Gaming can be an intimidating hobby, if you didn’t really play as a child or you’re an adult with a lot of responsibilities on your plate. However, it’s a good hobby for having fun, blowing off steam, and is incredibly accessible without any need for extra skills. As such, you should give it a go if you’ve got spare time in the evenings and you’re sick of simply booting up Netflix!
However, gaming also carries a pretty big price tag. Top of the line PCs and consoles can cost upwards of £2000 for a fully built system. Building a PC yourself could even cost you more, with the most recent graphics cards costing around £1500 on their own. If you don’t have plenty of disposable income to your name, it can be hard to play games on the settings they were made for.
So, do you need a big budget to be a gamer, especially if you only want to play in your spare time? Let’s examine the idea below.
Tech Companies Offer More Low Budget Lines Than Ever
You might have seen a lot of online discourse around the pricing of new graphics card lines, such as the RTX 40 series. With prices starting at around £1300, it’s easy to think gaming is only for those who can afford it.
However, these companies also release low budget gaming options alongside their newest high-tech series. You might have to dip back a generation, but you’ll still get the frame rate performance you’re looking for. Alternatively, you can also shop at competitors; if NVIDIA is too expensive for you, you’re likely to find budget friendly options at AMD with the Radeon series instead.
Online Gaming is Often Free to Play
If you want to gentle yourself into the gaming scene, try online gaming. Most games that require an online connection are free to play, meaning you can download and set up a character for nothing, but certain things in the marketplace (cosmetic, some upgrades, etc.,) will cost real money.
But even simpler than that, you can access games like mahjong online for nothing. Simple puzzle games you can pass the time with are great for piquing your interest in the gaming scene as a whole. This is especially true if there’s an element of stakes to them without ever needing to put your money into the pot.
Indie Games are Just as Fun as AAA
You don’t need to buy AAA games to have fun. There are a million or so indie game titles out there that promise just as much good game time, if not more so. After all, indie developers aren’t working under the same constraints as the bigger companies. They have a much smaller budget, but their creativity is limitless.
Shop at sites like Itch.io or exclusively search the indie titles on bigger platforms to get 3 to 4 games for the price of just one big title. Give them a chance and you’re likely to find your new favourite game!
PC Gaming Does Away with Console Worries
If you want to game, but you don’t know what console is the best to go with, take them out of the equation entirely. Instead, invest in a good gaming PC and you’ll have access to the best of the best.
Highly customisable and easily upgradable hardware, access to Xbox Game Pass, and various Playstation exclusives are now being ported for PC players as well. You really do have access to everything when you’ve got a desktop or laptop!
Vintage/Retro Gaming is Still Fun
Vintage gaming is still super fun. Indeed, the games you played as a kid (or didn’t get a chance to play but would love to check out!), are still able to buy and install in the modern day. Sure, they might not have any support, and it might take a while to get them working, but if you put the effort in you can play them to your heart’s content.
If you don’t already own the physical disks you can use emulators and online ports; just make sure you’re using a safe version that’s accessible for those with even the smallest amount of computer knowledge.
Try to Ignore Pre Order Offers
Pre order offers are big and shiny for a reason. Give us around 3 times the usual cost of the game and you’ll get super exclusive items that prove just how much you love this game or the series it comes from! However, that promise is just that: a promise. Is the company really going to deliver?
Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they compromise on the quality, and often the game itself just isn’t worth the investment. If you feel you’re going to miss out on something cool if you don’t buy a pre order, sit back and temper your expectations. It’s a game, meaning it’s entirely virtual, and you won’t own that thing in real life!
Grab Free Games Where You Can (and low cost ones!)
Free games cross the web from time to time, on sites such as Epic Games which regularly run free download options. If you sign up and download the launcher, you can quickly access these offers without money ever needing to change hands – now that’s budget friendly!
You can also find a lot of low cost games on sites like GOG, and you should always keep an eye out for a sale. Something you’ve been waiting to buy for a long time should go on sale around 4 times a year, so make sure you catch it!
Good news! You don’t need a big budget to be a gamer. You just need to choose the right platform for you, find the games you truly enjoy, and play on settings you’re comfortable with. You can pick up cheap and free games from various marketplaces, save your money by only spending when you’re sure, and save up for an upgrade if you really get into it.