Video game consoles have become one of the most important and highly sought after items that frugal minded shoppers wait for every Black Friday. The deals are vast and many of them aren’t even deals at all. For instance, in 2013 many stores featured the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in their holiday flyers. The problem was there was no actual price cut and they used these hot items to get people in their stores. 2014 has already proven to be a different year with a wide variety of deals on consoles, bundles and individual games. Not all of them are winners though. Here are our recommendations for the gaming deals that are worth missing your delicious pumpkin pie over and the ones that you should really throw your pumpkin pie on. We will update this list as we receive more information from stores such as Amazon and Newegg.
Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft made waves in October when they announced the Xbox One’s price would be slashed another $50 to $349. This price drop included the console without Kinect as well as various bundles such as Asssassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. This was already the second price drop for a console that retailed at $499 a little over a year ago when it was first released. Already trailing the PlayStation 4 in overall sales and customer loyalty, Microsoft’s plan for lower prices better work this year or the battle for this round of console wars may officially be over. Here are the deals you need to get if you are going to be buying an Xbox One this year.
Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Bundle with Black Flag digital downloads for $329.99 + $50 Target Gift Card – Save $70
This is by far the best Xbox One deal that you can get this year. First off, it comes from a major retailer. While Meijer has a similar deal, which we will get to next, they aren’t exactly a national store so its reach is limited. Second, many other stores have the same Assassin’s Creed Bundle for the same price but without the gift card. Third, other stores have the nerve to sell the Xbox One console alone for $329.99. Target is giving you the game and the gift card, which gives the console itself a mouthwatering net price of $229.99! Just subtract $50 for the game and $50 for the Target Gift Card. Find it on page 1 of the Target Black Friday flyer. Quantities are obviously limited and there are no rain checks so you may want to get there early for this special deal.
Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Bundle with Black Flag digital downloads for $329.99 + $50 Meijer Gift Card – Save $70
Deja Vu. Meijer is offering the same exact bundle that Target is offering as a part of their Thanksgiving sale. Since Meijer’s Thanksgiving sale starts at an absurd 6:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning, you may actually have a chance to eat a normal Turkey dinner since they are sparing us having to go out at night. This one is limited so we recommend getting there hours before. The $50 gift card can be used on your next shopping trip from 11/30 to 12/24 and there is a limit of 2 coupons per customer. Find it at the bottom of page 1 of the Meijer Thanksgiving flyer.
Xbox One Console or Game Bundle with Kinect for $429.95 + $50 AAFES Gift Card – Save $70
This one you are going to have to get there early for. We were a bit relucant to put this one on the list since not everyone can shop at AAFES. If you or someone you know has access to the AAFES store, you are in for a real treat. This same console or bundle with Kinect is going for the same price of $429.95 at other stores such as Best Buy, Toys R Us and TigerDirect. When you buy it at AAFES, you also get a $50 gift card which gives this bundle a net price of $379.99. Since everyone is going to want the bundle, they are going to sell out quickly and getting a package with just the console isn’t nearly as appealing, so make sure you are there hours before their 4:00 AM Friday opening time. You can also get a gift card for $25 when you purchase any non-Kinect console or bundle for $329.95, which is on par with other stores prices. Find it on page 6 of the AAFES Black Friday flyer.
Xbox One Halo The Master Chief Collection Bundle for $329.99 + $30 Walmart Gift Card – Save $70
While we think Walmart could have done a little better with the $30 gift card, this is a bundle you won’t find anywhere else. Right on page 1, this bundle includes the Xbox One console, access to Halo Guardians beta, 4 classic Halo games and digital series Halo Nightfall. This exclusive to Walmart bundle has a 1-hour price guarantee as a part of their 6pm Thanksgiving Night sale. Even with the gift card, which we feel should be for $50, the net price of the console is $249.99! Not too shabby. Find it on page 1 of the Walmart Black Friday flyer.
None of the other bundles really stood out to us as they are all the same. Since circumstances exist and you may not be able to be at one of the above listed stores early, here is a quick breakdown of other retailers offering less than stellar deals. You will save $70 on all of these:
Best Buy: Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle with Kinect for $429.99. Find it on page 3
Dell: Xbox One Bundle with Assassin’s Creed: Unity & Black Flag for $329.99. Find it on page 5
Sam’s Club: Xbox One Bundle with Assassin’s Creed: Unity & Black Flag for $329.99 (snore). Find it on page 3
GameStop: Somehow GameStop disappointed us twice with mediocre Xbox deals. They have the standard bundle without Kinect for $329.99 and the Kinect version for $429.99 just like everyone else. If GameStop isn’t even going to have the best gaming prices, what are they good for honestly? Find it on page 1.
