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Study: Impulse Purchases Amongst Gamers On The Rise

How many of you wander into GameStop with no intention of buying anything, but still walk out with a bag? Well, if nearly half of you won't admit you've done it at least once in the past six months, we might have a few liars on our hands.

According to the latest results compiled by a Canadian NPD study, 40% of gamers say they've made an "impulse purchase" in the past half-year. Of course, we're willing to bet that downloadable content is to blame for such a high number; I too have logged on to the Store just to peruse, and ended up purchasing something small. And not surprisingly, the researchers do attribute that statistic to "creative packaging, online accessibility and a rise in the availability of low cost pre-owned games." Said Matthew Tattle, NPD Group manager:

"Clearly gamers are becoming much less reluctant to spend on games. One would think it is a little unusual to see impulse purchases during a recession but it's clear that hardcore gamers will find a way to satisfy their need for something new, different and enjoyable."

Yeah, well, for the millionth time, it doesn't appear as if we're in a recession (stop listening to the propaganda and just look around, I say). Obviously, the average cost of an impulse buy is significantly lower than a planned purchase; the former averages about $27.19 while planned purchases are around $42.97. That makes perfect sense. And yes, packaging and marketing does matter, as 40% of gamers also claim that the packaging alone was either "very" or "extremely important" to them. Oh, and one last intriguing stat: the study found that girls were more likely to buy on impulse than guys...okay, I could make some kind of relevant crack here, but I won't. I promise.

...

...no, I promised.

10/16/2009 12:32:06 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (50 posts)

Deleted User []
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 12:44:45 PM
Reply

I did that yesterday! and yea, Downloadable titles are mostly to blame for my impulse buys

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bigrailer19
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 12:50:55 PM
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i dont impulse buy, i ussually look into games well b4 they are out, and decide when and what games i want to buy from that. i have never walked into a gamestore and walked out with something unexpectdly. i have however walked into a gamestore to buy a game and walked out with a dif. one than planned.

This happened the other day, i went to get marvel ultimate alliance 2 and walked out with heavenly sword and ratchen and clank future: tools of destruction for the same price instead! yes i finally got to play these two games i have wanted for a very long time!

If i wanna buy i buy, if i dont i ussually can restrain myself be it whatever reason!

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 8:27:30 PM

Good call on the R&C title. Its pretty awesome.
I always research games before i buy too. I did kinda impulsively buy R&C:Quest for Booty. I imported the disc from Hong Kong. I knew i was going to buy the game anyway because Insomniac makes awesome games, but i wasnt really looking to drop $30 on the disc version.
It came today. And it was worth every penny.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 12:55:59 PM
Reply

I am guilty of this. :( although not so much at game stop. it was a problem for awhile but I am happy to announce I have it under control. :)

i find that if I have to convince myself to buy something I shouldn't buy it.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/16/2009 1:00:15 PM

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crump602
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 1:08:03 PM
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PSN has made me go negative in my account many times but its worth it LOL!

Last edited by crump602 on 10/16/2009 1:09:00 PM

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fundando
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 1:09:12 PM
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No Ben, there is a recession that's why more than half the people at my workplace got laid off and why it's so hard to find work in my field(AV,Lighting and sound Design).

I think gaming might be a little bit recession proof. I bought way more games due to the fact I have lots of time to play them.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 2:12:01 PM

And yet, every shopping place in the vicinity is inundated with people making completely unnecessary, luxury purchases everywhere I go.

There is no recession. It was created and invented by the media to give the government an excuse to save the American car companies.

Famous quote: "The economy is magic. If you tell people the economy is bad, it will be bad. If you tell people the economy is good, it will be good."

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 2:45:36 PM

The car companies should have been allowed to fail and file bankruptcy. Failure it what you get when the primary focus of a company is to take care of the labor unions and not build cars people want and need.

I certainly believe we have seen a downturn but it wasn't nearly as bad as the media portrayed it. It's getting worse and won't get better until taxes are cut and the new Prince of Peace stops spending our money like a kid with a credit card who won a shopping spree.

Sorry Ben. Don't mean to start any political arguements. It's just refreshing knowing theres more then just me out there who's sketical of our "MSM".

