It's that time of the year when lots of people, including myself want to enjoy huge savings from shopping the Black Friday sales. However, the question is where do you shop to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you want help in choosing where to shop for video game deals, you have come to the right place. I am Ms. H from the Mom's Minute Video Game Show, and I have graded the Black Friday video game sales for you.
As a disclaimer, the video game sales listed are not all inclusive, so if your favorite game is not listed, feel free to check the retailer's ad or website to see if the video game is on sale. Also if you want to know where to get a 50" $100 HDTV on Black Friday, you will have to look elsewhere. My grades are for Black Friday video games and video game bundles only. No other merchandise was considered for my video game Black Friday sales grading system.
Stores Closed on Thanksgiving
If you ask me what changed the most from Black Friday 2015 when compared to Black Friday 2014, I would say it's the ads announcing some stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Of course Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and friends, but the last time I checked, dinner usually lasts less than an hour. Most of the stores on Thanksgiving are opening around 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. which still allows time for family get-togethers. Truth be told, I'm sure there are other reasons some stores are not opening on Thanksgiving Day, having little to do with corporations' concern for you and your family-time on the holiday.
Of the stores closed on Thanksgiving, those that sell video games are Costco, Sam's Club and GameStop. Based on my Black Friday grade for GameStop this year, you are not missing much by this store being closed on Thanksgiving Day. Known for giving you literally pennies for your used video games and being not too generous on video game sales, I think it's ok for GameStop to stay closed not only on Thanksgiving, but Black Friday as well. Check out my grading for GameStop to see why I'm making such a bold statement that's it fine with me if GameStop stayed closed on these days.
I will be grading the video game Black Friday sales starting from the retailer that was least impressive to the stand out star. I will let you know why they improved or got worst from the previous year. In some cases, I will give my recommendations on how the retailers can improve next year.
In my opinion, Sears may be in the process of becoming a dinosaur if changes are not made soon. Even teaming up with K-Mart did not seem to help their standing. There is not much to report regarding Sears Black Friday video game sales. Sears has the Xbox One Gears of War Bundle for $299.99. Also the Xbox 360 is on sale for $129.00. I gave Sears a failing grade of an F last year due to the lack of good video game sales advertised.
While Sears has not improved much in this area, I'm raising their grade from an F because they seem to be going against the grain and will start their Black Friday sales at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015. To improve their grade for next year, Sears need to promote their video game sales via television ads and other media. They missed a big opportunity this year by not jumping on the Star Wars band wagon and promoting not only video games, but other Star Wars related merchandise as well.
Sears Grade: D
Kohl's was not featured in my 2014 Black Friday grading system, mainly because they were under the radar. However, this year Kohl's may have increased their public relations' budget to include advertising video games. However, similar to Sears, nothing much is going on in the way of video game Black Friday sales. Kohl's will have a sale on the Xbox One and PS4 bundles for $299.99 and will be throwing in a $75.00 Kohl's cash card with the bundle.
Kohl's is also advertising 30% off such video games as Just Dance 2015, Destiny, Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and the Lego Movie. If you plan to shop the Black Friday video game sales, I recommend you shop on-line since Kohl's usually do not stock video games in the store. As a side note, if you are interested in cameras, Kohl's is advertising a $799.99 Canon for $399.99.
Kohl's Grade: D+
You probably know that a grade of C means average. In my opinion, everyone should strive to be above average or even to be superior -- by being an A student. However, relative to video games, the majority of video game Black Friday sales fell within the C area of being average.
Yes, Dell sells video games. The video game bundle Dell has on sale online is XBox One Gears of War, where you get Fallout 4 video game and an extra controller -- all for $299.99. No other newsworthy video games were on sale, which is the basis for Dell receiving a grade of C-. However, the quality of this video game bundle sale outweighs the lack of other video game sales --moving this sale in the average category.
Dell Grade: C-
In my opinion, there are no blockbuster video game sales at GameStop that would warrant standing in a long line or any line for that matter. They have an Xbox One Bundle for $299.99 where you save $50.00. A PS4 500 GB Uncharted bundle is on sale for $299.99 -- a $50.00 savings. The Nintendo 32 GB Wii U is selling for $219.99, a savings of $20.00. Relative to video games, FIFA 16 for the PS 3 is $29.99. Of note is you get a free copy of Assassin's Creed Unity when you purchase Assassin's Creed Syndicate. As stated above, GameStop is closed on Thanksgiving, but to their credit, this store will be opening bright and early at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday, November 27, 2015.
