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How expensive is gaming as a hobby? 3 tips for gaming on a budget

If you are happy to play free games for your smartphone 7 Free Mobile Games That Offer Tons Of Content 7 Free Mobile Games That Offer Tons Of Content If you are looking for free mobile games that offer tons of content, here are some of the best. Read More However, if you want to level up and play on your PC or consoles, the story is very different.

How expensive is gaming as a hobby? This is something worth figuring out before you dive in, or allow your kids to get the game bug. So let's try to break down some of the costs associated with playing video games as a hobby...

The basics

Suppose you are starting from scratch. What are the essential items you need to be able to start your gaming journey?


Two companies dominate the traditional console market:Sony and Microsoft. If you want to play the latest big budget titles, you will inevitably need one of their products.

The latest PlayStation model is the PS4 Pro, while Microsoft's latest hardware is the Xbox One Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S vs. Xbox One:What are the differences? Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S vs. Xbox One:What are the differences? Did you notice the new Xbox One X? Find out how it's different from Xbox One S and original Xbox One and see which one is best for you. Read more . Both products are incremental updates to the standard PS4 and Xbox One; They offer some hardware and design improvements, but little else..

The PS4 Pro currently retails for $399.99. The Xbox One X currently retails for $499.99.


There's little point in splashing out on high-end consoles if you don't have a screen to enjoy its glorious 4K output, multiple teraflops of GPU power, and high-quality audio.

At a minimum, you'll need a good-sized 4K TV. When we review some of the cheapest 4K HDR TVs, the best affordable 4K HDR smart TVs you can buy The best affordable 4K HDR smart TVs you can buy Those looking for a new smart TV on the market have a tough decision to make. It's not a gadget you update frequently, so you want something future-proof. So what do you get? Read More So if you don't already have one, you're looking at another $500 to $1,500 for a nice TV.

personal computer

Of course, many hardcore gamers insist that gaming on a dedicated desktop is the best way to enjoy your hobby.

If you're just getting into gaming, you probably don't need a console and a computer, so pick the one that's right for you.

But Be Careful When Buying A Gaming Computer Specifications To Look For When Buying A Gaming Computer Specifications To Look For When Buying A Gaming Computer Read More If you don't want to invest in a new machine, you could try tweaking your current PC for gaming. Optimize Your PC For Gaming With These 5 Vital Tweaks Optimize Your PC For Gaming With These 5 Vital Tweaks If your computer isn't handling games like it used to, it could use some quick maintenance. Here are five ways any PC gamer can improve their machine's performance. Read more instead.

For a high-end gaming computer, you can expect to pay upwards of $1,500.


You can't be a gamer if you don't have any games to play. New AAA games typically cost around $60. However, if you're happy to play games that are more than a year old, especially annual release franchises, you can spend considerably less.

The extras

While the things we've listed above may be enough to get you started, other costs will soon start to add up.


It doesn't matter if you've taken the console or PC approach to gaming, there are plenty of add-ons that make gaming more fun.

The List Of Gaming Peripherals You Can Buy The Most Essential PC Gaming Accessories For Every Budget The Most Essential PC Gaming Accessories For Every Budget Started PC gaming but don't know what to buy? We've got you covered. No matter how much you have to spend, here are the most important accessories. Read More

Additional drivers

Consoles usually only ship with one controller, so you'll want to pick up a second almost immediately. After all, gaming is more fun when you do it with friends.

Both the new Xbox and PS4 controllers cost around $60, though retailers sometimes offer a discount if you buy one at the same time you buy the console.

Online game

If you play on PC, you can play against other players online for free with apps like Steam.

Unfortunately, Sony and Microsoft are not that generous. Both require you to pay a subscription in order to play online via Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus:What do you get with each? Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus:What do you get with each? If you have a PS4 or Xbox One, you've probably thought about subscribing to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. Let's see what they offer players for the price. Read more . The most cost-effective way to sign up is to purchase an annual plan. Sony's PlayStation Plus subscription is $50 per year; Xbox Live Gold from Microsoft costs $60/year.

Downloadable content and microtransactions

Microtransaction DLC and Downloadable Content (DLC):The Most Expensive Three-Letter DLC in The Story of Gaming:The Story of Gaming Downloadable Content (DLC) is a fundamental part of modern video gaming. But where did it come from and how has it affected the video game industry? Let's find out. Read More Gamers don't like them:There are countless stories of expensive games locking some of the best content behind a paywall, but they're here to stay regardless.

