Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Buying Games Online Is Much Cheaper Than Buying Them Locally, But It’s Not That Simple

A few months ago, I wrote a post titled As Gaming Goes Digital, What Will Happen To Resellers At Avondale Flea Market? In that post, I mulled over what I believe to be the impending doom that belies local game sellers who sell hard copy versions of video games.

One of the comments in the post read:

Interesting view. But for African market i feel the discs will be here for a while. Firstly because one cannot appreciate full online gaming unless using unlimited wifi and the cost for that locally and regionally at large is still on the higher end and not accessible to plenty.


This comment is particularly what I wanted to focus on in this discussion to better exemplify how much trouble the local game resellers are in and how much of better deal consumers can get by going online.

When FIFA 20 came out, I was determined to get it during its launch week – though I’m not a big FIFA fan. I used to be and I decided that this year was the year I would get round to playing it again.

I took my rugged sling bag and put in 4 games: Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman, The Last Of Us & Horizon Zero Dawn along with $40. The idea I had was to go to Avondale Flea market pony up 3 of the 4 games (all of which I have completed) along with $40 and then get a shiny new copy of FIFA 20 and then get a second controller a few weeks later.

That wasn’t to be. Upon getting to Avondale I was informed that FIFA 20 would set me back an eye-watering US$110 and there was no swap and top for an in-demand game like FIFA. I wanted the game but not enough to part with a HUNDRED and TEN freaking dollars for a game I new cost around $68 online – a 39% difference.

Fast forward a few months later, I went on to the PS Store and I came across a digital version FIFA 20 on sale for US$48 (R699) and called the guy I usually get games from locally and he said the price was now US$90 for a brand new copy.

Whilst this lower price was a bit more palatable there’s still a problem in that there’s still a US$42-US$32 difference and I feel like if you have a decent internet connection this is still a great deal to take advantage of.

FIFA 20’s digital version comes in at around 45 GB which means you’ll need an internet package with at least 50GB to be able to download the title. US$32 – US$42 currently gets you around ZW$704 – ZW$924. How much internet can you get with that much:

Internet PackageSizePrice (ZW$)
TelOne Home Premier60GB$491
TelOne Home Premier + Night120GB$632
WiBroniks 100GB Top up100 GB$758
Fibroniks- Family essentials
Fibroniks - come alive

All these packages will get you FIFA 20 and leave some few bucks extra but without a doubt, TelOne’s packages are the best for this undertaking since it will mean for the game and the internet to download it you’ll need US$70 – a $20 saving.

This becomes even more appealing if you don’t play popular games like FIFA which are rarely discounted and not as heavily discounted. Rise of the Tomb Raider is on sale for US$10 (normally costs US$68) and Metro Exodus which normally costs US$73 is on sale for US$22.2.

This is why I think digital (if you have the access) offers a far better value compared to buying games locally because it seems in many cases the money you’ll spend to buy a game can net you the game and internet to download the game.

It’s not all roses, however, as you’ll have to consider the internet speeds of whatever package you’re going to buy as that will affect how long it will take you to actually download the game you just purchased.

The same comment I used initially from the aforementioned post also raised this fantastic point:

Digital games are only available online meaning if i sell my console i incur another cost interms of wifi to download the same game again on my new console! Now why would i want to do that especially in this country where data is so expensive.


This is a fact and if something happens to your console and you had 7 digital games on that thing you’re going to have to part with a significant amount of money for the internet data to redownload those titles.

Due to the inflationary nature of Zimbabwe’s economy right now, the prospect of buying online might look better or worse in a few months time…

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

22 thoughts on “Buying Games Online Is Much Cheaper Than Buying Them Locally, But It’s Not That Simple

  1. The article did not do justice. What happens after the download. does the gamer require internet to play and save etc

    1. The article wasn’t really targetted at non-gamers though it would be great if non-gamers read it which is why what happens after the download wasn’t addressed. Gamers will know that single-player games can be downloaded online and played offline freely but if its an online multiplayer game you’ll need an internet connection.

      1. Thanks for the article Farai… I would further comment if you want to play with other online players you going have to get fiber…. If it’s more single player then disc make more sense. My fibre package has gone up 300% so unfortunately it I had online games I would not be able to play them… In this area of the world with so much unpredictability…a bird in hand is worth 2 in the cloud …pun intended

  2. still a disk based game still requires big internet updates. eg: modern warfare had a patch of around 67gb even though it was installed from the disk

    1. True, I think one of the biggest issue nowadays is that games are releasing unfinished and actually need day one patches to work optimally. A sad state of affairs which means if you don’t have internet access you’re not going to have the optimal experience

  3. If you play games and are no longer interested in playing them, once you’ve completed them, you might be better off buying a physical disc. If you keep your discs in good condition, you can resell the discs recouping some of your expenses. What I hate about digital games is that it’s bound to your account, if you don’t like a game or don’t want it anymore you CANNOT resell it.

      1. It depends on how well you keep your discs. If you complete the game quickly and your disc is as good as new, the better your returns.

    1. True, What I was worried about is the initial cost i.e in the case of FIFA (though that’s extreme since FIFA is the most popular and expensive) which is so expensive that you might not even afford to buy it initially though if you can you may sell it later on. But yeah the ability to resell offsets that huge price in some way so it makes sense.

  4. Great article.

    Digital is the way to go in Zim. The pros faaaaar outweigh the cons. Let me show you.

    Black Friday was last week. I put $100USD in my PSN account. Here is what i got for $100USD:

    1. Spider-Man GOTY Edition-$15
    2. God of War- $10
    3. Uncharted 1-4 $20 (4 games)
    4. Fifa 20-$20
    5. GTA 5-$7
    6. Horizon Zero Dawn-$10
    7. The Witcher 3- $10
    8. Tomb Raider-$5

    $98 spent. $2 remaining. 11 games AND i still got Fifa 20.

    You might want to resell your physical copies but when you are getting games that will last you months at $10 a game, you would have gotten your money’s worth and more by the end of it.

    1. That’s the thing hey when you consider the fact that these games go on sale a few months after release the idea of reselling goes out of the window for me… Getting those 11 games for less than a hundred bucks would be a miracle! That’s where the resell argument falls for me, you can’t resell something you can’t afford to buy in the first place!

  5. Thanx for the reference in such a great article. I wrote the original comment which has been used as reference to this article. I must say after seeing fifa 20 selling for 30bux last week (Black Friday week special) I’m beginning to see your point. I must point out however you experience the best deals when you are a full subscribed member of either psn or Xbox live stores. Monthly subs are a cost as well for these digital stores which you didn’t mention and that’s an additional cost. But I do see your point and it all depends on timing your buying and taking advantage of specials to maximise and make the most of your money.

    1. Yeah, paying for the monthly PS Plus subscription comes with a free game every month which is extra cool but that extra $6/month would hurt

  6. Loving all the threads Farai. Dont you wanna come do a review of probably the only Xiaomi Black Shark 2 in Zimbabwe at the moment

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