Black Friday is now so spread out, this year's deals feel like a complete non-event

Someone asleep at their work laptop.
(Image credit: Lighthouse Films)

When does Black Friday begin? I'll tell you this: it's sure as heck not on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. That may have been the case once upon a time, but even before online shopping came to dominate Black Friday, there were already stores doing special sales on Thursday. Now, though, it feels silly to even refer to Black Friday as a week of deals. Rolling out sales on Monday? Passé. Amazon hosted its latest "Prime Big Deal Days" in October, a full month and a half before Thanksgiving. 

The more Black Friday leaks out into the surrounding days, weeks, and months, the less relevant the day itself seems to be, and I've never felt the impact of that dispersion more keenly than this year. I've been looking, and I haven't seen a single Black Friday deal, PC gaming or otherwise, that wowed me. It's not just me, right? Am I missing the action, or is this the quietest, most lackluster Black Friday in years?

It's not that all the deals are bad, exactly. There are loads of perfectly fine ones in our guide to the best Black Friday PC gaming deals, and something you've been thinking about buying is probably cheaper than usual.

Our favorite wired headset is 40% off. Logitech's great G502 and G903 gaming mice are both more than $50 off. You can get a whole PC with an RTX 4070 for $1200. There are even some nice discounts on D&D books—they don't cost as much as a computer so the discounts are relatively small, but a few bucks is a few bucks.

4. Yeyian Tanto | Core i5 13400F | RTX 4070 | 16GB DDR5-5600 | 1TB SSD | $1,599.99 $1,199.99 at Newegg (save $400)

4. Yeyian Tanto | Core i5 13400F | RTX 4070 | 16GB DDR5-5600 | 1TB SSD | $1,599.99 $1,199.99 at Newegg (save $400)
Think of the RTX 4070 as an RTX 3080 with benefits and you'll start to see that this is a great price for a new gaming PC, that probably would have been closer to $2,000 this time last year. Thankfully it's not, and this is a great low-price, high-performance gaming PC. The only thing that might cause you pause is that you won't be doing any CPU overclocking, as the option is locked. But for a resolutely gaming machine, it's still packs plenty of punch.

Razer BlackShark V2 Gaming Headset | $99.99$59.99 at Amazon ($40 off)

Razer BlackShark V2 Gaming Headset | $99.99 $59.99 at Amazon ($40 off)
Simply the best wired headset you can buy. It sounds great and has a simple, functional, and incredibly comfortable design. Even at full price these cans are worth it, so this is one sweet-sounding deal.

Price check: Razer $59.99 | Geekbuying: $129.99

Logitech G903 LIGHTSPEED | Wireless | 8,000 DPI | Ambidextrous | $149.99 $89.99 at Amazon (Save $60)

Logitech G903 LIGHTSPEED | Wireless | 8,000 DPI | Ambidextrous | $149.99 $89.99 at Amazon (Save $60)
Our venerable 2017 mouse of the year is still a great pick for any discerning clicker. The G903 shares many of the advantages of Logitech mice that came later, with one crucial difference—this ambidextrous rodent is well-suited to any lefties out there, or if you simply scorn the aggressive shaping of an explicitly right-handed mouse.

Dungeons & Dragons: Curse of Strahd$49.95$18.99 price at Amazon (save $30.96)

Dungeons & Dragons: Curse of Strahd
$49.95 $18.99 price at Amazon (save $30.96)
This is a really great price for a huge amount of D&D content to play through, especially seeing as Curse of Strahd is perhaps the most acclaimed of the official 5e campaigns. It's a reimagining of the classic 1983 Ravenloft module, giving you a gothic horror sandbox with loads of nasty things for players to discover. 

But most of the deals we're seeing feel very familiar. Logitech's been discounting the same mice the same percentages for years now. They're great mice, but not exactly the kind of deals that make me jump out of my chair. Likewise, there are tons of SSDs on sale for Black Friday, but SSD prices have been so low all year that today's deals aren't anything special at all.

In years past while spending all day on Black Friday hunting for deals, I've stumbled upon thrilling price errors that deals hunters pounced on for the few minutes they were active, and stackable discounts that brought prices down to an absolute steal. I haven't seen anything that exciting this year—or even a single standout big discount on, well, anything. I've been loading up Slickdeals every few hours all week, and have yet to see a single big deal that made me take a second look.

It could be that I just don't particularly want or need anything this year—I know some gamers are excited to able to buy an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 bundle on discount. But I don't think it's just me feeling apathetic about the deals this year. I'm not seeing much chatter online about any particular sales or as many photos of people posting their deal hauls. Many of the top-voted "best" Black Friday deals on Slickdeals are from days ago. I think this is the year that retail's push to start Black Friday earlier, to get ahead of the competition, to maximize their attention has finally hit a breaking point. Or maybe after a year of pandemic lockdown and two more years of economic turbulence, many of us are kind of just sick of buying things.

Ultimately, Black Friday is always about tempting us to buy things we don't need, but sometimes it's fun to go along with that impulse. This year, though, I think it's time for us to take a pass on all that extra stuff, and instead save money on the things we'd normally be spending on, anyway. Now's a really good time to buy up streaming service subscriptions and pay less than usual. If you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, you can threaten to cancel the subscription and get them to put you on the 50% Black Friday discount. You'll enjoy both of those things more throughout the year knowing you saved some money on them.

On the other hand, if you just really need to burn $300, one of the all-time classic Lego sets, Lion Knights' Castle, is 25% off right now. It's 4,514 pieces and this 30-year-old man seems to be utterly entranced by it. Hopefully whatever you buy this Black Friday is equally fulfilling.

(Image credit: Lego)
Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).