Steam Summer Sale starts off with a bang and a fizz

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The Steam Summer sale has started with a vengeance and anyone who uses the service will understand how excited people should be. You can get some amazing bargains throughout the sale. Running from 11 June through to 22 June, the sale features a Monster Game mini-game in which players can work together to unlock new deals in the store. Unfortunately, the sale has starter on a sour note for a couple of reasons.

Several companies have hiked up game prices prior to the sale, or gaming the value of products to give the appearance of a sale without . Not only is this illegal in most countries where Steam is available, it’s just shady and insulting to treat your fanbase this way. I have to say, I’m really disappointed withthe fact this has tarnished how Steam sales run.

One particularly dodgy example is how Rockstar Games changed their listings for Grand Theft Auto V to include consumable shark cards, boosting the price to over £50, then adding a 30% sale savings, making the game around the same price as normal retail. Initially, the game on its own wasn’t available for purchase, but is now re-listed at the retail price.

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Gaijin Entertainment, makers of War Thunder have hiked up their prices pre-sale for a second year running. They’ve now pulled the offending title from the sale thanks to pressure from the gaming community.

Another problem is that this year’s sale game is still fundamentally broken. As it stands, if you try to play the Monster Game, you get an error reading “There was a problem trying to join the game. Please try again later.”. Since no one is able to join, none of today’s unlocked deals have been… unlocked. It’s mind boggling to think that Valve hadn’t expected the amount of traffic they’re getting, but I suspect it’s probably more to do with something being broken in the system.

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All great things must come to an end?

Ever since Steam was launched, PC gaming has always been at the forefront of digital content sales and delivery. Valve showed the world that you could rely on online stores for managing your games and updates, and that you could grab a bargain as well. Now that PC gaming has had a bit of a resurgence thanks to a vibrant indie scene, new business models, and lacklustre offerings from the console makers, could this be the end of our great sale bargains, hoarding games we never play and completing our collections?

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The fact is, it’s ridiculous that in 2015, games are actually cheaper to by as physical copies than digitally. I found this out when I was looking to buy Grand Theft Auto on PC: I got a boxed copy with seven DVDs off Amazon for £35 whereas the cheapest digital version was £40! Steam sales have shown that at the right price point, companies benefit from the boost in sales, even with the discounted price point! The market speaks for itself in this case. customers obviously feel that they’re being charged too much at full retail, especially considering the risk with games being broken, DLC nickel-and-diming customers and the general apathy publishers feel towards their fans.

It’s important to note that these are isolated cases of price gouging, and that Steam users have reacted quickly and vocally to the issue, hopefully pushing back on any idea by publishers and developers to continue this practice. One thing’s for sure, there are two groups that benefit immensely from these types of sales: the online stores that run the sales, and the smaller indie studios that use the sales to raise awareness of their products.

Thanks to the people from r/Steam and r/Games for your vigilance!

Are you getting involved in the Steam Summer Sale and the Monster Game? What deals have you found?

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan