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As you may have heard from the playground, this is the time of year when various big video-games are launched.

We recently saw Disney Infinity well received by families and this month we have Skylanders Swap Force heading to stores. It's already available in the US and arrives in the UK on the 18th October.

However, for families it can be hard to know how to enjoy the benefits of these games without breaking the bank. Also there are sometimes unexpected costs that can crop up after an initial purchase.

I've been speaking to the families I work with to find out how they game on their family budget. Here are the tips they came up with:

1. Research the video-game or gaming hardware before making a purchase. Make sure you know what other peripherals and add-ons you might need to play together as a family. In particular, with modular games like Skylanders Swap Force, check you can complete the game without additional purchases?

2. Try the game before you buy it. This can be done in the store in many cases. Failing that see if a friend or other family can lend you the game for a weekend. This gives you a first hand impression of how good a fit the game is for you.

3. Look at previous year's games. Particularly where the games come out every year, like FIFA or Skylanders, you can often get as much fun from an older game at a fraction of the cost.

4. Wait to buy the game second hand. There is a very active second hand games market where the price of games falls steeply after release. Waiting a few weeks to buy a game second hand may not be the most popular choice with the kids but it is cost effective.

5. Find games that different members of the family can enjoy in different ways. Disney Infinity is a good example where the story mode will be played by younger family members and the toy box game creator will entertain older players in the family.

6. Check the different console versions of the games to see which one offers the features for your family. Quite often the portable version of a game can be better for younger players. Also with different generations of hardware some games will expand their features on newer consoles like the Wii U and upcoming PS4 and Xbox One.

These are the tips from our families but I'm sure you have more of your own, why not let us know in the comments?

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.