Steam’s annual Winter Sale is live, with discounts for thousands of games including Just Cause 3, Metal Gear Solid V and The Witcher III running through January 4.

Another year, another Steam Winter Sale. Today marks the beginning of the biggest PC game sale of the year, an event PC gamers both adore and fear for the sake of their already holiday-ravaged wallets. As expected, thousands of PC games both new and old are discounted to various degrees. Yet no matter whether it’s 50% off The Witcher III, 33% off Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, or 20% off Undertale, there’s certain to be a discounted game for every game player out there.

There are certain changes to this year’s Winter Sale that everyone should know about. Previous years put a heavy focus on “Daily Deals” and “Flash Sales,” discounts that were tied to time frames of 24-48 hours and 8 hours respectively. This year’s Winter Sale, much like the Autumn Sale before it, has done away with these time-limited sales. All discounts will remain constant throughout the duration of the Winter Sale, which started this morning and will officially end on January 4 at 10:00AM PST.

The reasons for the removal aren’t too complicated. With the addition of Steam Refunds, there’s little reason to continue time-limited sales. Game players would simply be able to refund their previous purchase and repurchase at a lower price point. The end result would be a customer service fiasco, if anything. What that means for gamers right now, though, is that they can buy their games now, later, or whenever they please as the price won’t move at all.

Steam Winter Sale 2015 Highlighted Deals

Instead of Daily Deals and Flash Sales, and with the absence of any sort of meta game for the Winter Sale, Valve has introduced a couple of new ideas. First, they have a special holiday comic named Northpole Noir, which they’ll release a page of day by day. They’ve also introduced a quirky marketing idea which rewards up to three holiday Steam trading cards per day. Steam Users can browse a queue of “random” games on sale, with a card rewarded for the completed perusal of each 11-game queue.

What Valve has done is found a clever way of bringing Steam users back every day, as well as encouraging them to view sales they may never have otherwise discovered. With the comic and the queues, as well as the daily “Highlighted Sales,” hopefully the more dedicated Steam sale fans don’t feel too left out in the cold despite the removal of the daily and flash sales.

Unfortunately, some of the most recent holiday launches have not gone on sale, which my disappoint some who were anxiously waiting for the Winter Sale. Fallout 4 remains at $59.99, as does Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. And don’t expect a discount on the new Steam Controller or Steam Link, though the purchase of either piece of hardware will earn a gift of both Left 4 Dead and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Not a bad bonus.

Valve’s Steam Winter Sale will run from today through January 4, ending at 10:00 PST. Make a purchase now or later, prices won’t change for the duration of the event.

tags: Steam, Valve