Ready your wallets, gamers: some big ol’ discounts are coming to Steam this week.
The game distribution platform has announced it’s kicking off its Steam Summer Sale on June 21, with an abundance of price slashes coming to its expansive library of titles.
While Steam always has an ongoing roster of weeklong and weekly deals, they aren’t quite as exciting as the big extravaganzas we see in their seasonal sales.
In this guide we’ll keep you up to date with the best deals and discounts available on the platform, and how to get the best out of the sales.
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Steam deals of the moment
A five-episode bundle of Life is Strange, for 75% off RRP? Count us in.
The decidedly-good episodic adventure game made waves back in 2014 with its nifty rewind mechanic, one that let you undo any action in the unfolding drama of a young photography student’s life. Cue smart writing, a gorgeous aesthetic, and a hefty amount of heart.
For anyone wanting the full set, the Deluxe Edition of 2017 prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm is seeing a 54% discount off RRP along with a fourth bonus episode featuring the game’s original protagonist.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more… gritty, then Darkest Dungeon may be the one for you.
The punishing dungeon crawler shakes up the turn-based RPG formula by making the psychological toll of fighting monsters a key gameplay mechanic, continually putting the sanity as well as the lives of your characters at risk. But a sizeable 70% price cut on this acclaimed game should make that burden somewhat easier to bear.
How to get the best deals in the Steam Sales
Whichever way you approach the Steam Summer Sale (or any other Steam deal-a-thon for that matter), you’re guaranteed to pick up something great at a great price.
But there are a few techniques and tricks that are worth using if you want to get the most out of the sale.
- Use your Steam Wishlist: Fill it up with all the games you’re interested in picking up, and you’ll be alerted the moment they go on sale, and by how much.
- Bundles are great: Publishers often pull their titles together in sale mega-packs, ramping up the savings to even greater heights. If there’s a suite of titles from a publisher like Square Enix or Activision that you’ve never played before, this is the best – and cheapest – way to bag them all at once. As you’d imagine, the value diminishes if you’ve already got a few bundled titles in your library.
- Highlighted deals are where the real savings are: The majority of the Steam store back-catalogue will get some sort of price cut, but it’s the ‘Highlighted’ deals (the ones promoted on the Steam front splash page) that tend to be more heavily discounted. These are the ones where you may fall into impulse-buy territory. Which leads us on to our next tip…
- Only buy what you’ll actually play right away: Once those 75% off signs start floating around, you’re going to want to break open the piggy-bank. But the Steam sales of yesteryear have proved that our desire for overflowing game libraries leaves us with more titles than we could ever humanly play. Save some cash, and only grab the ones you’re really going to play – keep in mind that if you wait a while, the games will almost certainly get cheaper as they get older.
- Use this browser extension: Want to make sure you’re getting a good deal? Use the Enhanced Steam browser extension. This gives you a historical look at the price of all Steam games, letting you see just how many pennies have been saved.
The best Steam Sale deals of the year so far
Gone but not forgotten, here’s our collection of all the best deals we’ve seen up until this point. Use them as a point of reference for what you should be expecting – or you know, lament the ones that got away.
Shadow of Mordor: Perhaps the definitive Lord of the Rings video game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was lauded on release for its stellar combat, open-world action, and an intelligent Nemesis system that. If 50 Game of the Year awards weren’t enough to convince you, a hefty 60% discount certainly should have been.
Half-life: Yes, it’s old. But is it still one of the best game franchises in history? Yes. Yes it is. And frankly, at 93% off it didn’t matter if it was garbage. Which it isn’t. It’s great. And 93% off – that was pretty much free.
The Witcher 3: Inarguably the game of 2015, The Witcher 3 is also now widely considered the best RPG of all time. A sprawling dark fantasy epic, it’s a beautiful game, and one that’s a great showpiece for your souped-up gaming PC too.
And, with the Game of the Year Edition being heavily discounted in the Steam Summer Sale 2017, it was a fantastic way to jump into this monumental game, and get all of its DLC at a discount too.
Tomb Raider franchise: Few franchises are as iconic as this, and if you’d missed out on any of Lara’s exploits so far, this was a great way to plug those gaps. Discounts varied between 60% and 80% across the 13 games included in the offer: you could pick up Rise of the Tomb Raider with a 60% discount, for example, and Tomb Raider: Underworld with a whopping 80% off.
The Valve complete pack: If, by some small miracle, you were a PC gamer that was yet to try any of Valve’s homegrown titles, this was your chance. The Valve Complete Pack was a staggering 91% off its usual asking price, including all the Half-Life games and episodes, every Portal game, every Left 4 Dead game, a bunch of DLC and much, much more.
What games are going to be in the Steam Sales?
First off, you shouldn’t expect brand-new games to get the really steep discounts that have become synonymous with the Steam sales. You may see a 5%, or even 10% discount on games that have been recent big hits, but if they’re still new enough to be spinning money without needing a price cut, don’t expect that to change now that the sale is here.
But, with the exception of the newer titles, pretty much the entire store receives a 25% discount, if not higher, with a select few seeing a massive 90% off the list price. While the store now highlights what Valve considers the best deals, it’s worth noting that flash and community sales are no longer in the mix, so feel free to pick a title on sale when you like – its discounted price will stand for the duration of the sale.
Of course, Other Gaming Stores Do Exist™, and it’s worth checking their wares too, to see if you can’t bag an even bigger bargain elsewhere. GOG.com is a great place to start, and if you’re platform-agnostic and looking for multi-platform titles, keep an eye on the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Deals with Gold offers, too.