All buckets eventually run dry.
Sadly, earlier this week the editors of Rock Paper Shotgun informed me that they no longer require me to write my weekly discount column, or any other freelance work. I have written the Bargain Bucket for RPS almost every single weekend since March 2009, and sporadic other freelance pieces at various times, but not any more.
As for what happened, the RPS editors and I had a disagreement over a policy decision. I feel that I was acting in the best interests of the readers, but it could be that there’s aspects of the disagreement that I don’t fully understand. I believe that the proposed changes would have impacted my ability to do the job properly, so I couldn’t agree to them. Given that, they have decided that they no longer want me writing for their site in any capacity.
I’ll certainly miss it. I took a great deal of pride in my work for RPS, and I put a lot into those columns. It’s a shame that it had to end like this, but I’ll never forget how much I owe RPS for taking a chance on me all those years ago. Writing for RPS has had an incalculable impact on my personal and professional life. Thank you to all the former and current RPS editors and writers for everything you did for me, I wish you all the best in future.
I would also like to say a huge thank you to all of the readers of RPS. You’re the most enjoyable audience that I have had the pleasure of writing for. You’ve always been polite, friendly, and fair to me. It’s been a real privilege to serve you.
Finally, I’d like to thank the developers of any games that I ever featured in the Bargain Bucket. You all gave me something to actually write about.
I’m not sure exactly what my future plans are. I currently have no ongoing obligations except for running SavyGamer, which I am absolutely committed to. I’m not too worried about money, although things might be a little tight now. I have a few ideas for other projects that I might engage in, and if anybody reading this would like to employ me to do something interesting in the games industry, please get in touch. If it’s something genuinely interesting, my rates will probably be pretty reasonable.
You can keep up with whatever I’m doing by following me on twitter.48
Greetings SavyGamers. I think I’m overdue some time off, what do you reckon?
I’m going to Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. I’ll be away from the 21st of June until the 1st of July, and I’ll probably need a day or two to properly recover after that. There won’t be many updates on SavyGamer during this period, although Will and Tony have very graciously said that they will try to fill in for me when they have spare time.
Otherwise, consider this a good time to play all of the games that you’ve already bought for not very much money, and normal service will resume shortly.
I will probably tweet (drunk) from the festival here.7
I hate browsing the internet with adverts, that’s why I use an adblocker. I don’t think I am under any obligation to allow websites to display adverts on my computer.
I dislike it when websites make needy pleas to their users to disable adblockers. “Because that’s how we make our money”, as if the users of adblockers weren’t aware of the revenue stream they are opting to bypass. If you run a business, the onus is on you to find a model that works, not the customers.
I also dislike it that there are adverts everywhere. I live in London, and my eyeballs are bombarded with corporate propaganda whenever I leave the house. If I could wear a pair of magic glasses that blocked these adverts, or if I could make them disappear with the point of a finger, I would.
In my capacity as a freelance writer for other websites, I do accept money that has come from advertisers, so perhaps I am sometimes part of the problem. I did decide a long time ago, however, not to have any adverts on SavyGamer. I think it would be hypocritical to impose on users of my website something that I am unwilling to do for other websites. SavyGamer has been ad free for almost forever, and I can categorically state that there are no plans whatsoever to add adverts at any time in the future. Perhaps circumstances will change, but I can’t see how.
Why am I telling you all these things? It’s recently come to my attention that adblockers, depending on how they have been configured, can interfere with Google analytics, and potentially some affiliate services. The impact this has on SavyGamer is that I am missing out on useful (anonymous) data that helps me track which deals are most popular, or just how people are using the site. I tailor the service around this data, so your usage is not being represented here if you have an adblocker that is preventing Google Analytics from working correctly. Secondly, and probably far more importantly for me, if an adblocker is preventing my affiliate stuff from working (where I get a small cut on sales from the retailer for users I direct to purchase from them), I’m missing out on potential earnings. Those earnings are what let me keep working on SavyGamer full time whilst keeping it ad free, and they’re the only source of revenue I get from SavyGamer (aside from the generosity of SavyGamer subscribers), so it is pretty important to me.
I’d like to ask that if you are using an adblocker on your browser, you consider doing me a favour and disabling your adblocker for SavyGamer. There will be zero impact to your experience of using SavyGamer, and it will make my job easier.
Obviously if you consider blocking Google Analytics and affiliate services to be a desirable functionality, then by all means please continue to browse SavyGamer that way. I respect your right to browse the web in whatever way is preferable to you, and you will always be welcome here no matter how your browser is configured. This notice should only be relevant to people that were unaware that adblockers could behave in this way, as I was until just now.
How to disable adblockers for a specific website varies between adblockers, please post in the comments if you have any trouble with it.
Please disable your adblocker on SavyGamer if you use one. There are no adverts anyway. Bill Hicks was right.
