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Dealmaster: Sony and Microsoft launch a bunch of PS4 and Xbox deals ahead of E3

The limited-edition PS4 Sony has launched for its E3 sale this year.Enlarge / The limited-edition PS4 Sony has launched for its E3 sale this year.Sony

This weekend marks the unofficial start of E3, the most prominent video game trade event in the United States. Ars will be at the show again, and this year's edition is expected to be somewhat muted compared to years past, what with Sony joining Nintendo in foregoing a formal presence at the event. There should still be plenty of news and new game footage for industry watchers to digest, however.

For those who are just interested in playing games, though, E3 has also become an excuse for game companies to hold sales events. Sony and Microsoft both rolled out big promotions this time last year—and apparently, their efforts went well. On Friday, the two once again kicked off sweeping sets of discounts for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners, respectively.

The deals apply to consoles, controllers, subscription services, and, naturally, lots of games, and are available on the company's own digital stores and at various retailers. Both Sony and Microsoft say their promos will last from June 7 through June 17.

To help those looking for something new to play—or just those with a compulsive need to add to their backlog—we’ve broken down what's worth considering from each sale below.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Sony “Days of Play” PlayStation 4 deals Much like last year’s “Days of Play” sale, as the company dubs it, Sony has launched a limited-edition model of the PlayStation 4 Slim to commemorate the event. It costs $299.99, the standard MSRP for the console, so it’s not an out-and-out “deal.” Its gray-black finish is a bit more muted than last year’s blue-and-gold console, and given that Sony is openly discussing details about the PS4’s successor, now isn’t the optimal time for most people to buy new current-generation hardware. But if you’re a PlayStation diehard or your current PS4 is on its last legs, there you go. If last year is any indication, though, supply will likely run out before long. (Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy) The PlayStation 4 Pro, meanwhile, gets a $50 discount, bringing it down to $349.99. This isn’t a huge savings, but discounts on the 4K-ready PS4 are still few and far between, relatively speaking, so it’s not the worst offer. Of note here is a bundle at B&H that comes with seven older but still solid games, including Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, and Until Dawn. (Walmart, Amazon, Newegg, Google Express, GameStop, Best Buy) A PlayStation VR bundle that includes new VR games Trover Saves the Universe and Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted is down to $249. That’s $50 off its usual MSRP. (Walmart, Amazon, Target, GameStop, Best Buy) Separate bundles that include two PlayStation Move controllers and either Borderlands 2 and Beat Saber or Everybody's Golf VR and Blood & Truth, respectively, are down to $299.99. (We can vouch for the former from a game quality perspective.) That is, again, a $50 discount. The PS VR has been priced lower before, but mostly with bundles that Sony has since discontinued. In any case, while Oculus, HTC, and now Valve are selling more technically advanced headsets, game support for the PSVR is still kicking along, and Sony has said existing PSVR headsets will be supported by the presumed PlayStation 5. If you simply need a new gamepad, Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers are down to $39.99. We’ve seen these go for less, but given that their street price tends to fluctuate between $45 and $55 online, this is a good price. That they'll soon be compatible with iPhones is a nice bonus. (Walmart, Amazon, Google Express, Best Buy) A 12-month subscription to Sony’s PlayStation Plus online service is down to $39.99, which is $20 off MSRP and possibly the best deal in Sony's sale. (Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy) A 12-month membership to its less essential PlayStation Now game streaming service is now $30 off, bringing it to $69.99. We'd recommend checking out its game library and making sure your internet can handle it before pulling the trigger. Finally, the PlayStation Classic is down to $30, though that's only $5 or so off from where it's been priced in recent months. That's mostly because it's bad, so we wouldn't recommend it. But since it is a deal, we're obligated to give it a mention. Marvel's Spider-Man.Enlarge / Marvel's Spider-Man.Sony

There are tons of games on sale as part of Sony’s event—far too many for us to list each individually here. But we’ll make note of a few:

Marvel’s Spider-Man, which we enjoyed, is down to $20. That’s great value and about $10 cheaper than its previous low. (Walmart, Amazon, Newegg, GameStop, Best Buy) God of War, one of our top three games of 2018, is also $20, which is a new low after sitting in the $30 range for the past few months. (Walmart, Amazon, GameStop, Target, Best Buy) MLB The Show 19 is down to $40, which is tied for its lowest price to date and a $20 discount. We don’t have a formal review of it on Ars, but as a diehard Red Sox fan who owns the game, I can give it my personal stamp of approval. It has a much more reasonable approach to the “Ultimate Team” format than fellow sports games like FIFA or Madden, for whatever that’s worth. (Walmart, Newegg, GameStop, Target, Best Buy) Days Gone, the latest big-budget PS4 exclusive, is also down to a new low of $40. We didn’t hate this one, but we didn’t love it either, so while it doesn’t come as strongly recommended, pummeling crowds of zombies might be a fun enough time depending on your tastes. (Amazon, Newegg, Google Express, Target, GameStop, Best Buy) A number of older PS4 hits are down to $10, including the Complete Edition of Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, The Last of Us Remastered, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Superhot VR, and Until Dawn. Some of these have fallen around this price point in the past, but either way, this is about as cheap as they’ve gotten. Other highlights as of this writing include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for $23, Devil May Cry 5 for $40, and Tetris Effect for $20. Several more deals, along with most of the offers listed above, are live on the PlayStation Store; Sony has a big list of what's available over on its PlayStation Blog. Microsoft E3 Week Xbox One deals The special-edition Xbox One S Microsoft has launched alongside its E3 sale.Enlarge / The special-edition Xbox One S Microsoft has launched alongside its E3 sale.MicrosoftPerhaps the most newsworthy discount of Microsoft’s E3 sale is the All-Digital Edition of the Xbox One S falling to $199, which is a $50 savings. Ars Gaming Editor Kyle Orland has previously noted that it's silly Microsoft is expecting users to buy a disc-less Xbox One S at an MSRP of $250 when standard One S consoles are going for less, but for now, Microsoft has the download-only machine at a more reasonable price. Whether you should buy it is another question—we know Microsoft is working on new Xbox hardware, and it wouldn’t be a shock if we hear more about it this weekend. But if you don’t have a 4K TV and only buy digitally anyway, it's technically a deal. (Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Google Express, Best Buy) Like Sony, Microsoft has launched a special-edition console for E3: in this case, a “gradient purple” Xbox One S that comes bundled with Fortnite Battle Royale. It goes for $249.99. Again, that’s a good ways pricier than some of the other One S bundles we’ve seen of late, so this should only be worth it to people who really like the look of the hardware. (Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Newegg, GameStop, Best Buy) Microsoft is advertising the brawnier Xbox One X as being $100 off at $399. While that’s true relative to the console’s MSRP, we’ve seen it go for much less than that at various points over the past year, so it’s hard to call it a true deal. Walmart currently has a One X bundle with Fallout 76 up for nearly $20 less, for instance. (Yes, we know, but cheaper is cheaper.) Likewise, the company says Xbox One Wireless Controllers are $10 off MSRP, but that only brings them to a minimum of $50, a price we routinely see beat at third-party retailers. Case in point: Amazon currently has them for $40, which is a genuine deal even if it's not the lowest we've seen. Unfortunately, though, there’s no discount on the more customizable Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. There are several deals on games, though, even if the Xbox One’s first-party library isn’t quite as celebrated as that of the PS4. Here, we particularly like Forza Horizon 4 for $30, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for $23, Metro Exodus for $36, Hitman 2 for $24, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for $20, but again there are dozens more discounts to peruse. Read More

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