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What to expect from Amazon Prime Day 2018

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Dates and deals, plus expert tips on how to make the most of it

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Amazon Prime tape on box stock photo Samit Sarkar/Polygon

Update: Today’s the day! Starting at 3 p.m. ET, Amazon will be discounting thousands of products for a full 36 hours. We’ll be posting our top picks here, and over on Twitter @PolygonDeals. Follow along for the best deals in gaming and entertainment.

Prime Day, Amazon’s annual made-up holiday of deals and discounts, is officially coming back on July 16, but Prime members can start shopping Prime Day exclusives right now.

Amazon announced this morning that the usually one-day-only sale is running for a full 36 hours this year — from 12pm PT on July 16 to midnight on July 17 — with early access deals starting as soon as today.

It’s basically Black Friday in July, with doorbusters, flash sales and a frankly overwhelming number of deals to sort through. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with all the info about what to expect from Prime Day (and a half), plus tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of the second biggest shopping day of the year.

Members only

While there will likely be Amazon merchants running their own deals on the 16th and 17th, in order to shop officially sanctioned Prime Day deals, you need to be a member of Amazon Prime. Amazon offers a 30-day free trial, so if you’re at all interested in Prime, July is a great month to try it out. The $12.99 monthly ($119 yearly) membership includes free two-day shipping on Amazon orders, 20 percent off video game pre-orders, plus access to a bunch of Prime rewards programs.

Amazon

Polygon readers will probably be most interested in the Twitch Prime rewards. Members of Amazon Prime can connect their Twitch account to get monthly rewards including free games and in-game loot, plus a free channel subscription and an exclusive chat badge. For Prime Day, Twitch Prime is offering a free PC game every day through July 17.

In addition to Twitch Prime, Amazon Prime members have access to Prime Now, Amazon’s same-day delivery service, plus a bunch of free TV, movies, books and music from Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Prime Reading.

The Prime Day creep

Much like the Christmas Creep starting earlier every year, Amazon Prime Day 2018 is dominating pretty much all of July. Early access deals are available now, mainly on Amazon’s subscription services and Echo devices. Our favorite subscription deals are listed below. Most of them have free 30-day trials, just make sure you pay for the subscription during the month of July in order to get the Prime Day discount.

  • Audible — $4.96/month for the first three months (usually $14.95/month)
  • Kindle Unlimited — 99 cents for the first three months (usually $9.99/month) plus a $10 Kindle credit
  • Amazon Music Unlimited — 99 cents for the first three months (usually $7.99/month for Prime members)

Launch party

New this year, Amazon is offering Prime Day Launches, exclusive products and content that will only be available to Prime members. The best launch deals right now are probably the Seagate exclusives. A 2 TB external hard drive is available for $79.99.

Audible is offering a few Prime Day exclusives as well. The science fiction thriller Johnny from the author of The Remaining series sounds interesting. The one I’m most excited about as a comedy nerd is Hi Bob!; It’s literally just a recording of Bob Newhart having conversations with his famous friends including Sarah Silverman, Will Farrell and Judd Apatow.

Do the research

There will likely be thousands of deals happening on Prime Day this year and not all of them are going to be winners. The Amazon suggested price isn’t always the real MSRP so in order to make sure that you’re actually getting the best deal, it’s a good idea to check other retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, or a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel. Retailers like eBay, Dell and GameStop have announced their own sales that just so happen to coincide with Amazon Prime Day, so be sure to shop around before dropping major cash.

Amazon usually publishes lightning deals a few hours before they go live, and the Amazon App has a “Watch” tool that will send a push notification when a deal goes live. If you see a lightning deal that you want to take advantage of, you can set a reminder in the Amazon app to let you know when you can shop that deal.

We’re here to help

Of course the Polygon team is ready to hunt down Prime Day gaming deals and highlight the best of the best for y’all. We’ll be writing and updating Prime Day deal roundups and tweeting Prime Day deals from our @PolygonDeals Twitter account all month, but especially on July 16th and 17th. Watch this space to stay up to date on Prime Day 2018.