Tag Archives: Steam Summer Sale

Wrapping up the Steam Summer Sale 2022

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.

Steam Summer Sale 2022

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.

The Steam Summer Sale Returns Again for 2022

Summer has returned, so here we are again at the launch or another Steam Summer Sale.  The sale actually started yesterday, but I didn’t really feel the need to jump right on that with a post as I have done in past years.

Steam Summer Sale 2022

I write about the annual Steam Summer and Winter sales as much out of habit as anything now, and it is beginning to feel almost anachronistic to do so.  There is nothing wrong with the sales.  But the faded enthusiasm within me is a faint echo of a time when these events used to be a big freaking deal.

Steam was a ground breaker, and Steam sales have been loved by many a gamer and hated by many a publisher for years now, to the point that the edge is gone.  Everybody has a summer and winter sale now.  Blizzard just sent me an email about one.  Paradox always has one too that coincides with the Steam sales, in the hopes you’ll give them the money directly rather than giving Steam a cut.

But the landscape of video games has changed, and in a somewhat ironic way.

Well, there is an option to buy…

Back in late 2018 Tim Sweeney threw down the gauntlet, creating the Epic Games Store, with an eye to challenging the almost hegemonic sway that Steam held over PC gaming.  He has thrown money at developers to get exclusives and rarely misses an opportunity to bad mouth Steam or to try and frame himself as the plucky upstart hero, omitting how rich the Unreal Engine and Fortnite has made him.

He has also gone after Apple and Google in his self-declared crusade to break down alleged monopolies.

And during that time the console barons, Microsoft and Sony, whom he let off the hook in his crusade, splitting extremely fine hairs to claim that their absolute control over their platforms was somehow different than Google or Apple or Steam.  He vilified those three while letting the consoles off the hook.

Now, however, it is starting to look like Microsoft and Sony are going to be the real winners here with their competing game pass options growing out from their consoles onto the PC platform even as the acquire more studios so that they control content creation, platform, and sales channels.

The XBox Game Pass for PC… that is a damn sweet deal.  A much younger me, a me that had the energy to dive into new titles all the time, would be all over that subscription, playing new titles every month and barely caring about Steam sales of Epic Games exclusives.

The young and hungry love an all you can eat buffet with new dishes being served up on a regular basis, while old favorites remain an option.

Sony is a little behind in that race, but not by a gap that they can’t bridge.  They aren’t as all-in as Microsoft, but they have always been a somewhat conservative business.  But they will get there.

I do not subscribe to either service at the moment, though I did do a trial of the XBox Game Pass back at the end of last year, playing a lot of Forza Horizon 5 as part of that.  But there wasn’t much else I was completely sold on, so I let that lapse for now.

But at some future date Activision Blizzard will be part of the Microsoft stable of studios.  There is a lot on that plate that could tempt me.  I don’t think a WoW subscription will be on the XBox Game Pass, but if it was I’d be sold.  That could lead to crazy thing, unhooking the WoW team from the box sale pressure somewhat, or at least letting their core audience dabble elsewhere and feel no need to drop the subscription that gives them access to Azeroth.

But that is all in the future, and in no way guaranteed.  I am still not using the XBox Game Pass now, and don’t feel a real need to at the moment.  But that could change as the options it offers grows.

Meanwhile, there is the Steam Summer Sale.  I won’t toss that by the wayside either.  My Steam library still represents a substantial number of titles, and my wishlist is not empty.  I’ll go look at what is one sale and won’t be shocked if I am tempted into buying something.

But it isn’t the same, the Steam sales of a decade back, when they felt rare and the prices were so radically below our expectations that many people bought just because they thought they would never see that kind of discount again.

Instead, the discounts became the norm.  It takes a serious sale to really rouse me to action for a title that I am not set on playing immediately.  On the other hand, the site was pretty slammed yesterday during the first hours of the sale, so it remains popular.  Also, I suspect that the sale has a reputation for first day errors in pricing that lead to unexpected bargains, so people were no doubt scavenging for some extra special deals before they got fixed.

Wrapping Up the Steam Summer Sale 2021

By the time this post goes live the Steam Summer sale should be about 15 minutes in the past.  Another one for the books.

There we go again!

