Do you feel awash in disposable income? Do you have too much money in your bank account and need a way to get rid of it? Are you already quite poor but want desire to push yourself all the way into bankruptcy? Well fear not: the Steam summer sale has begun, bringing with it massive discounts on games, as well as a new trading card feature.
At the top of the sales list is Bioshock Infinite at $29.99 (50% off RRP), open world sci-fi MMO Defiance for $13.59 (66% off RRP), Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition for $8.99 (70% off RRP) and Valve’s popular zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead 2 for $4.99 (75% off RRP). Upcoming deals voted for by the community include Dishonored, Borderlands 2 and Far Cry 3, and Steam customers can probably expect to see some publisher deals crop up before the sale finished on July 22nd.
The Steam Trading Cards appear to be largely cosmetic in nature, though they do have some practical uses. Collecting Trading Cards gives you XP and increases your Steam Level. The Cards can be crafted into marketable items like emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons, and a higher Steam level unlocks non-tradable bonuses such as extra friends list slots and profile showcases. It seems to be a basic community game within the gaming retail platform that gives customers an incentive to buy and play Steam games more often, but until people start using it properly it will be difficult to determine how well the system works.
Steam sales are like Valve’s own personal Black Friday, as PC gamers wait for them with bated breath and flood into the online store with credit cards in hand as soon as they begin. The site was mostly operational under this massive influx of customers, but actually purchasing the games on sale presented something of a challenge during the day.
Many Steam customers have reported error messages and failed transactions due to the servers behaving sluggishly under the pressure. This has happened before at the start of the holiday sales, but the current severity of it presents a problem since many of the offers are time limited with a ticking countdown clock shown over them, and gamers who are unable to get a transaction through before the deadline may miss the sale entirely through no fault of their own.
Perhaps it’s just a sign of the universe trying to save gamers from themselves (or at least leave us with enough money in our wallets to buy groceries and toilet paper for the rest of the month), but let’s hope that Valve manage to kick the servers back into life soon and allow the flow of cash to commence and the downloading of cheap games to begin.