Gamers Club Unlocked(GCU) cut it’s 2-year price to $29.99 in March 2015, giving people a cheap way to get 20% off all new and pre-ordered physical video games. In January of 2016, Amazon followed suit and offered a similar 20% discount for all physical pre-ordered games and games that were only 2 weeks old for any members that have Prime. For the next 3-4 years gamers got the awesome ability to get new games for cheap consistently. But now, with Amazon’s announcement to kill their program for a new one this week, and Best Buy announcing the end to GCU back in May, that dream is dead.
The silver lining here is that if you still have a GCU membership, you can still pre-order games that come out before your membership ends for the 20% discount, you just can’t renew your membership. Or, if you can pre-order any game on Amazon for the 20% discount until August 27th(it ends the 28th, so getting the orders in the day before and you should be safe). So yes, you should totally go on Amazon right now if you have Prime and pre-order any game that you are remotely interested in. Amazon doesn’t charge you until the product ships, so that means that you can pre-order Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch right now, not get charged, and lock your price in at $48. And if you change your mind later(although, if you somehow think NOT getting Metroid Prime is a good idea, then I’m honestly not sure what is wrong with you), you can cancel the pre-order for no cost! Great!
But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and eventually you are going to run out of pre-ordered games through Amazon. But, there are some alternatives for certain groups of gamers!
PC & PS4 gamers for example can always try their hand at Green Man Gaming, a website that sells mainly PC video game keys, and some PS4 games as well. If you sign up for the site, you get access to VIP deals, which I’ll be honest, I’m not sure are actually worth the random emails you might get from them. However they sometimes have discount codes like ‘EARLYBIRD25’ that show up on the site that give you 25% off pre-ordered games, but that’s kind of hit and miss. Also, the keys don’t show up the second you purchase them, you get them a few days before release normally. So if you aren’t comfortable with that, then don’t purchase from this site, however I have purchased here multiple times and have had no problems.
There are many other ways that are much more hit and miss than Green Man Gaming, sites like WinGameStore, getting $50 PSStore gift cards for $45 on random Ebay sales, and many other ways to get games cheaper than normal, but I’m just going to suggest the site Slick Deals here instead of going depth of them all. I check that site regularly for deals that aren’t just video game related.
But ultimately, the days of consistent and easy ways to get cheap(at least 20% off) pre-ordered/new games is ending soon, and most gamers are probably mourning the death of both GCU and Amazon Prime discounts. However, I’m a little happy, this is forcing me to really think about what games I really want. So for me, gone are the days of me thinking ‘Hey, I’m slightly interested in this game, and it’s only $48, I doubt it’ll get cheaper any time soon, so I’ll just buy it now’, and then what happens? I don’t play the game for the next 3 months and the game has been 30-40% off multiple times already. So, yes, the days of cheap pre-orders might be gone, but hopefully for me, so are the days of buying games for full price and then not playing them for months.