Steam is your best friend when it comes to saving money on video games. Steam is an online digital game distributor run by the gaming publisher Valve. Every Holiday, they hold what are affectionately known as “Steam Sales”. These sales are when they start to heavily discount the video games they distribute for the purpose of getting more games into the hands of gamers right when those gamers have the most extra cash floating around. There’s a few things to know about the Steam Sales before you dive in, so read on to make sure that you take proper advantage of the discounted merchandise.
The Steam Sale is broken up into a variety of segments. The first and foremost is called “Daily Deals”. These are one day deals that are available for 24 hours. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. So, if you see a game on sale on a Daily Deal, and you want that game, you ought to buy it. There is little to no chance that you’ll be able to get that game at that same low price later on in the sale. You must take advantage of it while you can. At the same time, if you see a game that you want that is not a Daily Deal, do not purchase it. It may become tomorrow’s Daily Deal. Even if you see the game is already on sale, don’t buy it unless it’s a Daily Deal. Wait until the end of the sale. If, on the last day of the sale, the game has not been a Daily Deal, then you can feel confident that you are purchasing it at the lowest price it will be available at for this sale.
If you missed a Daily Deal and see that the game is still discounted (just not as much), still do not purchase it until the last day. The very last day of the Steam Sales are usually all the best deals from the previous Daily Deals. So if you missed the sale you wanted, wait and hope it comes back at the end.
Publisher Packs are a fantastic choice for the budding gamer. They are filled with a ton of games, all from the same publisher, all discounted for one low great price. They are a fantastic choice for someone who doesn’t have a lot of computer games yet, but they’re probably not such a great choice for someone who might already have one or two of the better games from that pack. However, don’t forget that the games within the pack can be on a Daily Deal as well. So the same rule applies here, where you should wait until the end of the sale, and then determine if you need/want the publisher pack. Otherwise you might find that the game that you bought the pack for just went on sale for 75% off and the rest of the games you never really wanted anyways.
You can gift Steam purchases. If you don’t have an account, simply create one. Then when you go to purchase a game, it’ll ask you if you want to purchase it as a gift or for yourself. If you choose as a gift, all you need is the recipients email address. Steam will send them an email for you saying that you bought them a game. They will then be able to add that game to their account, download it, and play it. If you don’t want to send it to them yet (perhaps you want to wait until Christmas), then purchase it as a gift, but put your own email address down. When you get the email from steam, simply hold onto it, and forward it along on Christmas morning. Steam doesn’t really care what email address you put in the box, the important part is clicking on the link and activating it within the email. That way if gamers have multiple email addresses, they don’t have to have multiple Steam accounts if a friend or relative sends them a game, but to the wrong email address.
There’s a couple popular strategies for making the most of Steam Sales. If you’re a game that already follows the scene and knows what games they want to get, it’s best to just ride it out, check out the Daily Deals, and wait for the games you want to go on sale. You’ll get exactly what you want, at the best price, and you won’t spend a ton of money on games you may or may not want. But what if you don’t follow the scene? What if you’re a new gamer and are unsure what games to get? Here’s where you’ll want to spend a few minutes doing some research. On the main Steam page there’s a “most popular” tab. If you wait 12-18 hours after the sale has started, that Most Popular list will accurately reflect the best deal of the day. Purchase that game. Wait for the next day of Steam Sales, and repeat. Gamers are very diverse, and as the Daily Deals are also diverse, if you purchase the best game or two from each Daily Deal, you’ll end up with a massive collection of amazing games that you can play and check out for a fairly low price. Most Steam Sales bring games down to <$10, so even a week or two of doing this won’t completely break the bank.
Do you take advantage of Steam Sales to saving money on video games? What are you purchasing this Holiday season?