How to avoid a gaming rip-off on Prime Day, and get a bargain

How to avoid a gaming rip-off on Prime Day
(Image credit: Amazon)

On July 15 and 16, Amazon will host its annual Prime Day shopping event. It’s a sales bonanza on an enormous range of items on the site that we routinely use to buy... everything, and it’ll bring with it a whole host of tempting Amazon Prime Day game deals. As a result, it’s a big deal for thrifty shoppers, but not every item that goes on sale is actually a 'big' (read: good) deal. As such you need to know how to avoid a Prime Day rip off.

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Don't forget to sign up for Amazon Prime, if you want access to the deals on July 15-16.

Due to its size and scope, it is possible to get caught up in the hype and wind up purchasing something (or some things) that you might not have needed or, worse, weren’t actually much cheaper than they’d be on any other day. With this in mind, it's important to be vigilant and remember a few helpful pointers before pulling the trigger. Here are some common sense tips to stop you getting swept up in the Prime Day shopping fever and to ensure you get the best deal possible on the items you want.

Double-check prices to make sure you’re getting a good deal

(Image credit: CamelCamelCamel)

Perhaps the most obvious way to avoid getting a bad deal is to simply work out the benefit of buying the desired items during the Prime Day event. Amazon will show how much you’ll save relative to an item’s original retail price, but doesn’t compare prices to past sales or to sales run by other shops. As we mentioned in our guide to getting the best Prime Day prices, you can prep a shopping cart on Amazon to get a better understanding of Prime Day-exclusive discounts, which will help you assess whether your go-to purchases will be worth it.

Going beyond this and giving you more clarity through data, you can also use retail price-trackers, like CamelCamelCamel, which shows how pricing has changed for each product on Amazon over time. It’s also a good idea to compare any gaming or tech items against the prices at Best Buy, Newegg, and Walmart, all of which routinely put gear on sale and will give a sense of a sale’s true value.

Sometimes cheapest isn’t best

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Sale prices can be deceiving. Scouring for the absolute cheapest version of whatever item you’re looking for can often lead you to buy an inferior product because it’s cheap or heavily discounted. Parting with some of your hard earned cash because of a ‘good price’ on crappy gear you wouldn’t normally buy is not a good deal.

I find that the best way to keep yourself from getting yanked too far from your normal shopping patterns is to plan ahead. Think about what kinds of tech you’ve been shopping for, browsing, or even thinking about in the past few months. If you have a wish list, take a look at it to see what could be likely contenders to go on sale, or simply review your shopping history. The key is to remind yourself that you’re looking for discounts on things you really want, not just really good discounts on things that are less important.

Look for deals that will last, especially on PC components

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In the same vein as the last tip, here’s a more specific thought for PC players: if you’re thinking about making a larger purchase - like a new graphics card for your PC - make sure you’re buying something that you’d be happy using for a long time. Something that will offer some form of future-proofing to your rig. It’s easy to look at the sales and convince yourself that buying a piece of older tech that’s really cheap and convince yourself it’s worth the money for a slight upgrade. It’s not. If you can, you’re better off paying more for a better component that will keep you gaming for a couple more years. Even if it isn’t quite as deep a discount, you’ll walk away happier knowing that you got something really great, and still at a good value price.

This also applies for upgrading TVs. While I’m all for shopping the sales and being flexible about brands, don’t buy a cheap TV unless you’re sure you’re getting all the features you want, and that it is going to last.

Consult your ‘advisors’ (A.K.A. shopping guides)

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This brings us to the big question: beyond identifying your personal gaming and tech needs, how do you know what games and gear are worth looking at? As it happens, there are a lot of people on the internet who can offer strong opinions about what video games and hardware are worth your time and money. And here at GamesRadar+ there is a wealth of buying guides to help you do come to your own opinions and decide what is best for you. 

Guides on GamesRadar+ are broad and varied, recommending everything from the best PS4 bundles, the best Xbox One X deals, and the best Nintendo Switch bundle, down to the best graphics cards, the best gaming monitor, the best gaming TVs, and a whole lot more. 

However, as a last big tip, the best thing to do this Prime Day is to bookmark our Amazon Prime Day game deals page which will have you well covered for the big event.