Here’s a dose of data gleaned by monitoring the spending habits of SavyGamer users throughout 2012. This chart shows what proportion of the total spend SavyGamer users spent at each retailer. This is only for retailers that I have an affiliate contract with, so there are some places missing (notably Steam), and some of these retailers operate internationally, whereas some are UK only.
1. Amazon US – 23.02%
2. GamersGate – 17.24%
3. Amazon UK – 15.94%
4. Green Man Gaming – 10.02%
5. Tesco – 7.57%
6. GAME – 6.10%
7. Gamefly – 4.01%
8. Zavvi – 3.37%
9. ShopTo.Net – 1.97%
10. iTunes – 1.84%
11. Gamestation – 1.67%
12. Simply Games – 1.63%
13. The Hut – 1.26%
14. Microsoft Store – 0.90%
15. Play.com – 0.58%
16. Gameplay – 0.51%
17. Argos – 0.47%
18. Coolshop – 0.41%
19. HMV – 0.38%
20. The Game Collection – 0.31%
21. Origin – 0.29%
22. Asda – 0.21%
23. Currys – 0.12%
24. PC World – 0.0641%
25. Bee.com – 0.0607%
26. WOW HD – 0.0298%
27. Dixons – 0.0129%
28. Sainsbury’s – 0.005%
Here’s last year‘s if you’d like to compare the two.
Tesco have certainly been less competitive on prices compared to 2011, whereas Amazon’s expansion into digital games on Amazon US has been incredibly aggressive. Pretty much across the board digital is increasingly getting a larger share of your spend, although EA’s Origin isn’t showing much traction yet.
Do you notice any interesting trends?10
SavyGamer has pretty much been a one man show since its inception, although I’ve had plenty of help from other people along the way. That’s possibly about to change though, as I’m looking for a PC Hardware specialist to take responsibility of covering the best discounts on PC hardware on SavyGamer.15
Well here’s a bit of an anomaly. Usually it’s hotly anticipated new releases, or popular games receiving their first big discount, at the top of the SavyCharts. It’s a different story this month, as ArmA 2: Combined Operations takes the top spot, owing largely to the much talked about zombie survival mod, DayZ. Read on to see what else has been in demand from SavyGamers during the month of May.0
Five whole years. I can’t quite believe it. Five years ago to this day I mistyped “Savvy” into a domain name registration form, and the rest is history.
Initially conceived as an experiment in eradicating information asymmetry between people buying games and people selling games, and a way of countering the small army of marketing men and advertisers telling you that they are the best value, regardless of reality, SavyGamer has grown to be far bigger than I ever imagined it could be. That’s largely down to you, the wonderful users of SavyGamer, who day in and day out choose to trust me to find you the best prices on games. You’ll probably never know quite how much gratitude I have for you.
I’ve been chronicling the cheapest games across all formats for half a decade now, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s also been a successful endeavour for me financially, I don’t quite earn enough from SavyGamer to not have to do other work, but I think that I might be there in another year or two. You could always subscribe for just £1 a month to help me on my way.
Whether you’ve been here since day one, or if this is your first time visiting SavyGamer (make yourself at home), or somewhere in-between, thank you ever so much for your patronage. I intend for SavyGamer to be a service that you can rely on long long into the future.
To celebrate the earth having successful orbited the sun five times since SavyGamer’s inception, I’ve roped in a bunch of developers to put their games on sale all at once. Here’s a boatload of fantastic games all reduced:
A.Typical RPG – 64p
AI War: Alien Bundle – £3.89 (and similar discounts on individual items, apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Blue Toad Murder Files – £2.99 on PSN
Bundle of Wrong – Pay What You Want
Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land – £1.99
Democracy 2 – £7.66 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Eufloria – £3.74 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Eufloria HD – £1.49
Fate of the World – £2.50 (and similar discounts on individual items, apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Frozen Synapse x2 – £15.19 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Gratuitous Space Battles: Collectors Edition – £5.66 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
helicoid – Free
Inzectoids – Pay what you want
Leave Home + fren-ze – £3.18
lilt line – 69p
Planet Stronghold – £7.19 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Scoregasm – £1.91
Swift*Stitch – £2.23
These Robotic Hearts of Mine, iOS – Free for one day, half price for the rest of the sale. /Android – 50p
Tidalis – 99p (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
Time Gentlemen, Please! – £1.79 (apply coupon “SavyGamer5″)
VVVVVV – £1.59
Waves – £3.43
Will Fight for Food – £2.38
Also the lovely folks at Get Games let me pick some games from their library to put on sale. Apply coupon “SavyGamer5″ to get these prices. Here they are:
The Club – £2
Civilization 5 – £4.99
The Oddboxx – £4.41
Renegops – £3.39
Serious Sam: The First Encounter HD – £2.59
Serious Sam 3: BFE – £7.49
Super Meat Boy – £3.39
If you’ve got a game you want to put on sale to be part of the celebrations. Please do get in touch.
