How Amazon is Screwing Gamers (and Themselves)

For a brief window of time, buying video games through Amazon was awesome. Being an Amazon Prime member entitled you to release date delivery for new games and a whopping 20% discount on literally any video game purchase, as long as you were ordering within two weeks of the release date. This even applied to special edition releases, and only didn’t apply to things like consoles and accessories. It was a golden era of video game savings and, on top of things like lightning deals and regular discounts, made shopping at the online marketplace a no-brainer. Now things seem to be slipping away like the unloving, forward flow of time itself.

I first realized something was wrong when the time came for the Nintendo Switch. I should’ve realized it earlier with things like amiibos, but those were such a pain in the ass to get that it felt like more of a Nintendo issue and less of an Amazon issue. But odd, out of nowhere pre-order times would become a thing and, when it came time to ship the thing, disaster struck. My Switch, that I went out of my way to pre-order, and thousands more did not make it to their intended destinations on release day. Or the day after. It cost me money, considering my field of work.


Then the discount took a hit. That lovely, lovely discount. The last special edition I was able to snag at a discount was for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Not long after that, Amazon quietly snuck some language into its Amazon Prime terms that excluded certain SKUs, such as limited editions, from the discount eligibility. The items that 20% helped the most were no longer part of the deal, without so much as a sappy announcement on a social media page. It was sad, but not a total wash. Every new game still sees a discount, and even if you forget to pre-order for a bit!

Whoops, nevermind! This week, the legendary 20% discount seemingly vanished out of thin air. Wario64, everyone’s favorite deal-finding Twitter personality, broke the news instead of, you know, official channels. Now, the discount applies to pre-orders only. We no longer have that extra time to run in and get that discount, being able to wait for things like social media chatter and reviews, that made Amazon Prime feel worth it for those of us who like to shop around for new games. It was a devastating blow. But it’s not over yet.

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A Canadian Twitter account noticed that the Amazon discount in that reason, again, out of nowhere, went down from 20% to 10%. In less than a week, two huge blows to Amazon Prime’s gamer-friendly loyalty offerings. Sure, that was Canada, but it’s likely only a matter of time before the bad news breaks over here in America. And yet again, I haven’t seen a single official announcement on any of my communication channels.

What the hell, Amazon? Not acknowledging these problems doesn’t mean they don’t exist. People are getting screwed here, people who bought into Amazon Prime solely because of the savings on offer for one of the world’s most expensive hobbies. What’s going to happen next? The discount vanishes entirely? Release date shipping (flawed as it is) goes in the trash? What’s stopping people from jumping ship? Best Buy’s gaming-specific rewards program is still going strong. Buying pre-owned from Gamestop is looking pretty good right now too. Is Amazon planning to bring anything else to the table other than bad news? What’s the issue here? What is even the point of shelling out for Amazon Prime?

Lucas White
Lucas White

Writing Team Lead
Date: 08/18/2017

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