PUBG Mobile: Report from PUBG Club Open Finals in Berlin

Following on from the PMSC tournament back in December, I was invited to the next major tournament in the far closer location of Berlin. I thought it was a good chance to see how competitive gaming tournaments play out in mainland Europe before I’m no longer allowed in, so I went along to the PUBG Club Open Finals, and this is what I saw.

Read more


The Epic Store: An Epic Blunder or An Unreal Opportunity?

It’s always interesting to me when a major industry player makes a bold move into a new space. Seeing game engine powerhouse and creator of the biggest game on the planet, Epic Games, make a push into also being a shop that you can buy games from is a fascinating turn of events, with potential to make large waves throughout the industry. They’re making some good decisions, and certainly their revenue split of 88:12 in favour of developers grabbed industry attention and headlines alike, but I have some significant reservations about how exactly Epic are implementing the strategy for the Epic Store. I thought I’d outline my views here, with hope that perhaps they can improve their offering in a manner that will result in better serving consumers, and a healthier industry for all involved parties.

Read more


PUBG Mobile: Report from PUBG Mobile Star Challenge in Dubai

I was rather surprised a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from a PR firm representing Tencent Games. I’m familiar with Tencent, but never had much in the way of professional interaction with them, nor this PR firm. I think that even among gamers, not many people know the name Tencent, but they’re probably the biggest games company in the world. Even if you didn’t realise it, there’s a good chance that your gaming diet includes a slice of pie that they’ve had their finger in. They own the majority of the Chinese mobile and PC gaming market, but also own stakes in the likes of Epic, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Frontier, Riot, Supercell and Paradox.

When I saw they were inviting me to go undercover to attend an event for PUBG Mobile, they piqued my curiosity. My main focus both in terms of what kind of games I cover on SavyGamer, and what I personally play, doesn’t really fall in line with PUBG Mobile. But it seemed like a great opportunity to gain some insight into some areas that represent a blind spot in my otherwise comprehensive areas of expertise in contemporary games industry. I was fascinated by the intersection between what might often be considered as the hyper-casual world of top grossing mobile F2P games, and the hyper-hardcore world of professional tier competitive gaming.

Read more


These are the XBLIGs that I recommend you buy before it’s too late

Microsoft are going to be delisting XBLIGs (Xbox Live Indie Games) from Xbox Live soon, meaning that no one will be able to purchase these games any more, and the games will be lost in time like tears in rain.

You still have between now and the 29th of September to purchase games. Any games you have purchased before the cut off will still be attached to your account, and you will still be able to download and play them going forward, but new purchases will be impossible.

There is no indication that these games will ever be made available on Xbox One via backwards compatibility, and given that they will not be available for sale going forward, I’d say that the chances of this ever happening are pretty slim, but it’s not impossible.

These are the XBLIGs that I think are particularly worth your attention.

MotorHEAT (also on PC),
Shoot 1UP (also on Steam),
Squid Yes! Not So Octopus! (also on PC),
The Impossible Game (also on many other formats),
Crossfire 2,
Breath of Death VII (also on Steam),
Cthulhu Saves the World (also on Steam),
Apple Jack (also on Steam),
Apple Jack 2 (also on Steam),
MotorHEAT (also on PC),
Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection (also on Steam),
Titan Attacks (also on Steam),
DLC Quest (also on Steam),
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure (also on Steam),
Wizorb (also on Steam),
Soulcaster (also on Steam),
Soulcaster 2 (also on Steam).

Leave Home (hopefully coming to Steam/PS4 soon),
qrth-phyl (hopefully coming to Steam/PS4 soon),
DELTA (hopefully coming to Steam/PS4 soon),
Arkedo Series – 01 JUMP!,
Arkedo Series – 02 SWAP!,
Arkedo Series – 03 PIXEL!,
Blocks That Matter (also on Steam),
T.E.C. 3001 (also on Steam),
Bleed (also on Steam),
Mount Your Friends (also on Steam),
Escape Goat (also on Steam),
One Finger Death Punch (also on Steam).
SpeedRunners (also on Steam).

