It's Steam Sale Day: How To Get A Good Deal And Maximise Your Savings

By Ian Morris on at

We all know it, Steam Sales are the way games publishers persuade us to buy games we don't need and may never play. But they're sooooooo cheap we can't resist stocking our libraries "for when we're bored". But there are worse things to spend your money on.

This year's sale starts at 6pm GMT - so read the tips below and get yourself ready to spend, spend, spend like the good capitalist you are.

Enhanced Steam

There's a Chrome plugin called Enhanced Steam that brings in loads of extra info to Steam store pages. Past pricing, cost in various regions and all sorts of other stuff that the normal store pages don't have. It's really useful.

One of the best features is that it will tell you what the lowest historical price for a game is. So when you're making your list - see below - you'll also be told what the lowest ever price was. This is useful for determining if a game is really a good deal or not. Enhanced Steam will also tell you how many times a game has been in a bundle in the past.

Look for a series of games

Bundle deals are a way to get significant discounts. Look for these because they'll include, say, all the Batman games but have a significant discount. The only problem with these is that they tend to be expensive, but that doesn't change the fact that the deal is excellent. Bundles are also good for getting any DLC included for a discount too.

Know the terminology

It used to be complicated on Steam to be sure you were getting the best deal. That's changed now with a two-tiered system. Put simply, games older than around six months will likely get some sort of discount. The older the game the more likely you are to see 75% off, while newer games might see a small discount of 5% up to 20%. For new games, if you're not in a rush, just wait for the winter sale or next year's go-around.

There are also "highlighted deals" now. These run for a short amount of time - 24 to 48 hours - and have big discounts from 50% up. Obviously, these are the ones to go for, but the choice will be much more limited. Valve says that most discounts will apply for the whole sale, but it's up to devs to agree to this, so it won't universally be true.

Prepare thyself

The Steam Sale is bewildering, and it's easy to get caught up in the hype. So here's a tip: make a list of games you actually want. Steam has wishlists and you can have it email you to tell you when a game in your wishlist goes on sale. This is handy because it means you won't miss anything you actually want.

There may be games that pop up in the sale you haven't listed, and that's fine, but it really helps to know what you're looking for a discount on. Using Enhanced Steam here is also useful because you can be sure you're getting the best deal, or at least a better deal than normal.

Set a budget

Don't spend more than you can afford. Before the clock strikes six tonight, do a deal with yourself and set a game budget for this sale. Games are not going anywhere, so if there's one you want this time but can't fit it in your budget then just wait - it might be cheaper next time.

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