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Amazon Prime members now get 20 percent off game pre-orders and new releases

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A shot across the bow at Best Buy

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It's a good time to be an Amazon Prime subscriber if you're interested in video games: The service now offers Prime members a 20 percent discount on all pre-orders and new releases, Amazon announced today.

Amazon defines the "new release" window as the first two weeks after a game's launch. The deal is valid for physical copies, including special editions, but doesn't apply to packages such as console bundles. Customers won't see the discount — which takes 20 percent off the list price, not off any existing sale price — until checkout. Amazon is applying the deal to all existing Prime member pre-orders. (For more details, see Amazon's FAQ.)

The deal appears to be a permanent new addition to the Prime subscription, not a limited-time offer. It seems like an answer to Best Buy's long-running Gamers Club Unlocked program, which offers perks to subscribers including 20 percent off purchases of new video games.

Best Buy launched Gamers Club back in 2008 as a $14.99 add-on to its free Reward Zone program, and introduced Gamers Club Unlocked — with the 20 percent discount on new games — in late 2013 at a price of $119.99 for two years. The retailer later dropped the price to $99.99, and in March 2015, further cut the price to just $29.99 for the same two-year subscription.

For comparison's sake, GameStop's PowerUp Rewards Pro initiative costs effectively the same at $14.99 per year; it comes with a free subscription to Game Informer magazine, but not any discounts on new games. Amazon Prime costs $99.99 a year, although it's a much more comprehensive package — benefits include the Netflix-like Prime Video service, the Spotify-like Prime Music service, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and free two-day shipping on most orders. Prime subscribers already received free launch-day delivery on video game pre-orders.

If you're looking for games to pre-order, check out our list of 100 games to watch in 2016, as well as our platform-by-platform recommendations on the best games to get now.


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