Yes, I know the title is a little bit click-bait, but it’s been one of my goals from the start to promote the games that are relatively affordable. I’ve often mentioned getting games on sale and the like, but I haven’t really broken down in detail how I go about getting the best possible price for each game, and there are definitely systems in place that anyone can use with a little bit of tweaking (and a lot of these strategies will work for things beyond Switch games, but that is kinda the focus here).
This one seems a little obvious to some degree, but it’s a good idea to take advantage of Nintendo’s wishlist system. This organizes the various games you want in a clear, logical order, which is usually the order you selected them. Obviously this helps you to keep track of the games you’re interested in, but there’s a few other benefits.
First, any time a game on your list goes on sale, Nintendo will send you a quick email that lets you know pretty much that. I recently got one because a game I’ve been excited about for some time, Aeterna Noctis (a metroidvania that oozes style) recently went on sale. I immediately clicked on the link, and was able to buy the game immediately. That way, it can sit on my main screen while I continue to hack through the amazingness which is Octopath Traveler 2
You’ll also notice something here that I also like about Nintendo’s Wishlist in particular: they leave games that you’ve already purchased on there. Almost every game below Moonscars there has gone on sale and been purchased (save for Chrono Cross, which Square refuses to drop for whatever reason). That way, I can see which games I’ve bought, gloating over their acquisition like an old timey tycoon.
It also lets you see when games are coming up, which also conveniently shows in the above. I am eagerly awaiting both Front Mission 2 and Oxenfree 2, which come out some time in the nebulous “2023.” Just don’t take those dates as gospel: Front Mission Remake’s date changed three times while I was watching it.
I also recommend sorting lists if there’s the option. I don’t have one Amazon wishlist, for example, I have four. One is for Kindle books only (because they’re the most likely to fluctuate in price, and I can get to that list on my Kindle), one is just for manga (easier to keep track), while the last two are set based on my buying practices: a “wait and see” list where I’m waiting for a baseline price (more on that in a bit), and a “most wanted” which contain items I’m going to buy regardless of price (it is tiny, usually consisting of major game releases like Octopath Traveler 2 or books that I simply must own, like B. Dylan Hollis’s upcoming cookbook).
Set a Baseline Price
Let’s go back to that first screenshot, the one that clearly has “how to take a screenshot” open in another tab:
The astute of you will note that there’s actually a game that’s on sale in that list, but I haven’t followed my earlier pattern of rabidly jumping on it like it’s a Tickle-Me-Elmo on Black Friday. See, I do want the latest Mercenaries game, so I can continue to write about their consistent, just above average gameplay and story.
I just don’t know if that’s worth $17.
See, I like to set a mental price for how much I want to spend on a particular game (or any item, really; I just did this with a book series on Amazon too). Like, just looking at the list above, I’m not buying ANNO until it goes below $20 because it looks like an indie metroidvania, and my poor experiences with a whole glut of bad metroidvanias makes me a bit shy on buying those (this is also why I waited for Aeterna Noctis). Similarly, I’m not sure I want to spend more than $15 on Mercenaries, because I know it’s going to be average.
This does sometimes lead to quandaries, like when a game is just barely on sale. I had that issue with Eastward for a while, before I finally jumped on what was destined to become one of my favorite games on the Switch. However, by setting that base price, you’re forcing yourself to be diligent and disciplined in buying things, while also giving yourself something of an excuse to buy it when it finally does hit that price.
Utilize Gift Cards
Alright, I know most of us hate gift cards, right? They’re the sort of thing you get someone when you don’t know what to get them. However, there are sites that seem to acknowledge that very thing. They will frequently offer Gift Cards at a discount price. I used one, Raise.com, for a while, until they pretty much locked me out with my new account and I lost the email for my old one.
You’ll often find that various providers will give links to shops that sometimes benefit their sites or creations. I use one linked to Switchwatch, who are responsible for helping me find games on sale (more on them in a bit).
That’s here: https://switchwatch.net/us/?currency=USD
Now, why I would I recommend this? Because they often sell you gift cards with some kind of discount, even for Nintendo. Switchwatch will frequently off 5-10% off their cards, Raise.com gives at least that much in “raise cash” and often has sales. This isn’t a whole lot to subtract off a game, but it can sometimes be a few dollars. Add that to what you save from the wish-listing, and you’re likely to get games for up to 45% off on the regular. I did this when I purchased Aeterna Noctis, and ended up paying roughly $18 for what’s regularly a $30 game.
This does mean adding an additional step, but I find it to be worth it.
Follow Content Creators
Remember those Switchwatch guys I just talked about? They’re a bunch of Europeans who produce pretty good content, and one of the main reasons I follow and support them is because they produce near weekly looks at the discounted games on the Nintendo Switch. This is how I’ve found some of the hidden gems that I’ve mentioned in this blog, like Lost Words: Beyond the Page and Atelier Ryza (which is debatably not hidden). If you follow a handful of creators like that, you’ll get updates on games regularly (though Switchwatch really loves to put up the same games week after week; I’ve heard about Blazing Beaks and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch more than I ever care to).
This is also why I sometimes mention price or advise to wait for sales for games too.
Browse The Sales List
Did you know that there’s a separate page on Nintendo’s website that’s just their sales? Nintendo practically buries it whenever a first party or highly advertised sale isn’t mentioned, but it’s there:
That provides a very easy to scroll listing that you can go through. You can also access it through the eshop on the Switch itself. What’s weird is that for some reason, some games are only accessible through the Switch as opposed to the other link. I’ve sometimes found hidden gems this way (Death’s Gambit), but it can also be a bit overwhelming and isn’t quite as useful as the other tips and links that I’ve given here.
Finally, the best advice I can give isn’t some secret link or a trick or the like. It’s just basic advice you’d expect to hear from a grandparently figure or someone who’s seen a lot of life: be patient.
Aeterna Noctis dropped at the end of November. Naturally I wanted the game a lot: I’d actually been following it on Steam a lot longer and waiting for the promised Switch port (this happens a lot). However, I think $30 is a lot to spend on an untried Metroidvania game (though ironically that’s how much I spent on Bloodstained). Still, it looked great, and the price wasn’t budging for the longest time. Just a week or two ago, I seriously considered buying it wholesale to play while I waited for Octopath Traveler 2.
Instead I remembered that I wanted to play through Death’s Gambit as a mage, which proved to be both a brilliant and frugal decision. Brilliant because a different class makes Death’s Gambit almost an entirely different game (and I am so much better as a mage), but also because Aeterna Noctis would go on sale just a while later.
They often say that time is money, and sometimes that’s what it takes if you want to save money buying games or anything. If you’re patient and observant enough, nearly everything goes on sale at some point, be it for a seasonal sale or otherwise. It’s just a matter of acting like a spider in wait, setting your webs and watching for the twitches.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my long watch continues:
One thought on “How I Save Money Buying Switch Games, and You Can To!”
…a spider in wait, setting your webs and watching for the twitches.