Look for Bundles
New game systems are often packaged with top-selling games and accessories to sweeten the deal for consumers. For example, Wal-Mart sells some game consoles in customizable bundles online, with the customer selecting the component of the bundle including accessory packs and game titles.
Check Refurbished Models
Purchasing used or refurbished units can save customers from $10-$60 on the purchase of a gaming console. Several stores, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and GameStop, sell refurbished units at varying discounts.
Wait for Price Reductions
For customers who are willing to wait a bit, buying a new system months or years after its initial release can save money. For example, Nintendo's Wii debuted at $250 in 2006, but now costs $150. In addition, Nintendo's 3DS cost was dropped $80 five months after launch due to poor sales.
Consider Trading in Old Systems
Many retailers, including Costco, Best Buy and Game Stop, will accept older systems in exchange for cash or discounts on new game systems. For example, an upgrade from a PS2 to a PS3 might earn the buyer a $50 credit on the new system.
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft home game consoles all come standard with a one-year warranty that covers the console itself, but Wii users can register their console online for a three-month extension. All three console manufacturers cover accessories and games with 90-day warranties.
A one-year manufacturer's warranty also comes with each portable gaming system currently available. Nintendo allows 3DS owners to register for an additional three month warranty online.
Some big-box stores offer warranties that exceed what the manufacturers offer. For example, Costco provides a two-year refund policy on some electronics items including game consoles. Other stores sell extended warranties: Best Buy has warranties on some consoles for $30-$100, depending on the cost of the console; Wal-Mart sells up to three-year warranties for an additional $25-$45.
Look at Venues: Retail Outlets vs. Online Shopping
There are very few differences between purchasing game consoles online or in stores. Many big-box retailers sell game consoles and extended protection plans online and in stores. One benefit of ordering online is the ability to customize bundles.