My enthusiasm for the sale was at pretty low ebb, as it has been for a few years now.  Steam puts things on my wishlist on sale as often as Safeway discounts canned corn, and both generate about the same level of excitement these days.

So it is probably a bit of a surprise that I actually bought a few games during the sale.  Though, to be fair to Steam and its sale, I did not purchase anything that was on my wishlist or anything that they were pushing at me during the sale.  These came from outside recommendations.

Anyway, what did I buy?

  • MMORPG Tycoon 2

I mentioned this in the June month in review post already, but Lum was playing this and posting about it on Twitter.  It is in early access and wasn’t even on sale, but seemed meta enough to take a shot at.  My initial game, Attractive Nuisance, would tend to suggest that the title of the game perhaps ought to be WoW Clone Tycoon, but I haven’t dived into hard mode yet, which is launching a free to play game with monetization fun to deal with.

  • Art of Rally

This came up as part of a post on Ars Technica about the best titles in the Steam summer sale for under $25.  It also happened to coincide with me starting up on the whole immersion topic when I was making a mental list of games I missed and Need for Speed: World popped into my head.  I was able to achieve some serious “in the zone” time with it and the TRON: Legacy sound track.  This is a cool little game set in the golden age of rally racing in the 60s and 70s.  However, it really needs a controller to play it, so I am going to try and dig out the one I have for my PC before I pass judgement on it beyond the fact that you shouldn’t bother with just keyboard and mouse.

That said, it is a very nice, stylized racing game.  Could be a winner.  We shall see.  It will also be available on consoles soon, including the Switch, so it might be a better choice there… controllers being part of the bargain.

  • The Fermi Paradox

One of my favorite episodes of This American Life involves David Kestenbaum talking about why the Fermi Paradox, summed up as “where is everybody?” in the universe, makes him sad.  It makes me sad too, though so does the immense size of the universe and the relatively slow speed at which light travels.  We can barely get to the moon and Mars seems like a distant dream still, so how do we even consider other stars?

Anyway, The Fermi Paradox lets you play God over the rise and fall of sentient life in a corner of our galaxy where you make choices that guide civilizations along the path up the technology tree and get to see who fails or goes extinct and who, if anyone, makes it to the stars.  This is also in early access and is currently pretty raw, but there could be the germ of a good game here.

  • Flashing Lights

This is more of a special mention, because I purchased it on sale during a previous sale, but only started playing it during this past summer sale.  This went on my list because I was interested in the Grand Theft Auto V mod that let you play as the police, but I wasn’t up to getting into GTA V that deep.  This sat on my wishlist for quite a while before I eventually bought it.  It lets you play as fire, medical, or police responders, but the fun is running around in a police cruiser.  This is also in early access.

Play Time

I did follow my current Steam rule, which is not to buy a game unless I plan to play it that day.  I have between 30 minutes and 3 hours on each of these titles.  Not enough to write a review yet, but close enough to an initial impression blog post I suppose.  I am sure I will get to those.

The Steam Summer Sale 2021 Arrives

It is that time of the year… or one of those times of the year… when Steam has a bigger than usual sale.  Welcome to the Steam Summer Sale 2021.

Here we go again!

In addition to most everything on my wishlist or in my library being discounted… hey, Valheim is even 10% off… Valve has a little Forge Your Fate feature for the sale that is supposed to help guide you towards titles you might appreciate.  I will have to see if it has any influence.  So far it has just guided me to pages that suggest things already on my wishlist.  Maybe I am doing it wrong.

Anyway, the sale is here.  At this point I post about the sale more out of habit than actual enthusiasm.  Steam has long since cured me of being excited about video game discounts, instead making them something I expect.  But at least it got me to log into Steam I suppose… boy, do I have a lot of updates queued.  Maybe I will see something new and interesting.

The Steam Summer Sale of 2020 Slips Away

Yesterday the annual Steam Summer Sale wrapped up, the mass of discounts were reduced to the usual state of something on my wishlist always being on sale, and whatever sticker collection game they had going came to an end.

Summer 2020

The ongoing pandemic, which is especially acute in the US where wearing a mask is now seen as a political testament, seems like a good time to have a sale on video games.  I’m coming up on four months of working from home and not going anywhere on weekends. There is only so much television I can watch in a day, so gaming seems a likely outlet for me.

