Why Is Gaming So Expensive?


Have you ever tried to calculate how much money you’ve spent on gaming in your life? Or even tried to measure how much you spent in the last year? For most hardcore gamers the estimation is pretty high up there.

Keeping up with the latest video games can indeed be quite expensive. At least 2 generations of video game systems launch a decade. Just for all the hardware we need it usually takes $400 to $600, or even up to over $1,000 to buy in if we want to keep up.

The hefty system buy-in costs are only the first dents in our wallets. To obtain the hottest new games we’re drooling over, most games start off at $60. Now a days that $60 usually isn’t the final price if you want to experience the full games potential. Sometimes it can cost over $100 over time in DLC’s (downloadable content).

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So just for the new system, the additional hardware we’ll need, and a few games we’re looking at anywhere from $500 to well over $1,000. For some people that is chump change, for others its all or more of the money they have left after they pay their bills.

The video game industry has become a giant. There are very few American households without video game systems. Even the few that don’t have them now, their occupants are still playing games on their cell phones. The majority of the world loves video games.

Several studies have been conducted that verify gaming offers many health benefits. Here is a great article from Positive Health Wellness on 12 Surprising Health Benefits of Playing Video Games.

So video games are awesome! Keeping up can get pretty expensive. Not everyone can afford to stay up to date. I’m not a rich guy, so I know the struggles of poor gamers. It sucks to have to watch other gamers play the new games you wish you could afford on YouTube.

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Unless you want to pirate games, many new games are out of reach for a low budget gamer. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to have anything fresh to play.

In the early days of gaming I had a bad experience with PC games every time I tried them. In my younger days of gaming computer technology was nothing like it is now. All my bad experiences with not being able to figure computers out back then led to me sticking to consoles for over 30 years. That’s right, I’m getting old.

I noticed Steam several years ago, but since I had developed an allergy to PC gaming I paid it little attention. It took seeing how much my super cool nephew was into Steam to really grab my attention. When I lived with him a little over a year ago he lived for it. He eats steam for breakfast, then dreams about it at night.

So I finally gave in and gave Steam a try. I still hate using a mouse and keyboard. Noticing many games we’re controller compatible lured me in. I like to sit back and chill with a controller when I get my game on. I’m not trying to sit there with a hot laptop in my lap, or sit erect like a excited penis all day at a desktop. That’s all good for some people. I like to be comfortable.

At first with Steam I encountered many complications. I made the mistake of buying a wired PS3 controller. It was only compatible with a small handful of games. I thought it was just my computer or something. I also didn’t understand my laptop wasn’t compatible with every game, or that some early access games are just still buggy. It was almost enough to scare me away again.

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Due to living all around the country I had to part with a couple video game collections. Since I didn’t have any consoles at all, getting into PC gaming seemed to be my only window to gaming. So I stuck with it and figured it out.

This was also around the time we created this website. Since I started covering gaming daily, I realized how cool Steam actually is quick. They have a vast library of free to play titles, and always have sales. Then I found a bunch of third party sites that always have Steam games for under half of the going price. At that time it was officially on.

Steam helping open my eyes to how cool PC gaming is was only a start. I am both a classic gamer and new generation. I’m not looking for the most advanced graphics. I’m looking for fun games I can really get into of any genre.

I discovered an entire new world of Indie games on not just Steam, but on many sites that are just giving away many of these independently made gems free. There are literally thousands of game developers creating games they intend to release for free as your reading this.

My laptop is decent enough to handle mostly every I need it to as a web developer. When it comes to running heavy PC games its not that great. A good thing about getting into indie games is my laptop can handle almost all of them that come my way.

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At first many indie games seemed to unpolished, and not worth my time. Actually many are. Really a large percentage of free or cheap indie games are complete crap. Then on the other hand I’ve found a huge amount that have blown me away. Some are better than games I paid $60 for on consoles.

I also still love retro games as much as I ever have. Many indie developers are recreating or extending the dead series of old that I loved so much. Plus many are creating completely new games with classic style graphics. Most of theses classic styled games are under $10 or free.

Another cool thing I’ve found are rom hacks. A rom hack is basically when someone alters an original games rom file. A hacked patch is put over top of the original games rom file. Then you can run the game with an emulator. These rom hackers usually put a lot of work into these patches. Many times the hacks make it like playing an entirely new game, or make them into sequels. Another big plus is almost all emulators are controler compatible.

GT USA covers a wide range of topics. We give our writers the freedom to be creative as long as their content falls into the gaming or geek realm. I try to cover a balance of the coolest things I come across. My favorite topics to cover are free games, Indie games, deals, and rom hacks.

I understand the struggles of the poor player. A majority of my articles are for low budget gamers. I usually add a free browser and mobile game to our arcade daily to provide something fresh for everyone to play.