Flotilla (also on Steam),
Weapon of Choice (also on Steam),
Beat Hazard (also on Steam),
Gateways (also on Steam),
Platypus (also on Steam).

This is just my personal selection, if you have any recommendations that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.


Ten years of SavyGamer

May 2007 was a confusing time. Tobey Maguire was teaching the world to dance, Rihanna found her true calling as a meteorologist, and some weirdo Business & Economics student decided that there should be a website where you can easily find out about all the best deals on video games in one place.

Yes, this very website has survived ten entire trips around the sun, as today marks one decade of SavyGamer. In that time we’ve posted a total of 34,053 deals posts, which is ~3,405 a year, or ~9.3 a day. And let me tell you, I have used the “select all” keyboard shortcut quite a lot during that time.

I originally started it as a fun little side project for something to pad out my CV with, and never really had any idea it would become my career. But with the perspective granted by the passage of time, it’s become clear that it was what I was always supposed to do. I’ve watched the market for buying games radically change over the years, but one constant has been the enjoyment I get from helping people push their gaming budget as far as possible, and encouraging people to take a punt on games that might have otherwise never even considered playing.

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed that as of last month I’m actually balancing two jobs now. As of last month, in addition to running SavyGamer, I’m the Guest Relations Manager for a resort on the tropical island paradise of Koh Rong Samloem. There’s been a bit of an adjustment period where I’m getting the knack of juggling two responsibilities, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it now. SavyGamer users get one free beer by applying the coupon “SAVYFREEBEER” at the bar.

I’m off to open a nice bottle of red, but before I go, I need to dish out some gratitude. I’d have never made it into the second year, never mind the tenth, without the practical and emotional support of my family. The various contributors who’ve had my back and grabbed the reigns of the site whenever I’ve needed some downtime have been integral in keeping the site constantly up to date. Finally, I am eternally grateful to each and every SavyGamer user, you’re the lifeblood of the site, and the reason I keep doing this every day. Thanks to everyone.

Here’s to another ten years.


It’s OK to be upset about the lack of multiplayer in No Man’s Sky

OvalWalkerThere’s a narrative building that people are wrong to be disappointed about the lack of multiplayer in No Man’s Sky. To those of us fully embedded in the video games bubble, and with at least some rudimentary insight into the technical side of games and how they are made, yes it was fairly obvious that it would not be a single shared entirely persistent online game at a galactic scale. But people inside that bubble are not and should not be the entire audience for games. To argue that you must meet a certain level of technical understanding of games prior to engaging with them is an unworkable elitist perspective, and serves to push games even further in an insular direction.

Read more


On release dates, delays, and the turbulence inherent in releasing a video game in 2016.

News dropped the other day that Hello Games’ hugely anticipated universe simulator No Man’s Sky was to be delayed by a month and a bit. For me, this is a minor source of irritation. I was looking forward to playing the game in June, whereas now I have to look forward to playing it in August. I think I’ll cope, but it’s a situation that is happening with increasing frequency, or at least it feels like it. Read on for me having a bit of a moan about it.

Read more


Please do not give Retro VGS any of your money

At least not without seriously thinking it through.

A crowdfunding campaign for what the creators call “a high-quality, network independent video game system and first to play new games from cartridges in nearly twenty years”. I am convinced that they are either willfully misleading people with their pitch, or they do not have a clue about how the games industry works in the 21st century. Perhaps more charitably it could said that they are exaggerating their claims for effect, that effect being to coax money out of people’s wallets. But once you start to pin down the details, it becomes rapidly apparent that giving them money is going to be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Read more


On Refunds, Quality Control and Supply Chain Accountability

For quite some time I’ve wanted to write a thing about publishers deciding to ship games that don’t function as advertised, are full of bugs, or simply a technical mess. But aside from simply criticising those responsible, and advising people to exercise caution when committing to buying a game before the media and wider public have gotten their hands on it, I haven’t been sure what else to contribute. But then there’s the Arkham Knight PC catastrophe, which has played out a little differently to all the other similar instances of major publishers shitting the bed. There’s been plenty of speculation that Valve’s decision to offer Steam customers robust protection in the form of refunds for (practically) all games sold on Steam had a direct impact on WB’s decision to pull the game from sale, and to actually fix the broken game they shipped. I think this speculation has some credence to it, and I hope it is a sign of things to come.