GameStop Grade: C-
Did you know K-Mart is bringing back their blue light specials? I guess they are running out of new ideas to beat their biggest competitor, Walmart. Regarding video games bundles, K-Mart is advertising an Xbox One Halo 5 Guardian Limited Edition Bundle online at a price of $499.99 with free shipping. No other video game sales stood out, hence K-Mart's grade of C-.
K-Mart Grade: C-
A new entry, pun intended, is NewEgg which is an online seller. NewEgg has a PS4 console Star Wars Bundle with Fall Out Four as well as Call of Duty Black Ops -- all on sale for $429.97, a savings of $40.00. Also on sale is a PS4 Batman Arkham Knight Bundle where you get the system, game and controller for $369.99, a savings of $30.00.
NewEgg Grade: C+
Valve's Steam is another new entry in my grading system. Steam does not have a Black Friday sale per se, but rather an Autumn sale and what is being called an Exploratory sale that started November 25, 2015. Additionallly, I found out there will no longer be daily or flash sales where games are offered at very deep discounts for a limited time-frame. Instead the video games discounted price will not change during the sales period.
Of these sales, I did not see any that stood out. Fall Out New Vegas which has a regular price of $9.99 is on sale for $2.49. Fall Out 3 Game of the Year Edition's sale price is $6.79, down from its regular price of $19.99. Steam has the Tom Clancy's Franchise pack which features 14 items on sale for $42.46, regular price is $169.86. Company of Heroes Franchise Edition which includes 9 items with a regular price of $99.99 is on sale for $24.99. Company of Heroes 2 with a regular price of $34.99 is on sale for $8.74. Darkest Dungeon is on sale for $11.99, regular price $19.99. HyperDimension Neptunia Re; Birth1 with a regular price of $29.99 is on sale for $5.99.
The Crew video game with a regular price of $29.99 is on sale for $14.99. This Steam PC price for The Crew is lower than the game on Amazon, which is selling for $21.95 for the PS4.
Steam Grade: C
Now it's time to move from the average zone to more higher performing Black Friday sales beginning with Amazon.com and ending with the winning Black Friday video game sale retailer.
Amazon.com, in my opinion, was very agressive about its Black Friday sales In fact, I believe Amazon.com started advertsing sometime after Halloween. When I visited Amazon.com to check out Black Friday video game sales, there were on-going type sales, some with time-limits. Buyer beware. If you visit Amazon.com for Black Friday video game sales, you may find yourself buying more than you planned.
I locked into Black Friday sales at Amazon.com as follows: PS4 Need for Speed is on sale for $39.99. NBA Live 15 for the Xbox One is on sale for $11.99. Borderlands for the PS4 is $29.99 and the Special Edition of NBA 2K15 for the Xbox One is on sale for $68.36. Family Fun Pack for the Xbox One and Dark Souls II for the PS4 is on sale for $19.99. Amazon.com earns a B- simply because it was not easy for me to extrapolate the Black Friday Day video games sales. That being said, I highly recommend you check out the Black Friday video game sales at Amazon.com and it's fine to shop for other items as well. Have fun!
Amazon.com Grade: B-
6. Best Buy
Best Buy continues its tradition of having people camp out for its Black Friday sales. I saw a deal where you can get an Xbox One Lego Movie Bundle plus a 40" LED television for $499.98, a savings of $300.00. Other sales include Xbox One Rise of the Tomb Raider Bundle and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition video game for $349.99, a savings of $50.00. Additional video game sales are Madden 16 for the Xbox One, NBA 2K16 and W2K16, as well as FIFA 16 for $29.99 each. Best Buy gets a B- because the price reductions are not as steep as other stores selling the same video games.
Best Buy Grade: B-
5. PlayStation 4 Store
For some reason, Sony is not calling its sale a Black Friday sale. Instead the sale is being called a CO-OP sale, maybe to not confuse its global video game customers? Unlike Microsoft's Xbox One Store which used Black Friday to name its sales, Playstation 4 loses a grading point because it did not do the same.
The PS4 store video game sales that stood out were Battlefield Hardline Standard Edition with a regular price of $39.99 -- on sale for $21.99. Ultra Street Fighter IV is on sale for $17.49, having a regular price of $24.99. Far Cry 4 is on sale for $30.00 -- regular price is $59.99.
Addtionally, the PlayStation 4 website has a deal where you get 10% off your total purchase if you use a code on the website. The offer expires December 1, 2015.
