A Guide To Steam Sales

For those of you who don’t know, Steam is a game and software distribution application for computers, developed and run by Valve Corporation, the company behind games such as Half-Life and Portal. If anyone is confused by my excessively wordy description—Steam is a computer program that you can use to buy and download games from many different publishers and developers. It works for PC, Mac, and Linux operating systems and does not require any sort of monthly membership fee. All you need to sign up for it is an email and, as one of my college professors would say, away you go!

Steam has become quite famous for having “Steam Sales” throughout the year: an annual Summer Sale and at least one or two others. This year we are lucky enough to have an Autumn Sale that’s going on now and running until Dec. 3. So, as a highly qualified Steam sale veteran, here is the best of my advice for how to make the most of the sale.

Always Price Check
Just because something sounds like a great deal doesn’t mean it actually IS, particularly with bundles. Always just go through and check the prices individually, I’ve come across a few bundles where the price of the bundle was more expensive than the games individually because the games are all discounted a different amount and the bundle usually takes off the average discount. It also doesn’t hurt to price check games against other websites such as Amazon, Origin or the developer’s site.

Wait for Flash Sales and Daily Deals
Steam puts up different Flash Sale deals every 8 hours—at 1 p.m., 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day. These Flash Sales are even more discounted than the usual Steam Sale prices. For example, “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” could be on Steam Sale for 50 percent off but if you wait for it to go on a Flash Sale it would be 75 percent off. Not everything will go on a Flash Sale or will be a Daily Deal (self-explanatory) but it’s better to wait a day or two to check and not be like my brother, who kicked himself after the Summer Sale when he got Saints Row IV for 25 percent off, only for it to go on sale for 75% off the very next day.

Try Before You Buy
This is something that people often forget when shopping for things on sale. Even if you think “Oh yeah, that looks brilliant and it’s only $5!” check and see if there’s a demo or other customer reviews if you don’t know much about the product. A $5 game can still be rubbish, no matter how cool it looks, so unless it’s already on your wishlist, don’t jump in too hastily. I’m guilty of doing this during the Halloween sale when I bought “Shadows: Price For Our Sins” uninformed, which I am now thoroughly ashamed that I spent $2.50 on.

Don’t Forget Indie Games
Sure, it’s super tempting to go for all the big, front page deals like “Final Fantasy VII,” and “XCOM: Enemy Unknown,” but there are plenty of other great games on sale that aren’t as well known. For example, I was thrilled to find out that one of my favorite game series, “Blackwell,” is all on sale for 75 percent off, but you would never know it unless you went to the game pages or the developer/publisher’s pages and looked. For cheap, good quality games the Indie corner of Steam is a veritable gold mine. Case in point, I once bought “Storm in a Teacup” for $0.74.

Use the Wishlist and Mobile App Features
That’s what they’re there for people! The Wishlist sends you email alerts when a game on your wishlist goes on sale and the Mobile app let’s you shop while you’re standing in line for Black Friday deals. If you can’t get access to a computer or are notorious for forgetting to check Steam for regular updates, the Wishlist and Mobile app are just the tools for you.

“If In Doubt, Get It Now”
If there’s a game you want on a Flash Sale/Daily Deal/Near the end of the sale dates, don’t wait to get it with the whole “Oh, it’ll be here in five hours after I come back from the mall, I’ll get it then.” Rookie mistake. If you are completely sure you definitely want the game, take the extra five minutes and get it now, rather than waiting and risking losing it because you got stuck at the mall/fell asleep/your computer exploded. If you’ve wavering on whether or not to get a game, by all means, think about it for a while. But if you are certain you’re going to get it, grab it now! Case in point, I forgot to get “Rollercoaster Tycoon 3” from the Summer Sale before it ended and was a very sad panda.

Good luck gamers, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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