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Highlander
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 2:50:02 PM

Oh, I don't know Ben, you're right, there is plenty of spending going on, although according to the retailers themselves spending is lower and all the credit agencies are saying that people are reducing debt and saving more than they have for decades. Those are things that *always* happen in recessions. Then there is the whole banking crisis thing, followed by the whole 10% unemployment thing. Kinda makes me think that there may just be something to all this recession talk...Just sayin'...

@Jawknee
Tax cuts won't help. I won't argue it here, this is not the place. However it is a fact that the transition to more consumption taxation has reduced the taxation burden on high earners while increasing it on lower earners. It is an absolute fact that lower earners spend a higher proportion of their income on necessities that are all taxed than higher earners do. As a proportion of total income, low/mid earners pay more in total tax (income + all other forms of taxation) than high earners do. So instead of those with more helping those with less, we have the reverse where those with less are helping those with more. The usual calls for tax cuts will not help the majority of people in the US at all.

Lastly, the downturn is probably worse than is portrayed by the media. If you don't believe me, talk to all those poor saps who have been laid off or made homeless, or had their savings, and pension funds obliterated by the unfettered greed of Wall Street whizz-kids.

</rant>

Before anyone bothers, I know, I'm a socialistic communist with a naive Utopian mind-set and have failed to grasp reality. Whatever.

Oh, I seem to be stuck in rant mode. Ah well. At least the weekend is here.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/16/2009 3:08:10 PM

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JackC8
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 3:56:59 PM

Half the people where I work got laid off back in the first part of the '90s, when the economy was booming.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 4:12:59 PM

You cut the taxes across the board. Reduce the burden on the business' who need that extra money to create jobs. You cut the capital gains tax to incourage more investment, decrease the pay roll tax to free up more of our money. I dont know how you can deny cutting taxes and spending doesn't work. It has worked everytime we've done it. A government that grows while the private sector shrinks is a disaster for the future of any nation and it's economy.

Yes your correct. Tax cuts will not have an immediate effect on peoples wealth but it sure a heck will open up more opertunities for those who want it. When there more money in the private sector there's more jobs and less people out of work.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/16/2009 4:17:40 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 4:32:47 PM

Bah, your also right. Not the place for this.

I'm out.

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NoMoreWar
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 4:44:50 PM

@ Ben. wow dude. while that quote has truth to it, your comment about no recession is the most ignorant thing i've seen you post. a recession is a defined occurrence: two or more consecutive quarters of a decline in GDP. in current dollars, US GDP has been declining since 2008 Q4. Thats at least 3 straight quarters of a recession, with the data still pending on 2009 Q3. Look it up: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp
As for the media, they certainly don't help matters, but they sure as hell did not cause this thing. Anyway, you can't just base a recession on how much you see people buying useless crap. Certain industries almost never feel a major impact of recessions while others get hammered.

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Fane1024
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:38:52 PM

I'm slightly reluctant to post this, because this isn't the place for political debate, but like Highlander, I can't let opinions like Jawknee's go unchallenged.

Generally speaking, recessions only (significantly) affect the people they affect.

By which I mean that most people keep their jobs and are able to keep spending money on unnecessary luxury items (though sometimes they refrain somewhat), but the people who do get laid off certainly feel the crunch. Judging the condition of the economy by the behavior of a few individuals is what makes people think Reaganomics works. AND IT DOESN'T.

Ben is right that proclaiming that the economy is in trouble is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Scarecrow
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 8:16:38 PM

Fully agree with Ben and others here

OMG tax cuts for business
It's never worked, it'll never work, period.

*cough* Herbert Hoover *cough*

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 8:29:13 PM

NoMoreWar: Believe what you want. How we measure what a recession is doesn't mean that's the correct way to do it. And yes, the credit crunch happened because people are idiots and thought they could afford a half-million dollar house on $50k/year, and the lenders were idiots to give people on welfare loans.

So certain things are down. But the ONLY time things got bad was AFTER the uber-liberal the-sky-is-falling press TOLD everyone things were bad. Maybe you should look THAT up.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 10:54:38 PM

Tax cuts for business' don't work Scare? What do you think they do with all that money? Stick it in a matress or create jobs and expand their work force? Owning a small business I can tell it does work from experience. The more money I have to pay in taxes the less money I have to hire people.