The timing of the sale was poor for me.  It landed just as our group was having a bit of a resurgence of activity in WoW Classic, when the new Minecraft world still seemed fresh (and there was a new Minecraft update which I have yet to go into), and then a war began to brew in EVE Online.

The latter, the war in New Eden, has actually eaten up most of my gaming time since it started to boil last week.

Given all that, my need for, and bandwidth to deal with, has been somewhat restricted.  Anything I purchased from the sale was likely to go into my library and sit unplayed, and I have enough titles like that already.

Still, I did end up making two purchases.

The first wasn’t a new game but some DLC.

Space empire building of another sort

I saw that Stellaris had its addons marked down so I figured I would grab those.  I like the game and have played it quite a bit.  It is one I will likely go back to at some point when things are slow.

The second was another remaster.

Retro RTS Remaster

The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, which came out just over a month ago, was marked down a bit, so I grabbed a copy.

I am still a fan of the RTS genre and willing to play some classics.  I have not, however, played any of the Command & Conquer series before.  Skronk, who has, said we ought to give it a run, and the price, even without the discount, was not too dear.  And, it had been on my mind anyway as Honest Game Trailers did a video about it.

So I have those two to dig into when the war settles down in EVE Online.  Until that happens though, expect more posts about space battles.

Steam Summer Sale 2020 Starts Today

The regular Steam Summer event kicked off earlier today and will run through until July 9th.

Summer 2020

Once again most everything on your wishlist is likely to be on sale… if you can get to your wishlist.

Oops indeed!

But it wouldn’t be a Steam Summer Sale without some problems.  The whole site is pretty slow every time a big sale like this starts.

Still, there are lots of things marked down, some more than usual.  Even as jaded as I have been over the last couple of years I do look down the list and feel the temptation to buy.  Unfortunately, the one thing that seems to be loading quickly is my library where many unplayed games stare at me, making me less likely to grab something new.

We shall see if I can overcome that hurdle.

The Steam Summer Sale 2019 Winds Down

When this post loads, the 2019 Steam Summer Sale will be officially over, being set to finish at 17:00 UTC today.

The Steam Grand Prix

I was incorrect in my post announcing the sale back when it started.  I expected it to consist of a lot of the usual things.  Valve has been pretty consistent over the last few years with the tasks related to events which allow those interested to collect cards or levels or whatever.

This time around they decided to try something new.  And, as with many new things, it wasn’t without its problems.

The metaphor of the sale was a race, and you got to select which team to join.  Each team had an animal mascot.  They were tortise, hare, pig, cockatiel, and corgi.

Since people could select on their own, most of the population chose the cutest animal on the internet, the corgi, and so every day when I logged in the race looked something like this:

One of the least lopsided days

Corgi did not win every day.  Tortoise won a single day, and hare won twice, but otherwise it was Corgi on top for 9 out of the 12 days of the race.

Those on the winning team had a chance to win something from their wishlist.  There was some confusion as to how that would happen and, fearing they might be awarded something inexpensive, people began purging their wishlists of cheap indie games.  Since devs get stats on that, it was like an indie game apocalypse I gather.

Valve had to quickly tell people how to designate which game you would win, but I am pretty sure the damage was done by that point.

As I mentioned in the month in review post, even after I knew what the deal was I decided purging my wishlist was a good plan.

There was also a hole in the system early where there was no cap on the number of points you could apply from qualified games from which you had earned achievements that allowed people to go crazy with points, buying badges, the discount, and boosting their Steam level into the hundreds.

Oh well.  I am sure Valve learned something along the way.  And I suspect that most Steam users ignored the whole thing.  My sample size for that assertion is pretty small… my daughter and a half dozen of her friends… but I was the only one paying any attention to that aspect of the event.

On the sale side of things however, my daughter did come to me for two titles.

The first was Rust, which had been on my own wishlist before the purge hit.

She and her boyfriend play that together.  How sweet.

However, her big game for the event was Megaquarium, which is a “run your own aquarium attraction” simulator.

