With this year ending we get the chance to look back at all the amazing games that were released as well as a chance to look to the future at the games yet to come. It also provides an amazing opportunity for the PC gamer: SALES! This time of year (along with summer) provides the perfect opportunity to get countless games for near pennies on the dollar! You will see that games that normally cost $10 or $20 can be bought for $3 or $4 and this often times includes games that were released a week or two beforehand. It is ridiculous how much you stand to save in these sales! Now one of the most prominent and I think best sale is the Steam Christmas Sale which I will focus on, but don’t be afraid to shop elsewhere, there are many other websites which offer games (which can be redeemed on Steam) for prices that may be lower than their Steam equivalents. So I will now go ahead and outline a few little rules to follow in order to help you make the most of these sales.
Rule 1: Shop Around
Steam has some pretty good deals but they will not be the only site with good sales. Be sure to check Amazon, the Humble bundle, gog.com, and greenmangaming.com. All of these sites will offer you some incredible deals, some which last only hours, so check often and check regularly for the games you want.
Rule 2: Stay Aware of the Games You Want
It can be a hassle to check sales every few hours especially between midnight and 8 AM, so let Steam tell you when a game you want goes on sale. To do this add games you want to your wishlist (or Christmas list as I like to call it) and when they go on sale Steam will send you an email to let you know. This way you won’t miss out on one of your most wanted games just because you were too lazy.
Rule 3: Play the Waiting Game
When the Steam Christmas Sale starts all games on the Steam catalog will go on sale for a slightly lowered price, and you may jump on a game thinking you did a good job and saved a bunch of money, but if you do that you may live to regret it. Steam features three really big sales which will be advertised on their front page. These sales are the daily sale, flash sale, and community choice sale. These games have an additional discount added to them so that instead of being merely 20% off you may find it instead for 80% off. So if you rush to buy a game that isn’t featured on either the daily sale, flash sale, or community choice sale, you may find that a day or two later it is on sale for half of the price you paid for it (and know that Steam does not give refunds) with no way of receiving those savings. As an example last year I got deep into XCOM: Enemy Unknown and during the Steam Christmas Sale I looked into buying up the DLC. I saw that it was all on sale for about $4 instead of $12 so I figured I would just go ahead and buy it, but to my surprise the next day the same games were on sale for about $1.50. I still found a good deal but if I would have waited one day I would have had an extra $3 to buy another game.
Rule 4: Don’t Hesitate to Buy
There are many sales that will only last a few hours, and these sales are the dangerous ones. You may see a game that you really want and if you don’t buy it when you see the sale you may miss it entirely which in the long run may cost you because sales don’t always repeat. Sometimes a game will only go on sale once and if you don’t jump on it you may regret it later. To give an example of this Civilization V released a great expansion pack this summer called Brave New World. Initially during Steam’s summer sale the game had no discount at all, but then Civ V and all of its DLC went on a flash sale… Well sorta… Civ V and all of its DLC except for Brave New World were meant to go on sale, but due to a mistake Brave New World was offered for 33% off. So many people including me, jumped onto this deal which didn’t last more than a few hours after the mistake had been fixed and Brave New World did not go on sale again all summer. Since I was so eager in jumping on this deal I saved $10 on a brand new game, which is unheard of throughout any realm of game marketing.
Rule 5: Don’t Go Overboard
Here’s my last rule and probably one of the most important ones. Just because you can buy 4 games for the price of one doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. You should only go after games you have a deep felt interest in playing, if you don’t you will end up with a pile of games that you never get around to playing and only have a lower bank account to show for it. I’ve made the mistake many times in the past of buying bundles and bundles of games just because they’re on sale and appealing. Anyway I often focus on just one game at a time, as I’m sure many of you do as well, so don’t rush to buy a game that you only sorta want. Remember that if it goes on sale once it is bound to go on sale again some other time in the year. If you can wait on buying it, then do. Games don’t get less fun the older they get, and you shouldn’t at all start to believe that.
So be wise and have fun during the sale and get yourself a couple of discounted games, to hold you over for a while. You can expect the Steam sale to start on the 19th (give or take a day) and last well through the New Year. If you’re looking for daily recommendations on the Steam Christmas Sale (and sales going on in general) then look for Totalbiscuit’s recommendations on his Youtube page (trust me he knows what he’s talking about and often has in depth reviews for the games on sale). So please have an amazing winter holiday! I’ll see you next year.