Now im out! =P

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NoMoreWar
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 12:11:54 AM

Ben, the measure of it and the definition of it are two different things. I'm merely pointing out that you can't make a simple observation such as people making unnecessary luxury purchases and determine we must not be in a recession. Its a factual thing with a clear definition; either we are or we aren't, and by definition we currently are. the measure of it is just the percent of the decline in GDP in x year's dollars. This happens to be one of seemingly few areas in economics that is actually a yes or no, matter of factual thing, and is determined by mathematical formulas. I don't want to have an argument here; i'm just trying to point out facts, yet as an economics major, its very difficult not to argue when what you're saying about the recession is straight up incorrect. yes, the housing market failure led to this overall mess. yes, the media certainly made it worse because expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies. All i'm trying to say is, while economics is very subjective in many areas, recessions are definitive.

Last edited by NoMoreWar on 10/17/2009 12:13:56 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 12:38:54 AM

No. Considering that a recession is part of economics, it's all subjective. And the common man tends to have a better idea of the economic situation than most any poli-sci major or economist I ever met.

You think looking at how people behave and how they spend their money doesn't matter? You'd rather go by numbers? Well, feel free. The simple bottom line is that most everyone responds the same way when they're frightened about losing their money, and that's save as much as they can. Luxury items disappear. One of the first things that go away are trips to restaurants; they're entirely unnecessary and expensive, what with the overall cost. And yet, in the midst of this so-called "recession," all restaurants in my area were flourishing. All of them.

People were out and about. People stay HOME when they have no money to spend. In this case, in the worst of the situation (right around February), I was in a club where bottles of liquor were between $250 and $400 and all bottle-service tables were always full. Full of the young and older, and NOT all from affluent areas. There's absolutely nothing in there that's essential; it'd be one of the very first things people would cut out if they were facing financial problems.

Look around. Don't stick your head into numbers. Believe what your eyes tell you. There ARE parts of the economy that are down, but a recession? My family's business nearly failed during the REAL recession of the early '90s; during this entire period of the past two years, it has only gone up. In the early '90s, roads were almost empty. Malls closed. Yes, there's some of that still, but nowhere near enough around here that tells me we're in trouble.

I don't care what the parameters are. I really don't. Considering the fact that they rarely mean much of anything in regards to how people live their lives, I always question their relevance.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/17/2009 12:40:31 AM

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fluffer nutter
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 2:23:22 AM

I know it can be subjective to the area that one lives in but I live in an expensive area and have seen dozens upon dozens of stores shut down, and the average unemployment rate around here is over 15%. I've seen it in many other states where areas that once had shoppers, or shops for that matter, are gone. I know it's not everywhere but it is prevalent in many areas. I've also seen a massive amount of dealerships gone but we all know that story.

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NoMoreWar
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 11:36:38 AM

HAHAHAHAH! you just don't get it man. you are completely misunderstanding everything i am saying. i did not say that observing the way people spend their money doesn't matter. i said YOU cannot go out where YOU live and see that people THERE are spending money on luxury items and automatically assume that there is no recession. full stop. thats all i said. and clearly you don't know economics as much as you think you do. it is not ALL subjective. i'm not going to "stick my head in numbers." i will however talk facts about subjects such as recessions, which happen to be based entirely on numbers. you are pretty much trying to argue that one plus one doesn't equal two. recessions are ALL numbers. they are not remotely subjective, which is why you cannot go see people spending money and determine anything related to a recession. a recession does not mean that nobody spends their money and all businesses fail. as i said before, some industries will be totally unaffected while others are hammered. You seem to have this idea that a recession can only be occurring if you are personally impacted by it. thats like saying there was no hurricane katrina because i don't live in new orleans. Recessions are not a subjective thing, like it or not. they are definitive and we are, by definition, in a recession as a country. this does not mean that suddenly nobody has any money and suddenly all of the local restaurants go out of business. We would have to see a much larger recession or depression to start seeing that, because on the total scale, this recession really isn't that bad. i guess you could think of it like an earthquake. living my day to day life i haven't felt the earth tremor at all, but if i look at the recorded seismographic activity in my area, there are often little tiny earth tremors in my area, and there can be huge ones miles away. just because i didn't feel any of it doesn't mean they did not occur. as i said, this recession just hasn't been bad enough to personally impact everyone. seriously, even during the great depression there were businesses that thrived, including complete luxuries like movie theaters. and during the great depression, the jobless rate hit 25%. are you saying that if, in that situation, you happened to be one of the majority 75% who still had a job that you would argue that things are going fine? i guess you are taking the whole mainstream media outlook of "the world is ending" and applying that as your definition of recession. in the real world economy, recessions are completely natural and occur just about twice every decade. just because we aren't suddenly back in the stone age doesn't mean there isn't a recession.
if you want to see what this one looks like as far as how its affecting people, go to Miami, Detroit, Reno, San Diego, Riverside, Las Vegas (try living there when the housing bubble burst).

i am done. if you want to continue to believe that recessions are subjective, thats up to you. but i'd encourage you to look it up.