PlayStation 4 Store Grade: B-
4. Xbox One Store
When you visit the Xbox One Store, you see a Black Friday Sale prominently displayed, not misnamed or renamed as some of the other online video game stores did. In addition to video games, Xbox One has sales on Xbox Live gold memberships. Battlefield Hardline which has a regular price of $27.99 is on sale for $23.99. Battlefield 4 Premiere Edition is on sale for $30.00 and has a regular price of $35.99 - $59.99. Dark Souls II is on sale for $20.00 and has a regular price of $23.99 - $39.99. Evolve is on sale for $16.00 and has a regular price of $20.00 - $39.99.
Xbox One Store Grade: B+
You may recall Target had some security issues with credit card usage not too long ago. Hopefully this problem will not resurface. That being said, during the holiday season as well as all year long, always check your credit card transactons and balances to make sure no unauthorized or fradulent charges show up. Should this happen, notify your credit card company immediately, discontinue using the card and request a replacement credit card.
Regarding video game sales, Target has the Xbox One Gears of War Ultimate Edition Bundle on sale for $349.99. If you buy this bundle, you save $10.00 on your Xbox Live membership. Other video game sales include Dishonored for the Xbox One on sale for $20.00., Mad Maxx for the PS4, Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5 for the PS4, and Xbox One Family Fun Pack which are $25.00 each. Nintendo 3DS XL is on sale for $179.99. $15.00 video games include Mario Kart 7, Evolve, Far Cry 4 and New Super Mario Bros.
If you are a regular Target shopper, you may have received coupons where you can save money depending on the amount you spend. I suggest you use these coupons when you shop at Target on Black Friday. Depending on what you buy, you may be able to save money with the coupon as well as from the items already being on sale.
Target Grade: B
2. Toys R Us
Toys R Us opens at 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 26, 2015 for Black Friday, so you can start shopping early. What stood out for me was the sale price of two video games for $25.00, which equates to $12.50 per game. These are mostly PS3 and Xbox 360 video games, but a good deal just the same. The video games include Star Wars III, Skate, Skyrim, Titanfall and Little Big Planet.
Toys R Us Grade: B+
And now, for the number 1 retailer for Black Friday sales. Drum roll, please.
Walmart retains its place as being number one when it comes to Black Friday video game sales. In fact, there were so many video game sales going on at Walmart during Black Friday, I had to stop taking notes and give my fingers a rest. It's unfortunate that some Walmarts have reputations that are not as stellar as other retailers, such as Target, and other similar big box stores. When you shop at Walmart, be sure to choose one where you feel safe or forgo going to that particular Walmart at all. Remember your safety is your number one priority. Also there is always the option to shop online, if you prefer not to go to Walmart in person.
Now, let's talk about why Walmart continues to be number one in Black Friday video game sales. The main reasons are the wide selection of video games on sale, low prices of video games, and Walmart's store policy to match prices against other retailers selling the same games.
Walmart video game sales include XBox One NBA 2K16, Madden 16 and FIFA 16 for $17.00. $35.00 games include Until Dawn for the PS4, The Phantom Pain for the Xbox One and Assassin's Creed Syndicate for the PS4 and the Xbox One. Other $35.00 video games include Dragon Age Inquisition, NHL 16 and Forza 6 for the Xbox One. $25.00 games include Mortal Kombat X, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight, Splatoon, GTA V, Bloodborne for the PS4 and Mad Maxx for the Xbox One. $15.00 video games include Battlefield Hardline for the PS4, Gears of War and Evolve for the PS4. Divinity Original Sin, Enhancement Edition for the PS4 is on sale for $39.99.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is on sale at Walmart for its Black Friday sale for $8.00. By contrast, the same video game is selling at Best Buy for $39.99.
Video game bundles include Uncharted for the PS4 on sale for $299.00, regular price $349.00. The Wii U bundle with Super Smash Bros. and Splatoon is on sale for $250.00.
Outside of video games, I want to share with you that the FitBit is on sale at Walmart for $59.99 which has a regular price of $99.00. You can also get a 7" RCA tablet for $28.88. If you shop Walmart for video games, you may want to check out some of their other Black Friday sales as well.
Walmart Grade: A
That's it for my grading of Black Friday video game sales for 2015. A note of caution: The day after Black Friday is known for headlines of altercations and worse as some people get overly agressive in taking advantage of these sales. Stay out of the headlines, and more importanly be safe if you plan to shop the Black Friday sales in person. Be vigilant, observant, always be aware of your surroundings and remember saving a few dollars during Black Friday is not worth jeopardizing your well being. Stay safe and enjoy!
- Published in Mom's Minute Blog