Steam Summer Sale

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 22, 2018

Filed under: Video Games 160 comments

It’s that time of year again! Gaben assaults our wallets with irresistible deals and we fill up our game libraries with titles we earnestly promise to play “someday”. It’s a mad frenzy of shopping and spending and gifting and making memes about how bad this is for our wallets.

Except… is it?

The whole “Gaben took all my money” jokes vanished a couple of years ago. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that it’s been about two years since my last madcap spending spree on Steam. It’s not that the deals are bad, it’s just that I don’t feel like I need any more games. I’ve got a nice backlog of titles to draw from and there’s plenty of new releases to keep me busy, so I don’t feel compelled to stockpile tons of games just because they’re cheap.

For me, the market seems to have returned to some sort of equilibrium. And going by the conversations I hear, this seems to be the case for a lot of other people.

I can point to three factors:

  1. Low-end prices have gone up. The asking price for AAA and mid-range titles has held steady at $30 – $60, but the little indie titles are no longer given away for pennies like they were a few years ago. A game that was a sure thing a 50¢ is now up to $3, and the games that used to be $3 are now in the $10-$15 range. The low-end prices feel more in line with what the larger games are doing.
  2. I have plenty of games. I don’t need more. All of my purchases in the last year have been based on gameplay rather than price. If you want me to open my wallet, you need to offer me novel gameplay I can’t get from one of the hundreds of games already in my library.
  3. Shopping isn’t as fun as it used to be. I think there are more quality titles than ever before, but the number of garbage shovelware titles have gone up even faster. On top of this, the sorting tools seem to be getting worse.

That last one seems to be a big problem for me. I know a lot of this ties back into the complaints I made about the Steam storefront I made a year ago. I used to enjoy sifting for interesting games, but now it feels exactly like looking for “new content” on YouTube. THE ALGORITHM has a few dozen things it wants to show me, and if I’m not interested in those then it has no idea what to do.

I tried browsing the “RPG” category and among Steam’s top suggestions were DOTA 2 (a MOBA) a couple of card games (CCG is a different genre) Stardew Valley (management sim) Assassins Creed Origins (if this is an RPG then 95% of all games are RPGs) Terraria (this sidescrolling sandbox genre needs a name of its own) and Tom Clancy’s The Division. I KNOW there are hundreds of games where you level up, meet characters, and experience a story, but they’re lost in a sea of games that have none of those elements. And if I switch from the “RPG” genre to “action”, I’ll still see a lot of these same titles show up. Terraria is popular so I guess THE ALGORITHM is just convinced I want it, no matter what I’m actually looking forIgnoring the fact that I ALREADY OWN IT, THANKS. SHOW ME SOMETHING ELSE..

Not only is the signal-to-noise ratio terrible, but your ability to zero in on a particular signal is also limited.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.

How’s your search for new titles going? Has the summer sale lost its charm for you? Has your library stopped growing? If you’ve stopped buying, what’s keeping you away?

And if you ARE still buying… have any non-Terraria suggestions?




From The Archives:

160 thoughts on “Steam Summer Sale

  1. DeMeessias says:

    My steam sale this year was basicly checking my wishlist, seeing that none of the titles I want have been significantly discounted to trigger an impulse buy, and not buying anything. My backlog is big enough that I’m no longer motivated to look for games that weren’t already on my wishlist. So I agree that, for me atleast, the sale definitely isn’t as big a deal as it used to be.

    Ever since they stopped doing daily deals the sale stopped feeling like a big event anyways to me. It’s just a demi-yearly checkup of my wishlist that takes 5 minutes. Nowadays I even get an email showing the discounts on all my wishlisted items, so I don’t even have to visit the actual store.

    1. Infinitron says:

      Correct. Steam sales are a wishlist game now. If you don’t have a wishlist with hundreds of games on it, you’re doing it wrong.

      What you do need to do for each game is check if it’s part of the new style of bundle where you get discounts for the games you already own. There are some insane deals on these.

      1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

        Basically my experience too.

        I did pick up Small World, which is an adaptation of a very good board game I intend to play with my board game group in between sessions. But I only found that one because someone pointed it out to me, not through steams discovery algorithm.

    2. Primogenitor says:

      Also you can use a browser plugin like “Steam Inventory Helper” – this will handily add previous sales figures and costs (including from from other providers) into the store page (as long as your, you know, using a real browser and not the steam client. But on the plus side, then you can also have them open in multiple tabs — a win-win).

      This empowers consumer to see that, yes, Steam has discounted it by 50%, but last week it was 75% discounted on GOG so maybe you want to wait till that 75% comes around on Steam at Halloween.

      1. Daerian says:

        OR maybe buy it on GOG, much better service ;-)

    3. Baron Tanks says:

      Yeppers, just checking the wishlist. And even then, nothing I want enough to plunge now. Yes I do want to play Rise of the tomb raider, but I want to play it at 5 bucks like I did with be first reboot game and you never seem to want to drop it below 15 anymore! I’m not going to pay more for your lesser received. Sequel to your ok action game square Enix!

    4. Grimwear says:

      100% this. The steam summer and winter sales are no longer special in any way. The sales you see are the same as you get if the game was part of a random weekly deal. So now I just check my wishlist and if I don’t see a game at a low enough price I just pass. I’m no longer missing out on saving money, rather I’m missing a chance to guarantee pick up a game at X price rather than having it offered to me for X price during a random weekly sale.

      These sales used to be the big event but by removing flash sales because you can now refund (also funny how people blame basic consumer rights for this loss rather than Valve for not wanting to process refunds/rebuys) Valve and also big name publishers no longer seem to care. And if they don’t care then I won’t either and they just won’t get my money. Heck I’m still waiting for Total Warhammer 1 to go down to an acceptable price. 75% off? Sounds good until you realize that they never made a bundled version and to get the “full” experience with all the dlc attached it costs the same as full price.

    5. Orophor says:

      Hmm, this sale I picked up Audiosurf, Fallout 1&2, for under $10 total. I already have the Fallouts on CDs, but it is easier to just have it on my steam library. Audiosurf is a fun game that uses your own music files to build the levels that I have wanted to try for a while. There were a couple of AAA titles I looked at, but only marked off to $40-50, so I will wait till they are $30 or less.

  2. Zaxares says:

    I never really took part in the Steam sales, so this event is kind of a non-event for me. However, my game purchasing habits HAVE changed too. As I’ve gotten older and my time for gaming has shrunk, my ever-growing backlog of games has meant that I’ve started looking harder and harder at games before I actually purchase them. I’m not sure if my tastes have become more critical, or if the games themselves have changed, but I find myself being not very taken by a lot of titles released in the last few years. For example, the last AAA title I actually purchased was Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which I’ve still yet to start). A lot of the E3 showings this year garnered barely a “meh” from me; I was somewhat intrigued by Doom Eternal, but given how I didn’t really like Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal appears to be more of the same, odds are good that I’ll ultimately give it a pass too.

    The only new announcement that genuinely made me prick up my ears was Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk isn’t a genre I’m normally drawn to though, so honestly it’s purely the strength of CD Projekt’s studio reputation that is driving my interest. It may still turn out that I’ll end up passing on it after all.

    In contrast though, what I HAVE found myself doing a lot more of late is picking up a lot of retro titles from my gaming youth, like RPGs from the 1990’s, on GoG. Maybe it’s because these games are smaller and take less time to complete, so they aren’t as huge an investment as most modern games are, or maybe this is just a new permutation of the “why do old people keep on looking back to the stuff of their youth??” trope. XD Nonetheless, I’m deeply curious to know if there are any other older gamers who have found themselves doing something similar.

    1. John says:

      When I first got a GOG account I binged a bit on older games, mostly stuff that I’d heard was really good but that I never got the chance to play plus a few old favorites. I didn’t exactly play a random sample of games, but my conclusions are that: (a) some games don’t live up to their reputations (Master of Magic), (b) some games absolutely do live up to their reputations (Master of Orion 2), (c) some games aren’t nearly as good as you remember them being (Privateer), and (d) some absolutely are as good as you remember them being (Tie Fighter). There was one game that I couldn’t get into at all, Sid Meier’s Pirates!, but that was mostly because I had already played the 2004 remake which is vastly more accessible (and, I must confess, also much prettier). Anyway, the point is that I don’t think I can say that I was drawn to older games because older games are somehow better or even just different than modern ones.

      No, there are two reasons I bought all those old games. The first is cheapness. I am a cheapskate. Also, older games, especially DOS games, are really cheap. I mean, they tend to go for under $5 when they aren’t on sale. During sales, you can get bundles of them for a couple of bucks. The second reason is that I had a really terrible computer at the time. The CPU wasn’t too bad–which is not to say that it was good–but it had no GPU and very little RAM. I built it in 2009 or so, but it often struggled to run games from the early 2000s. It could do DOSBox, however. It could DOSBox (which is now a verb, apparently) like a champ. It was a blessed relief to buy games and not have to worry about their performance. There was no question of “well, it might run and I guess it’s pretty cheap so I could take a chance”. No. Things just worked. It was beautiful.

  3. Chris says:

    Throughout the year I watch youtube and read forums/blogs like this one and throw all the game suggestions onto the wishlist pile. A sale is the moment I get the games I want from the list. Like oxygen not included, didnt hear of it till the diecast here, but now I got it.

    And yes, the algorithm is garbage. There should really be a moment where people start defining genres a bit more clearly. Also the recommendations seem to be more pointed towards popular games. I noticed this in youtube as well, recently they did another update that pushes the recommendations into groups like “lifestyle” and “resident evil 3”. I tried to log into my google account and use the not interested button to solve the issue but somehow when im logged in the suggestions are even worse. And they still recommend me TV shows while I have no love for TV, at all. Especially those stupid game shows or reality shows. You’d say with all the info brokering on the internet by know they know everything of me, and know what I want.