Last edited by NoMoreWar on 10/17/2009 11:44:28 AM

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Highlander
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 7:21:23 PM

@Ben,

Credit where credit is due. I agree about the credit crunch and people taking too much debt. Too many people who could not and never will be able to afford it, were advanced far, far too much credit by banks and other lenders who made criminally stupid lending decisions. I could never understand why banks started lending money to people who clearly were not safe risks to buy homes that were just as clearly over values by a market that was clearly a growing bubble. How their risk analysis could have been so poor is beyond me. I also cannot understand why the people who preside over such abject failure continue to be both employed and paid bonuses for leading people and country into ruin.

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kevinater321
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 1:09:54 PM
Reply

Downloadable games are evil! i spent well over $100 on ipod apps. And i also did this when i went to preorder Uncharted 2, I also bought Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Even though i had already owned and compleated that game, i had also traded it in as an impulse trade in :)

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Highlander
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 1:21:52 PM
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Things like SingStar also drive impulse buys.

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englishgolfer
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 2:56:04 PM

and uncharted 2. got my first ylod one week before uncharted 2 came out. here in sweden i have to wait three weeks at least for sony to mend my ps3. couldn't wait that long and ended up buying a slim. it will go nicely in the living room once i get my phat model back...

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Highlander
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 3:20:19 PM

Arggh! That sucks.

My oldest PS3 is coming up on 3 years old, and has been played pretty constantly over those three years. I'm actually impressed that something that gets so heavily used is still working. That said, I guess it's only a matter of time now before age eventually takes it's toll on my original PS3.

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Gone
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 2:20:22 PM
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I only impulse buy when games are on sale. I almost bought GT for PSP at Fry's for $19 and I don't even own a PSP yet. Fry's also had the PSPGo for $199 and I almost went crazy, but then realized that the $19 GT won't work on the PSPGo.

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Fane1024
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 6:06:24 PM

Same here. I don't usually even go to the store looking for a specific game. I have researched the games I expect to buy and, when they reach the price I am willing to pay for them, I buy them.

Occassionally, I will pick up a game I didn't expect to get because the price is so good. Recent examples: Madden 07 ($4.99), SOCOM Tactical Strike ($7.99, I think) and R&C Up Your Arsenal ($4.99).

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Alienange
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 3:18:51 PM
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There's nothing 'impulse' about it! I thought about it for 3.2 seconds and that's long enough for me!

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JackC8
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 3:51:09 PM
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I've bought several games because I played the demo, maybe didn't even finish it, but I had to have that game immediately! I dunno...is there a better way to buy a game? If it really blows me away, I can't think of any reason I should sit around thinking about it.

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Scarecrow
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 4:44:07 PM
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Yes....I think this is VERY true nowadays

Seriously, game's are too good to pass up.
Specially on the ps3 side

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 4:44:46 PM
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A cheapass game is a cheapass game, what it comes down to is would you rather have the 10, 20, or 30 bucks, or would you rather have a new game for your collection?

As far as PSN stuff goes, it is VERY easy to spend your money when you can't actually see it in front of your face.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/16/2009 4:45:19 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:17:54 PM

So true but too often I find myself looking at all the cheap ass games I've bought and wondered what AAA game I could have bought instead.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 10:45:32 PM

me too jawk, but it seems like a good idea at the time :)

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tes37
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 9:10:31 AM

"As far as PSN stuff goes, it is VERY easy to spend your money when you can't actually see it in front of your face."

Because of PSN, Sony is making more money off me at a faster rate this generation than any other. As more people become owners of ps3's, this could turn out to be Sony's most profitable generation yet.

