Tag Archives: Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Summer Sale 2017 Arrives

As predicted/expected/hoped, the Steam Summer Sale went live at 17:00 UTC today.

Summer Sale Comes Again

I have been much less ambivalent about the upcoming sale than I have been in past years.  I am feeling the itch for a new game or three.  So as soon as the sale went live I checked my wishlist and… nothing I added recently is on sale.

Ah well.

This year the activities are driven by quests to obtain sticker by performing various activities.  Going through your discover queue is the obvious one, but there are other tasks.

Sticker pack for checking my prefs

Of course, the immediate heavy load on the store meant that such tasks led to errors, but it will smooth out once the rush to find the inevitably comically mis-priced items has died down.

Since my wishlist let down my initial rush of enthusiasm, I’ll have to stalk the store to see what I can find.  Or maybe I will buy something I really want at full price.  It’s been known to happen.

How are you feeling about Steam this summer?

Steam, What Have You Wrought?

Things that are not supposed to happen over the course of a Steam Summer Sale; have your Steam Left number go down.

Before the Steam Summer Sale 2015, my count was:

74 days would get me through the summer...

74 days would get me through the summer…

Here, at the tail end of the sale, with the counter running down, my tally is:

I played some video games

I played some video games

Somewhere in between the start of the search for the summer game and now, I played 12 hours and didn’t buy anything.  And I am not even sure how I played that much, as the only game on Steam I played much of was War Thunder.  Well, time adds up.

Meanwhile, things like Steam Left and the long list of games in my Steam library has trained me over the years to not buy games unless I am going to play them right then and there.  And so I ended up buying nothing from the Steam Summer Sale.

Not that there were not things on sale, often at very attractive prices.

Steam Summer Sale 2015

Steam Summer Sale 2015

There were a number of items on my wishlist that I had my eye on.  Earlier in the year Cities: Skylines seemed to be the rightful heir to Sim City, given the praise it got.   Likewise, Project CARS seemed to be the driving sim of the year, getting high praise from those who purport to know best, with both local and online play available.  Something to replace the soon to depart Need for Speed World maybe?

But I wasn’t on the edge of my seat ready to play either title and the discounts, while good for somewhat recent releases, were not too good to pass up.

Not that discounts levels sold me on anything either.  I had one game on my wishlist that was marked down to $1.24 for the sale… and I didn’t buy it.  I guess that means I ought to take it off my wishlist, since I don’t think it will ever get any cheaper than that.  To be fair, it did have mixed reviews and I put it on the list more to remind me to look into it again than because I was going to buy… but still, at $1.24 you think I’d just buy it.

Apparently not.

Then, of course, there was the sea of titles that interest me a bit, but which are not really my thing.  I am tempted to get Alien: Isolation because I have heard such good things about its atmosphere… and it was 75% off at various times… but in the end it seemed likely to just sit in my library unplayed.

And I always get excited when the Traveller’s Tales LEGO games are on sale… until I remember that they really play like crap on the PC unless you have a game pad… and even when you have a game pad it still feels like an awkward port.  The definitive experience for those games is on a console, in your living room, with a controller.

So I ended up here, at the end of the sale, having purchased nothing.  Which is fine… I hardly needed any more unplayed games in my library.  But it is amusing to consider how things have changed, how the Steam Summer Sale used to be such a big deal and how I would buy things just because they were priced so damn attractively.  Steam has trained me over the years to hold off and only buy things that I am sure I will play.

The Passing of Another Steam Summer Sale

Another Steam Summer Sale has come and gone.

As others have noted, its regularity… and the fact that we get a Holiday sale in December… has taken some of the edge off of the whole thing.  Seeing a whole pile of games marked down was a huge deal the first couple of times we saw it.  Now, however, we have come to expect it.

Oh look, games on sale... yawn...

Oh look, games on sale… yawn…

Such sales have changed my behavior some.  If there is a game I have to have right away, I still buy it right there and then… unless the sale is around the corner.  Steam screwed me on that last year.  I bought the Brave New World expansion for Civilization V the day it launched, despite the summer sale coming up.  And then two days later the Summer Sale launched and the expansion was marked down, a gaffe that even Steam realized might have been a discount too soon.

Steam tries to make up

Steam tries to make up

So maybe I won’t pre-order anything that will launch close to the sales zones any more, but otherwise my behavior on must-haves has not changed.

But for things I am not sure about, games that are not “must have” but merely nice to have… the Steam sales process has changed my behavior quite a bit.  My wish list is now filled with things that I “sorta” want, if the price is right, and I am in a good mood.  The impulse buy aspect of Steam sales has been replaced by watching my wish list.  I look at what is on sale that day, then look at my wish list, ponder if anything is “must have” at their current price, and then move on, generally without buying anything.

