It’s going to be a crazy Black Friday when next week rolls around, as indicated by a number of ads that have leaked for Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop and other retailers. While a number of electronics and movies will no doubt be marked down to rock-bottom prices, video games seem to be the big focus, with all three major game companies – Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft taking part in their own package deals.
Microsoft has already gotten a jump on the holiday season with the introduction of a $50 price cut across a number of its bundles, including popular titles like Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The bundles, ranging from $350 to $450 in price (depending on what’s included) have been selling impressively well, and some retailers are going as far as to add even more value, including a $20 price drop on the Assassin’s Creed Unity bundle at GameStop, as well as gift cards from other shops.
(In addition, Microsoft has announced its own special deals through its specialty Microsoft Stores, including discounts on its Xbox One bundles, as well as Xbox 360 package deals that range from $129.99 to $199.99. Those deals can be found here. The company will also host several days of discounted games through its Xbox Live service, which starts next week.)
Not to be outdone, Sony countered Microsoft with its own special Black Friday bundles, each of which include two major releases for a value of $399 – what the system sells for on its own. These games are hit titles, too, including Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us Remastered and Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. While retailers aren’t tweaking this package too much, they don’t necessarily need to – it’s quite the value in itself.
Meanwhile, Nintendo has its own plans, with the Super Mario 3D World bundle still going for $299.99 at most retailers, replacing previous models. There were rumors that the company would introduce a system bundle that included the forthcoming Super Smash Bros. game, but they haven’t been confirmed yet. Still, that isn’t stopping some retailers from including it as a package deal, as Best Buy has a bundle that includes the system, Smash and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for $359.99 – just $60 more than the general package. The 3DS is likely to sell just as well, backed by the release of two new Pokémon games, as well as special edition bundles made exclusively for certain retailers (like an NES-themed 3DS handheld for GameStop).
These deals make this holiday season one of the most heated yet for the video game industry, especially considering that each company is fighting to take a first place victory. Thus far, Microsoft has an early lead with its bundle launches, although Sony is sure to catch up once Black Friday rolls around. As for Nintendo, it’s gone through a rebound as of late, thanks to titles like Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8, and the holiday season, along with the critically acclaimed Smash, could help it see big sell-through.
Not content of having all the specials on Friday, most retailers are also holding special sales through the weekend on individual games, lowering the prices of such hits as Destiny, Watch Dogs and other 2014 releases. Some are even going as low as $20, including MLB 14: The Show (which is surely being cycled out for next year’s MLB 15) and Infamous: Second Son. So even if consumers miss out on a system deal, there’s still plenty to clean up in terms of games.
It’s still a close call when it comes to determining a leader, especially considering that a variety of quality releases are ripe for the taking – including several, like Grand Theft Auto V, that just came out this week. Still, with all three major companies trying, there’s no doubt that quite a battle is ahead. And consumers, especially gamers, will definitely win.