Read more


Here’s How I Would Do Paid Mods

I wrestled with the question of exactly how I felt about Valve’s decision to implement paid mods on Steam for a while. Before I had even reached anything approaching a fully formed opinion on the matter, Valve flip flopped, and scrapped the whole thing. At least for now. I think there’s the seed of a good idea there, and no doubt Valve will revisit this idea at a later stage, but there were some serious problems with implementation. Here’s my take on the big problems in the model, and how these problems could be mitigated.

Read more


GOG & CD Projekt Embrace Regional Pricing Bollocks

In my role of bargain hunter for gamers across the UK, I encounter a whole host of deals where pricing is tied to what region the customer is based in. Customers in one country may be charged one price, and customers in another country are charged another entirely different price. This is a textbook example of price discrimination (that’s discrimination in the economic sense, rather than in any other), and there are arguments both for and against these pricing structures. Most retailers selling digital goods engage in some form of regional pricing discrimination: Steam has different prices for different regions, and Valve encourage (but do not force) developers and publishers to follow pricing structures that will help to maximise revenue. The iTunes app store has region specific pricing tiers for apps and in app purchases. Amazon also operate globally, but each national storefront is locally managed, with entirely different product ranges and pricing. However, one of the few retailers who opted to make an ideological stance against regional pricing has been GOG. They have aggressively marketed themselves as fully supporting the idea that you should be charged the same price regardless of which country you happen to reside in. However it seems that they have recently had a change of heart regarding these policies.

Read more


Devolver Digital Have Put Regional Restrictions Across Their Entire Library On Nuuvem

In my mind, of all the unique strengths of PC gaming, the greatest is that it is an open platform. The super high end graphical fidelity of bleeding edge hardware is nice, as is compatibility with a range of input devices, and being able to tinker around with mods and tweaks and hacks. But first and foremost for me, it’s being able to buy games from basically wherever you want that sets PC gaming apart from the alternatives.

Read more


SavyGamer is on Patreon

Short version: Check it out! SavyGamer is on Patreon.

Long version:

We’re all friends here, so if you don’t mind, allow me to get real for a moment.

Read more


Here’s Why Ubisoft Are Dummies And Hypocrites For Revoking uPlay Keys Bought From Unauthorised Distributors


Update: Ubisoft have subsequently restored access to these games. So they got a PR black eye, and not much else out of this. In more positive news, they have published a fairly comprehensive list of authorised retailers.

It would appear that users of the Ubisoft official forums have found certain games revoked from their uPlay accounts, without warning or explanation, resulting in them no longer being able to play them. The best theory suggests that these keys were purchased from unauthorised retailers, since this is something all users claim to have in common, but without any statement from Ubisoft to confirm or deny this, this is only speculation. I’ve ascended the control tower to try to get some perspective on what’s going on, and see if I can get a reading of the lay of the land.

Read more


Steam Curators: What’s that then?

You may remember that a few weeks back I wrote a largely speculative article about what to expect from some upcoming changes to Steam. It seems that I was pretty much spot on about what to expect from “Steam Curators”, although I was wrong on one crucial detail: Valve aren’t offering curators any commission in return for their work.

Bit of a shame for me, since I was quite keen on the idea of getting affiliate commission from Steam like I do most other major digital distribution outlets, but perhaps Valve realised that many people would be happy to curate their storefront for free. Or maybe some kind of commission structure is still in the pipeline.

What does this mean for you? Well that depends. Essentially Valve have replaced the old Steam front page with a new one. The new one will be tailored to you specifically, rather than being one front page for all customers. The new storefront picks which games to display based on games you have already bought and played, and recommendations pulled in from “Curators”, Steam users that collate lists of recommended games.

To improve the recommendations you receive, you can opt to follow a curator, and then the recommendation engine will pull titles from their recommended lists.

There’s a couple of issues I have with this system. There’s seemingly no mechanism in place whatsoever to prevent under the table payola arrangements between publishers and curators. I suppose this has been the case prior to Steam Curators, but there’s pretty big scope for abuse here. I also worry whether this system will be good for getting unappreciated games exposure, or will it just end up favouring games from established developers with a marketing budget?

