The Steam Sale Aftermath

Stuff’s guide to navigating Valve’s terrifyingly tempting sales

The Monster Summer Steam Sale has ended. If you are anything like us, your bank accounts must be suffering a little by now.

Too many great deals were available for too many great games. Games for ₹4000 were going for ₹2000 and games for ₹2000 were going for ₹500. Needless to say, titles were bought, games were played and good times were had.

But here is the thing; when you buy a lot of ₹2000 games just because they are on sale, you end up going broke. It’s human nature, we can’t resist a great deal. So, to make sure there is food on the table next time, we’ve come up with a little guide for how to deal with the next Steam Sale.

Budget. Duh.

Know exactly how much you are going to spend before going into the sale. And stick to it. This should be a no brainer.

However, we know how delicious some of those deals are, so allow us to extend an olive branch - write down two figures on a piece of paper and stick it on your computer screen’s edge. The smaller figure is your Illusionary Budget (IB) - what you think you will spend before jumping into that glorious sinkhole called Steam. The larger figure is your Real Budget (RB), what you can realistically spend overall in case you find an insanely great deal (which you will). Comprende?

The reason why two budget limits work better than one is the same as why you set alarms for 7.30AM and 7.45AM when you need to be up at 8 - you don’t trust yourself.

help steam help you

Some folks know exactly what they want before a sale. This section is for them. Every game on Steam has a little button that adds the game to your ‘Wishlist’. Do it. Add the games that you are sure you want to your wishlist and then sit back with your feet up. Steam will send you an email every time any of your wishlisted games go on sale.

This is both a blessing and a curse, though. It’s great to get email updates for game discounts but that email might prompt you to jump in a premature sale. Why buy a game at a 25% discount when three days later it might be 80%? So how do I know when to buy the darn game? Quit your whining and read on.

Know Your Deals

This is critical. There are different types of discounts going on simultaneously during the Steam Sale. First, there is the broad, store-wide sale that offers a 25-75% discount on a lot of games throughout the Steam Sale period. Then there are the Daily Deals that last for 24 hours and the Flash Sales that are on for only 12 hours. Finally, there is the Encore Sale towards the end of the Steam Sale period.

So when do you buy your games? Avoid the regular store-wide discounts; those games will probably get discounted further. It is the Daily Deals and the Flash Sales that usually have the best prices.

Tomb Raider, the excellent Lara Croft reboot we all loved, retails for about ₹1300 on the Steam Store. When the sale started, it started going for ₹890. When I finally bought it, I paid ₹250 for it. Taking your time is key – even if you miss a Flash Sale, fret not, precious. The Encore Sale towards the end will almost always have the best price for the game you wanted.

Indie and Old are usually Gold

Apart from the hardcore gamers who know exactly what they want, there are other people too lurking in the shadows during the Steam Sale. Come on now, we know you are there. We are talking to the casual gamers and the bargain hunters. By the time the Steam Sale ended, one of my greatest triumphs was getting The Stanley Parable, Hotline Miami and Tomb Raider together for less than ₹600. If you are unsure about the games you want to buy, start looking at indie titles. There are some phenomenal indie games that go for pennies during sales - Faster Than Light, This War Of Mine, Lisa, Kerbal Space Program… the list is endless. Look beyond Call of Modern Battlefield Gears.

But maybe indie isn’t your thing. Maybe you want a taste of good ol' big studio gaming. Maybe you have a Macbook Air that won’t run the new games. Fine by us - the best deals are always on the old stuff and some of that old stuff is amazing. Hundreds of games come out every year and only a handful are played. There are tonnes of amazing titles from the last 10 years that we can practically guarantee you will love - Skyrim, Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect 2, Borderlands, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead 2, Crysis, Arkham City… pick any. The Steam Sale usually offers these for less than ₹500. That’s cheaper than two coffees at our local Starbucks.

Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it when the next Steam Sale comes rolling. Past years tell us the next big one will be in the coming three months. Till then, we’ll be busy bashing heads with baseball bats while listening to a great soundtrack on Hotline Miami. We suggest you do the same.