  4. whitehelm says:

    I’m really enjoying Evoland 2 right now. It’s an adventure game where you travel back and forth through 3 periods in time represented by 8-bit,16-bit,and 3d graphics and is full of references to just about every videogame genre in existence, with a good Chrono Triggeresque story on top. Plus its less than $10 on sale right now. (The first Evoland is completely unrelated storywise and not nearly as good)

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I got two games off of my wishlist, at 80% and 60% discout. I’m enjoying both of them quite a lot!

      Steven’s Sausage Roll is a great puzzle game that’s basically a super-duper version of Sokoban. Instead of pushing square blocks around, you’re pushing 1×2 sausages. You need to cook both ends, and both sides, and not burn them. Sausages can push other sausages, you can get your fork stuck in the sausages, you can temporarily lose your fork in a sausage, you can ride the sausages like a log-rolling lumberjack. The best part is, that none of the “abilities” in the game are “unlocked” in any way like a normal game. They all could be done right from the beginning, but the levels / blocks you’re navigating at any stage of the game dictate what moves are available to you. This is an amazingly well-made, elegant game!

      A Robot Named Fight, is way less elegant, but still pretty damn fun. It’s essentially Super Metroid, with a bit worse creature animations and sprites, but a randomly-generated map. It doesn’t have half the depth that the real Super Metroid has, but the randomized maps keep it fairly fresh. It’s still getting bug-fixes by the devs, so maybe they’ll even clean up the map generation, or add some more interesting content later.

      The last game, is one I already owned, but am desperately waiting for the free expansion-pack / DLC for. Enter The Gungeon is going to have a big overhaul / update, with new guns, items, enemies, levels, and some balance fixes. The balancing sounds like it’ll either just be some minor buffs to the overall loot you find, but I hope they also have an “easy” mode too. Either way, I’ll finally be able to (hopefully) beat this dang game! :)

  5. Jay says:

    I got Cultist Simulator, even though it’s not discounted. It’s pretty good. And one game on my wishlist went from $20 to $4, so I got that.

  6. Rob says:

    I’ve finally accepted that buying more games is a waste of money, seeing as I’ll never play 90% of what I purchase. I’ve always assumed people were exaggerating when they said that, but I just checked: I’ve bought 30 games in the last six months (mostly through bundles), and so far I’ve only played 3 of them.

    I did end up purchasing Divinity: Original Sin 2 off my wishlist today, mostly to get the Squirrel Knight bonus DLC when the Definitive Edition launches. Poor impulse control aside, I have a feeling it’s another “must have” game that will sit unplayed in my library forever. Warframe seems to have consumed most of my gaming time these days.

    It’s downright bizarre how well Warframe has kept my interest. I hate multiplayer games. I hate shooters. I hate grindy F2P games. And yet, despite being all of those things, Warframe has somehow managed to bury its hooks so deeply in me that it’s all I feel like playing whenever I launch Steam. I’ve even spent ~$100 on in-game currency since I started playing in January (nearly as much as I spent on those 30 non-F2P games combined), something I swore I’d never do when I was younger.

    1. King Marth says:

      I’ve had less time in general, but Warframe keeps attention. On the topic of its premium currency, the big difference for me is how there are things you can buy which aren’t consumable; one of the big sellers is a temporary booster which I’ll never touch, but buy Warframe or weapon slots and they’re with you forever. If you’re impatient, Orokin Catalysts and Reactors are also up for purchase and they provide a permanent increase in capability. Add to that how players can trade premium currency and so you get the prices the players decide rather than the storefront decides (even though I’ve personally vowed never to buy stuff off people), and the premium currency is a world apart from e.g. the match-3 games which charge you to get extra moves on a level, money that evaporates within minutes of expenditure with nothing to show for it.

      For RPG recommendations, I have to plug The Fall, it’s an adventure game but you certainly meet characters and experience a story as an Asimov-style robot behaviorally constrained by hard programming limits which make puzzles interesting. It’s particularly good for a programmer who understands how arbitrary restrictions drive problem solving.

      1. CloverMan says:

        Isn’t The Fall straight-up metroidvania? I don’t remember it having any RPG elements, or minimal at best.

        1. sheer_falacy says:

          Yeah, it’s not an RPG (other than being a game in which you play a role, which isn’t really a useful definition).

          On the other hand it is a pretty cool adventure game.

      2. Rob says:

        I think the appeal of Warframe is that it can fill any amount of free time you have available. If you only have a few minutes to play, a capture mission can be done in three minutes if you rush it. If you have several hours free, some defense/survival/onslaught missions can easily eat up an entire night. It also supports a wide array of gameplay styles, so depending on your mood you can play stealth, run&gun, sniper, AOE caster, healer, sword&board, etc. There’s always something you’ll be up for. As someone with limited time (in the six months I’ve played I’ve racked up less than a hundred hours of total playtime), I very much appreciate this.

        Regarding the premium currency: what bothers me is how bad the deals are for anything you can get normally in game. The stuff that can only be bought with real money such as extra weapon/warframe slots are dirt cheap (I’m pretty sure it’s less than a dollar for two weapon slots), as are the catalysts/forma used for enhancing your gear (which can be obtained in game, but only through rare mission rewards); however, anything you would normally have to grind for – namely, warframes and orbiter upgrades – will cost hundreds of platinum to obtain immediately ($10-20 worth of real money). I think a third of the premium currency I bought was spent just on buying all the sentinels and getting the Incubator to a usable state (companions are nearly unusable without the Nutrio upgrade, and Kavat breeding in particular was a grind that I was more than happy to pay to avoid).

    2. adam says:

      I’m with you. I’ve got two small kids, a full time job, a house with lots of work needing done, and a side business so my gaming time is quite limited. It’s gotten to the point where if I put more than 10 hours into a game I consider my money well spent.

  7. Fizban says:

    Well that screenshot up there has Trails of Cold Steel, which is an RPG, or JRPG at least (we were heaping praise on the Tales series previously, but I don’t know if you’re specifically looking for less-anime). Though due to publisher demands the localization went from Trails in the Sky, 2nd, and 3rd, and skipped over 1-2 games because they had to synchronize the release of Cold Steel with a port or something. The series apparently makes a point of trying to balance the dungeoncrawling/combat and the towny talky bits to 50/50, and while I don’t know how close they hit, I do know that Trails in the Sky 1+2 were freaking awesome.

    You want a nice long game of moderately tactical turn based combat with a well realized world where almost every townsperson has multiple lines of dialogue as you progress through event triggers, with an actual progression from literal junior adventurer to actually reasonably leading the fight against the bad guys, Trails 1-2 is all that. If you want something where you build your own avatar, choose your own romances, or dislike having an entire chapter centered on relatively mundane activities, maybe not.

    1. Fizban says:

      Incidentally, Tales of Symphonia is down to 5$, which is enough for me to bother buying it again- since one of the main limiting factors on my replaying gamecube/wii games is that I’ve gotten too used to my monitor (and can’t interface the two).

      As for other stuff, I usually pick up just a game or two on each sale now. I just grabbed the new DLC for Darkest Dungeon before I even noticed the summer sale was on. I’ll definitely have a crawl through and see if there’s anything else I want. The algorithm has never bugged me much, but a combination of smaller library and narrower tastes might do it (as compiling that list below makes it clear I’m a giant weeb).

      My backlog is growing more because the neverending pile of bullshit at home keeps making me avoid trying to play anything I really like, lest bullshit end up ruining the moment even if I managed to get in the mood. Still, when I say there’s several games I’m meaning to get back to finishing, it really is only several (Nights of Azure 2, Fairy Fencer, Fire Emblem Fates, and Pokemon Moon are in varying states of route completion), with Nier Automata and Trails 3rd as the two major entries I haven’t even touched yet (well maybe Planescape: Torment, but I was never planning on playing that right away). But right now I’ve been hankering for some DS2, Darkest Dungeon and Tales of Maj’Eyal, with a side of Tales of Symphonia as eternal comfort food.

      Ah, and back to speaking of RPGs: Tales of Maj’Eyal’s a nice little roguelike.

    2. Syal says:

      I do know that Trails in the Sky 1+2 were freaking awesome.

      I liked 1; a very anime Saturday Morning Cartoon JRPG with some good worldbuilding and mechanics, but with some noticeable padding, especially with sidequests.

      2’s story rubbed me the wrong way the whole way through. I spent 90% of the game sure that the good guys would accomplish absolutely nothing and it would all end on a cliffhanger for the next game. Turned out it actually did wrap itself up, but it felt way too late to work.

      I bought 3 and Cold Steel but haven’t played them yet. I’ll get around to them eventually, I just need to gain another 126,590 levels in Disgaea 2 first.

      1. Fizban says:

        It does help that I’m a sucker for most of what it’s selling- come to think of it, I wouldn’t say I was sure it’d “wrap things up” by the end either, in fact I was quite worried about weather we’d get 3 in case something was left hanging. But in the end I was pleasantly surprised with the scope of things and had to agree with the people who said 1+2 would finish its story. I absolutely expect plenty of cameos and returning party members in 3, but indeed, I’m also content to wait till the mood strikes me.

        1. PerceptiveMan says:

          Throwing my weight in here. As long as you’re not wedded to the Western style of RPG with the “you can go anywhere at any time though the plot is probably still linear” thing, picking up Trails in the Sky, Trails of Cold Steel, or Tales of Berseria is an excellent, excellent choice. They’re all strong character and world building exercises. Cold Steel isn’t heavily discounted for this sale (30% off). Sky is a bargain at 50% off it’s already low $20 price. And Berseria is a whopping 70% off.

          Seriously. If story and character and worldbuilding are what you want, these are your games.

          Aside: What is WRONG with the search function on Steam lately? I type in “Berseria” and it intelligently autopopulates “Tales of Berseria” and I click on it, and then I get a list with no entries? I’m getting perilously close to do with you jokers.

  8. Nessus says:

    Like the folks above have said, Steam sales lost their magic when they when to flat discounts for the duration instead of mixing things up on a daily basis.

    I’ve personally never “discovered” games through the sales. I always just wishlist things as I discover them throughout the year. Then when the sales hit, I just check my list and get whatever’s got a low enough sale price. Everything I buy was on my wishlist, and everything on my wishlist was there for particular reasons.

