PC fans from across the world know two things about this time of year. The first day of summer is on June 21, and so is the start of the annual Steam Summer Sale. If you aren’t in the know about Steam or their famous sales, allow me to explain the best I can. Steam is a platform that hosts thousands of games for sale strictly for PC and Mac. Everything from triple-A titles that come from big budget companies to the smallest developers who kick-started their dream project can be hosted on Steam. Not only that, games on Steam are usually discounted to drive sales of certain games. I cannot tell you how many games went viral thanks to a Steam sale. Steam is also home to a swath of indie titles that are early access. Early access titles are games that are still in their alpha (earliest) or beta (pre-launch) phase of development. These games are usually put into early access because the game developer cannot develop the game with the budget they have. Thus, they turn to consumers with an interest in the title to buy the game early and help alleviate development costs. It also works as a way to receive direct feedback on their title. It is a cycle of giving and taking. The player gives feedback and gets free content updates for buying the game early and the developer takes the feedback and money while giving content back to the player for free.
Usually, the games are about $60 from a triple-A developer. But Steam can discount those titles anywhere from 10 percent to 95 percent. A game that didn’t sell well or older games tend to get a large discount. Other games receive discounts to drive interest towards the game. New players hype up the game, give it new reviews, and bring even more people to buy it; this is for hundreds of games on the platform.
The problem most people run into with these sales is whether we as a consumer “need” the game. I have used Steam since I was in eighth grade and I have over 141 games in my library. I have only played about 20 of those games. I always find myself saying, “I’ll find time to play it later,” or, “How could I not buy it? It’s 90 percent off!” It is a trap that Steam has done for over a decade now and it traps millions of players everywhere. Yet, we still buy games that we will never play. It is a curse of the desire to own a certain game versus the time to play said game. For example, I bought the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt three years ago in the Steam Summer Sale. I have yet to even download the game. Instead, I found myself playing Skyrim for the hundredth time to try another mod I hadn’t seen before. There are things you can do to avoid throwing your wallet at the screen for a game you won’t even like.
- Read User Reviews – Steam allows games to be reviewed by the users and to post them on the game page for others to view. There is also a way to distinguish the fake reviews and the real ones. Each reviewer has a total of the hours played on the particular game; it also shows how many games that user owns in their library. This allows someone looking to buy a new game to sift through those who gave up on the game early or is a fake account with only one game in their library. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then that game is something you might want to play. Conversely, if the majority of the reviews are not positive, then you may want to be sure the game is something you want to buy.
- Make Sure You Know What Genre It Is – There are dozens of game genres that fulfill a certain niche people enjoy. Make sure that you are buying a traditional RPG if you don’t like turn-based RPGs that are more affiliated with JRPGs.
- Understand How Much Time It Takes To Beat The Game – Depending on how old you are, you may not have enough time to play these games that you buy. Some games you can beat in one sitting and others for several days. It is important to remember how much time it will take you to beat this game, as well as how much time you can make to beat it.
Overall, I must say that this is all something that I look forward to each year. New games I want but don’t have the money to buy with are discounted to the point of a worthy purchase. Games I never heard about can become popular thanks to the sale, knocking it down to under $10. New year, the same problem. What about you, reader? Have you succumbed to Steam’s ridiculous sales? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
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