This year I did end up buying a couple of games.  One was for the strategy group “next game” plan that I wrote about last week, and which makes a good example of how Steam has influenced me.

While we had a list of potential games, Total War: Rome II was the primary contender, backed by Loghound. (I had other suggestions, but I wasn’t sold on any of them.)  A not-too-old release, it still has a list price of $59.99, the current benchmark price for AAA games from major studios.  As the summer sale was already in progress, it was marked down to half off.  $29.98 wasn’t a bad price.  There is a whole lot of game there.

But Steam has taught me to always wait until the REAL DEAL has been offered.  So while Rome II was the prime candidate, nobody moved to purchase it until Friday, because it wasn’t until Friday that the REAL DEAL kicked in and the price dropped to $20.37.  At that price it was an easy purchase and all of us picked up a copy.  So that is the tentative next game for the group, once we finish up our Civ V game (at some point in August by my guess) and if it turns out to be suitable.  A quick look shows a battle style that gives you a budget to buy units in advance, so I suspect this could mean long lead times before we actually play.  But the single player campaign looks to be worth the investment, so even if we don’t play it much, it was probably worth the money with the deep discount.

So there it is.  Our next game has been chosen.

I did have two impulse purchases, one of which was Europa Universalis IVas it had been marked down to $9.99.  It has been on my wish list since it launched, so I am not sure if it is really an “impulse” buy, but I grabbed it.  It is one of those games… like its predecessors… that I really want to like, but which is so complicated and so deep that I can never get into it and actually play.  I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to do simple things, which quickly becomes frustrating.  I have no reason to suspect that this will be any different.

The other was Ticket to Ride, which I already own on the iPad.  I should have just stuck with that.  The iPad version is the game as it should be played and as it should look and perform.  The Windows version is slow, graphically inferior, and prone to buffering mouse clicks as you wait for it to catch up, leading to many a mis-played moment.  I regret this purchase and I could not recommend this on Steam even at its very low sale price.

And, in a sale related matter that isn’t really about Valve or Steam, I was just a tiny bit annoyed to see Planetary Annihilation early access up on the list of things on sale… or even available at all.  I backed their kickstarter, but not at a level high enough to get early access yet.  I get a finished copy and that is all, but I actually paid more for that than the early access sale, which also gets you a full copy.  And Uber Entertainment, the studio behind the title, hasn’t been the best about communication when it comes to actual progress towards release, they are a year late at this point, and  they are out there hawking early access at retail.  I realize early access is basically a retail pre-order, but it still makes me think, “Dude, remember me? I gave you money nearly two years ago?”  Just the nature of Kickstarter projects I guess.

And then there was the contest.

In order to spice things up… and get people to spend more money… Valve put everybody on teams and set us against each other for the possibility of getting something for nothing… assuming you didn’t buy anything for this gimmick.  Clockwork over at Out of Beta covers the whole thing better than I, I just want to grouse about the level of exclusion.

Summer Adventure Gimmick

Summer Adventure Gimmick

Anybody who wanted to participate got dropped onto one of the five color teams.  However, to actually do anything to help your team, you had to be level 10, at least as far as I could tell.  So despite years of Steam usage and owning over 100 games, I wasn’t able to play because I was only level 7.

Level as of July 1, 2014

Level as of July 1, 2014

While that was up from where I stood last year, it still wasn’t enough.

The problem is… well one of the problems I suppose… is that I purchased most of my library before they got into the whole levels thing.  And one of the prime ways you earn points to level up is based on how much money you spend, so most of my purchases didn’t count.  The other problem is that I am not inclined to spend money just to level myself up on Steam.  But that probably excluded me from the Summer Adventure thing anyway, as Clockwork pegs the whole thing as a pay to win affair.

And, on the annoying front, one of the ways I could have earned a few badges and points was by voting on the content of upcoming sales.  Only you must be level 8 to earn anything by voting, so once again Steam failed to engage me by imposing what looks to be an arbitrary level limit on rewards.  Bleh.

So, the score for the event.

  • Purchases at the lowest possible price as Steam has trained us: 1
  • Impulse purchases: 2
  • Engagement in sale related events: 0
  • Games on Steam I haven’t even played yet: too many

Maybe I will be the “right” level for whatever event Steam has planned by the time the Holiday Sale comes around.

