Steam sales are universally awesome, right? Everyone gets cheap games, developers sell a ton of games, we're all happy. Right? Well, no.

Indie dev Jason Rohrer (Passage, Between, Sleep is Death) has written a blog post called "Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players". He argues that a "culture of sales" has led to people waiting for a game's price to drop before buying, which in the long-term isn't just resulting in less money for developers, but also a diminished community around a game, as buyers are dispersed over a period of months (or even years) instead of being concentrated around a game's launch.

He's not out-andout complaining; Rohrer withdrew his own games from Steam sales last year, and says "I...get that it's impossible to escape from it now. To Valve's credit, they never force developers to put their games on sale." He's just showing us that the sales aren't some perfect thing where everybody wins all the time.

As a test, his next game - Castle Doctrine - is going to adopt a pricing scheme that goes in the other direction. It'll be 50% off before launch, 25% off in the first week, after which it'll cost its full price "forever after that".

There's more to it than this, of course, including arguments that online games never need to go on sale at all (since they're not taking up shelf space), so you should read the full thing below.


Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players [The Castle Doctrine]