(Credit: Getty Images)While there's no shortage of cheap TVs, affordable laptops, and bundles of DVDs on Black Friday, it's also an incredible time to buy new video games.
This year in particular is seeing some amazing prices. As the industry struggles to boost its retail sales and two console systems hit their twilight years (we're looking at you, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3), publishers are slashing prices left and right. It might mean a few hours of lost sleep, but for savings like these, that's not a tremendous sacrifice.
One caveat to the Black Friday bargain hunting: if you're hoping to find a discounted Wii U — or even a cheap version of uber-hot titles Black Ops II or Halo 4 — you're largely out of luck. Nintendo's new console is likely to sell out, regardless of price, and both new games are selling so well that there's no incentive for Activision or Microsoft (or their retail partners) to drop the price.
Hardware deals will be omnipresent, though. Virtually every retailer will offer an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3 (both equipped with 250GB of memory and couple of games) for $200. The PlayStation Vita is being bundled with one of several games for $200 as well. And a flame red Nintendo 3DS (with Super Mario 3D Land pre-installed) will run $150-$170.
As for software, there are plenty of great gaming deals around that will keep you happy. Here's a sampling of what you'll find at your local mall or shopping center.
The struggling electronics retailer is using door buster deals to lure gamers. If you're willing to line up at midnight on Friday, you can get Disney Epic Mickey 2, Darksiders 2, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Battlefield 3: Premium Edition, The Amazing Spider-Man and Need for Speed: Most Wanted for $30 each.
In less obscene hours, you can still get Assassin's Creed III, Diablo 3, FIFA 13 and Borderlands 2 for $35. Back catalog hits are also cheaper: $15 will fetch you Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition or 2010's Halo Reach (among other titles).
Wal-Mart on Black Friday can be a terrifying experience — especially during the door buster hours. But there are some great deals for the brave (or foolhardy).
Epic Mickey 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, FIFA Soccer 13, NBA 2K13, Borderlands 2, Medal of Honor Warfighter, and Just Dance 4 will all run you a mere $25 — better than 50% off. For $15, you can pick up Dance Central 3, Max Payne 3, the original Black Ops, and Spec Ops: The Line. Another 25 titles are available for $10.
Even the typically pricey Skylanders: Giants will cost you just $39, and you can pick up extra Skylanders figurines for $10. And if $200 is still too much for an Xbox 360, you can get the 4GB version (along with Skylanders) for $149.
If you're more of a stay-at-home-in-your-PJs kind of shopper, Amazon's planning several lightning deals throughout the week to lure you away from your money.
There are a handful of bargains up through Wednesday for older games, but the real push starts on Thanksgiving. Dishonored, FIFA 2013, Madden NFL 13 and Just Dance 4 will drop to $25 at various times. And older titles like Lego Batman 2, the original Black Ops (from 2 years ago) and the Ratchet & Clank Collection will be just $15.
On Black Friday, notable deals include Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, Max Payne 3 and Modern Warfare 3 — all for $15. Expect even more discounted games from the company on Cyber Monday.
As usual, the biggest draw for the toy giant is its "buy one, get one for $1" offer. Depending on what's on your list, this may not be the best deal, but you might not have to fight the crowds since the offer lasts from 8pm Thursday through the close of business Saturday. The offerings are a mix of recent (Dishonored, Medal of Honor: Warfighter) and slightly older, but still excellent (Batman: Arkham City, Lego Star Wars III) titles.
GameStop typically doesn't participate in the 'race to the bottom' that most retailers do at the kickoff of the holiday season, but it does have many of the same deals others are offering with its own twist. The PS3 bundle there comes with five (!!) included games. And Dishonored, Battlefield 3 Premium Edition and LittleBigPlanet Karting will all cost $30.
For Blizzard fans who are behind on recent games from that publishers, Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 are dropping to $30, while World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be $10.