As we fast approach SavyGamer’s 5th anniversary (it’s tomorrow!), lets take a look back at the last month of SavyGamer activity, and see which games have been the most popular. Here’s the April SavyCharts, a glimpse behind the curtain of what deals you lot have been clicking on the most:1
Can you believe it? SavyGamer dot co dot uk is going to be exactly five years old next week. To mark the occasion, I’m having a party! Would you like to come? If you’re local to the London area, and free on the 4th of May, why not join me and various other games people to drink some alcohol in a pub.
Details are here. Tickets are required because the venue has a limited capacity. Please don’t get a ticket unless you can definitely make it.
Hope to see you there!
If you can’t make it, don’t worry, there’s something else special coming up as part of the anniversary festivities. Something that everyone can get involved with. Stay tuned to SavyGamer next week.11
After the slow start to the year, the games industry really started to kick back into gear this February. We had the launch of Sony’s hot new portable console, the PS Vita, and then the trickle of new releases like Syndicate, Binary Domain, Tekken 3DS, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and The Darkness II. But which games were most in demand amongst SavyGamers like yourself? Here’s my monthly charge of the most popular posts, and rank of most searched for games on SavyGamer from Feburary 2012.3
Despite claims from Sony that “there will be a discount on the downloadable PS Vita titles from PSN”, it seems that comparing the recently revealed PSN prices for PS Vita games for UK customers are actually on average 17% more expensive than the retail equivalent prices.
Everybody’s Golf – £29.99 on PSN, £27.95 at The Hut.
Little Deviants – £19.99 on PSN, £17.99 at Play.com.
Modnation Racers: Road Trip £29.99 on PSN, £27.95 at Zavvi.
Reality Fighters – £19.99 on PSN, £17.99 at Play.com.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss – £39.99 on PSN, £34.85 at Shopto.
Wipeout 2048 – £29.99 on PSN, £28.95 at Zavvi.
Army Corps Of Hell – £34.99 on PSN, £19.85 at Shopto.
Virtua Tennis 4 – £34.99 on PSN, £24.85 at Shopto.
Asphalt: Injection – £19.99 on PSN, £17.99 at Play.com.
Lumines Electronic Symphony – £29.99 on PSN, £22.97 at Coolshop.
Rayman Origins – £29.99 on PSN, £23.98 at Coolshop.
FIFA 2012 – £44.99 on PSN, £34.95 at The Hut.
Shinobido 2 – £34.99 on PSN, £24.95 at The Hut.
Touch My Katamari – £24.99 on PSN, £19.95 at Zavvi.
Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend – £34.99 on PSN, £25.85 at Zavvi.
Michael Jackson The Experience HD – £24.99 on PSN, £17.99 at Amazon.
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 – £39.99 on PSN, £29.95 at The Game Collection.
Dynasty Warriors Next – £29.99 on PSN, £29.95 at Zavvi.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus – £29.99 on PSN, £24.99 at Sainsbury’s.
Ridge Racer – £16.99 on PSN, £14.95 at Zavvi.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance – £29.99 on PSN, £29.86 at Shopto.
F1 2011 – £44.99 on PSN, £29.86 at Shopto.
This is only comparing prices at release, clearly the retail versions prices will drop over time in conjunction with market forces, whereas the PSN prices will only drop when Sony and/or the publishers decide it is time for them to drop.
What do you reckon to that? It seems crazy to me that they are making the download versions (which are better for the environment, encourage people to buy more of Sony’s expensive needlessly proprietary memory cards, and can’t be traded in) more expensive than the version that come in a plastic box, particularly after their claims that PSN versions would be cheaper.
It seems to me that Sony are more interested in keeping retailers happy than letting their customers access games in the most convenient way without compromising on value.
Will this impact your plans regarding getting a PS Vita?22
As a quick follow up to the previous SavyGamer post about EA confusing myself and their customers with contradictory communication from different channels, it looks like despite telling me that the offer for a free copy of Battlefield 3 with Mass Effect 3 preorders would be available until the 5th of March in an email, they are now telling their customers that the offer is already over via twitter.
It seems like getting a straight answer out of EA regarding Origin promotions is simply not possible.
Cheers @Jam_sponge for bringing this to my attention.5
EA seem to be contradicting themselves regarding the free copy of Battlefield 3 with Origin Mass Effect 3 preorders.
Good news for anyone who preorders (or has preordered) #ME3 on Origin: You’ll receive a free copy of Battlefield 3!
They didn’t say “anyone from North America who preorders”, they said this was an offer for “anyone”, not just the 8% of the population of planet earth that happen to live in North America.
