[The Steam Winter Sale has gone live today, Dec. 22nd, and runs until January 4th. For more info on this year’s discounts read our full Steam Winter Sale rundown.]
For PC gamers, seasonal Steam sales are the best time to stock up on games for a massive discount. While Valve tries to keep the dates of the Steam sales secret up until the last minute, two sources have revealed the dates of the upcoming Autumn and Holiday Steam Sales, as well as a big change.
Autumn’s Steam Sale will begin on November 25th 10AM PST, and it’ll come to an end on December 1st, also at 10am PST. The Holiday sale will come hot on its heels, starting on December 22nd at 10 am and ending on January 4th at 10am. Unfortunately, gamers who are accustomed to grabbing titles during flash sales to get the largest discount possible may be disappointed.
Steam is not going to be holding flash sales during the Autumn or Holiday sale this year, and it remains to be seen if they’ll ever bring them back. With a record of over 7 million concurrent users, Steam is apparently doing it to level the playing field for all their users and to give gamers a bigger discount overall:
“In past sale events, we’ve asked for two discounts—a duration discount that runs for the length of the sale, and a feature discount that runs in the event that a game is featured on the front page. This year, to optimize the sale for customers and to allow us to feature and recommend your products in more ways to more customers, we’re asking for just one discount, to run the length of the sale.
We’ll still be highlighting top games on the front page for 24-48 hour spans, but those products will stay at their most competitive discount, before and after being featured.”
In short, certain games will still be featured for short periods of time, but their prices won’t be any different from the rest of the sale period. Flash sales, like those held during the Summer Steam Sale, traditionally offered steeper discounts, and were generally available for only a few hours. Unfortunately, gamers who slept through the discount or couldn’t get on the internet during the sale were out of luck and had to buy the game at a higher price.
While the quote seems to imply that there may be discounts that are steeper than the typical sale price, it’s doubtful that they’ll be as intense as the flash sale prices. Flash sales also tend to encourage gamers to impulsively buy a game that they might not otherwise buy, so their absence could potentially result in lower sales overall.
The leaked quote from the Steamworks Developers Group makes it out as though this new sale format is being done just with the consumer in mind. However, given the last Steam Sale was deemed misleading, they may also be changing their format to avoid future mishaps. It’s also possible that the new Steam return policy could create quite a headache if gamers impulsively bought dozens of deeply-discounted games only to realize they didn’t want them, and returned them all at once.
In any case, the two next Steam sales will probably still be a major part of the massive revenue PC gaming produces. While the lack of flash sales may disappoint some, it’s a bit reassuring to know that PC gamers won’t have to lose sleep or be glued to their computer to get the discount they’ve been waiting for.