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NoMoreWar
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:21:30 PM
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i've made impulse purchases on games before, and i've almost always regretted it in the end lol. i like to think i've learned that lesson and will now only buy games i know i want ahead of time.

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bOnEs
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:22:11 PM
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i impulse buy cheap used games all the time... the last "new game" impulse buy was mercenaries 2 and i was severely disappointed... that's the reason why i don't buy new games on impulse anymore... but, every time i go into gamestop or topp's trade center, it's with the intent of buying a cheap used game...

i've only bought 3 games on the PSN so far... echochrome, PAIN (impulse) and linger in shadows... for some reason, none of the PSN games ever interest me... echochrome is the only one that seemed worth the purchase...

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BlinkBoy
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:23:06 PM
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I buy every game I want, not so much impulse buying. I always know a little about a game before I buy. I buy games that didn't get awesome reviews sometimes because I think I might like it anyway.

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Scarecrow
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 6:35:59 PM

I like your style

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Naga
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 5:25:29 PM
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Sacred 2 FTW!!

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fluffer nutter
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 6:44:06 PM
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I get most of my games, on clearance, usually within two months after release. The way I see it, if a game is $20 or less, that's way less than I make an hour so it's not so much a bad investment at all if I even spend one hour playing it.

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Alienange
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 7:41:59 PM
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Borderlands is selling for 40 canadian dollars on launch day! I feel an impulse buy coming on!

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Wage SLAVES
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 12:23:06 AM
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My wife went on an impulse rampage last week and that's the reason I haven't gotten Uncharted 2!!!! $350 bucks dude! I can get it but with that kinda chunk out I'll wait til next paycheck...

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Kangasfwa
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 12:23:50 AM
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Why would anyone go into a store without a reason? I go the store when I need something. Not because my wallet is burning a hole in my pocket.

@ Ben's recession comment (personal experience)
Restaurant revenue in general has actually been on the decline since mid to late 2007 (according to a training seminar this past summer). Around the same time I started working where I am now so I've watched it happen. I think there's more to our gradual decline in business than the 'worst economic disaster since the fall of Rome,' but it's just the way things are rights now.

Last edited by Kangasfwa on 10/17/2009 12:24:30 AM

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___________
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 12:49:20 AM
Reply

never.
i never buy a game without either trying a demo, reading countless reviews or renting it from the store first.
i wish foxtell had a fast forward function on live TV.
im sick of trying to watch mythbusters but have to put up with 5 minute adds every 20 minutes.
i dont like paying for adds of a soldiers funeral.
i mean seriously WTF does that have to do with halo ODST?
seriously.
that has to be the stupidest,randomest, most irrelevant add i have ever seen.
whats next?
a cat chasing a mouse to advertise the army?
adds are becoming more and more random these days, i use to understand straight away what the adds for.
now im still trying to figure it out today.
like the add for sony bravia TVs has a whole heap of colourfull rabbits bouncing around piling up in a pyramid shape.
WHAT THE ^%$# does colourfull rabbits have to do with TVs???????????????????????????
seriously advertisers seriously need to lay off the acid!

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___________
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 8:34:33 AM

another perfect example.
a talking flower for a bank add.
WHAT THE ^%$# DOES A TALKING FLOWER HAVE TO DO WITH A BANK?

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fluffer nutter
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 11:08:24 AM

Randomness! America A O K! (What's that from?)

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Snaaaake
Saturday, October 17, 2009 @ 8:23:34 AM
Reply

I'm boring
I'm walking
I'm shopping
Gamestop I'm coming
In my mind have nothing
Persona 4 there sitting
Persona 4 I'm buying.

Well, that's probably the case from my experience.

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DeadReaper
Sunday, October 18, 2009 @ 6:03:16 PM
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I did this 2 weeks ago, I went into microplay just to look and ended up buying ghostbusters and farcry 2 for $75. Pretty much got farcry 2 for free because ghostbusters was $65 brand new and they had a deal on used, buy 1 get on half off so I bought ghostbusters for $49 and farcry for $15.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, November 08, 2009 @ 12:22:51 AM
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Since I'm also a collector, I almost always buy my games used, & on impulse, but only if they're dropped down to the 19.99 or less price range. I usually come out of Gamestop with 5 to 12 games

Since I'm not into the sports games too much, I I still pick up tons of those games on the Gamecube, Xbox,PS1, & PS2 for only 99 cents each.

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