We Bid Adieu to Another Steam Summer Sale

In the end, it is difficult to find anything directly negative to say about Steam and their annual Summer sale.  Complaining that something isn’t discounted enough tends to ring a bit hollow.

SteamSummerSale2013

Sure, I was a bit bemused at the Brave New World expansion for Civilization V going on sale just two days after it launched.  Valve seemed a somewhat embarrassed about that as well.

But lots of things were on sale.  Literally everything on my wishlist was marked down at least 25%.  The fact that I did not purchase everything on my wishlist probably says something about the nature of my wishes.

Towards the end of the sale, while chatting with Gaff, I did end up purchasing two games.

I picked up Chivalry: Medieval Warfare for $6.24, a price it seemed to hit three or four times during the sale.  In the end, I am glad it was that cheap if only because it is practically impossible to play the game with my trackball.  Two key attacks require using the scroll wheel, which means removing my fingers from the trackball mid-fight, so I can either aim my attack or make my attack, but not both.

I managed to struggle through the initial tutorial, but the guy who attacks you immediately afterwards killed me so easily due to my fumbling with the balance of aim and attack that I quit the game.  I need to steal my gaming mouse back from my daughter if I want to play this.

In the last hours of the sale, I decided that being just one dollar from my target price shouldn’t stop me from buying The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  And then I opted for the deluxe edition, which was more expensive.  Go team logic!  Given that it was at the top of their sales chart at the end, a lot of people were with me on that one.

My experience with Skyrim, limited though it might be, was much better.  While combat is similar to Chivalry, I did not need the scroll wheel and I was able to zoom out into a third person view, which years of MMOs has trained me to use, and which made me feel more comfortable and situationally aware.

I got through the opening scenes, followed my fellow prisoners in escape, fell off of the tower and ended up following the sympathetic guard, which at least Yahtzee seemed to think might not be the brightest of plans.  Sympathetic or not, his lot was just about to lop my head off, no?  Anyway, now I am dressed like him and running around in some tunnels.  I would have gotten further, but it was time for dinner.

Probably the most amusing and/or embarrassing time during the sale was when Gaff was trying to get me to buy things he just purchased on the theory that we might play them together.  It turned out that I had purchased most of them already in past Steam sales, yet had not played any of them.  The argument against buying anything new during the sale, certainly.

I did get him to not buy the Train Simulator 2013, which was marked down something crazy, like 95%.  They want you to be able to buy their thousands of dollars of DLC.  I repeated the list of cons from one of my posts about the game, and the fact that the game pauses when you tab out was a deal killer.

At the end of the sale my Steam profile level remained exactly the same, helping to reinforce my complete lack of understanding as to what it means.

Only level 4

Still only level 4

I played some games during the sale.  I played a lot of Civilization V, which earned me some Steam trading cards.  So I have some of those.  Again, not sure what they do or why I should care, but I am armed with some now.

So here we are, at what must be one of the quietest times for the Steam sales team.  Who buys something the day after the big Steam Summer Sale?  Yes, they still have a couple of items on sale.  Something is discounted at all times.  But after so many things were marked down, it is almost a let down to look at the store now.

And, of course, what this has really done is taken our training to not buy anything except during the big sales.  I certainly got the big rolled-up newspaper over the nose for pre-ordering Brave New World for only a small discount when it was marked down even further just two days after launch.  Way to go Steam.

Do you feel the same way?  Do you have a pile of unplayed games due to such Steam sales?  Will you wait for the big Steam sales rather than purchasing in between?  Have they trained you yet?

And how many more days until the big Steam Holiday Sale?

Notes from Another Steam Summer Sale

We are already more than half way through the annual Steam Summer Sale and… I haven’t bought a single game so far.

SteamSummerSale2013

I did get a free game however.

I noted in a comment on my post about the Civilization V expansion Brave New World that Steam had put it up as a sale item just two days after it released, which I didn’t think was all that cool.  I pre-ordered the expansion, which knocked three bucks off the price, only to find that I could have saved six dollars more if I had waited two additional days.  I am fine paying the day-one price for something I want, but cutting the price on day three is just going to train me not to buy anything new on Steam.

Well, Steam apparently didn’t think the price cut was all that cool in hindsight and decided to make it up to those who pre-ordered.  They didn’t feel bad enough to give me the six dollars, but they gave me a copy of Civilization IV.

Steam tries to make up

Steam tries to make up

I already own Civilization IV, though I couldn’t tell you where the disks were if pressed.  And, when it comes down to it, if I want to play a Civ game, Civ IV is probably in fourth place behind Civ V, Civ II, and Alpha Centauri.  But I suppose it was a decent gesture and I can always give it to somebody else on Steam.

