The Steam Summer Sale is in full swing, which means deals out the proverbial wazoo. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to come away with plenty of games and a not entirely empty wallet.
Lifehacker wrote a pretty comprehensive Steam Sale guide. It covers all the basics. Consider this a complement, or perhaps a compilation of more advanced strategies to beat this festive summer pinata until all its goodies fall out.
Recent Steam Sales have adopted a “what you see is what you get” policy. All deals stay as they are until the end of the sale. If you missed a highlighted deal, don’t worry: the game’s price will remain as it was until July 4. So there’s no need to wait around for deep discounts. If you see a game you’ve been wanting on sale, grab it.
All PC games are not created equal. This goes double for ports, and there’s nothing worse than buying a shiny new game only for it to nosedive into a flaming heap. When in doubt, try reading reviews or checking places like PC Gaming Wiki for performance analysis, potential issues, Steam features, and the like.
Steam is a vast, labyrinthine series of stores and sub-stores. To those planning to brave it alone, I say good luck and remember that the minotaur can only harm you if you fail to solve its riddles. If, however, you’d like some assistance, let me recommend a couple good resources.
On Reddit, r/GameDeals offers a daily Steam Summer Sale thread with ample information about games’ prices in different currency, price history, trading cards, bundles, hardware, and more. It’s good for getting a broad overview of the Steam Sale on a daily basis.
SteamDB’s sales page, on the other hand, is great if you want a quick flyby of the entire Steam Sale. They’ve graphed out which games are for sale, the length of the sale, and each game’s Steam review rating.
Meanwhile, David Arcila put together a great Steam Sale Survival Kit, which will help you with deal lists, browser extensions, trading groups, and hopefully also the aforementioned minotaur. Also, for shits and giggles, he included a site that tells you how much it would currently cost to buy everything on Steam.
Love it or hate it, Steam’s phone app security policy looms heavy over this year’s Steam Summer Sale. If you don’t verify trading card sales through the app, you’re looking at a 15-day hold period. That’s longer than the Steam Summer Sale, meaning that there’s really no point to going through with it at all.
Folks like somethinghaha—who’ve been involved in the trading card, er, trade for a few years now—have observed that Steam Sale trading card prices tend to go down with time. So sell toward the start of the sale and buy closer to the end.
THECapedCaper points out that retailers occasionally have deals on Steam gift cards. For instance, some Best Buys are doing a buy-one-get-20-percent-off-another discount right now. That’s essentially free money. Those sorts of deals aren’t always easy to come by, but keep an eye out for them.
Do you have any good Steam Sale tips? Sound off, and I’ll add them to the post.
You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know.