStation 4 Slim model is bundled with the PS4-exclusive game Marvel's Spider-Man, with its price dropped to $200, a $100 discount.
Microsoft's Xbox One is coming in at several price points on Black Friday. The sleeker Xbox One S model is seeing price drops to $200, while the more powerful Xbox One X is around $400--combined with certain promotions such as the one Kohl's is running, which includes $120 in the retailer's "Kohl's Cash." There are also bundles with both models of the console, which add games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds into the discount equation.
Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch, the newest console on the market, having come out March 2017, might be disappointing for gamers seeking Black Friday deals. Early ads put the console at its regular price of $300 on Black Friday. The upshot, however, is that those full-price Switch consoles are coming bundled with fan-favorite Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. With many of the other games in the Switch's growing library seeing deep cuts, Black Friday might be a good day to pick up Nintendo's machine for those who've been holding back.
The good news about Black Friday is that regardless of what gamers are in the market for, they're bound to find some kind of deal that appeals. Whether it's games seeing lower prices, consoles becoming more affordable, or an opportunity to add or replace peripheral gaming hardware, Black Friday is a great time for gamers to stock up for the year ahead.