But that isn’t why I haven’t bought any games yet.

And it certainly isn’t because of any negative reaction I might be having to their new Steam Trading Cards thing.  I don’t understand it really.  But it serves as neither an incentive nor a deterrent when it comes to purchased.  I am not going to buy stuff just to get a virtual trading card or to level myself up.

Only level 4

Only level 4

I probably did end up voting a few more times than I might have in their polls because of this.

And price should be no object.  The sales are great and I have been tempted to purchase a number of titles.

For example, like Harbinger Zero, I have been eying Skyrim, having set a mental price threshold of $20 at which point I have told myself I will buy it.  And, as he wrote, the fact that the Steam sale price fell just shy of that goal… I can have Skyrim for $21 right now… has ostensibly kept me from pulling the trigger on that deal.

However, I suspect that even at the $20 mark, I still might pass it by like so many other deals on the service.

I just think I might be sated when it comes to games at the moment.

I am happily playing Lord of the Rings Online and Civilization V while waiting for fleets in EVE Online.  And I already have a backlog of games that I want to play should those pale.  Steam says I have 77 games, and I probably play five of them on any sort of regular basis.

Still, I look at the Steam site a couple of times a day, just to see what sales are going.

Have you grabbed anything good yet?

Crazy Train out of Barstow

My goal for the dread Steam Summer Sale (so much temptation) was pretty simple this year.  Despite all of the crazy deals, I was only going to purchase games I was sure I was going to play.

And I did pretty well.

I picked up Portal 2 for 75% off. (And Steam just sent me a coupon for 75% off of Portal 2… not so useful at this point.)

I definitely got my money’s worth out of that.

I also picked up Harvest: Massive Encounter, a game that sits in one corner of the tower defense genre.  I don’t feel like I lost on that, but I went back to playing Defense Grid for my tower defense needs pretty quickly.

And then, at the last minute, I swooped in and grabbed Railworks 3: Train Simulator 2012, which was 90% off list price.

This was clearly counter to the plan, and a perfect example of the rule about not buying anything on the internet after 8pm.  Your brain seems to go into a “just get it” mode after that point.  My brain succumbed to the 90% off and the idea of playing a game with over $2,000 worth of DLC on Steam, something that got the game injected into a column over at Cracked.

So, I had to do the reverse to keep to my plan, and play the game to enough to get my money out of it… and at least one blog post.  Tales of terror on the rails after the cut.

Continue reading

Steam Summer Sale – Time For Damage Control

Oh, it is that time of temptation again.  It is the dread Summer Sale at Steam.

For 10 days Valve will tempt us with incredible discounts on a wide variety of game titles.

This will lead many of us to buy titles we might not otherwise consider… and, often enough in my case, games that I certainly should not have considered.

But the price… the games can be so cheap!  I have seen things marked down 80% or more off of retail.  For example, the first day’s featured deals.

But look at the mark downs!

This is how I ended up owning the entire PopCap library despite the fact that I really only wanted Peggle Nights.  And no, it was not cheaper to buy the whole library.  I was just swept up in the moment and 90% discount.

This year I am going to stick to things on my Steam wishlist.  That is a reasonably well vetted list of games I am actively interested in, though I do see a couple of games I left on it back when Valve had a contest that would win you the top 10 games on your wishlist, but only if you had at least 10 games.  I will have to drop those, as my wishlist is now big enough not to need padding.

And, on day one, right out of the gate, two items from my wishlist came up.

The first was Portal 2.  Having played through the original Portal at last, I put the sequel on my wish list.

Also popping up on day one was Harvest: Massive Encounter, a little game that looked interesting, but not quite interesting enough until it was marked down.  I put it there as park of my search to find more tower defense games, though honestly nothing has stacked up to Defense Grid: The Awakening so far.

Total cost for the pair, $7.49.

I haven’t had a chance to look at Portal 2 yet, as it was a sizable download.  But Harvest was small, so I was able to launch it almost right away.

It appears to be a mix of RTS and tower defense with a few game mode and level choices, but otherwise very simple in design.  It is kind of what I hoped Gratuitous Space and/or Tank Battles would more like. (Neither of those titles quite clicked with me.)

Anyway, worth the $2.50 it was list at.

Now what will Valve throw at me next?  And can I stick to my plan?

I am kind of hoping that Endless Space will make the cut for a discount, because I really need yet another game like that to distract me. (Isn’t the updated Civ V enough? No?)  I have seen a bit posted about it.  However, it just launched, so it might be too soon.

What is on your list for the Steam Summer Sale?