Gaming on a college budget


Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

Gaming is one of the growing pastimes in modern society, especially with college students, and though it may be good times with friends, it is also an often expensive habit. However, that is not to say that when going into college you should stop buying any games, but there is a way to keep gaming without breaking the bank.

Now, as most college students are sure to know, college is an especially expensive endeavor. When textbooks are costing close to $100 per book, and you need a good many books for your classes, the idea of buying a $60 game might seem off-putting. On the other hand, only paying $60 for something one might enjoy for however many hours may seem like a low cost in the grand scheme of things.

In a way it is both. Compared to the cost of books, tuition and meals, a single $60 game honestly doesn’t seem like much, but in reality it adds up. Every fall, there are on average roughly five or six AAA games which have been hyped since the summer. Were you to buy those games the cost would be a little over $300, or in other words, a semester’s worth of books.

First and foremost, there is no need to buy the game on the day that it comes out. What is best to do is to wait for a couple of weeks and look at the reviews, and see how people are reacting to the game itself. While you might enjoy the game more than critics will, waiting will allow time for reviews to be processed and for any bugs to be worked out in the game itself.

However, if you absolutely want those day one bonuses that some providers offer, the wisest choice is oddly enough, pre-order at a store that allows it.

This is not a plug, and let it be known that different stores have different pre-order bonuses, but if you pre-order online you pay full price for the game, and when it comes out it will ship to you and you are somewhat stuck with the game. If you order in store though, you are not only able to delay picking up and paying for your game until you see if the game is worth it, but you can also retract the pre-order and get your down payment on it back.

Those rules strictly cover the console games such as for PS4, and Xbox One, but for Pc and mobile games there is a much larger monster: microtransactions.

For those unaware of the term, whenever you buy extra money in “Clash of Clans,” or get the extra power boost in a mobile game, or buying that cute new outfit for your character, that is a microtransaction. These are the most subtle of expenses because you don’t realize how much you pay over time.

If you were to buy $10 per week of in-game items and currency, in a semester the cost would be $140-160 alone. Not counting any other games you may buy during that time. Those students who play “League of Legends” will find this familiar as to buy the new characters on release the cost is roughly twice that much in a semester.

Also, microtransactions take place in consoles as well as mobile devices. These however, are in the form of DLC’s which can be in the form of new guns, extra missions, or costumes for characters.

In the end, the ultimate plan is to keep an eye on your money and know your own budget. It’s okay to buy games and do microtransactions, but there always needs to be a balance in expense and entertainment.

Photo Credit: Christopher Bowley

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