Cheap Games Consoles
Christmas Bargains 2012
Top deals on Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo 3D
This is a rundown of all the top current games console deals. If you've seen a better deal, please post in the discussion and we'll add it here.
Please note offers are subject to availability as stocks are constantly coming and going, so don't hang about.
Before you start:
- Are you spending over £100? – get free Section 75 protection.
- Do you REALLY need ‘em? See the Money Mantras.
Important! Ensure you know how to shop safely before trying these deals
- For safety, pay by credit card if over £100
- Protect purchases under £100
- Use unfamiliar sites without checking
- Let your antivirus run out
Tips for shopping safely
Whether it's a retailer or restaurateur, airline or air-conditioner seller, computer shop or car rental company, there are always two main risks. Either it's a dodgy company, or it's a legit company that has financial problems and goes bust.
The aim of these tips is to help you minimise the risks.
What happens if a company goes bust?
Quite simply, its customers are immediately transformed into creditors. This hits hardest if you've ordered goods or tickets from them, and not had delivery, as then you become one of a line of people trying to get your money back out of the company's assets, and you usually get back much less than you paid in.
Even if you've had delivery, if the company you bought from goes under and there's a problem with the goods, it can mean you've no comeback.
While MoneySavingExpert.com endeavours to check deals are valid, we don't check companies ' finances. Even huge names like MFI and Woolies have folded, so it's very important you use the right strategies to stay protected where possible.
DO Pay by credit card for goods over £100
Pay by credit card for something over £100, and Section 75 laws supercharge your consumer rights.
Unlike debit cards, cheques or cash, pay in full or part (even just £1) on a credit card and by law the lender's jointly liable with the retailer.
This means you have exactly the same rights with the card company as you do with the retailer. So if it goes bust, you can simply take your complaints there instead and get money back if there's no delivery.
Yet it's important you ALWAYS REPAY IN FULL each month, so there's no interest cost. See the full Section 75 guide.
DO Protect purchases under £100
Section 75 doesn't apply to purchases under £100, but there's still an option which can help. It isn't a legal protection, just Visa, Mastercard and Amex's rules, but it's a good back-up.
Spend on a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card or any debit or charge card. If the goods don't appear, you can try to ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller's bank, so long as you complain within 120 days of realising there’s a problem. See the Chargeback guide for full details.
DON'T Use unfamiliar sites without checking
Bogus websites are often set up to cash in on popular products like Ugg boots and Tiffany necklaces, so be wary if it's an unfamiliar site. And don't think that because it appears on a reputable search engine, that makes it a reputable site - always check.
DO Check the site's legit
Most folk know to look for a security padlock on the bottom right of a website, but that doesn't mean the site's legit, just that payment's secure.
To find out who registered the site and when, search the Whois database. Reputable firms should also appear on the Companies House site, the UK Government's official companies register. Be very wary of businesses with just a PO Box or email address.
Study the site's worldwide web ranking on Alexa. Anything in the top 100,000 means it's reasonably big and a good, though not foolproof indication of legitimacy. Do a quick Google search for other shoppers' experiences.
DON'T Let your antivirus run out
Crucially, ensure your security's up-to-date - free software can be downloaded to your computer in about five minutes. Full details in the Free Antivirus Software guide.
DO Know your distance selling rights
Many people are surprised to learn you've MORE rights buying online (or by telephone/catalogue) due to the Distance Selling Regulations.
These give you a legal right to send most goods back within seven days for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault. You'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. Read Consumer Rights for a full guide.
However, of course, this is balanced by the fact ordering online automatically means there's a time gap between ordering and delivering - when the company has your money. So if it goes bust during that time, the distance selling rights don't help.
DO Understand sometimes there's no protection.
Ultimately, there is always a risk that a company can go bust. If the above routes don't apply, then you have to make a decision about whether you're willing to take the risk of parting with your cash.
Don't be scared of this. Every day we all make transactions based on trust, and this is part of that, but do balance up the amount you're spending against the risk. Don't give large amounts of money to a company you're not sure about.
The most family-oriented of the consoles, Nintendo's Wii appeals mainly to casual gamers rather than the hardcore, who are more likely to opt for an Xbox or PS3.
However, with the Wii U due for release, you can expect the orginal Wii to drop in price. It may be worth holding off for a while.
