Activision is intentionally keeping the price of Black Ops 3 at $60, even 6 years after release, as a strategy to push players toward buying newer Call of Duty games instead. But with some savvy shopping, you can grab Black Ops 3 for under $20 in 2022.
As an avid gamer and deal hunter myself, I‘ve been surprised to see Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 still sitting at its full $60 launch price on digital marketplaces like Steam and PSN so many years later. Most major titles see prices fall to half that or lower within 12-24 months after release.
In this guide, I‘ll break down exactly why Activision is keeping this 2015 game at full price, along with all the best tips for getting your own copy of Black Ops 3 for cheap (or even free!).
Activision Wants You Buying New Call of Duty Games
The reason Black Ops 3 hasn‘t budged from $60 is simple – Activision doesn‘t want you buying older Call of Duty games.
As you probably know, Call of Duty is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world, with a new entry launching every single year. In 2022 alone, the series brought in an incredible $3 billion in net bookings.
Activision naturally wants to channel as many players as possible into purchasing each new release rather than sticking with an older game.
Keeping past titles like Black Ops 3 at full price helps steer consumers towards the latest entry. For example, you could grab 2020‘s Black Ops Cold War for $60, or 2015‘s Black Ops 3 for…$60. With the same price, most will opt for the newer game.
Other Old Call of Duty Games Still Full Price
This isn‘t an isolated case with Black Ops 3 either. Nearly every Call of Duty remains at $60 on digital stores for years after launch.
At time of writing, 2013‘s Call of Duty: Ghosts is still listed for $59.99 on Steam, a decade after release! Going back even further, 2010‘s Black Ops 1 remains $39.99.
Activision seems determined not to discount these older titles so that new games stand out as better values.
How to Get Black Ops 3 for Cheap (or Free)
Alright, so Activision wants you to pay full price, but what if you just want to play some Black Ops 3 in 2022 without breaking the bank? Thankfully, there are deals to be found if you know where to look.
Wait for a Steam Sale
While Activision tries to keep the price steady on digital stores, they usually relent and apply discounts during major seasonal sales.
During the Summer and Winter sales on Steam, Black Ops 3 has been marked down 80% off, dropping it to only $11.99. Outside of sales it sticks to $59.99.
I recommend wishlisting the game on Steam and setting up a deal alert. As soon as a Black Ops 3 sale pops up, you‘ll be notified immediately!
Buy From a Key Reseller
Another option is to buy a digital Steam key from a third party reseller site like G2A, Kinguin, or CDKeys. Here you can often find Black Ops 3 keys for around $15-20.
However, there are some risks to consider:
- Possibility of keys being revoked later
- Questionable legitimacy of cheap keys
- Ethical concerns around profiting from potentially fraudulent keys
So proceed with some caution using these sites. I try to only buy from reputable sellers with lots of positive ratings.
Find Free Steam Key Giveaways
If you scour gaming sites and forums, people will sometimes giveaway Steam keys for Black Ops 3 (and even DLC) they don‘t need.
For example, you may find a YouTuber giving away keys as a promotion. Again, watch for sketchy accounts just trying to build followers – make sure giveaways come from reputable sources.
With some persistence checking giveaway threads though, you can potentially score a free copy!
Buy a Used Physical Console Copy
For those still on PS4 or Xbox One, you can grab a used physical disc copy of Black Ops 3 for under $20 these days.
On eBay or from secondhand retailers, used console copies are consistently found in the $10-15 range since they aren‘t subject to Activision‘s pricing control like digital.
Just make sure to buy from highly rated sellers to avoid getting stuck with a scratched up or non-functional disc.
Download With PlayStation Plus on PS4
If you happen to have a PlayStation Plus subscription, Activision has actually given away Black Ops 3 as a free monthly download in the past.
So if you already downloaded it via PS Plus, you have a free digital copy waiting in your library already!
And given away older titles regularly rotate through PS Plus, Black Ops 3 could always return as a free monthly game. So keep an eye out!
Is Black Ops 3 Still Active in 2022?
Considering Black Ops 3 originally released in 2015, you may be wondering if the online community is still active at all these days.
Let‘s quickly break down where things stand in 2022 for the various game modes:
Thanks to continued support from loyal fans, Black Ops 3 multiplayer remains moderately active depending on your platform and region.
On PC, you can expect 1200-3500 concurrent players depending on the time of day.
Console numbers are harder to pinpoint, but anecdotal reports suggest solid activity as well. Just anticipate longer wait times for matches compared to newer Call of Duty releases.
Black Ops 3‘s Zombies mode also retains an active community 7 years later. The most popular maps like "Shadows of Evil" and "The Giant" still have decent online lobbies.
However, matchmaking success can again vary by platform, region, and which specific Zombies map you‘re attempting to join.
As primarily a solo experience, finding matches isn‘t a concern with the campaign. The main story will take approximately 8-10 hours to complete for most players.
So if you‘re mainly interested in the campaign and Zombies, you‘ll have plenty of content to enjoy in 2022 and beyond. Multiplayer requires a bit more patience.
Beware the Costly DLC
If you do plan on playing multiplayer, one area to watch out for is the huge amount of paid DLC. Black Ops 3 has over 20 additional multiplayer maps spread across 4 downloadable packs.
These don‘t come with the base game – you either need to buy a $49.99 Season Pass for all DLC, or pay for each pack individually:
- Awakening – $14.99
- Eclipse – $14.99
- Descent – $14.99
- Salvation – $14.99
Having only base maps may fragment the playerbase and increase wait times. But buying all DLC can essentially double your total cost!
The good news is Zombies maps are mostly included with the core game, so you can enjoy those without added purchases.
The Curious Case of Modern Warfare 2 (2022)
As a quick aside, the latest Call of Duty entry, 2022‘s Modern Warfare 2, has made an unprecedented move by launching at $69.99 rather than the typical $59.99.
Activision claims this reflects growing development costs, but it sets a concerning precedent. Thankfully MW2 has seen discounts already, so refuse to pay full price if possible!
The series remains massively popular, topping 2022 sales charts as usual. However, recent reports revealed declining monthly active users across recent Call of Duty titles like Vanguard.
It will be interesting to see whether these prices hikes impact engagement going forward, or if fans continue to turn out in force each year.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Activision is keeping past Call of Duty games at $60 for business strategy, not value. But with some deal hunting finesse, you can grab Black Ops 3 for under $20 in 2022.
Just be ready for DLC costs down the road if you want the full multiplayer experience. And don‘t feel rushed into buying by Activision‘s pricing tactics – play the long game lurking for sales and deals instead.
Now get out there, save some cash, and enjoy all the Black Ops 3 action that‘s still going strong even today. Stay frosty!