Black Friday retailers place most of their promotional focus on electronics since these big-ticket items draw in the most customers. Game console deals are a prime focus in all the major retailers' ads. Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) Xbox One and Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 4 are both too new to earn discounts. However, last-generation console deals abound, particularly in bundles.
Consoles tend to perform well on Black Friday. Last year, Microsoft announced that 750,000 Xbox 360 consoles had sold on the shopping holiday. The year prior had seen 960,000 Xbox 360 units fly off shelves. So it's safe to say that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all stand to gain from the buying frenzy. Which retailer will win the selling war?
The clear winner of this year's Black Friday console sales is Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) . However, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) have the best deals on holiday bundles that aren't tied to a one-day sale.
Here's where to find the best game console deals this Black Friday.
1. Best Xbox 360 bundle deal
Best Buy has the mega Xbox 360 bundle, which includes the 250GB console, one controller, a headset, and four games: Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham City, Halo 4, and Darksiders II. The bundle is priced at $190.
Wal-Mart doesn't offer an Xbox 360 bundle for Black Friday, but it does have a non-bundled 4GB console for $99. Target and RadioShack both have 4GB bundles that include the console, Kinect sensor, one controller, and the games Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures! for $189.99.
Shoppers who don't want to deal with the Black Friday rush can find holiday bundles at Wal-Mart and Amazon that should last while supplies are available. The bundles both include the 250GB E console, a controller and headset, and the games Tomb Raider and Halo 4.
2. PlayStation 3 deals
This year's Black Friday PS3 bundles are identical between Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target. The bundle includes a 250GB console, one controller, and the games The Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins for $199.
Wal-Mart has more to offer in its holiday bundles. There's a PS3 500GB console with the record-breaking game Grand Theft Auto V and a controller for $269. Or you can choose a 250GB console with a controller and the games Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Burnout Paradise for $300.
3. Wii U deals
Best Buy wins again with the only notable Black Friday deal in this category: a Wii U bundle with two Wii-motes and Nintendo Land for $320.
Wal-Mart steps in with the best holiday bundle deals. The $330 Wii U deluxe set includes the console and the games New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. The official holiday bundle copies that deal but adds in the choice of an additional Wii U game for a total price of $300.
4. Nintendo 3DS deals
For Black Friday deals, Target has the 3DS XL for $150 while GameStop has a 3DS XL bundle including The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for $220. Best Buy has the Luigi's Mansion 3DS bundle for $150.
For holiday bundles, Amazon has a red 3DS bundled with Super Mario 3D Land currently priced at $170. Wal-Mart has a 3DS holiday bundle that includes the console, the choice of one 3DS game and one DS game, and a starter kit. Note that the game choices are somewhat limited.
Foolish final thoughts
It's surprising to see such a lack of diverse deals in the Black Friday console sales. Best Buy has the best deals all around for shopping this weekend. Wal-Mart and Amazon are still worth a look for those not wanting to face the long lines -- or long load times -- associated with Black Friday.
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