The 2017 Steam sales are going to begin soon, meaning if you’re into gaming you can save an absolute fortune on some amazing titles.
In case you’re not aware of what Steam is, allow me to explain.
Steam is a digital content distribution platform, much like an app store such as Google Play or iTunes. The difference is, Steam is specifically for PC content. It started out aimed at gamers on Windows PCs, although now supports other platforms such as Linux. Still, the main emphasis remains hardcore PC gamers primarily on Windows-based machines; the kind of people who love to customise their £2000 gaming rigs with the latest graphics and neon-coloured liquid cooling systems; AKA, the PC Master Race, as they are sometimes called.
It all stared with gaming company Valve, the developer team which created Half-Life back in 1998. Following the firm’s success, it expanded into digital distribution and became a publisher in its own right. This was the founding of Steam, back in 2004, Valve launched Half-Life 2 and the Steam platform at the same time, as the main means of distribution for its new title.
Nowadays Steam is a massive publisher of games from all major developers, and other firms have tried to muscle in; Ubisoft’s UPlay, for example, but Steam got there first and is heavily entrenched. Not only does it have the biggest catalogue of PC games available to buy and download, it is also packed with non-gaming software, and even movie and TV content. Most recently, Steam has pushed the VR trend and has a massive catalogue of VR-compatible content.
Steam doesn’t use a subscription or on-demand model like Netflix; instead you have an account and buy games and content individually; this purchases a license for that game, and any time you log into the Steam software (which you install on a PC) you can access, download, install and play your library of purchases on that machine. In this regard it’s quite similar to buying apps and films on Google Play and accessing them from any Android device where you’ve logged in on your Google account. As well as being a distribution platform, Steam has a lot of built-in features for social networking, discussion groups, clans and teams, a Friends system, messaging, and in-game achievements, trophies, unlocks and rewards.
The Steam Sales
For several years, however, one of the biggest and most talked about aspects of Steam is its annual sales. For many PC gamers, these are the big events of the year. Prices on major titles get seriously slashed, up to 90% off the RRP in some cases.
It’s even spawned its own set of memes as many gamers find that although they’re saving a ton of money on good quality games, they end up clearing out their wallet on a boatload of these lower-priced purchases, living off beans for the rest of the month, and amassing such a huge collection of cut-price titles they can never possibly play them all.
Steam has three major sale events every year, although there are usually small snap events periodically where a limited selection of titles get a cut price. It also has several week-long sales events planned.
- The three major events are the Steam Summer Sale, Steam Autumn Sale, and Steam Winter Sale.
- The first sale in 2017 will begin on June 23.
- Price cuts will be quite varied. It will depend on how recently a game has been launched; often brand new titles won’t be cut so severely, but anything more than a few months old stands a good chance of getting a decent reduction. The big savings are the 90%, 75%, 50% and 40% cuts on prices.
- To help, Steam also runs sales in batches sorting titles by certain developers or publishers, or series, so you can really hone in on your favourites. It’s not unusual to find all the Assassin’s Creed or GTA titles getting lumped together with big cuts across the range, for example.
- You’re able to sort the Sale page by percentage cuts, and Steam also puts some handy little categories for bringing together a list of games as cheap as £5, £7, £10 and so on.
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