Developer Valve kicked off its annual summer extravaganza at 1 p.m. EST today. This year’s Steam Summer sale runs from June 11 to June 21, and looks like it will feature deals across three different categories: sales that refresh every 24 hours at 1 p.m. EST, “Flash Sales” that refresh every 12 hours, and special deals that are unlocked through the “Monster Summer Game.”
It’s that last one that seems to be the most interesting. In past years, the Steam community has been able to vote on which genre or individual game they wanted to see go on sale at the next update. But this year, Valve has changed things up. Instead of voting, gamers are being asked to play an in-client monster-themed game that will unlock deals based on the community’s collective success. For every milestone that is reached, a new game will go on sale for 48 hours at 1 p.m. EST the following day. It looks like up to 9 different titles across multiple genres can be unlocked each day if the community reaches every milestone.
For example, the first milestone, which required 100,000 people to log in to play the Monster Summer Game, has already been reached. Gamers were initially teased that hitting that milestone would unlock a sale on a”Futuristic Stealth FPS” title. That title has now been revealed as Crysis 2. Crysis 2 is already on sale for 50 percent off for the duration of the Summer Sale, but it will now receive a steeper discount at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Other milestones are based on the total number of clicks made by users and the total number of boss monsters defeated. It’s probably safe to assume that some of the steepest discounts will be coming through this new game, which means some of the best discounts might not be seen until they unlock on Tuesday.
For those inclined to destroy their bank account right now, Day One features sales on some marquee titles. Tales From The Borderlands is 50 percent off, and there are discounts on most games in the Grand Theft Auto, XCOM and Metro franchises. Current flash sales, which end at 1 a.m. EST Tuesday morning, include steep discounts on Outlast, Darksiders, Fez, and Papers, Please.
The Summer Sale will again allow players to earn trading cards and badges, which can be used to unlock abilities and rewards in the Monster Summer game.
While Steam sales are great for the consumer, game developers will be keeping an extra close eye on how the sale plays out this year, thanks to Steam’s new refund policy. Steam is now allowing gamers to return a game for any reason, as long as they’ve purchased it within the last 14 days and played it for less than two hours. The problem, according to some developers, is that Valve so far seems to be granting quite a few exceptions to this policy, with some developers complaining that they have lost revenue on games that were sold months ago.
The policy is also troubling for developers of shorter or episodic games, as well as level-based puzzle titles, as players may be able to see most to all of the content within that two hour time frame. All that said, Valve has promised to keep an eye on gamers who are abusing the system to try and get free games. The increased traffic the Steam store gets during the annual Summer Sale will likely be the first real test to see how this all plays out. Valve’s new anti-cheating program will likely get some new users to monitor as well.
Source: Steam Store