The cost of DLC varies considerably. Some content can cost almost as much as the original game, while smaller items can be picked up for a couple of bucks each.

Similarly, microtransactions have become almost necessary if you want to keep up with the best players online. They can cost from a few cents to tens of dollars.

Virtual reality

Right now, the cutting edge of consumer gaming is virtual reality. Perhaps surprisingly, the cost of entry is not as high as might be expected.

For example, when we reviewed the standalone Oculus Go VR headset, we gave it a score of 10/10 and called it a "must buy." Best of all, the headset is only $200. It's an absolute steal. On the downside, you only get access to games from the Oculus Store, and they cost a few bucks each.

For a more extensive selection of games, you will have to pay a little more. The HTC Vive is around $500, and the Oculus Rift is around $400. The Rift has access to the SteamVR library. Take a look at our article if you need help deciding between Vive and Rift Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive:Which is better for you? Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive:Which is better for you? The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have been available for over a year. Both provide incredible virtual reality experiences, but which one is right for you? We break all differences. Read more.

And, before you head to the stores, you need to make sure you have adequate space to use your headphones. If you don't, you could be losing your money..

How to start playing on a budget

The price of all of these items adds up to a neat sum, but there are a few ways you can eat the whole.

Subscribe to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold

Yes, we just listed subscriptions for both consoles as an expense. However, we didn't mention the impressive number of free games that both plans offer you.

In the last 12 months, both services have given their users around $700 worth of free titles. And these are not junk games that you would never want to play. Examples of gifts include Mafia III, Assassin's Creed IV, Halo 3, and Gears of War 3.

If you're a casual gamer who doesn't play more than a few hours a week, you may never have to buy another game again.

Note: Both plans also offer up to 50% off games.

Buy cheaper consoles

While Sony and Microsoft may dominate the world of high-end consoles, there are plenty of other options out there.

If you spend a lot of time on the road, you may find the handheld Nintendo Switch or the Nintendo Switch 3DS XL vs. New 3DS XL:What should you buy? Nintendo Switch vs. New 3DS XL:What should you buy? Looking to buy a Nintendo laptop? We're here to help you decide between the Nintendo Switch and the new 3DS XL - here's what you need to know. Read More Those looking for family fun can even buy a Nintendo Wii on the cheap. And if it's retro fun you're after, you can even pick up the recently reissued Super NES Classic. Nintendo releases the Super NES Classic Edition. Nintendo releases the Super NES Classic Edition. Soon, players will be able to get a new game. Super Nintendo entertainment system. This is thanks to Nintendo releasing the Super NES Classic Edition. Read more.

Games on other consoles are also cheaper than Xbox and PS4.

Cut the rope and play more games

You could offset some of the cost of your new hobby by cutting the cord. These days, it's possible to save a lot of money on your cable bill without losing access to your favorite TV shows and live channels.

But why not kill two birds with one stone? The Nvidia Shield is one of the best devices for cable cutters 7 reasons why the Nvidia Shield is the ultimate device for cable cutters 7 reasons the Nvidia Shield is the ultimate device for cable cutters The Nvidia Shield may be the ultimate device for cable Cutters everywhere. Here are seven reasons why you beat the competition without much effort. Read More

The GeForce Now beta gives you access to a huge library of high-quality free games, including NBA 2K18, Call of Duty, Bioshock, Sonic, Civilization VI, Overwatch, and many more.

A new Nvidia Shield comes with a game controller in the box.

And the total cost is...

The game is not cheap. Gone are the days when a Gameboy and two games could keep you entertained for six months. If you want to truly experience what the gaming world has to offer, you need to get out your wallet.

And as for how much does it cost to play? There is no easy answer; No two people are alike. However, we estimate that an average family home might look something like this:

  • Xbox One X: $500
  • 5 AAA games: $300
  • Other games: $100
  • 2 x additional controllers: $120
  • Other peripherals: $150
  • Xbox Live Gold: $60
  • Total:$1,230

This should be enough to get you started playing, but you will inevitably spend more as the years go by. Especially when Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo release their next must-have consoles.

If you want to learn more about gaming, check out our article on the best gaming news and review websites. Top 7 Gaming News Sites and Game Review Sites. Top 7 gaming news sites and game review sites in search of the best video game. News website and game review sites? These trusted gaming sites provide great coverage of all kinds of video games. Read more.