Then EA have been posting repeatedly on their Origin twitter feed that this offer would in fact only be for North Americans, and there is no such offer visible on the UK version of the Origin website.
I contacted Origin email support to get them to clarify the situation, to see whether whether they were going to discriminate between their customers based on location with this arbitrary regional restriction. Here’s the conversation we had:24
It’s been a rather quiet month on the new releases front, as January often is, so this month has mostly been about games from last year getting reduced. It looks like a couple of high profile preorders have attracted plenty of attention too. I’m also fairly sure that this is the first month since I’ve been compiling these charts that a PSN game has been at the top of the PS3 chart. Read on to see what’s been most popular on SavyGamer this January:0
If you’re following me on twitter, no doubt you’ve seen me going on about this since late last year, but if not, this will probably be news to you.
I’m a member of the inaugural BAFTA Youth Board, a team of young people BAFTA have assembled (in their words) “to discuss BAFTA’s Learning & Events programme, Communications and Awards Ceremonies and their relevance for young people in today’s competitive jobs market.” I mainly just pleased that they still considered me to be a youth.
As one of the two games people on the board of 18 members, it’s a fair old bit of responsibility. We’ve already met once, and are going to meeting throughout 2012 to discuss all sorts of things. Hopefully you’ll all keep an eye on BAFTA’s activities, particularly the games awards in March, and send any thoughts or feedback you have my way.
Details on the BAFTA Youth Board here, including all the interesting people that make up the rest of the board.0
Since I’m always fascinated by the data generated by SavyGamer users, today I’ve had a poke through my records for the split of purchases for different retailers, and compiled a chart of where everyone spent the most on SavyGamer deals. A few qualifiers though: The data only includes places that do affiliate links, so there are some big omissions (Steam for one), also some of these retailers only serve the UK, whereas others will deliver to a range of international markets too. I’ve ranked the retailers in order, and listed what percentage of the total spend of SavyGamer users they had in 2012.12
Everyone’s favourite Northern games retailer Grainger Games have got a coupon for 10% off preowned games, accessories and consoles. If you apply coupon “MERRYXMAS”, you get 10% off.
However, they have accidentally set it up so that the coupon applies the discount to your current basket contents, then you can modify your basket, without it updating the discount to reflect the new contents.
You could, for example, add all of the used consoles they have in stock here, apply the coupon, then remove all the consoles but one, to get a massive discount applied to the console.
Have fun, they might update the website in the morning.18
Happy 25th day of the 12th month, fellow human beings. I thought it was appropriate to momentarily take pause from my quest to find all of the cheap games to deliver a soppy Christmas message.
Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a lovely Christmas, and that you and your loved ones stay safe. Have fun stuffing your tummies with delicious Christmas food and drink!
2011 marks the year where SavyGamer has developed from being a fun hobby with an ambition for the future, to a proper job that I earn a humble but comfortable living from (alongside my other work). As such, in January I’m going to be making the bold step of moving out of my parents house into a nice little flat in London, and it’s you lot who are going to be paying my rent (mostly). Thanks for that!
As we enter SavyGamer’s 5th year (The 5th anniversary is the 3rd of May, mark your calenders), I suppose I should reassure you all that I am in this for the long haul. I’m totally committed to the cause of video game frugality, and really my brain isn’t assembled in the right way to cope with many proper jobs, so I don’t know what else I could possibly do. You can expect this site to have a long and healthy life into the future, and in fact, I’d say I’m just getting started.
Thank you dearly for your continued patronage of SavyGamer, your words of encouragement and support, and for spreading the SavyGamer name about. Don’t think it goes unappreciated. Extra special thanks to all the SavyGamer subscribers. You’re the best.
More love than you’ll ever realise,
Aren’t Will & Tony doing a brilliant job of the Steam sale this year?12
As we enter the final month of the year, the serious discounts are flying thick and fast. Most of the big games of the year have been released now, but we’re bound to see more heavy discounting in the run up to Christmas. Here’s my rundown of the most popular deals posts on SavyGamer from November.1
SavyGamer has always been fiercely independent, and will continue to be so, as long as I’m in charge.
This is a part time position, and will still leave me plenty of time to run SavyGamer.10
Christmas is a time of year when the many retailers of the land reduce their prices to tempt you to send money their way. It’s also a time of year people might have presents to buy, and hints to drop to loved ones about presents they want for themselves.
I’m going to be doing my best to catalogue the best deals available, as always, but if there are any specific things that you’d like me to keep an eye out for discounts on, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to help you out. Make sure to include what format you are after with any game requests.67
It’s been a busy month for SavyGamer, with lots of big releases either having just come out, or fast approaching on the horizon. But which deals were the most popular this month? We’ll I’ve delved into the mass of data generated by SavyGamer users, and compiled a chart highlighting which games have caught your attention the most. Here’s October’s SavyCharts:0