    Because I don’t really impulse or binge buy, I don’t have a ginormous backlog. I don’t buy that many games at one go (maybe four or five at max during a given sale, but usually less), so everything I buy usually gets at least tried out within the week. It actually seems very strange to me that so many people consider that kind of giant backlog normal. I’ve been on steam since IIRC 2008 maybe, and I only have 147 games, very few of which I haven’t played (the ones I’ve never played are mostly bundle cruft I was never interested in).

    I used to browse the categories and front page years ago, but these days I’m either searching directly for a game I’ve heard of elsewhere, or browsing by tags instead of categories (tags bypass the algorithm BS and are thus much more reliable). The front page is mostly just what I have to click through to get to either the search or my wishlist.

    I’ve been saying for awhile not that Steam, Youtube, etc don’t actually have any algorithms at all, they just think they do. A few years back someone sold them a cardboard box full of live raccoons with the word “algorithms” sharpied on the side for several million dollars, and they’re so embarrassed that they’ve refused to admit what happened even to themselves, no matter how strong the smells emanating from the server room get.

    Maybe that story isn’t literally true in all it’s details, but I stand by the assertion that they don’t actually have any algorithms, just some garbage code or an empty folder that some devs told the higher ups were algorithms as a way of laundering their porn-at-work time.

    1. Fizban says:

      I also mostly just wishlist things as they catch my attention, but I’ve always thought that might have something to do with focusing the suggestions. Because a lot of times it will say “suggested this because it’s similar to X on your wishlist.” So with a smaller library that’s not clogged with humble bundles and a wishlist full of specific things, I get plenty of suggestions for those things.

      There’s also a very heavy weighting on whatever you were last playing. When I’m playing weeb games, the store is covered in JRPGs, unless someone slapped a “nudity/sexual content” tag on it, in which case it’s covered in visual novels at all quality levels. Roguelikes spawn roguelikes. RTSs spawn RTSs, and shooter spawn shooters.

      1. Distec says:

        I’ve been replaying Prey again with New Game+, and my Explore queue was stocked with nothing but dimly-lit, bargain-bin, “spooky” indie titles that all invariably involve exploring a house with a flashlight.

        And I’m like… “You don’t have any other System Shocks floating around in there?”

        At first I was angry with the algorithm. But then I realized this is probably straight-up market failure.

    2. My guess is that all these algorithms have the problem that they are tuned for “the masses”, and not power users. I don’t mean this in an elitist “lowest common denominator” sense necessarily; I mean that the “power users” of these features are necessarily a much smaller proportion of the user base than the non-power users.

      I suspect the problem is that the average user is using the following algorithm: “I want something I think is cool. I’m not too worried about how it is classified. I’m going to keep clicking around until I find something cool, and then take it.” Again, I’ve tried to carefully avoid the very easy “elitist” view, and I’ve tried to phrase it in a way here that shows that they’re not being particularly irrational here; that’s honestly a perfectly reasonable algorithm for a non-power user.

      However, it has the effect of smearing all the categories together. If THE ALGORITHM notices that lots of people click RPGs, and when it randomly mixed in Terraria, they bought Terraria, behold, THE ALGORITHM decides Terraria is an RPG. If someone is really interested in video game reviews, but they still click on cat videos, behold, THE ALGORITHM decides that TRY NOT TO LAUGH AT THESE FUNNY CATS is de facto a video game review.

      Get enough of these people running around and you end up with everything just sort of smeared together. And I note that a lot of the places driven by THE ALGORITHM end up exactly that way. (It is not unreasonable to use the singular, they all really are converging on the same core algorithm; once you set out to maximize revenue you’re going to end up in the same place as everybody else.) I’ve managed to carve myself out a semi-reasonable slot in YouTube, but I’ve noticed the consequence is that it still fails to surface a lot of things I would be interested in, while repeatedly over the course of months showing me the same videos I am not particularly interested in.

      The only place I know that seems to avoid this is Netflix, and they do it with extensive human cataloging of various characteristics. There’s still an element of THE ALGORITHM running, but it’s way less aggressive since the goal is to keep your subscription going, but not to actually trick you into consuming as much as possible. Keeping your subscription alive one more month is a win, but they technically lose every time you actually view something. This seems to keep the incentives from converging in the same MAXIMIZE CONSUMPTION place everywhere else ends up.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Yeah, I think the best way to do this is to divide things up into categories. You have the “This is what everyone is buying category”, the “this is what our algorithm says you might like based on what you’ve bought before regardless of category”, and then you have the genre categories decided by some kind of human-driven categorization, and then the shopper decides what they want to look at right now.

        This does seem to be what GOG did for their summer sale, which worked well for me.

      2. Jay says:

        I think what’s missing is a staleness variable. If a book or game has been shown to me 50 times and I haven’t bought it, I’m probably not interested. Without that variable, my algorithmic recommendations just keep showing me the same 100 or so products that I’ve already decided I don’t want, rather than newer stuff that I might want (but that doesn’t match the algo’s understanding of my preferences quite as well).

        1. Fizban says:

          Just double checked and they do have an ignore button. . . in the discovery cue. There’s also a customize button where you can exclude certain tags, not that tags are ever very effective.

    3. Milo Christiansen says:

      I also wishlist-and-sale buy. The only games in my Steam library I have not played at least once were free ones I picked up during one promo or another.

      It is amazing what limited money does to your spending habits.

  9. Lame Duck says:

    I really don’t know what’s up with Valve anymore; I thought they’d fallen out of the game development business to focus on Steam and selling digital hats by the barrel-full, which I wasn’t exactly happy about but I could at least understand, but is seems like they’ve been really half-arsing the maintenance of Steam for a while now, so what the hell are they doing with all of their time?

    1. Xander77 says:

      The same laziness, half-baked ideas abandoned instantly, lack of communication and generally apathy demonstrated in managing TF2 for the last few years are also quite evident in regard to steam management policy.

    2. Rob says:

      They recently unveiled a new UI and chat in the Steam beta branch. It looks like Valve are chasing after Discord’s userbase – it’s basically a clone of that service.

      1. GoStu says:

        Of all the directions to go, they chose that one? Yikes.

        I don’t know if Discord is even making money off Nitro sales; it seems ludicrous that Valve/Steam would neglect the profitable part of the business (sell games) to chase the loss-making side of the culture (free chat?).

        1. Rob says:

          Extending Steam Friends to become a general chat program actually makes a lot of sense for Valve. Like Discord, you can see who in the chat room is playing a game, and if you want to join them it can link you directly to the game’s store page (that alone may make it more profitable than Discord could ever hope to be). It also has console features that haven’t made it to PC before now, like parties that persist between games to make organizing game nights easier. If I actually played multiplayer I’m sure I’d love it.

        2. Vinsomer says:

          It makes sense, to a degree, because every gaming platform wants to be THE platform where you get everything. Total control over a market or service is worth a small loss because money and profit aren’t the same thing.

          1. CoyoteSans says:

            I suspect this is the real issue: we’re in a transition period from retail dominance to digital distribution dominance. Steam is no longer the scrappy underdog playing David to Gamestop’s Goliath and has to resort to every consumer courting trick in the book to gain market share. Quite the opposite: Steam is now the platform to sell PC games on, and the Gamestops of the world are dying with the rest of general retail. Valve doesn’t have to innovate or be crafty because they’re now they can just play government (or mob boss, depending on how cynical your outlook is) and collect the Steam Tax everyone has to pay for that coveted ~*~*market access*~*~. GOG is their most viable competitor, but their strict “no DRM” stance makes them anathema to almost all the big publishers. The result is the various carrots used to attract customers (like frequent, good sales) are becoming less and less necessary.

            I firmly believe if and when physical media becomes completely obsoleted, this problem of worse sales (or even less and less sales period) and generally worse customer service will continue on all digital distribution platforms as the competition PM provided disappears. The scenario Shamus and the rest of us feared when digital distribution first started may just come to pass after all.

  10. John says:

    I’d probably buy a few things in the Steam Summer Sale if I hadn’t just bought Divinity: Original Sin in the GOG Summer Sale. I’ve just started playing it and I don’t need another new game right now. There are other games that I want but I can always get them later when I’m done with Original Sin. There will be other sales. This isn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity. That said, I may buy some DLC for Street Fighter or Crusader Kings since I’m sure I’ll get back to those games sooner rather than later.

    One thing I noticed about the Steam sale this year is that the discounts for the games on my wish list are the same as the discounts for those games during the recent GOG sale. Since most of the games I want are also on GOG and I generally prefer GOG to Steam anyway, I feel that I don’t need to devote a whole lot of attention to Steam sales.

  11. Xander77 says:

    I used to spend steam sales gifting friends… but not so much now, thanks to recent gifting restrictions.

    Miss the days of flash sales and contests. That really generated interest. Now you can just take a look at the sale, pick up a few decently discounted items from your wishlist, and be done with it.

    1. Sartharina says:

      I really don’t like the new Gifting system/restrictions. I loved buying half dozen or so copies of my favorite games to toss at friends and random people

      I kept ~ 6 copies of Titan Quest in my inventory to dump on people.

  12. CliveHowlitzer says:

    I’ve started buying more games on GoG than Steam when it comes to sales. I find their website slightly less of a pain in the ass to use. The Steam storefront is awful. I sometimes find games purely because a friend of mine buys it and I am like, where has this game been? Why have I NEVER seen it? Its just a nightmare to find games, especially when I am trying to find solid cooperative games for my wife and I. I have to sift through a thousand shitty MMOs.

    I also find I have less time now since this is the first year where I am married with step kids. My solo gaming time is increasingly rare and even games I was eagerly awaiting I can’t bring myself to buy because I have no idea when I’d even play them.

    That and board games are slowly becoming my new video games. I Just can’t stop playing Gloomhaven.

  13. Martin says:

    I don’t have a gaming computer. It’s a cheap 4 year old laptop. I’ d like an option where the steam client will do a speed test on my computers, rate them, and then have a filter that only show me the games that will run on them (or the one I select.)
    My suggestions :
    scythe : a board game port in early access… Yes it run great on my computer
    Stellaris : sci-fi 4X game that doesn’t run on my computer. I tried. It is on sale.

