One could say that getting cheap games is as easy as pirating them for PC and buying them second-hand for consoles. However, there is no doubt that these practices are not just morally wrong – but they can also end up harming your favorite gaming companies in the long term.
That’s why we’re going to be mentioning some other, legitimate and legal methods to get games on the cheap or even for free while also helping your favorite developers. Sounds interesting? Then keep on reading!
1: Humble Bundle (Mostly for PC)
Humble Bundle is a subscription-based service. You choose to pay a certain price and in exchange, you get to pick anywhere from 3 to 9 games per month while you also get access to the Humble trove which offers 99% DRM-Free titles for subscribers and it’s still growing.
And while the trove mostly contains indie titles, there are still a few games that are very popular. We’d say that Getting Over it and Soma are two of the most noteworthy ones.
As for the actual subscription, it goes without saying that every month you get at least one AAA title.
You can currently choose from 3 different subscription plans and each one allows you to pick a different amount of games every month. To be more specific:
- Lite ($4.99): 10% off for the store and access to the trove
- Basic ($14.99): All the above plus 3 picks for the monthly games
- Premium ($19.99): All the above plus 20% off for the store and 9 picks for the monthly games
Keep in mind that pricing can greatly differ from region to region and that you also get extra discounts if you get a yearly subscription instead of a monthly one. Now, those of you who previously used Humble Bundle probably remember that the actual price used to be $12 for all games. But at this point, it’s worth noting that ever since this new plan came to play, the quality of the games is steadily going upwards. So, maybe it was worth it.
As you probably already noticed, there is more to Humble Bundle than its base subscription plan. Apart from the store discounts and Humble trove, you also get to choose from other bundles that come and go on a weekly basis.
For example, the “Just Drive” bundle which lasted for a few days was offering some of the most popular racing titles, including Project Cars 1, 2, and Assetto Corsa, for only 12 euros! So, you can definitely expect to find more crazy deals there over time.
And it’s not just about cheap games. You can also find bundles for books and programs as well!
Unfortunately for console owners, Humble Bundle seems to mostly focus on pushing bundles for PC. However, do keep in mind that there have been PS4 bundles as well! But, if you’re mainly gaming on a console, don’t expect to make this your primary source of buying games. At least not at the time of writing this article.
2: Xbox Pass (Xbox and PC)
Xbox Pass is known by many as the Netflix of gaming. And it works exactly as it sounds: you pay a monthly subscription and while that subscription is active, you get to play pretty much everything that’s available in Xbox’s gaming library!
This includes a wide variety of very popular AAA titles like The Witcher 3, GTA V, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Halo, Dead by Daylight, Blair Witch, Dishonored 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon 4, and so much more.
We’re talking about 100+ games for 10 bucks a month which is an absolutely insane deal. Not to mention that if you want to buy a game and keep it forever, you also get exclusive discounts as a subscriber benefit!
The very same Xbox pass is also available for Windows 10 computers. But, as you can see in the screenshot above, some games that can be found in the original Xbox pass are not available for PC just yet. We assume that this is one of the main reasons that the same service costs half as much on PC (Also because it’s in beta there).
Overall, this really is the Netflix of gaming. You just pay a monthly fee and that’s it. However, do keep in mind that unlike Humble Bundle, Xbox Pass does not let you to keep any games after the subscription ends unless you buy them. We suppose that this is the price to pay for getting access to 100+ games for $10 – which sounds fair.
PS Plus and PS Now are two different services. PS Plus gives you access to online gameplay while also providing a couple of free games every month that are often worth it. And while it also gives you in-store discounts, the games that do indeed get discounted are almost always unpopular and/or Indie titles.
PS Now, on the other hand, is pretty much Xbox Now for PS consoles and Windows 10 computers. However, keep in mind, that unlike Xbox Now for PC, PS Now only allows you to stream the games instead of downloading them. And that kind of makes sense since many PS4 games are exclusive to that console only.
Both services max out at $10 a month while they can get as cheap as $60 per year.
Keep in mind that you don’t need a PS Plus account to play online in PS Now. But, if you are after the free games that PS Plus offers every month, that’s going to set you back at $20 a month. Still, that’s quite possibly the easiest way to get cheap games legitimately for PS3 and PS4 consoles.
While we’re at it, let us not forget to mention that the game catalog contains more than 700+ games – partially due to the fact that you can find titles not only for PS3 and PS4 but for PS2 as well. And at this point, it goes without saying that streaming a game online does introduce a bit of input lag – even if you have a decent internet connection.
4: Steam Sales (PC)
If you’re a PC gamer, you probably already know about the crazy, seasonal sales that Steam has. And if not, well, now is your chance to find out.
Steam is a sort of platform that hosts games for computers. That includes Windows, Linux, and Mac. The thing is that every year, it hosts at least two to three huge sales that can’t be found anywhere else – usually somewhere at the start of Winter, Summer, and often Spring as well. In-between, there are also “normal” sales along with holiday seasons like St. Patrick’s Day, Lunar Sale, etc.
We’re talking about discounts anywhere from 10 and 15% up to 90% and sometimes even higher than that. It’s not unusual to find some older titles at less than $1 while Steam sales are active. So, if you’re a PC owner, definitely keep an eye out for them.
At this point, it’s worth noting that this is by far the simplest way of buying cheap games. There are no subscriptions, no extra rules – you just pay for a game while it’s discounted and it’s yours to keep forever.
Is Humble Bundle Legit?
At this point, some of you may feel like Humble Bundle along with some of our other picks that offer cheap games are a bit too good to be true. But, unlike grey markets, they are actually as legitimate as they can get.
And the reason that something like that is possible is pretty simple. See, games, unlike physical goods, don’t require any extra money for extra copies. For example, creating a copy of a gamepad still requires you to gather materials, spend time and money to build the actual gamepad, spend money for the machines that build them, and then you also need to ship it. None of this applies to software – including games.
That’s precisely why developers can sell their older games at much lower prices while still earning money from them. It’s better for them to discount a game that’s not selling that much anymore to $5 to sell a thousand copies rather than leaving it at $50 and selling none.
In this way, everyone wins. People who normally can’t afford a game at full price can now get it without piracy while developers also make a small profit.
That’s all for now. If you’ve got any other recommendations to make, feel free to let us know about them in the comments section. We’re fully aware of some other, highly shady practices to get cheaper games. But, here’s why we don’t recommend them:
- Grey markets (eBay, G2A, etc): The keys are often acquired by questionable means. We’re talking about things like credit card theft, buying from a different country to get a game cheaper, etc. And while you may not pay the price for what the original buyer did, do keep in mind that you can end up harming developers. Don’t take our word for it. Developers themselves have also mentioned that you are doing less damage by pirating instead.
- Piracy: Not only you harm the developers, but you also always run the risk of infecting your computer with malicious software.
- Using a VPN to get cheaper games from another country: You’re harming the developers while also putting your Steam account at risk of getting banned.
- Second-hand games: This is worse than piracy. Not only you end up harming the developers, but you also harm yourself since you still need to pay a small price.
TL;DR: We don’t recommend most of the other known methods of getting games on the cheap.