- Wii MArio and Sonic at the Olympic Games console £95.99 at Amazon*
- Pre-order Nintendo Wii U 8GB basic pack, white £248
The cheapest Wii U console you can currently order is at Tesco* at £248
The pack includes 8GB white Wii U console, white Wii U gamepad, white Wii U gamePad stylus, Wii U AC adapter, Wii U gamepad AC adapter and high speed HDMI cable.
It is unlikely this console will be reduced any time before Christmas considering how long it took for the original Wii to be discounted. You can also play most games from the original console on this one, so you don't need to buy new gaming software.
In terms of computing and graphics power, the Wii lags well behind the other two, but this isn't an issue since its appeal is in the innovative controllers and instant playability rather than fancy visuals.
- Xbox 360 250GB, 3 games (incl Black Ops 2) & 13 mths Live, £189.
This HMV in-store offer is a cracker. The RRP of the bundle is £320 if you bought the items separately.
- 250GB console
- 13 months Xbox Live (gold) (usually £30)
- Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (usually around £43)
- Forza 4
Move quickly if you want this one. HMV says there are plenty, though one store we checked only had one. Forumites have reported you can exchange Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for Halo 4, if you prefer.
- 250GB Xbox console for £100 or 250GB console with Kinect for £200
We've heard rumours that Morrisons is selling the basic 250GB console for £100. It's a great deal but it's not confirmed. Only a handful of forumites have reported getting one, so don't make a special trip.
The Kinnect alone is worth about £80, so you'd be paying about £120 for the console, which is pretty good. Kinects are rarely reduced.
- Xbox 360 4GB- £139.99 delivered
If you want a basic 4GB console, Amazon* is cheapest. 4GB is a small amount of storage but is fine if you don't want to save much to your console and will mostly use it to watch films. However the deals above give a huge amount more for only a little more cash. Upgrading later on can cost a lot more than splashing out initially.
About the Xbox 360
Still very much the hardcore gamer's console, the 360 offers the most games as well as top-quality graphics. Remember there are some added costs if you play games online.
The 360 recently launched Kinect; a control mechanism which uses your body as the controller, dispensing with buttons and joysticks entirely. Buying one separately will cost in the region of £100 so if you're planning to buy an Xbox and thinking of getting one, picking up a bundle could be worthwhile.
The Nintendo 3DS can cost up to £140, though we've found it a bit cheaper.
- Nintendo 3DS £136 - online
Tesco has reduced the Coral Pink* and Ice White* consoles from £139 to £136, while the standard price on the Metalic Red* and Cosmos Black* is £160.
- Nintendo 3DS XL £160 (poss £150)
For an extra £30, you can get the newer 3DS (the XL) in black*, blue* or red* at Tesco. It's been reduced by £15 from £175 to £160. Again, you can use the code TDX-WRKT if you're new to Tesco Direct. The screen is 90% larger than the Nintendo 3DS and it has a better battery life.
- Nintendo 3DS XL £160
Amazon also has the 3DS XL at £160, with free super saver delivery and a greater range of colours, including blue*, red* and silver*. You'll also get a £10 promotional gift certificate added to your account to spend on selected Amazon fashions.
Sony PS3 Slim
The PS3 is the most expensive of the consoles, though prices have dropped with the launch of the sleeker and more energy efficient slim version (pictured).
The only console that doubles as a true high-def media player owing to its Blu-ray drive, it also offers a large hard drive as standard.
- 12GB PS3 Super Slim £150. Get it from Amazon* including delivery. You'll also be able to add a game for £15, such as Skyrim (RRP £27) or Battlefield 3 (RRP £29.99), as well as getting a £10 promotional gift certificiate to your account to spend on selected Amazon fashions.
- 500GB PS3 Slim with GT5: Academy Edition and Uncharted 3: Game of the year edition. £224 Zavvi* has already reduced this bundle by £70 and with our blagged £5 off console code MSE5 you can get this for £224. Delivery's free.
Found a cheaper deal?
Let us know in the Cheap Games Consoles Discussion
and we'll add top finds here
Planning to play online? Watch out for added costs.
Many games now allow you to compete with other players over the web, so you can test your mettle on the world stage. Online gaming access is free for Wii and PS3 owners, but costs £40/year (can be had for £35) for Xboxers.