  14. Nick says:

    My wishlist is five hundred strong and I have a few hundreds unplayed games on my library. There are a lot of good deals on sale, but I’m graduating from College in six months and I don’t have time to even play the games I have let alone take a dive in the steam store for something new and I really need to save money instead of increasing my backlog.

  15. Redrock says:

    Got a few indies I’ve been thinking about for a while, as well as the AssCreed expansion pass (yeah, yeah). That said, I really shouldn’t have. My backlog is huge, and I’m going to be mostly playing Ps4 exclusives for the next few months. Can’t help myself sometimes. Still, I tend to spend less on sales than I used to. Just don’t have the willpower to skip a big one completely.

  16. Bubble181 says:

    On one hand, I do want to buy some new games.
    On the other hand, let’s see, I still haven’t finished Witcher III, or even started Pillars of Eternity II, or finished Tyranny, or Pillars I, come to think of it,…
    I think I’m good for RPGs.
    I *would* like to play a new RTS, but what good series are still alive?

    Steam sales simply aren’t as impressive anymore, and the days that games often dipped under the $5 “impulse buy”/”can’t be a waste” are gone. Even on sale most games are €10+, which means i think before buying…And often end up not buying at all.
    And, given simialr or equal sales, of course, I buy GOG.

  17. ElementalAlchemist says:

    It’s not that the deals are bad

    No, they are pretty bad, at least as compared to Steam sales in years gone by. In recent Steam sales you’d be lucky to find many titles cheaper than what you could get them for most of the year from a 3rd party keyseller. I think the only time I have bought something directly via Steam in the last 3 or 4 years was when someone gave me a $50 Steam card for Xmas (and even then that was only because I couldn’t find someone to just buy it off me).

    1. Gresman says:

      Because I am curious:
      Do you mean pages likes G2A and Kinguin by 3rd party resellers or sites like Humble or greenmangaming?

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        I’m talking about legal key sellers, like Humble, GMG, etc.

    2. Duoae says:

      Yeah, I’ll second this sentiment with the caveat that I don’t think I’ve bought ANY game from Steam since Doom 2016 and the first Totalk War: Warhammer and had bought very few in the years preceding those.

      At one point I was 50/50 console/pc. Nowadays, I’m 90% console due to download limits and crap Internet connection. I stopped playing mp/online games about 8 years ago due to latency after I moved countries and it’s never gotten better. Sure, the speed of my connection is great but upload bandwidth, latency and download limitations means anything that isn’t disc-based and single player is immediately out. The ISPs have become more expensive or have pivoted to provide access to video content – which generally doesn’t care about latency.

      Still, not really complaining, lots of great single player experiences around (though download-only DLC is the bane of my life!

    3. Thomas says:

      Steam spy did some research once that no-one was really making money from the old sales. There was a huge boost in volume, but people were discounting so heavily they needed to sell 4,000 copies for ever 1,000 they’d sell without a sale just to break even.

      1. Syal says:

        they needed to sell 4,000 copies for ever 1,000 they’d sell without a sale

        Isn’t that the definition of 75% off?

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Yeah, I’m a bit mystified by the wording here. If you sell a product at a lower price, you will make less money than if you were charging more for it – who knew!?
          If someone running a business needed research to point that out…

          I’m assuming Thomas missed something out, like ‘if the discount’s too big, then the money made is negligible/not worth it’. Which would make sense if publishers had to ship physical copies to a shop – charge too little and you’ll easily lose money.

          But this is digital distribution, and the game is already on Steam. So what are the downsides of discounting a finished game in order to sell to tight-fisted customers a few years later?

          Are there any costs I’m missing, like do developers/publishers have to pay Steam to change the price or something crazy like that?

          1. Doc Bones says:

            You don’t get it. Anyone who buys a game at a discount is now not going to buy that game again! That means they won’t be able to buy the game at full price any more unless we re-re-release it as the Ultra Super Championship Edition a year down the down!

            Frankly, it feels that, by now, every company wants to make a lot of money a few times instead of a little money a metric buttload of times. I guess it’s because great big spiky sales figures look more attractive to shareholders and boardrooms than gentle slopes do.

          2. Stu Friedberg says:

            I think the point is that the 75% discount was not attracting 4X as many buyers. So the income during the sale was flat, or down, despite an increase in number of sales because each sale was worth so much less.

            1. ElementalAlchemist says:

              I put that down to Valve going overboard with the regularity of sales. If you have one sale a year with 70-90% off, people will break down your door trying to get a bargain. If you have sale seemingly every few weeks, like Steam does now, there’s likely to be little motivation, as the experience is both no longer novel and you probably already have most titles you’d want from a previous sale (this is tied in with the phenomena of the most heavily discounted titles being the same old suspects every sale).

            2. BlueHorus says:

              Well sure. You’re not going to sell 4 times as many copies of an old game by slashing the price by 75%.
              But you are going to sell some copies…which you might not otherwise.

              Games go out-of-date, get old, sequels come out, fall in popularity – and so on and so forth. Even the biggest, most popular games like Half-Life or Portal aren’t going to make money FOREVER*.

              Making no money @ $40/unit sold < making a bit of money at @$10/unit sold, right?

              *Possible exception MMOs?

              1. Matt Downie says:

                If the amount sold is less than four times as much as normal, then that means the normal rate of sales is more than zero.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You guys all keep assuming that once you buy the game all transactions between you and that publisher are over.That was not true even back in the day of no internet,where you could still be enticed to browse the rest of their catalog because you liked that game so much.But now,in the day of dlc,paid cosmetics and all the other ways to get money after the initial sale,selling even one copy at 4 times less can still earn you 10 times more by just that one person on just the addons for that one game.

  18. Darren says:

    I’m in kind of the same boat. I have more limited time and money than when I was younger, and while indies are pretty cheap during these sales, the Switch is increasingly competitive on that front. Sure, Hollow Knight is cheaper on Steam right now, but I can’t play my PC while sitting comfortably on the couch with Netflix on in the background.

    And, as you said, the savings are just not amazing across the board. I picked up the War of the Chosen expansion for XCOM2 because it was finally below $30 (but still not $20!) as well as the Prey DLC. Moonshot isn’t even on sale, but I had a PayPal deal for $5 off if I spent $30 or more during the sale, and both my boyfriend and I want to play it. And that’s really it. There’s nothing else that I want right now.

  19. Jeremiah Frye says:

    I dropped about $100 to clear out a good chunk of my wish list. Didn’t buy anything for more than $15. $15-$20 is about my max that I’ll spend on most games anymore. Unless I really, really want to support a new title coming out it’s extremely rare that I bother buying a game at full price. I’m usually a couple years behind the gaming curve anyhow, so I’m not usually itching to get the newest shiniest games when they came out.

    Only bought one AAA game (Prey). Bought a few walking sim/puzzle games. And finally bought Kerbal Space Program (see? told you I’m usually way behind the gaming curve).

  20. Kornel Blaszczyk says:

    It is not on sale right nów but I,m definetly enjoying OVERLOAD right now. It is basicly modern remake of DESCENT right down to weapons and enemy types. Pure nineties enjoyment (hard to write long form critique about it though ;) )

  21. Daimbert says:

    I mostly buy older games from GOG — although I have most of the ones from there that I want right now — or console games, especially since I avoid Steam like the plague.

    One thing I’ve noticed — more with DVDs than games — is that it’s really, really hard to browse online stores. The store that I used to drop in at a few times a year and browse for DVDs went under and recently I tried browsing at Amazon for them and found it horrible, although I recently tried it again and it went better (I didn’t buy anything, though). And GOG is actually pretty good at that with their summer sale, dumping a bunch on the main window that you can quickly scan to see if there’s anything interesting and then breaking that down into more categories that you can also scan. I got the entire Heroes of Might and Magic series from them this year because they had the bundle displayed and I remembered liking that game.

  22. Grey Rook says:

    First, I will say that I agree with your assessment of the Steam storefront, Shamus. It appears to be designed for touchscreens, which makes it rather unpleasant for those of us on desktops to use. Which is a shame, as they also appear to have cut down on the options available for us to use on the wishlist. It used to be that I could go to the wishlist, open a submenu, and immediately go to the forums to see what they’re talking about. Now I have to go via the store page, which can be irritating as it is frequently slow to load.

    As for game suggestions, I’m currently enjoying Crosscode, a charming little indie A-RPG that I’m rather fond of, Total War: Warhammer 2, a giant AAA Turn-Based Strategy/Real-Time Tactics mix and the lates inclusion in the seminal Total War series, and Vanquish, a third-person shooter which is a console port by the famous PlatinumGames and genuinely a joy to play, despite the plot being somewhat thin and the mandatory stealth section being frustrating unless you know in advance that it’s coming and make sure to level the sniper rifle.

    I’m also thinking of trying Bayonetta, but I haven’t been able to play it yet.

  23. BenD says:

    This is probably not in the Steam sale, but do you have Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen?

    I feel like you might have missed DD back in its first incarnation last console gen. If so, the DA rerelease is the way to go.

    1. tmtvl says:

      DDDA is on sale. I love the game, but I will be among the first to admit that it’s a very grind-heavy game.

      1. BenD says:

        I get what you’re saying but I don’t think I fully agree. I would say that depends on what you want out of it. Play on easy and stay out of Bitterblack and you can cruise through a full playthrough of the main story without anything I’d call grinding. You might do some fairly bland or tedious side quests in there but the natural tendency to have to run in circles to accomplish matters tends to prevent the phenomenon of just beating the same enemies repeatedly in hopes of becoming buff enough to go after the next ones.

        Of course, if you get hung up on item collection, crafting, and Bitterblack, all bets are off.

        1. Redrock says:

          I dunno, I think it gets quite grindy if you try different vocations and especially if you making some attempt to optimize you build, since the stat gain system pretty much dictates you spend at least some time with vocations you don’t necessarily enjoy that much to build up the stats to make the vocations you are interested in effective and enjoyable. I’m not talking about hardcore min-maxing here, either, just, you know, being able to do decent damage with all of you flashy moves. I liked DA quite a bit, but it’s certainly rough around the edges and it’s systems are a bit too obtuse.