She ended up not having to work over the weekend and burned through the campaign mode. I was looking over her shoulder when she added the whale shark to her exhibit, the crown jewel in the game.  I think she is one achievement away from being complete on that front, and you have to do that one in sandbox mode according to her.

This was her sort of game and she gives in a big thumbs up.

I only purchased one title during the sale, but it was one I have been thinking about for quite a while.  I now own Grand Theft Auto V.

Unlike my daughter’s choices, I was struggling a bit to even get started in GTAV.  This was primarily because it seemed to be all about having a gamepad controller to play it and seemed to be trying to hide keyboard commands from me.

Not that the basic keyboard commands were completely opaque.  It is the usual mouse and WASD for movement and such.  But about 10 seconds into the game somebody is yelling at me to use my phone to detonate an explosive, but there was nothing to indicate how I should do that.  Where in a normal tutorial a game might tell me which key to use, I had to dig into the menu, find where the commands were hidden, and scroll through the list to find the right key.

Fortunately, as a single player game, all the NPCs were able to wait, if not patiently.

I think I need a long stretch of time on the weekend to get into that.

Anyway, another sale passes and another one will hove into view a few months down the line.  It is practically part of the circle of life now.

The Steam Summer Sale 2019 is Under Way

It is that time of year again… or one of those times of year… when Steam has a big sale.  This year the event has a racing theme.

The Steam Grand Prix

While I haven’t dug in yet, it looks to be off to its usual splendor.

Better than something priced wrong I guess.  Also, who goes there via the web?

I am sure there will be the usual cards to collect, queues to browse, and stickers to… also collect I guess.  I know I’ll deride the whole thing while logging in every day to dutifully do all the things.

Whether or not I will buy anything is a different story.  I will go through my wish list and stare at things like the ageing Grand Theft Auto V and wonder if this time the price is right and I will buy it at last.  (GTAV is 50% off, making it $15. Seems like a deal.)

Anyway, the whole thing is in motion yet again, so I might as well press my nose up against the glass to see if there is something I must have.  Honestly, the only Steam game I have played lately has been RimWorld.   That isn’t even marked down, though I own it already so I don’t know why I should care.

I have between now and July 9 to get in any deals.  And if I miss one… well, I guess I’ll have to wait until Winter.  Steam has trained us to wait for sales.  At least titles don’t completely disappear from the store when the sale hits.  Or maybe Steam just gets their consent.

The Passing of the 2018 Steam Summer Sale

If I scheduled this correctly, the Steam Summer Sale of 2018 should have wrapped up about fifteen minutes before this post went live.

In its way it was the same thing we have come to expect over the years.  The daily deals remain a thing of the past and hundreds… possibly thousands… of games are offered up at a discount.  Also, there was a game to play and cards to collect.  I collected cards via the event game and by browsing my queue three times daily.  That, and some trading, let me craft the badge for the event.  Go me.

Level 4 even…

Going through the queue as many times as I did, I could detect some patterns.  I bought an Anime flagged title in the past… the Valkyria Chronicles… which seemed to make Steam believe that I wanted whole queues of nothing but Anime titles proffered for my inspection.  Generally I flip past those, but this time around I decided to see if I could fix my queue, so I clicked the “not interested” button until the empire of Anime subsided.

That left my queue at least a little more on point.  Not that it came up with gems I might have missed.  Rather, it seemed to confirm the fact that there is a lot of derivative crap on Steam.  I was not aware as to how many psuedo-Civilization knock-offs there were, all with titles that were something like World Civilization Conquest of the Ages.

I did find one possible gem in my queue, OGRE.

I put it on my wishlist, though I did not buy it yet.  I played it, and its companion game GEV, back when they came in zip-lock bags at the hobby shop, but I wasn’t feeling the need to go quite that far back in time.

And, of course, I managed to screw up my queue on my own by putting other things I found funny on my wishlist.  I use the wishlist not so much as a shopping list than as a way to find games later because… so many damn games on Steam, if I don’t remember the title just right I’ll never find it again.