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To sum up this article, gaming doesn’t have to be expensive. If you have a Windows PC, all you need is a wired Xbox 360 controller. Your PC doesn’t have to be the best to run Indie games or rom hacks. If you are like I was with PC gaming, I encourage you to open your mind to it now. Its far from perfect, but your missing out on so many awesome games if you don’t give it more of a chance.

I was once a console snob who hated PC gaming. I feel like I was a racist against an electronic device now. Now all I have to hate is mobile gaming. Burn the witch!!! Just kidding. Mobile games have their place in the gaming world too.

If your a low budget gamer like myself then I seriously recommend you give PC gaming a try.

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After 1300 words this article has nearly a perfect score. Sadly I’m probably going to kill my awesome score here with many resources that I’ve found for cheap to free games. To many links is bad for an article in the eyes of Googletron. These resources are only a small percentage of the many awesome sites that are amazing for PC gamers.

GameTraders USA – We post free to play games daily in our arcade. You can find many free games to download in our Download category. We feature the best deals and free games we come across almost everyday.

Steam – Should need no introduction. They have a vast library of free games, and always have sales going on in their Specials category.

Gog – Gog has a lot of free PC games, and many quality cheap games as well. Its nowhere near as popular as Steam, but is a very good resource to mention.

Origin – Origin is very similar to Steam, and worth checking out. They don’t have a crazy selection of free games, but rather offer one free high quality game to download free forever they call their “On The House” program.

Gamejolt – Gamejolt is one of the best sites to find free indie games. Its one of the main go to’s for indie developers. Many of the games are low quality and created by new young developers. On the other hand sorting through their huge library of free games can provide many fun games to keep you busy for a long time.

itch.io – Another go to for indie game lovers and developers.

Indie DB, Mod DB, & Gamefront – All 3 of these sites are some of the best places to find free indie games, demos, and mod files. They also provide widget embed codes so you can put their games on your website to download free. We usually go with Indie DB for our Free Downloads, but all 3 are amazing resources.

Emuparadise – This is probably the #1 site to find Emulators. They also offer many roms, iso’s, tools, etc. Roms are legal to download if you own the original copies. GT USA does not condone piracy, so do so at your own risk.

Romhustler – Very similar to Emuparadise. This site is one of the #1 sites to find Roms. They also have many emulators and other free resources. My above piracy warning applies to this site as well.

Kinguin – Kinguin is an open marketplace where gamers sell their digital games. Mostly Steam games. Many times the games you find on this site are cheaper than Steam’s games when their on sale.

G2A – This site is very similar to Kinguin. Only they still are in bad standings with me because of their shady spamming methods. These guys are the king of spammers in the gaming niche. With both Kinguin and G2A you may encounter shady dealers. Use with caution and common sense. Both are great sites to find killer deals though.

Bundle Stars – There are several sites that are known for selling bundles of Steam games for really cheap. Bundle Stars are one of my favorites. They also always have many games on sale not in bundle form.

Indiegala – This is another good bundle site worth mentioning. They offer a little more variety then Bundle Stars, but often the bundles aren’t as good. They also have a cool in-site trading network worth checking out.

Humble Bundle – This bundle sites offers game bundles in the name of charity. Sometimes the bundles they offer are amazing. Other times are eh. If your a deal seeker then its good to keep an eye on this site. They also offer individual game sales.

PC Gamer – If your looking to keep up with the world of PC gaming, PC gamer is a great site. While they do feature many deals and free games, I just feel that they are a resource worth mentioning.

Indie Retro News – This site is great for turning their audience onto rom hacks, free games, remakes, and other retro gaming based news. This site is a daily pit stop for many PC gamers who love classic video games.

Romhacking.net – These guys are my favorite place to find rom hack files. Most games require having an original copy of the rom, then you have to apply the hack patch, then run the newly hacked rom on an emulator. Sounds complicated, but its actually really simple. Most patches come with a read me file with basic instructions, and the site provides most of the patching software you may need for free.

Kongregate – There are many sites you can find that host free to play browser games. Kongregate is the site we use to host all of our free to play browser games in our Free Browser Arcade.

The above resource list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more awesome resources available at your fingertips. Even is your a PC gaming veteran I hope you found the resource list useful.

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Gaming doesn’t have to be expensive. Even if your stubborn PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo usually have many free games along with many deals at any given time.

You don’t always have to have whats new. Every time we move up a generation many of us leave a huge untapped wish list behind when we upgrade. I don’t care if a game is 20 years old. If I’ve never played it, its still new to me. So many games on our un-played wish lists are under $5 now.

Hope this post helps some of my fellow low budget gamers. You are not alone. I tried to pack this post full of value. If you feel I left out any valuable resources then please leave a link in the comment section.

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