It used to be that buying video games was a simple affair. You found the ones you liked, went to your local store and purchased them at full price. Best Buy’s Gamers Club Unlocked subscription service is the result of entirely new forces at work in the gaming industry.
Gamers Club Unlocked is for gamers looking to save some money on their favorite hobby. The subscription service is a response to all the changes that have cropped up in the gaming community over the last decade or so. That simple purchasing experience has been replaced by an even simpler one: simply picking up a controller and buying a game digitally. At the same time, gamers still value new titles, but more and more they want to be able to trade in their new games for credit towards purchasing the next big thing. In short, we’ve reached the point where buying games to build a collection isn’t as common as it used to be.
What is Gamers Club Unlocked Really Is?
Before breaking down the amount of money involved in purchasing a subscription vs saving, it’s important to understand what Best Buy is trying to do with Gamers Club Unlocked.
Gamers Club Unlocked is a subscription gaming service in a very abstract sense. The program is all about securing future gaming purchases from Best Buy’s gaming shoppers in the face of competition from just about anyone.
Last year, Microsoft and Sony launched new video game consoles that allow users to purchase their games without having to get off the couch. Users can pre-order digital games and download them ahead of their release so that they’re ready to go as soon as possible. There are other new competitors too. The PS4 offers PlayStation Now video game rentals, and the Xbox One now lets users rent multiple games for $4.99 a month through EA Access. Best Buy doesn’t make games and doesn’t have a clear path to a digital games footprint. That’s why Gamers Club Unlocked exists.
Free Gamers Club Unlocked members earn points on any games or games hardware they trade-in. More specifically, free Gamers Club members get access to double the amount of points normal shoppers get when they purchase new games, subscriptions to online gaming services and accessories. Points are also earned for game trade-ins. These points are redeemable for gift cards.
Gamers Club Unlocked is a $119 subscription that lasts for two-years. Shoppers who purchase it get 10% extra credit when they trade-in their games, 10% off used games that they purchase, 50% off on a single strategy guide and a Buy Two Get One Free coupon for used games. On top of all that Best Buy throws in the perks that Free Gamers Club users get and slashes $20% off on every new game a user purchases.
That last bit is the key, and the big reason anyone would consider a Games Club Unlocked subscription in the first place. That 20% isn’t a one-time coupon or limited time deal. It’s for the entire two years.
Is Gamers Club Unlocked a Good Deal?
Because Gamers Club Unlocked is a subscription gaming service in the sense that you actively have to make purchases, whether its worth it comes down to numbers.
Almost all new games for the Xbox One and PS4 cost $60. 20% off $60 gives you a purchase price of $48 per game and a savings of $12. To break even, shoppers who don’t buy used games, don’t do trade-ins and have no reason to purchase a strategy guide, 9 new game purchases would have to be made in the two years the service is active.
Of course, shoppers who commit to $119 for a Gamers Club Unlocked subscription are of a different elk. They might purchase a few used games here and there, or they could decide to trade-in their old console for some extra credit. They would see Gamers Club Unlocked pay for itself faster than the average casual gamer does, I think.
Like so many subscription services these days, whether Gamers Club Unlocked is worth it comes down to your habits and the habits of your family.
Gamers Club Unlocked is a great deal for some situations. Mainly, it’s great for families with multiple gamers and multiple gaming consoles. If you are an avid gamer and plan on buying physical games anyway, the subscription will pay for itself faster and be of more use to you. It’ll only become more valuable to you as you trade-in this season’s games for the next big releases.
For average gamers this is a different story, and by average gamers I’m referring to people who are the only gamer in their household and tend to only purchase high-profile games as the spring and fall approaches. Nine new game releases would be needed before you pay off your initial $119.99 investment and even if you mixed up some trade-in credit it’s hard to imagine that you wouldn’t regret spending this much money on a subscription at Best Buy instead of just buying two games.
Gamers Club Unlocked is great, but know your habits and think critically about the category you fall into before purchase. Whether Gamers Club Unlocked is a good deal for you depends on that.