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How to find the best offers when gaming online

Whether you’re into betting and games of chance or are a traditional gamer, gaming can get expensive pretty fast. Thankfully, there are millions of ways that you can cut your gaming costs. Gaming manufacturers, retailers, and service providers all use special deals to attract clientele and keep their current customers loyal. This could be your chance to make huge savings, but you have to know where and how to look. Here’s how you can find the best offers when gaming online.

Look for bonuses and special offers

This is for the online gamblers out there. Online casinos are particularly aggressive when it comes to attracting new clients and they will pull no stops trying to outcompete each other to see who can offer the best deals. This means that you can sign up with as many online casinos as you want and take advantage of these bonuses.

There are multiple types of bonuses, and most of them will offer some sort of return on your initial deposit(s). But you should also think about free spins no deposit bonuses. These will allow you to try online casinos completely for free, but you first have to check on which games you’ll be able to use them. Some casinos will only allow you to use them on a handful of games while others will have no limitations, so pay special attention to that.

Sign up for newsletters

The very first thing that you should do is sign up for as many gaming newsletters as you can. If you’re into console gaming, each manufacturer has its own newsletter that you can subscribe to. This will allow you to get early information on deals and special announcements, such as when new games or consoles are being released. Microsoft has its Xbox Wire newsletter and Nintendo has Nintendo Life. If you own an Xbox or a Switch and want to be the first to know about deals or price drops, then sign up for these right away.

Sign up for monthly gaming services

You also have the option of joining game services. These will allow you to get access to a wide selection of games for a low monthly price. Xbox has its Game Pass service which offers access to over 100 games. And, for a few pounds more, you could get access to EA Play and Xbox Live Gold, which makes it one of the best deals on the market.

You can also sign up for PlayStation Plus and get access to a variety of free games, online multiplayer, and exclusive discounts. Nintendo also has a service that offers online play and access to a large selection of free titles.

Know that manufacturers are not the only ones to offer monthly subscription services. Ubisoft and EA sports also have their own services that give you access to their collection of AAA games, all for an affordable monthly price.

Be patient

Speaking of price drops, it’s always wiser to wait for a few quarters before you buy a new console. Eventually, the price will drop, and you’ll be able to get the console at a much more affordable price. Not only that, but you’ll get a chance to see how well received the console is. Some consoles may be great at first glance, but very tough to work with for programmers. What this means is that developers might be reluctant to work on them, and so these consoles will often have a smaller game selection as a result. Waiting will allow you to know if the console is worth it.

How to find the best offers when gaming online

Buy a previous generation or refurbished console

Another thing you could do is buy a console from a previous generation. Some manufacturers, like Nintendo, for instance, will often only make slight upgrades from one console to the next. When you look at it, there is not much that separates the Switch from the Wii U in terms of specs, and some of the games on the Switch have been ported from the Wii U and look almost the same. It still has online play support too. If you don’t have an issue with playing games with slightly lesser graphics, then this could be a great way to make huge savings.

The other thing that you could do would be to buy refurbished units. These will often be just as good as new. The most important thing is to buy from a good supplier. The best move here would be to buy it directly from the manufacturer. Both Sony and Nintendo allow users to buy refurbished and factory-certified units straight from their websites. Some will also sell refurbished units through sites like Amazon. Not only will you know that your console is coming straight from the source, but it’ll come with a warranty as well.

These are just a few tricks online gamers can use to find the best deals. Use as many of these tricks as you can if you want to make big savings on your gaming expenses.

China’s war on ‘electronic drugs’: is online gaming an addiction risk for teenagers?

Gaming has come a long way since the pass-and-play sessions of Crash Bandicoot on the PS2. As technology has evolved, so has the gaming industry. The online gaming industry, in particular, is practically unrecognisable from its predecessors. No longer is gaming a niche hobby, it’s a multimillion-dollar industry rivalling Hollywood in terms of its outreach and sheer popularity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in China, where the Chinese games market is set to reach a value of 35 billion dollars in 2021. According to ISFE, the average gamer is now 31 years old. However, China believes online gaming is “destroying a generation”—likening the hobby to “opium” when it comes to its addictiveness.

Online gaming firms dubbed as “electronic drugs”

Two of China’s biggest online gaming firms, Tencent and NetEase, have had their shares fall more than 10 per cent in early Hong Kong trade after a Chinese state media outlet called online gaming “electronic drugs.” The stigmatisation—portrayed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) state-run media—is not a new phenomenon. According to the BBC, investors have become “increasingly concerned” about Beijing cracking down on online gaming firms. It comes after authorities in the country announced a series of measures to tighten their grip on technology and private education companies over the recent months.

An article, written by the state-run publication Economic Information Daily, stated that many teenagers have become addicted to online gaming—thus having a negative impact on them. It also cited that students would play Tencent’s popular game Honor of Kings for up to eight hours a day and suggested there should be more curbs on the industry. “No industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation,” the article went on to argue, likening the online gaming industry to “spiritual opium.”

Since the removal of the article from the publication’s account on WeChat, both firms’ shares have recovered. However, the article has changed the face of online gaming in China as we know it. In response to the claims, Tencent has announced its plans to introduce measures that will reduce children’s access to, and time spent on, its Honor of Kings game—the firm also hinted that it will eventually roll out such policies on all of its games.

Add this to the growing list of new measures Tencent is implementing in a bid to stop minors from becoming “addicted to online games.” It was only in 2019 when the firm—the biggest game company in the world—announced it would roll out facial recognition technology that will scan gamers faces every evening in order to catch minors breaking a gaming curfew and helping to prevent video game addiction. Dystopian or a valid measure to prevent addiction? I’ll let you decide.

Gaming addiction is a legitimate problem

So is video game addiction actually a problem? China seems to think so. Prevention of video game addiction is literally the law of the land. It’s been an aspect of the law that has been evolving over the past decade or so—recently, however, it’s hit some important milestones. China introduced a law that banned minors from playing video games between 10 pm and 8 am, or for playing more than 90 minutes on a weekday in 2019. A moment of silence, please, for the teenagers in China who have been robbed from sneaking to the family PC in the dead of night to get their League of Legends fix.

Jokes aside, China hasn’t been the only culture to wake up to the harmful damage video game addiction can cause to children. Albeit, they’ve been the only ones to implement measures that many in the West would consider Draconian. Video game addiction has recently been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a psychiatric ‘handbook’ used to list all mental health disorders and diagnose them appropriately. The condition ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ is listed up there with gambling addiction and substance addiction. Research has also suggested how 1 to 16 per cent of video gamers meet the criteria for addiction—when unaddressed, such an addiction could have a detrimental impact on mental health and work or social life.

But isn’t straight-up banning minors from gaming at night a bit overkill? Many would argue yes. It’s a two-way street: I’m inclined to believe that taking such measures is a narrow-minded response to the problem. In fact, gaming can bring many positive benefits in terms of mental health and allowing people to socialise with others—which is particularly important, now more than ever, in the era of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Of course, addiction is a serious mental health disorder and should be addressed accordingly. However, stripping every teenager the ability to game for longer than 90 minutes to prevent cases of addiction seems to be somewhat harsh. There are people out there addicted to mac and cheese, should we put a limit on that too? Ultimately, there will be people who agree and disagree. As new technology evolves, so will the gaming industry. How we will face this change, and the problems it brings, is still up for debate.