Black Friday approaches, andBlack Friday can be a massively daunting prospect for any number of reasons. Beyond the crowds, the mob mentality and the risk of getting swept up in buying stuff you don’t need, most of the deals aren’t really deals. There are, of course, some genuine bargains to be found, but much of the rest is an exercise in deception: massive cuts off of high prices that never existed anyways, inferior stock carted out for the sale, deals that actually get lower as time goes on: you name it. Always important to remember that Black Friday is a holiday for the retailers, not the consumers: those stores exist to make money, and they make a whole lot of it on Black Friday. But if you’re looking for a good bet, you could do worse than an Xbox One, PS4 or 3DS.
Gamers benefit from a slightly more controlled world than the rest of retail. A PS4 is a PS4, an Xbox One is an Xbox One. I suppose it’s a bit more complicated than that now that we have the PS4 Pro and updated base models, but by and large you know what you’re getting when you buy a game console, and you know how much it costs at regular retail. I’m putting together guides for the individual consoles for your shopping needs, and expect those to be up soon. But the standard price for both Xbox One and PS4 Slim will be $250 with most of the differentiation happening with pack-ins and free games. That’s $50 less than usual, and as low as I expect it to be for some time. Even if the $50 price cut is made permanent in January, which is not impossible, it’s still highly unlikely that it would go lower any time soon. The only way to go wrong buying one is if you don’t actually want one, which is a different problem.
The new 3DS will be $99 at most retailers, which is also an excellent deal.
And while games go on sale all the time and may well end up cheaper later in the season, there are rock-bottom prices all over the place that you can feel pretty secure with. Games, too, have some of the same reliability as consoles: we already know exactly what these games are, and you can pull out your phone and read some reviews if you want.
I always feel like the best way to do Black Friday is as measured as possible: decide some things you want, see if they’re on sale, try to make sure they’re actually on sale, and then buy them if it seems like the right move. That’s pretty easy to do with game consoles, luckily.