At the end of March, Valve is making changes to the way studios and publishers can offer their games at a discount on Steam. What sounds like a minor administrative thing is also something more financially-savvy Steam game purchasers might want to keep an eye on.
Published earlier this month, a backend blog post called Discount Rule Changes says that as of March 28, Valve will be “changing some rules for discounts,” with the main ones being a revised “discount cooldown” period, and the removal of the ability for developers and publishers to “discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.”
It’s easy to look at a move like the latter and feel like it’s a little unfair for users. But these changes appear to be being made to stop those responsible for a game’s pricing—and we’re talking everyone from the dodgiest little scam game to the biggest AAA publishers—from not only gaming Steam’s algorithm to make their releases more prominent, but also to trick users into thinking a sale is bigger than it actually is, by artificially inflating the original, pre-discount price.
The specifics of the changes are:
- You can run a launch discount, but once your launch discount ends, you cannot run any other discounts for 28 days.
- It is not possible to discount your product for 28 days following a price increase in any currency.
- Discounts cannot be run within 28 days of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
- Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 28 days of releasing your title, within 28 days from when your launch discount ends, or within 28 days of a price increase in any currency.
- You may not change your price while a promotion is live now or scheduled for the future.
- It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
- Custom discounts cannot last longer than two weeks, or run for shorter than 1 day.
Will this actually work? Who knows! But it sure looks more robust on paper, at least.