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Plugged In

Summer doldrums bring amazing bargains for gamers

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It's not just the games that are ridiculously good these days -- game prices are pretty great as well.

It's July, generally the height of the dead season as far as new game releases go. For the better part of the next month, publishers will go into hibernation as they prepare for the big holiday rush. But there’s good news for gamers in the form of outrageous bargains.

Here's a rundown of the biggest sales that are taking place now and in the near future. Stock up!

Steam Summer Sale

No one does discounts like Valve. The Steam Summer Sale offers some insanely good deals over an 11-day period. The bargains change daily and the titles that get discounted are determined, in part, by the user community, which votes on discounts every eight hours.

Many titles are discounted 20 percent, but some are cut by as much as 85 percent. If you've got a PC that's capable of gaming, it's entirely possible to stock up on enough top quality games to last you for the better part of the next year - or at least until the Steam Holiday Sale.

Among the deals we've seen this year include strategy hit XCOM: Enemy Unknown for $9.99, Rockstar's Bully for $3.74, Civilization V for $7.49 and the classic System Shock 2 a mere for $2.50.

Xbox Live Summer of Arcade

Starting August 7, Microsoft will begin to work on Xbox Live members to loosen up their purse strings. Rather than offering deals on big AAA games, the company instead puts its emphasis on smaller, high-quality downloadable titles.

This can give great exposure to titles that might otherwise be overlooked. In previous years, this special has put the spotlight on games such as Braid, 'Splosion Man, LIMBO and Bastion.

This year, the company will offer four games: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Flashback (a remake of the 1992 classic), Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from developer Starbreeze Studios (makers of The Darkness), and Charlie Murder, from Ska Studios, which previously made The Dishwasher.

PlayStation Store PLAY

Like Microsoft, Sony opts to focus on a smaller number of titles. The sale will run through the middle of August and the games will be rolled out on a weekly basis starting July 23.

The prices on the titles -- Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, Cloudberry Kingdom, ibb & obb and DuckTales: Remastered -- are good, but if you're a PlayStation Plus member, you can save an extra 20 percent on each by pre-ordering.

And if several catch your interest, you'll qualify for additional savings. Buy two and you'll get a $3 voucher for a future PSN purchase. Buy three and that voucher jumps to $6. Buy 'em all and you'll get a $10 voucher.

Amazon deals

Amazon typically doesn't let these sales go unanswered. Every Thursday, the company offers bargains on a new PC title. (Right now, it's Sniper Elite V2 for $5.99.)

And be sure to watch the company's daily Gold Box deals for snap sales. Typically, as game companies woo players to their sites, Amazon will respond with drastically discounted prices on some of the day's hottest games.

GameStop Summer Playcation

Just like Amazon, GameStop doesn't want you to forget about it with all of the digital discounts currently available. The retailer's annual summer sale, which runs through Aug. 18, offers an extra 50 percent credit on trade-ins and offers games like Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed 3 for under $20.

It's also offering a contest with prizes that include games and Six Flags admission tickets to a year's worth of Domino's Pizza.

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