  24. Felblood says:

    Now that my kids are getting older, I have lots more criteria for new PC games. (I will try just about any F2P thing on my phone, while sitting in a waiting room.)

    1. Can I play this with my kids in the room? I don’t need more games vying for that precious hour between the kids going to sleep, and me going to sleep.

    2. Is this going to demand a time commitment that I can give to a non-mobile game? If the intended experience for your game means you had to leave out a Pause function, it is not compatible with my lifestyle. If you expect me to put 1000 hours into this MMO you need to understand that I have an existing commitment to my Warframe clan.

    3. Is this going to provide some value that I couldn’t get from a free app on my phone? There’s a quality ceiling in free phone games, but it also forms a qualify floor for what I’m willing to pay for.

    4a. If multiplayer, are my friends buying it? I won’t buy unless certain other people already have. I can’t gamble on these things.

    4b. If single player, does one of the people on my Steamshare list already have it? I won’t buy if certain people already have. Waste not, starve not.

    1. Felblood says:

      Oh, holy carp! Stellaris is on sale!

      I’ve been playing my brother’s copy on Steamshare, but the oppourtunity to play it together? OOPH!

    2. Nimrandir says:

      I definitely feel that first point. I never finished Dragon Age: Origins more or less because I didn’t want to play it in front of my son.

      My situation is further complicated by my son’s regular desire to play games with me. I play a lot more Smash Bros. these days than I’d probably care to recall.

  25. Primogenitor says:

    Also, in years go buy I might impulse buy something in a Steam sale that I didn’t think was “good” or that I would “like”, just because people were talking about it, or it had an interesting mechanic / twist.

    Now, I have a Humble Monthly subscription that itch for personally weird and/or novel games is scratched every few weeks – and without me having to wade through all the trash to do it – and cheaper than the equivalent would be on Steam even in a sale.

  26. Xeorm says:

    I haven’t found myself purchasing many games with the sales either. My problems do seem similar to yours. Not being able to find good purchases is the biggest disincentive towards browsing that I have now. Steam interface in general isn’t very good, combined with it being difficult to find anything but the top tier of sellers. Browsing through the store just isn’t very enjoyable.

    Doesn’t help either that all the gimmicks are very dull. Play crappy flash game for a chance to win games isn’t what I’d call a good way to get my attention.

    1. Blake Winton says:

      I second this. I don’t use the wishlist, so I’m finding my experience to be similar to yours and Shamus’. Having said that, I did manage to find and pick up Samorost 3, Crypt of the Necrodancer, and Opus Magnum, even though I’m currently deep in a Factorio game. ¯\_(?)_/¯

  27. Cilvre says:

    You could try opening steam in a Chrome Incognito tab and staying signed out. Then searching games so it’s not adjusting algorithms to things you’ve looked at or purchased before, when you find something interesting, you can just search for it from steam itself.

  28. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    “I tried browsing the “RPG” category and among Steam’s top suggestions were… Assassins Creed Origins (if this is an RPG then 95% of all games are RPGs) and Tom Clancy’s The Division.”

    I’m not sure if this comment is about AC Origins specifically or if you’re just considering the Assassin’s Creed series as a blob. Do you know that AC Origins has leveling up, equipment stats, character builds (based on the style of equipment you choose), level gating for quests, a skill tree, and so on? AC Origins is BY FAR the most RPG of the series and apparently Odyssey is going even more in this direction.

    And The Division is a third person shooter RPG, full stop. There’s DEEP gear stats, rerolling on gear, etc. It’s more deep than Destiny in a lot of ways.

    1. Tuck says:

      I was going to make much the same comment about Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

      It’s actually engaging and fun (although not exactly) challenging, and the setting is utterly beautiful. There are some interesting writing directions too, although the lack of player choice in quests is somewhat annoying.

    2. Vinsomer says:

      I feel like RPG means more than levelling up and equipment stats. It’s probably the most vague genre in all of gaming, which is why so many different definitions exist.

      The obvious example being ‘RPG’ having different connotations in the West and the East.

  29. Nick-B says:

    Yeah Shamus, that is pretty much my experience too. I ran a look over my entire list of games, and I think I saw maybe 3-4 that were at LEAST half off, the rest were much much less. 20%? 34%? Sheesh.

    I did do the obligatory “do a discovery queue 3 times for cards!” thing. I think one interested me, the rest were displayed because “they are popular right now!” Even then, the one game that piqued my interest was so generic in it’s description that I honestly couldn’t even tell if it was what I wanted.

    It was Dark and Light, a decent looking “sandbox” mythical RPG. (I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS, JUST STATING FOR INFORMATION). It took me a bit, but I think what I ended up realizing is that it is basically a fantasy ARK: Survival Evolved. A literal sandbox with no goal other than surviving in a world that wants you dead. it has a server model to encourage grouping (meaning, if its a public server it encourages open pvp and newb hunting).

    That’s nothing to say of the many MANY PLUNKBAT and DayZ PVP shooters. No. Bad Steam. Bad. Show me pretty indies and games with GOOD gameplay, not PVP.

  30. Excalipoor says:

    What a coincidence, the RPG tag was the first and last thing I checked for the summer sale as well.

    In my case, most of the games I’ve had my eye on are also on GoG, and I will always pick GoG over Steam when it comes to buying games. Maybe there’s a new and/or indie game that’s only on Steam that will entice me, but I’ll have to spend the better part of an evening shoveling through the storefront to find it.

  31. Felblood says:

    For actual reqs:

    Have you tried Lobotomy Corp?

    I can’t guarantee you’ll like it, but I can guarantee you won’t find the same experience anywhere else.

    I often joke about making a survival horror, dating sim themed around the Ten Sephira of the Jewish Sephirot, but these guy actually found the balls to do it.

    Such Blasphemy! So Psychological! Much Blood!

  32. Jabberwok says:

    Honestly, most of what I buy lately are small indie titles that I snap up on sale like candy at the checkout aisle. Mostly if they are things I think I can play in one or two sittings, or something I’m in the mood for but I don’t have a suitable substitute. More and more I find myself watching the trailer for a game that seems cool and thinking, “eh, I basically already have that in this other game that I still haven’t played.”

    The queue has become worthless to me since I switched to a Windows laptop, because I can’t figure out how to get it to stop showing me Mac compatible titles. There should be a whole new platform opening up to me in that queue, yet Steam doesn’t seem to have an option for that.

  33. vdeogmer says:

    I don’t know, RPG seems like a pretty fitting genre for Stardew Valley to me.

  34. Preciousgollum says:

    1. First it was cheap games, then DLC completionism then… neither?
    The shenanigans that companies pull with their season passes is becoming annoying, since a lot of regular DLC chunks (Dark Souls 3 chapters) are NOT discounted at all. Since I got all except one item from Humblebundle, it means that the DLC items are proportionally higher in price; I think they plan it that way. It rewards patient people ‘too much’, and treats ‘loyal customers’ like whales.
    I mean, just put the DLC 50% off ffs – I’ll pay!

    2. Steam has become a sort of baseline of price by which other websites try to compete with for cheaper prices. It usually means that stuff on Steam, while usually fairly reasonable, isn’t a standout deal. Also, discounts are less generous than yesteryear. It is less about buying ON steam, but more about buying FOR Steam. Or GoG.

    3. Many free games being given away makes me think that, by the time I ACTUALLY get around to playing something, it will be free, or at least cheaper – so I’m no longer excited about the things I should be excited for.

    4. It isn’t just that people have a backlog – there are so many MORE things competing at an ‘OK’ price. I can’t buy ALL the Fighting Games!?

    5. Getting older means you’ve sort of seen everything games seemingly have to offer by now. It isn’t enough to have some novel ‘ideas’ – it needs to have some gripping and rewarding gameplay – but the model of content-munch and DLC is at odds with that ideal.

    6. DLC DLC DLC – It’s EXPENSIVE now!
    For ONE XCOM 2 – War of the chosen expansion ON SALE, I could buy on average FIVE other games, or five copies of XCOM 2.

    7. Steam sales, or sales on other websites, are happening CONSTANTLY. There is absolutely no rush or need to pick up stuff to play for the next 5-6 months, because it, and everything else, is almost guaranteed to be on sale again within that time.

    1. Water Rabbit says:

      War of the Chosen is quite an extensive expansion to the game adding quite a bit of content, so I can see it being higher. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but “The Chosen” can be a bit of a PITA depending upon when they show up.

      1. Droid says:

        War of the Chosen is basically Long War 2’s mechanics with their visuals changed, with a proper UI added to them and for infinity percent more money.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          War of the chosen has so many great things on the overmap,what with the three resistance factions and how you support them,the bonds for the soldiers and hunting the chosen.Its superb.Its a shame that combat sucks ass and that chosen in combat have a bunch of bullshit abilities.

  35. Jeff says:

    They really need to be able to have Exclude on the filters, as well as Already Owned.

    I don’t know why they don’t already have an option to exclude owned products, I go through the first 5 pages and already own like 80% of the titles because I’m a game hoarder. I’m not going to browse all 700 pages of sales, and not excluding games I already own just means they’re exposing less possible sales to me.

    As for having an Exclude option in the filters, I don’t own a VR rig so why give me a half-dozen VR games mixed in with already owned games? It was impressive to find an entire search result page of things I cannot buy, either because I already own it or don’t have the hardware to run it.

    1. PerceptiveMan says:

      The lack of an Exclude feature for Steam Filters has been a subject of my ire for YEARS.

  36. Andy Carrein says:

    Since I found out about CD key sites I don’t buy a lot from steam anymore.

    Even discounted, steam is more expensive.

    1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Depending on the site you’re using, you are possibly buying stolen merchandise though. And if you don’t find that troubling… why aren’t you torrenting instead?

      1. adam says:

        As I understand it the keys aren’t usually stolen, they’re just purchased in regions where the game is cheaper. Which may not be much better, but still.