Sony PlayStation 4
The PlayStation has been a true powerhouse in the gaming world for years now. The Xbox One has proven thus far to be no real competition with Sony’s newest baby slaughtering it in both sales and popularity. While Sony didn’t have to take any desperate measures like discounting their console and bundles, there are a few awesome sales that stores are offering. Unfortunately there are a few ones that will put you to sleep as well so here are the ones you should keep your eye on:
PS4 Bundle with Grand Theft Auto V & Last of Us Remastered Bundle for $399.99 or PS4 Family Bundle with Little Big Planet 3 and Lego Batman 3 for $399.99 + $50 Meijer Gift Card – Save $100+
Unfortunately our best PlayStation 4 bundle comes from Meijer. While we aren’t saying Meijer isn’t an excellent retailer, they are not exactly a national chain so the entire country can’t take advantage of this deal. It is far and away the best overall price for a PS4 bundle though so it would be a crime to not have it as our top selection. Other stores are offering these same exact bundles for $399.99 with no gift card. Choose between Grand Theft Auto V & Last of Us Remastered or go with the family bundle of Little Big Planet 3 and Lego Batman 3. If you are lucky enough to live in a location with a Meijer, we urge you to jump on this. The gift card is valid on purchases from 11/30 to 12/24. Find it on page 1 of the Meijer Thanksgiving ad.
PlayStation 4 Bundle with Choice of 2 Games for $449 (online only!) – Save around $50
Our 2nd top PS4 bundle choice is thankfully one that you won’t have to camp outside for. Walmart is offering this special buy bundle all day Thursday, while supplies last of course, strictly on Walmart.com. Since you are now competing with millions of shoppers on Walmart.com as opposed to hundreds at your local store, we recommend hitting the refresh button on Walmart’s website often on Thanksgiving until this bundle is available. While this bundle isn’t the best price wise, it does offer two distinct advantages. It is available online and you get to choose which games you want. Find it at the bottom of page 2 of the Walmart Black Friday 2014 ad.
Unfortunately those were the only two standout deals. Every other store is literally offering the same exact bundle for the same price. You will save around $100 on all of these:
Target: 500GB Bundle w/ GTA 5 & The Last Of Us Digital Download for $399.99. Find it on page 36
Walmart: 500GB Bundle w/ GTA 5 & The Last Of Us Digital Download for $399.99 Find it on page 2
Walmart: PlayStation 4 console with $50 Walmart Gift Card for $399.99. Find it on page 2.
Toys R Us: PlayStation 4 Bundle with Lego Batman 3 & Little Big Planet 3 for $399.99. Find it on page 25.
Nintendo Wii U
At this point, the Wii U is in a class of its own. Unfortunately for Nintendo that isn’t a good thing. While the console still has some great games and provides a fun party gamining experience, it just doesn’t measure up to the superior Xbox One and PS4. The amount of sales this year on Wii U consoles and bundles reflects this as well. Even though the sales are scarce, there are a few good and very bad ones:
Wii U Skylanders SWAP Force Bundle for $199.99 – Save $100
This is by far the best Wii U bundle available so far this year and the lowest we have seen this particular bundle priced. It is buried towards the back of the Toys R Us ad and has actually been overlooked by many of our readers who didn’t notice it. We have also seldom seen it reported by other media outlets compared to other console deals. The $199.99 price tag is a $100 savings from the retail price of $299.99. This is a part of their Thanksgiving doorbusters, which start at 5pm and supplies are limited so you may want to show up early for this one. Find it on page 24 of the Toys R Us Black Friday Ad.
Wii U Super Mario 3D World & Nintendo Land Bundle for $249.99 – Save $50
This one breaks our heart and not because it isn’t a good deal. Unless you live close to a Fred Meyer (all 10 of you please stand up,) you won’t be able to take advantage of this offer, as it is an in-store doorbuster that is available on Thanksgiving Day from 7am until Noon. Included is the 32 GB console, a gamepad controller, sensor bar and the games listed above. This is a savings of $50 and they are actually offering this same discount on every Wii U console that they have in stock. Find it on page 7 of the Fred Meyer Black Friday Ad.
The following bundles are more of a warning to don’t buy than anything. While the GameStop and Walmart bundles aren’t overpriced, they don’t actually offer any discount. The Best Buy bundle is just confusing and possibly an error on their part. You will save $0 on these and you actually might end up paying more for some! Buyer beware:
Wii U Super Mario 3D World & Nintendo Land Bundle for $299.99
GameStop has disappointed us again. This bundle, which is already available for $299.99 on many websites, is in their Black Friday ad for $299.99. That’s just a waste of space at this point as there is no deal to be seen. See it in all its unglory on page 7 of the GameStop Black Friday ad.
Wii U Super Mario 3D World & Nintendo Land Bundle for $359.97
We are not sure if this is a pricing error or if Best Buy just didn’t care enough to get it right. The same bundle listed in the Fred Meyer sale that is available for $249.99 is available at Best Buy for $359.97. We just found the bundle listed on Best Buy’s website for $299.99. So unless they are raising the price and then discounting it to $359.97, we would wait and see to find out if Best Buy corrects this one or if it is actually their intention. Find it on page 14 of the Best Buy Black Friday Ad.
Wii U Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set with Nintendo Land Game Included for $299.96
This Walmart exclusive bundle comes from their Thanksgiving ad. This bundle, which currently sells for $299.96 on their website, will be available for again at $299.96 for a massive savings of $0. Find it on page 7 of the Walmart Thanksgiving ad.