Oh Canada and the United States, those wonderful, wonderful lands of opportunity freedom, prosperity, honor, the American dream... and, most important of all... cheap games! What's that, you say? $60 is not cheap? Alas, my dear North American friend, you have no idea how good you have it! For the rest of us third-class gaming citizens, $60/$40 for a new console or handheld retail release would be like a dream come true. Didn't you U.S people only kicked out the redcoats because they wanted to raise tax on their beloved tea? Well, think of it this way: if you had to pay for games what we are expected to, there would be a new armed revolution that would spell the end of capitalism once and for all. Or something.
So we have to get creative. Over the course of my life, I've gamed in some very pricy places, such as Brazil, Oceania and Europe. Lately, I've had to make do in the world's expensive country, Norway, with my meager Brazilian money. In order for my gaming habits to survive financially, I've picked up a few tricks along the way. There's even one that might be useful for North Americans as well. Given the Dtoid audience is a savvy one, I expect I'm preaching to the choir, but still, some of these tricks I've only recently found out about myself, so it's possible some of you might learn a thing or two as well. I'm going to write about how to get better deals on PC, Playstation (all of them) and Nintendo devices (3DS and Wii U). I'm not going to write about the Xbox360 because Microsoft is EVIL EVIL EVIL and if you support their EVIL EVIL EVIL ways, you deserve to SUFFER!!!!! Or maybe because I don't have an Xbox and have no idea how things work in the Xbox world.
This one is also useful for North Americans. PC gamers are used to only paying attention to Steam, but there are other good alternatives out there. One such alternative is Gamersgate. Like Steam, when you type www.gamersgate.com it will automatically take you to your region's webpage, meaning if you are in Europe, you'll be charged in awful, awful Euros, or maybe even, god forbid, Australian dollars!
However, unlike Steam anyone can access the UK page from anywhere (I tested from Europe and the U.S via VPN, I assume it works from other places too). Simply type www.gamersgate.co.uk . For some reason, the first time you do it you always end up in the same page you were. Then do it again and you end up in the UK page. Many games in the UK store are by far the cheapest anywhere, even cheaper than in the U.S in many cases. Several new releases, such as Bioshoch Infinite and Tomb Raider, are priced at £30, which translates into €36/$46. Not bad at all! On top of that, they have constant Steam-style super sales.
Edit: since writing this, I found that simply typing www.gamersgate.co.uk now redirects you to gamersgate.com. However, there's a work around: instead of going directly to Gamersgate, type gamersgate.co.uk on the google search bar, than click the link on the search results. That should take you to the UK Gamersgate.
I'm no techie, but as far as I know, VPN is basically a way to use proxy servers to hide your IP and make it look like you are accessing the internet from somewhere else. It all sounds very complicated, but all you need is a software like hidemyass.com (the one I use), then you simply choose the country you want to access from and press a button. As simple as that. It costs around $6 a month, but it easily pays itself, and then some. I use it to buy cheaper games from the Brazilian Steam, where games are cheaper than even the U.S (I've never had a problem with that, but then again my credit card is from Brazil. If you do that and Steam bans you, don't blame me!) as well as the U.S stores of sites like Gamersgate and Greenmangaming. Plus, I can watch Netflix from any country I want!
Amazon (PC, Playstation)
The good news: Amazon sells downloadable PC games, as well as PSN cards. The bad news: you need a U.S address buy them. For a long time I missed out on it because I assumed my credit card's actual billing address had to match my Amazon address, until someone pointed out to me it wasn't necessary. So I gave it a shot, and it worked! Simply create a new Amazon account (changing the address from an existing account didn't work for me), and pick any valid U.S address from the internet, use it as your international credit card's billing address, and you're good to go. It worked just fine with my Brazilian Credit card, and I've bought both Downloadable games and PSN cards. This is especially useful for PS3 gamers who have to wait months or years to get overpriced versions of their favorite games, you can simply buy stuff from the U.S PSN wherever you are!
If for some reason the above instructions don't work for you and you are unable to buy PSN cards from Amazon, you can buy them from third-party sites such as allcdkey.com. I've used that particular one before I realized I could use Amazon, and I can vouch for it. Just make sure to pay using PayPal (and never, ever give them your credit card number), and you should be safe. The downside is that they charge a premium for the cards ($56 for a $50 card, for instance, but it's still a lot cheaper than buying from the local PSN in many places, plus you get access to U.S only games).
Country change (3DS, Wii U)
Being region locked, the possibilities for savings on Nintendo devices are a lot more limited, but they do exist, particularly if you are in Latin America. In order to buy from the Canadian Eshop with the Wii U (which has the same prices as the U.S shop), first change your country of residence to Canada (it's important to choose Canada, it seems there are problems when choosing U.S. Also, pick a state with no sales tax, such as Yukon). Use any valid Canadian address from the internet, then create a new Nintendo account with Canada as your country of residence. In order for it to work, FIRST you change the country of residence, THEN you create the new Nintendo account. You can then buy from the Canadian Eshop! When it asks for the zip code, just use a valid Canadian zip code, and voilá! You can do the same with the 3DS, and it's even simpler, since you don't need to create a Nintendo account.
This is mostly useful to Latin Americans because there's a huge difference between Canada/U.S prices and Latin American prices. This is of limited utility to gamers in Europe and Oceania (which belong to the same Nintendo region) since prices are pretty much screwed up across the board in these places, but maybe Australians or New Zealanders can get a slightly better deal in Europe, I don't know. However, "Europe" also covers parts of Africa and, if I'm not mistaken, parts of Asia, not all of which have functional local Eshops. If you own a 3DS/Wii U in one of those places and games in your country are either even more ludicrously priced than usual or not available at all, this could work for you.
This one is fairly well known, I just added it here to remind folks who have to contend with Euros or Australian dollars on Steam that GOG has a universal price policy, and several "good old games" on Steam are available in cheaper U.S dollars on GOG.com. We're so used to automatically choosing Steam that this is easy to overlook.
Well, that's it. Hopefully you didn't fall asleep while reading it! I've made use of everything I wrote at different times, so I can confirm they all work (unless something suddenly changed yesterday). Hopefully someone learned a new way to get cheaper games, and if so, it was worth the effort!
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