        1. evilmrhenry says:

          EDIT: this was supposed to be a root-level comment. Oops.

          I didn’t buy that much this time either.

          One aspect I think is related is the rise of the bundle. Humble Bundle and some smaller sites allow for some really deep discounts, without being an actual “discount”. If you offer ShootGuy 3 at $2 on a Steam sale, that’s now the “sale price”, recorded for all time; good luck selling it for $10 on the next Steam sale. If, however, it gets sold in a bundle with 3 other games for $8, there’s no expectation that the bundle will ever be repeated. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and if you want the game, you should buy it on the next sale for $10. This lets you capture the “hoarder” market, as well as other people who require a deep discount, without wrecking the market of people who actually want to buy the game.

  37. Drew says:

    For me the big difference is the desire to get games on the Switch rather than the PC. So for example I recently bought Steamworld: Dig 2 on the Switch instead of waiting on a steam sale. Being able to play on the couch and also on a plane is HUGE value to me.

  38. The Big Brzezinski says:

    If you’re looking specifically for a Terraria replacement, I recommend Starbound as a superior version. It’s oriented more towards exploration than resource farming. The combat is more varied and satisfying as well. Starbound’s story manages to lend structure and direction without being bossy. The game’s modding community on the Steam workshop is pretty prolific as well.

    1. Nessus says:

      Yes, this. Although the mention of Terraria was only a passing comparison and not an expression of want, if you DO fancy something “like Terraria, but more”, Starbound is basically Terraria with a story/world framework to give your actions a sense of purpose.

      And also a whole bunch of different planets instead of just one. And spaceships.

      If you like Terraria, but found yourself thinking “OK, cool, but so what?” and losing interest after finishing building your first proper nice house, Starbound is the game you wished you were playing instead of Terraria, but didn’t know it.

  39. GoStu says:

    Steam has been trying to sell me a lot of [something]space, space[something], or spacey-space space game: in space. Good work, algorithm, you’d detected that I’ve spent a lot of hours with Elite: Dangerous and FTL.

    However, I’m currently on the store page looking for something that’s not like that because I want to mix it up. Maybe I’ll just go buy from another store again; GoG just got some of my money and maybe I’ll feed it some more.

    About the Steam Sales; I just mopped out my Wishlist (realizing that some of this stuff went on sale like six different times and I never bought them, guess I don’t actually want them that much). What I’m seeing on the storefront is a lot of ~20% off deals on bestsellers I skipped when they were new, and will continue to skip now because it’s not the price I didn’t like.

  40. adam says:

    Gonna have to agree. Prices are higher than they used to be (probably partially a result of Steam adding a return policy) and my backlog of around 300 games has me about at saturation.

    Add Origin Access and Twitch Prime and I’m just not seeing a compelling reason to buy much of anything. I picked up Dragon’s Dogma (pretty fun!) the other day for $10 and that’s probably all I’ll end up with (unless I give in to Dark Souls II for $10). It’s nice not to spend money, but I do miss that feeling of catching a good game at an 80% discount on a flash sale or something.

  41. Jason says:

    I picked up Superflight for $1.49 because you guys talked about it on the Diecast.
    I also got Bayonetta for $6.79 because I liked Nier Automata, and The Turing Test for $5.99 because it was also cheap and I’ve heard good things about it.
    Was thinking about getting Stardew Valley since it’s only $11.99. I have more money than time these days, but I feel better paying a little for a game I might not ever play than paying a lot.
    I don’t think I’ll get anything else, and I probably won’t even play the new ones for a long time. I’ve got a huge backlog too, and I’ve been trying to prioritize it, but other things come up. I’ve been dabbling in Warframe (which I’d never even heard of untill reading the comments for the Destiny Shamecast) while also trying to finish Rise of the Tomb Raider.
    I was really hoping Dark Souls, Prepare to Die edition would be cheap since Remastered is out now, but instead, it’s no longer available and Remasterd isn’t even on sale. I don’t think I’d get very far in Dark Souls before just rage-quitting, but I wanted to try it.
    At this point, I really don’t look at the main page. I just open my wishlist and turn on the filters to show me only games that are on sale. I really wish the wishlist would have a place for comments, so I could add a note when I add a game. I see some things on there and I don’t know why I added them.

    1. Preciousgollum says:

      I was really hoping Dark Souls, Prepare to Die edition would be cheap since Remastered is out now, but instead, it’s no longer available and Remasterd isn’t even on sale.

      If you want the original version, check around on Ebay / online retailers for unused codes – they might be really cheap now.

      Otherwise, wait till the Remastered version is cheaper, because Framerates/BlightTown.

  42. Narkis says:

    Yep, I’ve been skipping recent Steam sales for pretty much the same reasons. Steam’s store is an abomination, and I feel you need nothing less than an archeological expedition to excavate something interesting.

    I did buy one game though, even if it wasn’t discounted by much: Dead in Vinland. It’s about a family of vikings trying to survive in the mysterious island they shipwrecked in. It’s pretty fun in the “slowly succumb to starvation and despair as the unfriendly locals steal and beat you up” way.

  43. Gethsemani says:

    I think a problem with judging Steam sales is that many of us who visit this page, or even non-Youtube video game related content are the first generation of Steam users. We got started in the mid to late 00’s with Steam and we’ve seen the service evolve. Not only does this mean that we’ve been around for more than a decade with all that entails (usually families, career obligations etc.), but it also means that we’ve had a decade to fill out our Steam libraries, something that quite naturally means we sooner or later feel that the sales aren’t offering much new. On top of that the market has changed since the heyday of steam sales in the early and mid 10’s, when Steam was basically only competing with itself, with GoG cornering a niche market, GFWL killing itself and Origin making a mess of everything it touched. Today Steam, as others have mentioned, is the baseline price and there are third party websites that offer legit game keys for lower prices all year round.

    If I had not already had 300 games in my Steam library, a family and a bunch of other hobbies, I might well have splurged on a Steam sale now as I did from 2010 to 2014. But I don’t have as much time, my money has to go around for more things and my game library is already filled with great games that I can replay or never gave a proper chance when I bought them. So obviously I won’t be putting down as much for a Steam sale as I used to. But the generation after mine? The kids who are in their early 20’s now and are still building their gaming libraries? I don’t think they are spending any less then I did back in the days. I’ve just reached the plateau where a new game isn’t as enticing as it used to be, unless it is a game I’ve been keeping tabs on.

    And I think that goes for most of us here.

  44. rabs says:

    My strategy:

    – Directly buying games I’d really like to play right now, and put others in the wishlist.
    – When I’m bored I check my backlog and my wishlist, then usually play/buy one of them.
    – During sales, I buy those I’m not really confident I will like enough, but that I want to try anyway.

    Sometimes the game is awesome and I’m a bit sad I bought it on sale, then gift a key on occasion.
    Usually I play to the point I’m not that interested anymore, and shelve it. For the price I paid it’s ok.
    I’ve never refund a game, though sometimes I could have.

    Anyway that’s the theory, I also had a tendency to be over enthusiastic and stockpile. I guess once our backlogs are big enough, we change attitude.
    Maybe sales are not as financially interesting today as they were earlier, but for me it’s far from being the main reason of refrain.

    Valve’s Spring Cleaning event was a great idea, but well not enough to empty my backlog.

  45. Michael says:

    Shamus, have you played the Shadowrun RPGs? They feel like the old Bioware games- IMO Dragonfall has one the best plots in a video game in years. If you’re willing to tolerate the XCOM-style gameplay, they’re really good. And the first game is free on Humble Bundle right now. (Although that one isn’t as good as Dragonfall and Hong Kong.)

    1. Redrock says:

      I second this. I somewhat controversially consider the Shadowrun games the best things that came out of the isometric CRPG revival. Sure, they aren’t as big as Pillars of Eternity or Divinity, don’t have fancy voice acting and whatnot, but they are polished and whole in a way that others aren’t. They excel at doing exactly what they set out to do. Also, we don’t get many decent cyberpunk rpgs.

      Michael, do you prefer Dragonfall or Hong Kong? I’ve been struggling with that question myself for a long time and couldn’t come to a definite conclusion.

      1. Michael says:

        IMO Dragonfall was more tightly plotted- the second act was all side jobs in order to save up $50,000, which allowed the player to do a bunch of unrelated quests while still giving a sense of working toward an ultimate goal. Hong Kong did the same thing, but without a clear indicator of game progress, which made it seem like the plot wasn’t going anywhere. Granted, instead Hong Kong had the weird dreams and increasingly fearful characters to show the progression of the Lovecraftian horrors converging onto the city. Which was neat- you don’t really see that outside of first-person games, and I liked how the unease gradually increases until it turns into a full-blown panic. Also, Dragonfall had a good political subtext that implied that any truly anarchic society would end up just being as tyrannical as any other, which is pretty thoughtful for a cyberpunk conspiracy thriller.

        As well, there are basically two plots in Hong Kong- finding you father and discovering what’s behind the weird dreams- and they don’t relate to each other until the very end. Also, the Plastic-Faced Man, for all his build-up, was just some mercenary.

        But Hong Kong had really strong characters. The family dynamic between you, your brother, and your father was REALLY well-written and probably my favorite part of the story. All the characters, even the merchants, had their own little tale. I also liked how much dialogue and choosing the right conversation options played a part in the story. Hong Kong had much better decking and more non-lethal options (I think you could go the whole game without killing anyone?), although it was too easy.

        Ultimately, both games are excellent and have their own strengths. Honestly, a writing comparison between the two games would be really interesting. But I think Dragonfall is a bit better because it was more focused and had an interesting and subtle commentary on the setting.

        But Hong Kong is a better intro to the setting if you’ve never played Shadowrun before.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Yeah, okay. I’ll third this.

      Not only are they worth playing in and of themselves, they’re also all different in interesting ways. The strengths/flaws change game-to-game.
      The story of how and why each one turned out the way it did would make great material for a series of articles.

      1. Redrock says:

        Well, you could argue that Dead Man’s Switch is skippable by now. Personally, I love it because of how much it reminds me of the excellent 2xS novel and generally feels more noirish than the other ones. But in terms of most mechanics, writing and scope it was, of course, pretty much a first rough draft of what the series became with later installments.

