Turns out early access isn’t just for games. The Amazon Prime Early Access Sale is taking place this October 11th-12th, a full six weeks before Black Friday 2022, and from a PC gaming standpoint will offer the same kinds of component and peripheral deals as that annual pre-Christmas shoppingfest. Just earlier.
That said, the Prime Early Access Sale isn’t purely a prelude to the anything-goes chaos of Black Friday. It’s more like a Prime Day 2, in that it’s an Amazon-only event, with all the best deals set to be require Amazon Prime membership to access. That’s right, it’s one of those.
I’m anticipating being at the deals coalface in October anyway, alongside my Eurogamer and Digital Foundry colleagues, so will no doubt be highlighting any good offers (hopefully for our best hardware picks). In the meantime here’s a guide on how the Prime Early Access Sale will work, what kinds of deals to expect, and if you decide to partake, how to ensure you actually get some bargains.
When is the Prime Early Access Sale, exactly?
Amazon is advertising the Prime Early Access Sale as a 48-hour event across October 11th and 12th, and technically that’s accurate, though when precisely the event begins will vary by timezone. In the UK, then, the sale kicks off at 12am BST, whereas in the States, it will begin at 12am PDT – eight hours later.
That means wherever you are, the Prime Early Access Sale will end at 11:59pm on October 12th. Well, maybe not wherever, as it’s only taking place in 15 countries: the UK, US, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.
Do I need a Prime account for this sale?
‘Fraid so, at least to get access to all the juiciest deals. There will almost definitely be other discounts available on PC gaming hardware during the course of the Prime Early Access Sale, but these will be the ho-hum offers that hover around Amazon normally. Just as with Prime Day, the deepest price cuts will be for Prime members only.
Now you cooooould be cheeky and sign up for Prime’s 30-day free trial; this will temporarily net you all the benefits of a full membership, including access to the Prime Early Access Sale. Singing up now will mean you’re covered for the 11th/12th, and there’s no real catch to cancelling after you’ve had your fill – provided you do so before those 30 free days are up. If you end up wanting to stick with your membership, it will then cost £9 / $15 per month.
What kind of Prime Early Access deals are we talking?
All sorts – remember that this is essentially a second Amazon Prime Day that happens to overlap with Black Friday buildup. Deals on PC hardware like SSDs, mice, and keyboards are staples of both, and you can absolutely expect this sort of kit to get discounts. The same goes for headsets, and possibly more esoteric components like CPUs, motherboards, and PC cases. With some luck, there might even be sales on graphics cards – word is that manufacturers are keen to clear stock of current-gen GPUs like the RTX 30 series and AMD Radeon RX 6000 series, in order to make room for upcoming RTX 40 and Radeon RX 7000 models.
I suppose the fact that Prime sales and Black Friday cover so much of the same hardware does raise a question: if something you want is on offer during Prime Early Access, should you grab it then, or wait until Black Friday for a potentially better saving? I reckon that depends on the size of the discount. If you want a £100 headset that’s only £5 off, then yeah, it’s probably better to wait. But if it’s 50% off, the strength of the deal arguably outweighs the risk that it might get slightly cheaper again in November.
I still hate Amazon. Will there be deals from other retailers as well?
That’s a tougher one. This is the inaugural Prime Early Access Sale, so unlike with Prime Day proper, there’s no real precedent for (what we like to call) Anti-Prime Day deals being run by rival retailers.
Maybe, though! It’s possible that PC gear sellers like Scan, Overclockers, Currys, Best Buy, Newegg etcetera will cobble something together in the next couple of weeks, just to compete. Or it may be that they’ll be running early Black Friday sales anyway, in which case you’ll have alternatives if you’re in a shopping mood. These, naturally, would not require a Prime membership to take advantage of.
Amazon Prime Early Access Sale: how to get the best deals
Assuming you’re on board, here are some tips for a smoother, hopefully more bountiful Prime Early Access sale.
Let us do the work
Myself and a few others will be digging through Amazon on the 11th and 12th for the best deals: to be specific, that means meaningful discounts on PC gaming hardware that’s at least pretty good. It won’t go live until closer to the time but there’ll be a handy guide on RPS with our curated deal picks across both days.
Keep track of prices
I know I’ve recommended this three sales events in a row but honestly, the Keepa browser extension is excellent at saving you from potential rip-offs on Amazon. Some sellers will raise their prices before a big sale, then drop them back down to create the illusion of a good saving; Keepa lets you avoid this trap by adding a price tracking graph to every single Amazon listing you read. This will tell you if the sale price is the real deal, or if it’s only returning to ‘normal’ pricing after a little induced inflation.
Set a budget and plan ahead
Remember that these kinds of sales are ideally just opportunities to save money of stuff you’d want to buy anyway – don’t get carried away blowing cash on hardware you won’t make the most of. If you know ahead of time what specific items you’ll be looking for, you could go ahead and add them to your basked before the sale starts. Then, during the sale, you can check instantly whether they’ve been subjected to savings. Any that haven’t can be quickly removed from your basket, with the rest ready for checkout.
Use item filters
Amazon’s Prime-exclusive sales cover all manner of products, but that’s not always helpful if you’re trying to find something specific. On the main Prime Early Access deals page, look for and make good use of the filters on the left-hand side; these will get rid of all the foot massagers and bike pumps, leaving just those sweet, sweet PC hardware deals. Or whatever it is you favoured with the filters. Maybe you do want a foot massager. Not judging.