By the time this post goes live the annual Steam Summer Sale will have been consigned to history, another sales event in a long series of such events.
In the end, I bought a single title, Solasta: Crown of the Magister. And that last night.
Potshot was into it, it was already on my wishlist, and it was 60% off. I had to tell myself that I would spend time with it this coming weekend. We shall see how that fares.
That was my sole purchase.
Not that the sale was missing other temptations. There were a number of items on my wishlist I seriously considered.
I probably cam the closest to buying LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which had been marked down by 25%. That isn’t a bad discount for a major multi-platform title released just a couple of months back, and all the more so as I was considering buying it at launch.
I was keen to buy it, but then got hung up on which platform I should play it on. If I bought it on Steam I would be locked into the PC. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I have a game pad now, the one I bought to play Forza Horizon 4 & 5 late last year. (Well, technically it was a Christmas present, but my wife and I are to the point of buying ourselves something and giving it to the other person to wrap and put under the tree at this point. That sounds unromantic, but it saves me a lot of anxiety.)
So I could play it on the PC without having to negotiate the awful keyboard control scheme that the Traveler’s Tales LEGO series has in place. It is really unplayable that way.
However, the title was also available and 25% off in the Nintendo eShop on the Switch, and it feels like much more of a console title than one where I sit at my desk and play.
In the end I did not buy it on Steam… though even as I write this I am still pondering it on the Switch.
But I didn’t pull the trigger on it for a couple of reasons. First was my rule about not buying video games unless I play to play them right then and there. I’ve purchased too many games over the years simply because they were on sale thinking I would play them later and… well… I’ll have a post about my Steam library again soon. But it calls out the lie I tell myself in that.
Second, I have to admit my interest in the title is very much rooted in the past. LEGO Star Wars… and some of the other LEGO titles from Traveler’s Tales… were games my daughter an I played together on the Wii fifteen years back. So I wonder if my desire is more rooted in that than the game as it would be today.
And, finally, while there is a lot of new content and a whole new meta campaign with a bazillion character and vehicle unlocks, the essential game is… well… the game I played back in 2007 or whenever, no doubt somewhat upgraded, but still made up of a lot of content I have played through a few times already. I am not sure if I am into it enough to go search for the secret hidden bricks or all of the other achievements the game hold for you to unlock.
Too much commitment based on a desire clearly built on a foundation of nostalgia.
But that interaction brings up something else. I mention in my post at the start of the sale how one could view Steam as having withered in influence over the years. The sales are no longer such a draw and the console vendors, Microsoft and Sony specifically, have been assembling their own collection of studios and content for both their platforms and the PC for their own subscription “all you can eat” package that dwarfs Steam in value.
As I said, Tim Sweeney chose the wrong target, going after Steam but letting the console companies off the hook.
The flip side to that is exactly how much influence Steam and its sales still have on the industry.
A summer sale isn’t exactly a daring concept. Companies can always find reasons to put things on sale, and they’ll make up a reason if there isn’t one to hand. After all of these years I still don’t know what the “Macy’s White Flower Sale” is actually about.
But when Steam has a big sale like this, winter or summer, others follow along. Companies that depend on Steam like Paradox put up the same deals in their own online store. Platforms that share titles with Steam likewise seem to follow suit. I was tempted by LEGO Star Wars on the Switch because it was the same 25% off deal over the same date range as the Steam sale. That isn’t an accident.
Even companies with no link to Steam have concurrent sales. Hell, Blizzard had a summer sale that ran mostly concurrent to the Steam sale… though Blizz has been a little hard up to push product of late, having nothing new to offer. They may not be on Steam but World of Warcraft is now giving away freebies over on Amazon’s Prime Gaming. That isn’t “Blizz is dying” moment, but it is certainly a “Blizz is feeling the pressure of the reality of it situation” event.
Steam still makes waves in a way that Tim Sweeney can only fantasize about.
Anyway, we will see if Solasta becomes a thing with our group.