Sad news today. Best Buy’s game-centric membership, Gamers Club Unlocked, has been officially cancelled. Even the free membership, Gamers Club, is being pulled as well.
For those not in the know, Best Buy’s Gamer Club Unlocked is a paid membership that offered gamers bonus points towards store credit, such as giving twice the amount of bonus points on new video-games, pre-orders, video game consoles, subscription cards, etc…
The membership also provided a discount on gaming E-Guides, exclusive promo offers, and a boost to game trade-in value, but the best benefits of the program were the 20% off new physical versions of video games, and a similar 10% for pre-owned physical games.
Pulling The Plug
Back to the news at hand, the program has officially been cancelled as of the 20th of May, 2018. According to a memo shared on Twitter, the retailer has decided that, “[f]or a variety of reasons … [their] Gamers Club programs will not be accepting any new members. This includes both the free Gamers Club membership and Gamers Club Unlocked (GCU).” Instead, customers can use a My Best Buy account, and will receive a $10 credit when pre-ordering “select, hot games.” What is meant by this isn’t stated, but it will likely be games that are expected to be widely popular.
The memo continues to state that the internal point of sale systems will no longer prompt for future enrollment, and that employees should no longer offer the enrollment either.
Lastly, the memo dictates: “All GCU collateral including POSA cards, Gaming CRWs and signage must be removed from the sales floor and front lanes immediately.”
The memo isn’t for a local store either. It applies to every Best Buy store.
So with such a beloved program being suddenly cancelled, I’m sure there are some lingering questions you may have. Read on through the sections, and I’m sure I’ll have answered those questions.
What was Special About GCU?
Here’s a scenario for you. Say, for example, you wanted to buy a new copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Normally the game sells for around 59.99 USD, before taxes. With the Gamer’s Club Unlocked membership, however, that price then changes to 47.99 before tax, and could even be discounted further should the game be on sale. If the price were to drop to 49.99, or you were to buy another game at that same price, the price would be 39.99 wuth the 20% discount.
The same would also apply for a 39.99 game, discounting it to 31.99 before any applicable taxes. And a 29.99 game likewise discounted to 23.99 before tax.
If that wasn’t a good enough deal, the discount also applied to special editions of games, interactive gaming figures, such as Nintendo’s amiibo, Disney’s Infinity characters, and Activision’s Skylanders, with free release day shipping for all of the above as well!
With just a few purchases, this gaming membership more than pays for itself! Considering how the original cost of the membership decreased from 99.99 USD to just 30 USD back in 2015, Even just purchasing two new games would have netted you almost the entire membership back in savings. Add the bonus points for any other purchases, and any gift card promotional offers, and you could get games for much lower than the average retail value!
What Happens to My Current Membership?
For those who have enrolled in the GCU program before it was pulled, the good news is that you should be “grandfathered” in, meaning your benefits will still be active until the membership expires.
To check the staus of a current membership, you would have to sign into Best Buy’s website, and from the website’s menu, go to the account home. When signed in, there should be a section for Gamers Club Unlocked. The date of expiration should be listed.
I have GCU, But Where are My Discounts?
This is an excellent question, and it does appear at first glance that members of the program do not get their discounts, even when their membership is confirmed to still be active.
However, this seems to be due to the new site redesign.
Part of the confusion in this is due to how the GCU discounts used to be displayed on the product search and information pages. With the newer design, the discounts appear to only be shown once a game has been added to their cart.
If you know that you should have the Gamers Club Unlocked membership on your account, try adding a game or two to your cart, and see if the total is discounted.
There aren’t too many alternatives to Best Buy’s GCU, sad to say. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any similar deals in place, however.
If you don’t mind buying games pre-owned, Gamestop has their PowerUp Rewards Pro membership for 14.99 a year. As a Pro member, you can expect to recieve 10% off pre-owned games, 10% trade in credit for your old games, tech, and accessories, as well as earn 20 points for every dollar spent. Pro members also get the added benefit of having a year’s subscription to Gamestop’s magazine, Gameinformer.
Even if you aren’t interested in a paid membership just yet, Gamestop’s free membership will give you 10 points per dollar spent, and these points can be redeemed at the Rewards Center for further discounts, or even to be exchanged for Nintendo eShop, Playstation Store, or Xbox Store credit!
If your preference is to simply to buy games brand new, Amazon offers a 20% off discount when pre-ordering a new game. If you were really looking forward to using Best Buy’s GCU for years to come, this would be the closest alternative. The catch is that you have to be an Amazon Prime member, however. With the same added benefit of free two-day shipping, Prime members can take advantage of the discounted prices on games while also browsing for anything else listed on Amazon’s site.
Like Best Buy, Amazon has likewise pulled the plug on this offer, replacing the 20% off discount with a $10 gift card on “select games.” Twitch has also cancelled it’s ad-free viewing as of September 14, 2018 for new members. As it stands, There are currently no retailers that offer a 20% off discount for new games.
For those who excel with patience, a free alternative would be to simply wait out the clock, and check to see when the game you would be interested in has a price drop, or even goes on sale. Granted, this wouldn’t be the most popular option, but keep in mind it would also apply to Gamestop’s PowerUp Rewards membership. At the very least, if you can show your wallet some restraint for now, you might be able to save some money in the future for some other purchases!
What are your thoughts on Best Buy’s Gamer’s Club Unlocked membership being cancelled? What was your biggest discounted purchase so far? Leave your thoughts and answers in the comments below!
And of course, you can also check out the program’s own FAQ page for more information about the program.