Overall though, I think it’s a step in the right direction. Like many Steam features, it’s launched in an imperfect state, but I’m sure it will improve over time.

If you’d like to receive recommendations from SavyGamer on your Steam front page you can follow us here.

I’m planning to meticulously curate the store, I’ve already completed my first pass of going through the entire Steam catalogue and picking out my favourites, but I’ve probably missed out some obvious games. I’ll be sure to keep it updated as interesting new releases get added to Steam.


What’s Happening With These Bayonetta 2 Orders From Amazon Then?

It was supposed to be so easy.

Read more


What To Expect From Steam’s Open Future

Steam’s Greenlight submission process has always been an imperfect solution to a hard problem: How can Valve present users with a reasonably curated storefront, resulting in a good experience, but still avoid placing unnecessary barriers to market for creators hoping to sell their games on Steam. It’s somewhat achieved that goal, but there’s huge scope for improvement.

Read more


An Update On This Mighty Deals Gift Voucher Thing

So then, as you may have seen, I recently featured a bunch of deals on SavyGamer involving procuring a stack of discounted gift vouchers from website

These deals relied on exploiting a loophole which I fully tested myself prior to posting, and had been able to confirm as working.

Sadly, subsequent to my posting it, mightydeals appear to have closed the loophole, leaving a bunch of people in a somewhat inconvenient limbo.

It seems that they have been cancelling some of the gift voucher purchases deemed to have been made by the same person. I’ve not received an email yet, but some people have received an email detailing the following:

Thank you for your recent purchase of the Curry’s High Street e-Giftcard.

So everyone can enjoy this fantastic deal we have limited the purchase to one per customer as per the deal terms we will be cancelling any duplicated purchases. It is one per customer, not one per email / Mighty Deals account created.

Only one ‘50% Off the high street gift voucher’ purchase is allowed per individual.

Any person buying multiple ‘50% off the high street gift voucher’ will have the transaction cancelled without further notice and the money refunded.

To see more please review the deal terms.

Mighty Deals and our partners will not be honoring your duplicated vouchers purchased. Your refund has been sent back to the original card you used to pay with and should be with you in the next 7 working days.

I knew that the worst case scenario according to the Mighty Deals terms and conditions would be that you’d be able to get a full refund, as such I figured that the potential savings more than offset the convoluted nature of the loophole.

I’ve looked into it a bit, and if you are affected by this, here’s my advice:

If you have no urgent need to get your refund processed quickly, my best advice is to sit tight and just wait to see how it plays out. It’s possible that some but not all of your gift voucher purchases will be fulfilled, and these might still be of use to you, even if it’s not enough to buy what you had planned to spend them on.

If you would like to get your refund as quickly as possible, I suggest contacting mighty deals directly here, and raise a dispute with paypal (or your bank, whichever you used to pay with).

If anyone has any more trouble, or anything else that they’d like me to try and clear up, please post in the comments here.

I’m always on the look out for a good loophole or trick to push things in SavyGamer users favour, but I never knowingly risk people wasting their money, and I always scrutinise a deal for the possibility of people losing out before posting it. I perhaps lean a bit more towards reckless rather than overcautious, since that’s where most of the best deals are to be found, but I hope no one feels too let down by this not panning out as we’d all hoped.


Lying with Data: A lesson in Microsoft spin


The latest in a rather long chain of 180 degree turns from Microsoft regarding policies and business decisions relating to the Xbox One came into effect last month. With Microsoft deciding that actually no, Kinect is not “an essential and integrated part of the platform” as originally stated, they made the console available to buy without their costly and unwanted camera, and in the process hit price parity with their closest competitor, Sony’s PS4.

