Black Friday, the day right after Thanksgiving, is normally the day associated with electronics sales. And while the proponents of "Cyber Monday" and "Small Business Saturday" have tried to get in on the action, it's still common knowledge that Thanksgiving weekend is the best time to upgrade your PC or console game arsenal. Right?
Not according to online game retailers. Discounts of up to 80 percent off a game's retail price are taking place across the web, especially in online stores which offer games in the form of digital downloads (which cost nothing to make extra copies of). Here's a look at just a few of the sales going on right now, for Windows and Linux PCs, Macs, game consoles, and mobile devices.
Steam (Windows, Linux, Mac)
The annual Steam Holiday Sale is under way, and it's not just blowing hot air. Complete collections of every Steam game from publishers including Valve are on sale for around the price of one retail title, and individual games can be bought from each bundle for only a few dollars. Each day new sales are available, and most of them are massive, percentage-wise. They're tied to a personal Steam account (which will always be linked to the original name they were created with), but can be bought as gifts for others.
Also check out: Amazon.com's PC download sales, many of which are fulfilled through Steam and are discounted about as much. Amazon's lineup also includes many casual games, of the "$10 store discount rack" variety.
Humble Indie Bundle 7 (Windows, Linux, Mac)
The Humble Bundle crew has been offering cross-platform, name-your-own-price bundles of indie games for several years now, and their seventh numbered offering is timed right for the holiday season. Bundles are giftable, the games can be played on Steam, and you can choose how much of your purchase price goes to game developers and how much goes to select charities.
PlayStation Network (PS3, PSP, Vita)
Console gamers aren't being left out. The PSN Holiday Essentials sale is putting "more than 40 titles" on sale over the next three weeks, with a new selection available every week and even lower prices available to PlayStation Plus members.
Also check out: The Xbox Live Countdown to 2013 sale, with a "Daily Deal" every day until the end of the year.
Game publishers SEGA and Square-Enix are discounting many of their most popular titles. SEGA's holiday sale includes PSN, Xbox Live, Android and iOS titles, with most of its mobile games selling for $0.99. Meanwhile, the Square-Enix Winter of Mobile sale page lists huge discounts on iPhone and iPad games, while Android Police blogger Jeremiah Rice has put together a list of which Square-Enix Android games are on sale.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.