    3. Nessus says:

      Strong fourth here.

      Y’know All those things you love and miss about Mass Effect and New Vegas’s writing? The game writing you’ve spent thousands of words on this site praising and lamenting the the slow demise of? The Shadowrun games have got your fix, big time.

      Seriously: even if you don’t get on with the XCOM style combat, that’s okay, because that combat is really only like 1/4 of the gameplay. The rest is exactly that old-school Bioware style story and character jazz you’ve been jonesing for, distilled so thick you could eat it with a spoon, and quite arguably done better than Bioware ever did themselves.

  46. Adam Souza says:

    I’m in very deep. Literally my entire wishlist just went on sale. Granted, my wishlist isn’t especially long, but still!

  47. Jeff says:

    Same experience as you and most of the commenters here, with the add on that (a) the rise of expensive and unending DLC has made it feel pointless to buy “full” games when they are nominally on sale (looking at you, Stellaris) and (b) that my “impulse” buy point was either 90% off or $4.99, and of my full Steam wishlist that box is currently checked by exactly one game… which I am not sure I want, now that I look at it again…

    1. Fizban says:

      I’d just like to take a jab at Stellaris too. You want the full current version of the game people are playing on youtube? That’ll be $100+, chump, what is this “update” you speak of? I actually bought it when it *wasn’t* on sale, because it had got under my skin enough that it was going to bother me for months, but I’ll never really “forgive” them for it. I’ve almost put in enough hours to hit the 1:1 “book” ratio I expect as a minimum from a game but there’s already another $10 DLC out (no sale of course ’cause its new), and I’m not even sure if I want to go back in.

      1. Redrock says:

        Aren’t most 4x games like that? Big expansions which are full of new features that become the new base game? Civilization certainly does the same. I think the Endless series aren’t as bad?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats because civilization series always released expansions that were practically full on games of their own.The saving grace,however,was that most of those were stand alone.Im not that fond of their switch to “and this nation will now be dlc” territory.

          1. Redrock says:

            I’m kinda the opposite: Civs as DLC don’t bother me as much as whole new systems like trade routes or religion being locked behind paywalls. The way I see it, it’s better to have qualitative changes as free updates, and quantitative (factions, maps, etc) – as paid dlc.

  48. Grampy_bone says:

    I’m picking up Expeditions: Viking and BATTLETECH.

    Also, Starcrawlers is on sale, it’s a pretty cool Wizardry-esque sci-fi dungeon crawler RPG… in SPACE!

    1. Redrock says:

      Been thinking about Battletech, but I think I’ll wait for a reward more patches. They’re fixing and tweaking a lot of stuff from what I hear.

  49. Noah says:

    Right now I’m enjoying Oxygen Not Included and Machiavillain – both, in their way, attempts to make Dwarf Fortress into something fun. ONI in particular does a really good job.

  50. Joe says:

    This reminds me of something I wishlisted, but only to tell Shamus about. Overload is a modern take on Descent. Not my thing, but IIRC you’re a fan. That done, I’m taking it off my wishlist. :)

  51. Dreadjaws says:

    I don’t use the category browser because I know it’s a lost cause (it’s what happens when you refuse to curate user-created content, the way Steam is going more and more), but I’ve used the Discovery Queue a few times (mostly for the daily cards, but still)… and by God this thing is preposterous.

    I’ve played hundreds of games on Steam. Leaving aside MMOs or genres that I haven’t touched, the genre I’ve played the least is “Visual Novel”. I’ll give you one try to guess which genre I get recommended the most by Steam. Yeah, the Visual Novel recommendations range from 90-100% every time I use the Discovery Queue. It’s reached a point in which I just take a glance at the game categories and as soon as I read “Visual Novel” I press “Next” without even checking the game.

    Yes, I could fix this by telling the system to stop showing me Visual Novels, but see, I actually like the genre, I just don’t want it to be the only thing the system recommends, particularly when I like other things much more and the system can see it. I like bread, but that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite food, or that I don’t want to eat anything else.

    Also, I keep getting recommended indie games that are recently launched and have no reviews, or games that are rated as overwhelmingly negative. Just what criteria does this goddamn system use for recommendations? The same one Pop radio stations use, whereas they just show whatever’s the latest and dumbest?

    1. evilmrhenry says:

      It actually states the reason it shows you the game. It’s just that 99% of the time, the reason is one of:
      * It has good reviews
      * It’s popular
      * Just because
      And none of that really seems to use my habits as a basis. The Steam home page has the ability to do personalized suggestions, so I don’t know why this doesn’t.

    2. Fizban says:

      I thought I’d heard their plan for dealing with indies being buried under the shitpile was to algorithm their way out of it- which would mean intentionally serving up suggestions for new indie games with little or no reviews. Of course serving up overwhelmingly negative games is stupid, but if they didn’t then someone would probably accuse them of “bias.”

  52. Preciousgollum says:

    Yea Steam could do with some better tools for searching and recommending based on games you already have. It needs to be fast and ‘natural’.

    Something like a mini-survey pop-up at the end of a play session, where you can click some options to allow for future sorting (kind of like how screenshots work).

    It is getting to the point where, mostly because of cheap humblebundles, I don’t know what is and isn’t ‘backlog’ anymore vs what is potential multiplayer rotation.

    The indecision is a problem.

    Woe is me.

  53. Ivan says:

    My feelings are mostly the same as what you expressed Shamus. My library, while not massive, is still full of games I have never played and honestly probably never will. For some games this is intentional, Blade Symphony I bought fully intending to never play, just because the idea was novel enough I wanted to support it regardless.

    But also, I kinda don’t want to buy games on Steam anymore, if I can help it. Steam games are, in general, horribly optimised. It’s typical when buying a game there that I immediately, before even booting it up, go check the community hub, for the guide called ‘must have mods’ or ‘mods NEEDED to make X playable’. Soo, rather than buying from Steam, recently if I actually see something I want there, my first thing to do is check if GOG has it or not.

  54. Rick C says:

    “THE ALGORITHM has a few dozen things it wants to show me, and if I’m not interested in those then it has no idea what to do.”

    Someone told me a game (Guild Wars; I already have GW2) I was interested in was on sale for 50% off on Steam. When I went to the game’s page, Steam told me it’s not like the games I already have (on Steam) so they can’t guess whether I’d like it or not.

    Yeah, Steam went out of its way to say it can’t help me. Okay, thanks.

    1. Nietoperz says:

      Gonna have to agree with Steam there, Guild Wars is nothing like Guild Wars 2! They’re practically different genres.

      But yeah it does get lost a lot with anyone’s gaming habits slightly off whatever baseline average they use.

      1. Rick C says:

        “Guild Wars is nothing like Guild Wars 2!”

        I should point out I bought Guild Wars 2 in a store, not from Steam. It was saying it couldn’t help based on my Steam library, which is full of stuff like Doom, Stardew Valley, and Terraria.

  55. Aanok says:

    I go to SteamDB and filter for them Hot Deals at >= 75%, 80%, 90% discount, sorted by rating. Each query returns an acceptable approximation of the “best” items at those discount levels in the first few pages, so I just look through those until the list starts becoming uniformly noise.

    It is by no means an exhaustive process, but it’s good enough for me and it’s very quick.

  56. Fat Barry says:

    I think the Steam sales lost their major appeal when they stopped the Flash Deals.

    But TBH, I choose GOG for everything rather than Steam where ever possible. Their customer service is brilliant, as is their anti-DRM stance, and their general commitment to a well-curated rather than a massive collection. I guess that’s what you can expect from a platform run by CD Projekt Red. Steam has, over the years, become more and more of a heartless corporate beast.

    I also have made a habit of collecting old games on GOG, even if I already have the game. I want to support them, they are cheap and having DOSBox preconfigured and standalone per title is great. Plus all the extras that come with GOG games are much more generous than Steam.

    GOG fanboy here obviously, I discovered them way back when they were first announced on all the abandonware-scene websites (Good Old Games back then). GOG was a real victory for the abandonware scene… we finally had a legal and easy way to play many of our old forgotten classics.

    Steam is still playing catchups in the old games department, and their releases are half-hearted at best.

    1. Leipävelho says:

      The preconfigured DOSBOX is truly wonderful. Now, if only they had the original Civilization for sale as well…

  57. Nietoperz says:

    I almost always ignore Steam Sales: if I want a game really badly I buy it on release/as soon as I know I want it, regardless of whether or not I have time to play it. If there’s a game I’m on the fence about… I’ll buy it only when I run out of other titles I’m more enthused about. It’s mostly a time thing (my gaming time has dropped over the years from all-waking-hours, to max 3hrs a day) and a “irresponsible income management” thing but I also know that the idea with these things is often to get people to buy things they don’t need, and I’d hate to feel suckered in. Especially when my impulse buys are terrible once they get going.

  58. Leipävelho says:

    At this point I have completetly migrated my sales buying from Steam to It is so much better.

  59. Mephane says:

    I also have reached that point a couple of years ago. The scarce resource is neither money nor good games, but time, especially the games I play usually are of the more time-consuming time, either because they are simply huge (The Witcher 3), or open-ended.


    Regarding Steam’s algorithms, apart from the issue that they suggest titles you already have, the real issue is that users tend to tag games with misleading genres and categories. Like, anything that has some sort of character progression, XP, levelling etc, gets tagged as RPG, not by Steam, but by the players.

  60. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    From the sounds of it, maybe I should spend more time on GOG.

    I looked at the Steam Sales yesterday, but I didn’t really care that nothing they showed me was interesting -because I’m also at saturation point. I’m a professor, so I’m currently “on break” so this is the most free time I have in a given year. I’ve counted up my Xbox 360/One games at something like a hundred games. I’ve got some 60 computer games I’ve bought and kept working during the last 20 years. Plus another 60 games on Steam.

