Well, that went fast, didn't it? We've already passed the halfway mark for 2016 and the holiday season is looming on the horizon, causing your bank balance to shiver in trepidation.
Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which means that in 2016 it falls on November 25th. It's long been regarded as the first day of the US Christmas shopping period, and it's long been the year's best bargain-hunting opportunity for technology, gadgets and, of course, gaming. It also makes it one of the most traumatic shopping experiences going - if you venture out, you'll have to contend with scenes that would be right at home in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of The Last of Us.
It doesn't necessarily have to be painful, though. Fight through that food coma after Thanksgiving Day and get yourself online and you can come out the other end of the year with a healthy bank account and a fair few bargains stuffed under your tree - and maybe even a couple nestled under your television.
That's why it's best to not go out, and do your shopping online instead - particularly if you're looking for gaming and tech, which have been the mainstays of Black Friday since its inception. Stay in and let the deals come to you by checking back in with USGamer instead. We've got your back, and we're going to be telling you how you can get the best Playstation 4 deals right from your computer screen or mobile phone, while the less savvy are fighting to the death over the last HDTV in Target.
When do the Black Friday deals start?
This sounds like a stupid question, but there are now too many deals to fit into just one day, so the sales will actually start some way before the designated Black Friday of November 25th 2016, particularly for retailers that have extra stock to shift before the madness starts in earnest. Expect the first discounts to start appearing from Monday 21st, and the proper Black Friday sales to kick off on Thanksgiving Day itself, November 26 - this is when the best stuff tends to hit places like Amazon, Gamestop and Best Buy. We will be skipping our turkey with the family to pick through them all and post the best PS4 deals right here. You are welcome to pity us or envy us depending on how your own turkey day tends to go.
What will be the best PS4 Black Friday deals?
Black Friday is enough of an institution that you can be confident of getting a good deal on more or less anything, but we're expecting some particularly good Playstation 4 deals this year. With the new, more powerful PlayStation 4 console on its way, there's a very good chance the standard models are going to get hefty discounts in the end-of-year sales. Sony is going to want to maximize sales of the old hardware before people start holding out for the PlayStation Neo, (or Playstation 4K, if you prefer) a new console model that will support 4K gaming. So that means we're expecting some steep discounts on the older models - we've already seen some surprisingly keen prices during Amazon Prime day.
We're also getting to that point in the console generation where we've got a decent number of games in the back catalog, just waiting to be rushed out for a tiny number of dollars - and because Black Friday is now all about bagging deals online rather than wading into the crush at your local Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, there's room for steep discounts on digital releases both as code cards from big retailers like Amazon and on PSN itself.
In 2015, one of the most popular bundles was the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection PlayStation 4 bundle, priced at $299. This was stocked by many of the major retailers: Target, GameStop, Best Buy, Sam's Club, Walmart and Toys R Us. Meanwhile, Star Wars Battlefront bundles were going for $349, so expect a similar deal this year, but featuring Nathan Drake's full-fat PS4 adventure, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Don't be surprized to see that price drop a little, though. The 1TB PS4 model was slightly more, coming in at $429.99 in a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 bundle. GameStop did at least throw in a copy of Destiny: The Taken King - Legendary Edition to lessen the sting, however.
The biggest and newest releases didn't feature price cuts last year, with Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront skipping a reduction, but big exclusives like Bloodborne, released in March, were reduced down to $20. Sometimes places throw in a $4.99 PS Plus subscription with the newest releases, to make up for the lack of discount, so it's still worth checking back if you're hunting down something recent. As for PS Plus itself, Walmart was offering $10 for a three-month subscription for $10 in 2015, so expect to grab a similar deal this year. If we're really lucky, PSVR, which launches in October, might even pop up in a sale somewhere.
We'll update when there's more...