Black Friday Week is almost upon us, although with the scorching console bundle deals we've been seeing these past few days, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was already here. The Christmas retail season is about to hit full swing and there'll be games deals aplenty in amongst the retail madness. There'll be lots to get through, but this guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday should hopefully stand you in good stead.
Black Friday: The Lowdown
If you're not American or directly involved in the retail industry, you might not even have heard of Black Friday, athough you'll probably have heard the stampeding herds of shoppers around this time of year. Here's a quick guide to what Black Friday actually entails:
What is Black Friday? Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving (yes, blame the US), and has therefore been a time when many consumers have had the day off and used the freedom to do a spot of Christmas shopping. As a result, many stores began gearing their key sales towards this date, and it's swelled into global retail phenomenon.
Why Black Friday? Perhaps it's because profits start swinging back into the black again around this time of year. Perhaps it's because of the horrors that customer-facing staff see every year as the stampeding hordes approach their doors. Wikipedia posits that the terms originated in Philadelphia, where it was "used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving".
So what's Cyber Monday? The online equivalent of Black Friday, engineered back in 2005 to help online retailers get in on the fun.
What are lightning deals? You'll have seen this phrase a fair bit across a number of retailers (Amazon especially). Lightning deals are fast-moving bargains that typically last for a few hours or less, meaning you should snap deals up while you have the chance.
When? Black Friday 2014 is November 28th. Cyber Monday 2014 is December 1st.
It's worth noting, if you've not already realised from the ludicrous bundles we've been seeing recently, that retailers start stepping up their games well in advance of Black Friday. Although the 28th is when we're likely to see the very hottest bargains and lightning deals, many retailers are running sales initiatives cross the whole week.
Black Friday & Christmas Games Console Buyer's Guides
Over the course of the week, we've been putting together comprehensive buyer's guides on all of the main consoles and handheld devices to be had this Christmas. Whether you're looking for a sweet Xbox One deal, a bargain price on a 3DS, or a cheap PS4 console bundle, we've got all of the information to help you find the best deal for your needs.
Bookmark these pages!
So you're all set now, totally prepared for Black Friday, loaded up with info on the consoles and the games to look out. But what about the retailers themselves? Well, a number of UK retailers have started putting up splash pages for their Black Friday games deals, and we've listed a whole bunch of them here. We'll be adding to the list regularly as more sites start their sales, so remember to check back regularly.
365 Games: One of the few places you can get a New Nintendo 3DS this Christmas, 365 Games have gone live with a Black Friday ad on their front page, linking through to their games section.
Amazon: Always a Black Friday favourite. Pay particular heed to the lightning deals, as some absolutely blinding console bundle deals have been known to pop up each year. Click here to check out the PC & Video Games deals section.
Argos: Another retailer with a fat clock counting down to Black Friday deals, Argos are preparing to go big this year.
Asda: Although they haven't gone live with their Black Friday plans as yet, we're fully expecting Asda to built on the huge successes they enjoyed this time last year, and go big with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2014.
Coolshop: We'd almost forgotten about Coolshop as their prices are often not that competitive these days, but their Black Friday deals are now live and definitely worth checking out!
Currys / PC World: The electronics leviathan is also counting down to the big day, and you can register your interest in Black Friday deals and learn more about the day itself on their splash page.
GameStop: The UK branch of GameStop have fired up their Black Friday countdown timer, and you can sign up to their newsletter which'll give you prompt warning when the biggest deals are about to hit. They're promising up to 70% off on a lot of their wares come Friday.
Green Man Gaming: GMG have announced that they'll be running five days of games deals, starting on Thursday 27th.
John Lewis: Just a splash page for now, but JL have announced that they'll be price matching their competitors. Although we'll likely see the best prices from specialist shops, we're not counting out the one-stop department stores. They've been known to have the occasional steal when it comes to console bundles.
Origin: Get up to 75% off of the likes of Mass Effect, Mirror's Edge, Battlefield 4 right now!
Paradox: Paradox Interactive have gone big for Black Friday over on their own store, with up to 80% off selected titles.
Steam: Gird your wallets, folks. The Steam Fall Sale arrives on Wednesday 26th and will run through Black Friday until the end of play on Cyber Monday. Get ready for some serious PC games deals and for your backlog to triple in size. We're scared..
The Hut: You can check out The Hut's Black Friday deals page right now, though at the time of writing it doesn't look as though there are too many killer price cuts in effect. No doubt that'll change the closer we get to the 28th.
Xbox: Microsoft have launched their Xbox Black Friday deals page, promising savings of up to 85% through until December 1st, with special deals and discounts happening on Friday.
Check in with us regularly
We will, of course, be bringing you all of the hottest gaming deals across our site, the Dealspwn Twitter stream, and Facebook page throughout the insanity of Black Friday week and all throughout the Christmas retail season. Make sure you've got our general games deals stream and console bundles channel bookmarked, and if you have any questions or queries, do be sure to pop a comment into our forum.