So when I put Blockchain Tycoon on my wishlist for a laugh, I was rewarded on my next few passes through my queue with Bitcoin Tycoon and Bitcoin Mining Empire Tycoon and Bitcoin Trading Master and Bitcon Farm and Bitcoin Collector and Cryptocurrency Clicker and I am tired of linking them.  There are more, including VR variations on the theme.  And they all look like crap.  I mean, I might laugh at something like EuroTruck Simulator now and again, but at least some effort went into that.  What I was seeing was… and I keep using this phrase… cheap, derivative crap, meant only to cash in on a current fad and unlikely to succeed at even that.

But I am not here to get back onto the “you know what’s wrong with Steam…” train again.  I am here to talk about what I bought during the Steam Summer Sale because I did indeed buy a few items this year.

The first item I picked up was Fallout 4.

I have been aware of the Fallout series since the original came out more than 20 years ago.  Despite it being the so-called spiritual successor to the original Wasteland, which I played to death on the Apple II, I have somehow managed to avoid picking up a copy of any of the various versions of the games… until now.  I am about four hours into it at this point.  I’ve collected the big iron suit, killed that nasty monster, and have gone off into the world only to have the batteries on the suit run out.

The second item on the list was Hearts of Iron IV.

This was an after 8pm impulse buy last Friday night when I wanted something in the grand strategy vein to play.  I am sure if I go back and check purchase dates and times, I would find that this is when I purchased most of the games from Paradox that I currently own.

I get all worked up for such a game and then end up defeated trying to pick up the basic flow of the game.  Almost everything from Paradox loves to throw a ton of details at you straight away without necessarily helping you build that into anything like a coherent strategy.

I will admit that it is easier to get a hold of than Hearts of Iron III… or Crusader Kings II or most of the other Paradox titles that languishing in my Steam library… and I feel like I am almost there when it comes to enjoying it.  I just have to find a good 4-6 hour stretch to focus on it.

And the third item was Oxygen Not Included.

I blame peer pressure for this one as several people in the MCats Slack channel have been going on and on about it.

And it is pretty fun.  Of my three purchases I have spent the most time with this.  It is a base building survival game which, I must admit, there are many variations of on Steam.  In fact, I already own one of those in the form of RimWorld, which I wrote about previously.

Oxygen Not Included is done from a side scroll perspective and spends a lot of time dealing with very basic issues, like getting enough air to breath and toilets overflowing.  Also you do a lot of digging up and down.  RimWorld has a top down perspective and you spend more time constructing buildings, furnishing them, fighting off the locals, and recruiting passers by to join your colony.  Also the weather plays into things a lot and you end up in the HVAC business eventually.

Overall I think I prefer RimWorld more… but I also think RimWorld is further along in its development.  But both of them largely involve moving from one crises to the next until you hit some level of stability.

So those are my three purchases.  I feel good that I have actually played all three.  My vow with Steam is not to buy something unless I plan to play it TODAY.

Steam also had some info up about games overall so far in 2018.  They had lists of the overall top sellers so far in 2018.

Top Sellers so far for 2018

They were divided into categories without any numbers attached.  Interesting that Warframe is on the list.  It has been out for ages, I’ve barely heard anything about it, but it seems to be doing well.  Somebody on my Steam friend’s list played 100 hours of it over a 2 week period.  Perhaps something to put on my list.

Comparing it to the Best of 2017 list that Steam had with the Winter sale, a lot of the titles are repeats.

Other categories were top sellers among games launched this year so far and top sellers among VR titles, which wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to make the first two lists.

The other interesting one for me was the top simultaneous players list, those games that had more that 100K at a time.

Most simultaneous players so far in 2018

Again, looks a bit like the December numbers as well as lining up with the best sellers.

Anyway, another Steam Summer Sale has come and gone.  Time to go clean up my wish list so my queue isn’t full of Bitcoin games come the winter.

When the Steam Summer Sale Hits While You Are on Vacation

You can tell just by checking your email.

Only 25? Is that all?

My Steam wishlist is long, full of games I as much want to watch as actually buy and play. But now the test as to which category some of those games fall into has hit yet again.

Intergalactic Summer Sale is On!

At least I have some time to consider what is on my list. Fallout 4 is right at the top, and with all the talk of the new Fallout 76 coming along it is tempting.

Of course, it will be time to return to Azeroth in not too long, with the opening events for the Battle for Azeroth expansion no doubt hitting some time by the end of July. Do I have time to binge and RPG before then?