    I’m currently playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Sea of Thieves, Sims 2, Rome: Total War (the original, on the Roma Surrectum mod), BattleTech, and Kerbal Space Program. I have a dozen other games looking at me with the giant puppydog eyes pleading to be played for the first time in years -Mount and Blade, MechCommander, X-Wing, Witcher 2, Warrior’s Orochi, and more.

    On top of that, I have work and other projects I’m doing. I’m trying to carve out some time to rewatch some classic films and get my money’s worth out of Amazon Prime.

    Really -if Steam doesn’t want to show me more games, I’m cool with that.

  61. Sleeping Dragon says:

    What I’m actually using Steam sales for nowadays is not just the sales (though those are nice with my limited income) but rather as a way to control my spending. I have an extremely eclectic taste in games (and fairly low standards), meaning that my wishlist is an enormous, everbloating lump of titles, ranging from things that I know I’ll love to things that I might not hate playing.

    Now my issue is that I have poor impulse control but on the other hand I like rules, rules help you organize, following rules helps you make decisions. So in order not to spend money on games as soon as something I’m interested in comes out* I put some away every month then spend the entire pot during the sale, the fact that the sales are spaced out means that I have a decent chunk of change saved up and I can grab a more expensive game or two, or something that generally doesn’t go on sales, and it doesn’t feel like such a tough decision if I was going to get just this one thing and nothing else.

    *I still make some rare exception, last one was Finding Paradise.

  62. Jennifer Snow says:

    Grim Dawn is 70% off. I’d suggest you try that one simply for Diablo III comparison purposes.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      Eh, I dunno. Comparing it single player to single player might make some sense – though you get to play the “what version are you comparing?” game with both games having had lots of patches and DLC – but GD is very much still a single player grind game, while Diablo III has really left behind all pretense it’s trying to tell a story – modern updates are all geared to seasonal play and leaderboards. I still like it and play – solo, even – but it has little to do with what I liked back when I enjoyed DI, DII.

  63. CoyoteSans says:

    As an aside, I noticed during this sale that the Steam Link, usually something like $40-$50, is on sale for $2.50. I’m pretty sure that won’t even cover their shipping costs. They’re such a bomb they have to nearly give them away during these sales.

    And it would still be a bad value for me, because the latency is only bearable if both the Link and the PC are hardwired to the LAN, and for my setup, if I really wanted to play my Steam games on the 4K TV in our living room, it would make more sense to just haul the PC itself downstairs next to it and directly plug in the HDMI.

    1. PPX14 says:

      I was almost taken in just by the low low price. But £7.50 delivery and reading that both need to be wired? Like you say, I might as well just connect it directly then.

      Glad I saw this in fact, you’ve saved me the money.

  64. Dragmire says:

    My experience with this Steam sale is seeing a notification of a game that’s on sale, looking at my wishlist and deleting half the games that were on there. Lack of interest in certain genres was a part of it and the other part was games using Redshell. Redshell looks sketchy to me so I’m avoiding games that use it[1]. I really would like to play Civ 6 though…

    [1]Looking up info about it gave conflicting info so I can’t say exactly what it does. The way people talk about it makes it sound like spyware while the company talks about checking advertising effectiveness.

  65. Wiseman says:

    My Steam library is tiny, the size of my wallet. So I am salivating for the sales. :) But also dreading building up a backlog. Especially since this year I played a 150+ hours of a Playstation game from 1998 instead of finishing/playing the games on my Steal library. Priorities, people.

  66. Hrmmm. I have a fairly tiny Steam library backlog, compared to what many people have mentioned here, and an even tinier Steam wishlist – it did just get a lil longer based on a few of the comments here, however. Although I might be attracted to the notion of playing a juicy AAA game on my desktop (assuming that I can ever afford to buy a new graphics card ever again – THANKS A BUNCH, cryptocurrency miners), for practical purposes the games that I mostly get to play at the moment are ones that can be run on my laptop with the sound off and still be entertaining.* Luckily for me, I backed Cultist Simulator on KS, and have about 75 hours of attempting to Bring The Dawn already (Tricuspid Gate, your secrets shall be MINE, and I shall bathe in the Glory of the Light REBORN!!!! *ahem*).

    I pretty much never use the Steam recommendation systems, although very frequently when I go to buy a game on Steam it tells me that what I’m looking to buy isn’t like anything I own, and it can’t tell whether I’d be interested in it. It even said that about Cultist Simulator, even though I also own Sunless Sea and have about 100 hours in that. I’m not sure whether that’s more to do with Steam generally or my apparently quite broad taste in games (and media generally). To be fair, I recall being frustrated with one of the music streaming sites because my preference is to hop from genre to genre (pretty sure no one but me could love the contents of my mp3 player) whereas the streaming site would pick up on one track or artist and then proceed to play me ALL the things that were similar to that. Uhhhhh, no thank you.

    *If this ever becomes a tag, I might pay more attention…

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      *If this ever becomes a tag, I might pay more attention…

      Same.Stuff that can be played while listening to something else have been increasingly overtaking my library.

      1. Right? My current shortlist for this category, based solely on what I have installed on this machine:

        Sunless Sea
        Cultist Simulator
        Race The Sun
        Good Robot (tricky to play when using a mouse on a side table, though)

        Waiting for trial:
        Crusader Kings II
        Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

  67. DaveMc says:

    I have to admit that a lot of my interactions with Steam lately go like this: “Hey, that looks fun! I wonder if it’s available in a mobile version?” Because what am I gonna do, pull out a *computer* on the bus? And that’s mostly where I get a chance to play games, these days.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Valve should port Steam to the Switch. Problem solved. :)

      1. DaveMc says:

        Don’t tease me with your visions of a utopian future!

  68. Jamey says:

    Spintires and Spintires: Mudrunner offer game play that is definitely unique, but It’s a fairly high difficulty curve and something best played with a small group.

    I also picked up Eden Rising, but only because it supports 8 people in co-op play. I have a group of about 6 friends that get together monthly for a LAN party, and we love co-op games. So many games are “console-friendly” [4 player limit] these days we’d all gladly shell out full price for almost anything that we can all play together.

  69. slipshod says:

    Not really related, but if you’re looking for something fresh, give Detroit: Become Human a whirl.

    I haven’t come up for air since I tried the game’s free demo 2 weeks ago. I’ve been through the entire game at least 5-6 times at this point, and I just keep coming back for more.

    1. David Cage says:

      I concur. It’s my favorite game of the year.

      1. slipshod says:

        Same. Hands down. And everyone is surprised when I say this, but it really is something astounding.

  70. Skeeve The Impossible says:

    Yeah well I got an email telling me 3 of my wishlist games were 75%off. My wishlist is only 3 games long.

  71. Mr. Wolf says:

    If all your friends were jumping off a cliff, would Steam suggest you should too?

  72. GTB says:

    For me, there just aren’t many games I want to play. The last couple years have been (and I know people will disagree with me, and they’re probably right) pretty crap for new games. There were a handful of titles that I picked up and played and they were… fine. Serviceable. I didn’t feel like I got ripped off. But nothing was the same level of epic as when skyrim came out, or new vegas, or AC3 (which I submit is still the best assassin’s creed thus far).

    Pillars of Eternity 2 came out and that was a great game. Was it as good or better than the first one? I don’t know. It was… fine.

    I think The Division, in 2016, was the last game I was really super excited about. The most hours played I have in any game over the last two years is Dying Light, which came out in 2015. Looking at my gameplay stats for 2017 and so far in 2018, everything I was playing came out at least a year ago. Most of it is older. There hasn’t been anything for a while that I really wanted. Maybe im old and cynical and maybe i’m missing out on things that are crazy fun because I refuse to buy games with lootboxes. I don’t know. But it feels like the industry has been pretty bland lately.

    As for the sale, I picked up all three of the Legend Of Heroes JPRGs, and Ni No Kuni, which so far is basically a slightly more vapid kingdom hearts without disney, or square. It’s alright.

    I also finished out my assassin’s creed collection by picking up the weird side scrolling ones I never bothered with and finally getting Origins, which I played right up until I found out there was a stealth button and then quit and uninstalled. Nobody has yet to explain to my satisfaction why there needed to be a stealth button and while that might seem like a small thing I think its indicative of where the series is going, and that sucks.

    I am looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077, and Dying Light 2, and The last of us 2, I don’t know if those are coming out next year or what but I’m excited for all three of those for the first time in a while. I’m also looking forward (with my fingers crossed) to Camelot Unchained next month.

  73. PPX14 says:

    Felt the same way, as if I already own pretty much all of the games I want from Steam. Added a few to the wishlist. The lack of 80-90% off, plus the backlog of games from previous such purchases has dampened the urgency to buy anything.

    It did renew my intrigue with Styx however.

    Instead, my attention has thus turned from potentially wanting to buy because of ludicrous deals, to potentially wanting to buy to support games that look good.

    Just another way to support wanting to buy more despite plethora reasons not to!

  74. Adeon says:

    All I’ve bought so far is a couple of cheap pieces of DLC for the game Ironcast (which I do recommend if you want a match-3, rogue-lite, steampunk, mecha game).

    I’m currently debating if I want to buy Frostpunk or not. The theme is interesting but I’m not sure if I’ll really get into it.

    The rest of the stuff on my wishlist is Early Access titles that I put there to remind me to check them out when they actually release.

  75. PPX14 says:

    I agree. This year I just haven’t been so enthralled by the big sales. I think it’s a combination of the burgeoning backlog, the feeling that I already have in my library most of the games that I want from Steam, and the lack of 80%-90% off deals in my wishlist and elsewhere.

    But, I have noticed one thing – a renewed want to get Styx and Styx Shards of Darkness. I’ve had my eye on it for some time and now it has been put onto the wishlist near the top.

    And because the desire to buy things remains, the mental justification now shifts to “I should buy it to support games that look good”.

    That said, Styx: Master of Shadows has had slightly better deals in the past, so I ‘ll wait. I’m (probably) going to get:

    Pony Island (with soundtrack) £1.52
    Q.U.B.E. £1.74
    Murdered: Soul Suspect £2.99

    And less possibly:

    Deadcore £1.99

    And probably not yet:

    Sonic Generations £3.74
    ADR1FT £3.74

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