The short answer is – unfortunately, no, Pokémon Scarlet is not free. As a major new release for the Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Scarlet currently retails for the standard $59.99 whether you buy a physical copy or download it digitally.
But don‘t let that high price tag turn you away just yet! While you can‘t officially get Pokémon Scarlet completely free, this guide will give you the inside scoop on legit ways to get the new Pokémon game for free or at least majorly discounted.
With some effort and luck, you may be able to grab Pokémon Scarlet without paying full price. Let‘s dive into all your options.
Do You Really Need to Pay for Pokémon Scarlet? Breaking Down the Cost
First things first – why does Pokémon Scarlet cost money in the first place? Well, as a major Nintendo Switch title developed by Game Freak and published worldwide by Nintendo, a ton of resources went into making Pokémon Scarlet.
Hundreds of developers worked for years crafting every detail of the Paldea region, programming the game mechanics, composing the epic music, and ensuring this ambitious open world Pokémon RPG lived up to the hype.
According to data from Statista, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet actually had the highest development costs for any Pokémon game to date. The development budget for these new Gen 9 games exceeded $100 million.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl‘s development budget was around $20 million
- Pokémon Black and White cost approximately $50 million to develop
With inflation also pushing up development costs over the years, you can understand why Pokémon Scarlet comes with a $60 price tag – to help Nintendo and Game Freak recoup their huge investment.
But just because Pokémon Scarlet isn‘t 100% free doesn‘t mean you‘re out of options. Let‘s look at ways you may be able to score this exciting Pokémon game without paying full retail price.
Getting Pokémon Scarlet for Free – Legit Options Explored
Can you really get a hot new video game release like Pokémon Scarlet for free just a few months after launch? While difficult, the following tips can potentially hook you up with Pokémon Scarlet gratis.
Wait for a Promotional Deal
While Pokémon Scarlet is full price for now, Nintendo or retailers may offer deals down the line.
For example, Target ran a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" promotion on new releases back in 2018. If retailers bring back similar deals, you could pick up 3 new games like Pokémon Scarlet but only pay for 2 – netting you Pokémon Scarlet for free!
Setting up alerts and monitoring deals around holidays like Black Friday are smart ways to watch for free game promotions.
Trade in Your Old Games
Got older games collecting dust? Turn them into Pokémon Scarlet for free!
Retailers like GameStop let you trade in used games for store credit. By trading in a few used games you no longer want, you could easily get enough credit to redeem Pokémon Scarlet for $0 out of pocket.
According to GameStop‘s current trade-in rates, if you traded in:
- 5 quality used Nintendo Switch games valued at $25 store credit each
- 1 used Switch console valued at $140 credit
You‘d have $365 in trade credit – much more than enough to grab Pokémon Scarlet for free with credit leftover!
Use Rewards Points
Loyalty pays off! If you have a Nintendo Switch rewards account or credit card points, you may be sitting on enough to redeem Pokémon Scarlet at no cost.
For example, the My Nintendo Rewards program offers a 5% discount on digital games for members. If you strategically accumulated points and discounts by purchasing Switch games and completing missions, you could offset the $60 for Pokémon Scarlet completely.
Find Someone Willing to Gift It
As a wildly popular franchise, it‘s very possible someone in your life would be willing to gift you Pokémon Scarlet for the holidays or your birthday.
With over 100 million Pokémon games sold to date, chances are good a family member, significant other, or friend knows you‘d love this game but don‘t want to shell out $60 yourself.
Subtly mentioning you can‘t afford Pokémon Scarlet but are dying to play could convince a loved one to surprise you with it as a gift.
Budget-Friendly Hacks for Scoring Pokémon Scarlet Cheap
Okay, say legit free isn‘t in the cards. Here are savvy tricks for at least scoring Pokémon Scarlet heavily discounted:
Buy Digital Discount Gift Cards
Want Pokémon Scarlet digitally but don‘t want to pay full eShop price? Look for deals on Nintendo eShop gift cards.
Retailers frequently run sales or offer discounted gift cards. Stacking a few discounted gift cards can help offset the $60 for the new Pokémon download.
Buying three $20 cards discounted to $15 each would save you $15 off Pokémon Scarlet.
Shop Used Copies
Used physical copies will start popping up at lower prices after launch. Pre-owned discounts can range from $5-$20 off retail depending on age and condition.
Checking used stocks frequently right after launch could let you scoop up Pokémon Scarlet potentially $10-$20 cheaper than new.
Wait for Sale Prices
Digital eShop sales and retailer discounts on big titles don‘t happen quickly. But if you can wait 6+ months after launch, chances increase of seeing Pokémon Scarlet discounted.
Sale prices for first-party Nintendo titles average around 10-20% off. So while not free, waiting for a sale could mean paying $40-$50 rather than $60.
Set Price Alerts
To pounce on deals the moment they go live, set up price alerts through websites like DekuDeals. Creating an alert for when Pokémon Scarlet hits your target price will let you snap up deals instantly without constantly checking manually.
Alternatives for Playing Pokémon Free
If getting Pokémon Scarlet for free or cheap ultimately doesn‘t work out, don‘t fret – you can still enjoy Pokémon on the cheap with these options if cost is an issue:
- Pokémon GO – Niantic‘s mega-popular mobile Pokémon game is 100% free to play and explore your real-world area catching Pokémon. Microtransactions are optional.
- Pokémon Trading Card Game Online – Also 100% free, Pokémon TCG Online lets you battle and trade Pokémon cards in digital form through the web browser or app. In-app purchases optional.
- Pokémon Showdown – This fan-made online Pokémon battle simulator is web browser based and completely free with no purchases. Enjoy competitive Pokémon battling for $0!
- Pokémon Fan Games – Dedicated fans have created free Pokémon RPGs spanning new regions with new stories, creatures, and features. These passion projects make for 100% free Pokémon adventures!
Don‘t Pay Full Price! Use These Hacks to Get Pokémon Scarlet & Catch Savings
As we covered, Pokémon Scarlet isn‘t readily available for $0…but with some smart moves, you can absolutely reduce or eliminate the $60 price tag.
Keeping an eagle eye out for promotions, stacking discounts, trading in used goods, or even just asking nicely for Pokémon Scarlet as a gift are all viable avenues to consider pursuing.
While scoring Pokémon Scarlet outright free may ultimately come down to luck, utilize this guide‘s money-saving hacks to maximize your chances and minimize cost. With the right prep and patience, you can take your Pokémon journey for less!