Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Semi-Annual Steam Feeding Frenzy Begins

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 20, 2014

According to Gamasutra, this is the biggest, steepest discount yet on Steam.

I’m somewhat emboldened by the fact that I haven’t yet purchased anything, but it hasn’t been a full day yet. And… before it’s over, I’m grabbing some Rocksmith 1 songs (which work for RS2014). But, as usual, I’ve not pulled the trigger yet, because I’m waiting to see if they get on a daily deal with a discount steeper than 25%. It’s happened before. Because apparently I really, really want to save an extra seven dollars or something.

Or, like most of the purchases I’m holding off on… if I really wanted it, I’d have gotten it already. The steep discount is a motivator for me to snag something I’d otherwise never get around to buying (and may still never get around to playing).

At some point during the GOG.COM sale, I visited the RPG and Strategy Games lists, and tried to see if there was anything there that I actually wanted and would buy if it went on sale. There really wasn’t. After five years of sales, I’ve bought out the frickin’ store.  There are still some old classics and some new indie games I’d happily pick up if / when they get ’em, but I’m pretty much set.

Steam has a somewhat larger – and more modern – library. So I’m not sure how long I’m going to hold out. But with my backlog as extensive as it is, I’m really not in a rush.

I assume I’m not the only one exhibiting this kind of behavior. I’m spending the same amount per year as I always have on games (at least, if you adjust for inflation…), but except for a very few titles I really want to support, I’m not buying them at release. I’m waiting for bundles and sales. I’m picking up a very few via Kickstarter pledges. I’m not even sure how “new” a game is anymore. You can’t tell it by the sales… you’ll get steep discounts on games that are only a couple months old, or on games that haven’t actually been officially released yet.

Is this terrible? Well, I do worry about the “race to the bottom” effect. If people are like me, nobody’s going to buy a game at full price anymore, and that could mean reduced revenue for all developers, etc. etc.

But as an interesting and possibly encouraging side effect – it means that “New” is no longer the overwhelmingly dominant factor of visibility. With bundles and sales on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis across multiple major / mid-tier distributors, old and new games can compete on slightly more equal footing.  The “daily deals” and the “flash deals” are on a small enough list during Steam’s big sales that customers can actually click the link and see what each game is about.

I don’t know if the pros outweigh the cons, or not. It’s certainly *different*. Since the status quo wasn’t that awesome to begin with, and as I’m certainly benefiting as a *gamer*, I’m just going to roll with it.


Filed Under: Biz, Deals - Comments: 12 Comments to Read

  • MalcolmM said,

    I’ve been buying games on Steam for at least five years. For the type of games I’m interested in (mostly indie) the Steam sales have been getting much worse over the last couple of years.

    In fact, in the last year I have been buying more games elsewhere (bundles, Greenmangaming etc.) than on Steam. I’ve spent less than $100 on Steam in the last year. I’m also spending much less in total on games lately as I try and clear my backlog.

    Only one of the approximately 20 games I am currently interested in buying is discounted more than 50% for the current sale. Based on past experience, the type of games I want to buy are very unlikely to go choosen for daily/flash deals. Most of the games I want to buy have been out for at least a few months, so the discounts on Steam are nothing special.

    I’ve also noticed that the daily deals have been really boring in the last few months. Almost all the daily deals have been for games that have been discounted literally dozens of times before (Trine, Magicka …).

    Not that I really mind, this gives me an excuse not to buy games. Back in the 80’s I use to spend about $2,000/year on games. Over the last few years I’ve been averaging about $200/year, but I still have plenty of great games to play.

  • McTeddy said,

    Yeah, this year was the first one I could afford to do the GoG sale and it definitely beat the crap out of my wallet. But on the bright side, I’m a proud owner of all of wing commander, might and magic and dozens more games.

    I’m less worried about the Steam sale just because I don’t really enjoy modern games. I’m in alot less danger on steam than GoG (At least before I just bought the whole site)

  • Anon said,

    Still not interested in Steam but I only got 4 titles from GOG in this sale – for the grand total of about $8.46. I can’t justify to pay $5 or more for a title I’m only lukewarm for when I know that in a year or two it will cost much less. These are all “double backlog games” as I not only have a backlog of games to play but also one of games to buy! 😉

    Stingy? Not really – I’m paying more when I’m more interested like for Tesla Effect which I got for the regular price of $19.99 some weeks ago.
    Highly recommended for Tex Murphy fans, by the way!

    What is both worrying and making me happy at the same time is that none of these GOG collection/series sales appealed to me – I already had everything I was interested in.

  • CdrJameson said,

    Embarrassingly, every thing I’ve tried to buy in the Steam sale I’ve discovered I already own.

    You’d think I would know something like that.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I’d be lying if I said that had never happened to me, CdrJameson…

  • Could it be Bob who said,

    +1 Cdr Jameson.

    Also, I was bothered by the sale including early-access game. Strikes me as wrong to have a sale on a game that’s not yet complete. I dont know why. I cant seem to think of a reason other than my general dislike for the pre-release trend.

    I wont lose any sleep over it but seems so wrong for some reason.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, it’s one thing to juice pre-orders with a reduced price (or… better… bonus content for early adopters). But the whole idea of “releasing” a game has become pretty hazy. For a highly replayable game, that’s not quite such a big deal, but for a game with defined, hand-crafted content, I don’t want to start over in the middle of a game to play the “finished” version.

  • Anon said,

    I’ve though a lot about early access since it was discussed here and I still see no personal value for myself.

    However, I understand why people want it (they get hyped up and their curiosity is bigger than their patience) and why it therefore is a good marketing instrument.

    > For a highly replayable game, that’s not quite such a big deal, but for a game with defined, hand-crafted content, I don’t want to start over in the middle of a game to play the “finished” version.

    As many gamers don’t actually finish games anymore the point is not that important. I bet most of those who want early access either don’t care about those problems or already jumped ship for the next game in development.

    Early acess means “early selling” and not “early enjoyment of the complete game”, after all! 😉

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    I’ve been on Steam for nearly 10 years now. (!)

    I by fewer and fewer things on Steam during the big sales, mainly because I have everything I’d want to buy already. I had a similar experience to yours with GOG. During their summer sale I went and checked it out, only to discover I’d already bought all I wanted to from their library previously. The only thing I picked up was Neverwinter Nights 2, because it was so ridiculously cheap and I’ve always had a bear of a time getting my physical copy to reinstall. But that’s it.

    My brother just started PC gaming this year though, and I’ve introduced him to Steam and the Summer Sale. I almost feel like I threw him to the lions….

  • Jaffa said,

    I like my huge Steam library of unplayed games. At least it doesn’t take up as much space in the closet as my library of unplayed real media games used to.

    If I was really concerned about saving money, I’d probably be better off buying games only when I was ready to being playing them that same day (at whatever price they happened to be) instead of caring about sales.

  • ShadowTiger said,

    I am in the same boat in that i have most of the games i want already and am willing to wait for steep discounts and bundles. However, i did pick up divinity original sin as “research” for the game i am working on.

  • Anon said,

    Ha ha – I know what you mean!
    I got The Real Texas for the exact same reason! 😉

    OK – Shadowrun Returns is of course way out of my “simple development league” but I can /research/ at least parts of it…