Read more


The SavyGamer Replacement Laptop Fund

Update: My new laptop has been ordered, and is on the way. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. I’m blown away by your generosity, helping me out in my hour of need. The donations I received amounted to 40% of the cost of the new one, and I can cover the rest myself. I’ll unsticky this post now, although if anyone is just seeing it for the first time, you can still contribute if you like. I’ll be sure to update this post if the total donated reaches 100% of the cost of the new laptop down the line. Thanks so much, I promise to continue to do everything I can to keep you informed about all the best gaming deals. <3 Not too long ago through my own clumsiness I managed to break my laptop. Sadly it wasn't covered by the warranty or by my house insurance. A laptop is a tool I need to run SavyGamer effectively, and without one I'm tied to only being able to post stuff when at my desktop. As such, I've just incurred the unexpected expense of buying a replacement. Luckily I have enough savings that this isn't going to negatively impact me too much, but I had earmarked that money for more important and more fun things. I figured that there might be a few SavyGamer users who, upon hearing about this situation, would want to contribute some money towards the replacement, hence this post. If you'd like to send a little bit of money my way, you can do so via this paypal button:


Please only contribute if you have plenty of disposable income. As I said, I’m asking for donations to make my life easier, not because I can’t get by otherwise.

If you’d like to help out, but are unable to contribute financially, I always appreciate it whenever you lot help spread the word, and recommend SavyGamer to anyone else who might find it a useful service.


Technical Difficulties: Please Stand By

Hello everyone! You might have noticed a drop in deals over the last few days. Sorry about that.

Lewie is off gallivanting around the world right now, with a trusty laptop for company to make sure he can keep all his plates spinning while he’s doing so. Unfortunately, said laptop has turned out not to be so trusty and is currently in need of repair. While he’s done a great job of keeping the deals coming on his break until now, as you might imagine, this is a bit of a roadblock.

Lewie will be back in the UK next month, at which point normal service should begin to pick up due to having access to computers and such. In the mean time, the B Team will be filling in the gaps as best as we can. We might not be able to grab you a deal quite as quick as Lew but what we lack in alacrity we make up for in spirit of heart, or something.

If you want a deal for something specific, please ask us on Twitter and we’ll do our best – I’m @Willeth and Tony is @standardman. You can follow Lewie on Twitter at @LewieP for updates on his status too.



Paying For Coverage: The Comodification Of Exposure

The thing that twitter users got angry about last night is a thing that anyone who has engaged with games media from any angle, whether it’s consuming it or producing it, is all too familiar with. Maia dev and opinionated rascal Simon Roth vented about a youtube channel asking for a cut of sales of his game in exchange for producing a video of his game. This echoes much of the worst conspiracy theories about paid off reviews and games journalists just being PRs in cheaper suits, but is this inherently problematic? I’m going to throw my hat into the ring on the side of “No it is not inherently problematic”, but there’s a big stack of caveats, and equal parts apprehension and confusion for what the future of the video games industry looks like. But I think we’re all going to have to get used to it.

Read more


The Collective Follow Up: Q&A With Square-Enix’s Phil Elliott

After publishing this article on Square-Enix’s crowd-funding programme, Phil Elliott, who is heading up the programme reached out to me to see if we could discuss it further. I had a few key questions to put to him, which he has kindly replied to.

Read more


The Collective Sigh: Questions Over Square-Enix’s Crowd-funding Programme

In October last year, Square-Enix was the first of the old giants of video game publishing to dip their toe into the murky waters of crowd-funding. Their programme titled “The Collective” is, in their words, intended to give consumers a chance “to shape games development and champion ideas that you’d like to become reality”. Developers can participate in the programme either with an original IP which they retain ownership of, or with a pitch for a game using an existing S-E IP. Full details of the programme can be read here, but it seems to me that there’s some pretty significant scope for things to go wrong.

Read more


On Serial Resellers, and SavyGamer’s Role In Their Use

Recently there has been much discussion of the business model of serial key resellers, and I figured it might be best for me to chime in with my position on this process. How these business operate is that they acquire serial keys for games from somewhere, and then sell those serial keys without explicit permission to do so from the developer/publisher. It is my strongly held belief that this serves to benefit consumers, and it is a pretty fundamental aspect of how markets function. I’ve linked to serial resellers regularly on SavyGamer in the past, I do so whenever I see a serial reseller offering a game at a price that constitutes a good deal, and I fully plan to continue to do so.

Read more