With the Steam summer sale upon us, it’s perfectly understandable that you are about to attack your wallet like it owes you money, and beef up your game collection to desert island proportions.
As joyous as the occasion may be though, take it from someone that’s overspent their budget more than once during this sale and take a deep breath before diving in. After all, if you don’t keep your head about you, by the end of it all you’ll find yourself with a significantly lighter bank account, and games you’ll actually never touch.
Whether this is your first sale then, or you just suffer from some control issues, here are a few helpful hints to getting the most out of this annual event.
1. Make A Wishlist
While those front page deals are obviously eye catching, remember that almost everything on the site is on sale.
Be sure then to browse around the selection, and consult your own mental checklist of everything that you’ve been wanting recently. As you find things that you are interested in, even in the slightest, write it down along with the current price. Why? Well that leads us to our next step.
2. Don’t Wait Until The Last Day
If something you really, really want is available on the main sale screen, be sure to grab it, as it is unlikely to be any cheaper during the sale. On the other hand, if a game isn’t available on the main sale page, wait until it does appear.
Should that not happen, then only on the last day do you run over the unbought items on your wish list and determine from there what you still really want at a likely cheaper than usual price.In other words, patience is key.
3. Always Go for the Game of the Year Edition
So you somehow never played Oblivion and want to finally grab it huh? That’s a great idea and, at its current price of $11.99, a hell of a deal to boot.However, the infinitely better deal is to be found in the $14.99 deluxe edition.
It may sound like up-selling, but the only games that get these editions on Steam almost always get them because there is a significant amount of content to be found in the expansions that are included, and therefore justify whatever increase in price.Wait and see if it’s going to go on the front page of course, but always go with the expanded edition.
4. Ignore Developer Bundles and AAA Titles
They may look tempting, but ignore those developer bundles where one developer sells their entire catalog. While some are absolutely loaded with quality titles, few are worth the higher asking price, as you’ll rarely get around to all of them, and will be craving more variety soon.
Also, as hard as it might be, exercise caution with AAA games. Bioshock Infinite may look appealing at $30, but it’s actually been cheaper before on sites like Amazon, Green Man Gaming, and others. The same goes for Dark Souls, Skyrim, Far Cry 3 and a host of other big name games. There are a lot more direct download options out there than there used to be, and many of them feature big name discounts year round. Be sure to shop around then, and make your choices carefully.
5. Take a Chance
Which brings us to the real value of the Steam sale, the ability to take a chance. That game you always heard about but never got to play (like System Shock 2)? Buy it. That obscure indie title with buzz now less than $5? Buy it. That game you never heard of before, but is really cheap and sounds interesting? Buy it.
In the end you get the most out of the Steam sale when you realize its real worth is the ability it presents to expand your gaming horizons, and find that next great experience you didn’t necessarily see coming.