And so it begins...
These days things are slightly different, but follow similar structure. You have to snag the 'Black Friday' sales immediately when they go live, otherwise you run the risk of suffering from an agonizing amount of lag; the servers simply weren't built for a sudden influx of millions of pageviews. By the time the page loads, physical items could be sold out (although digital downloads have virtually no limit on inventory). You've seen them as much as I have: Super Meat Boy for $9.99 here, Torchlight for $9.99 there, or even games for free at this* sketchy Russian website (*link removed). Alas, are these sales really all that different from the everyday sales that the Internet has introduced to us?
No, not really. There's a major Steam sale just about every month, Newegg offers discounts and shipping opportunities all day, everyday, and sites like GamersGate, Impulse, or GreenManGaming just do what they can to make an impact. Torchlight alone has had more sales than I can count in the last year, and they've always landed the price somewhere between $5 and $10. Don't get me wrong: I fully encourage gamers to take every opportunity given to acquire things for cheaper than standard price - but at this point, that "standard price" has become more infrequent than the sale prices! What does it mean? It's almost as if no one should ever purchase a game unless it's on sale - I can nearly guarantee that it will be lowered in price sometime within six months after its launch.
Boiling it down
As much as it may seem to be the case, even our beloved Internet cannot entirely derail tradition. The only conclusion I could come up with for buying games during "Black X Interval of Time" sales was to take advantage of them for gifts. Fellow gamers and relatives that might otherwise be disinclined to buy one of your favorite games can now be recruited at minimal price. Personally, I haven't even installed games that I bought on sale a year ago. That's hardly saving me any money. What do you guys think? Leave a comment below about which sales you like to 'jump on,' and why you do so! Do you buy games that you intend to play, but still haven't installed?