Valve gives devs tools to configure Steam discounts, sales

As if your wallet hasn't suffered enough from Steam sales as it is.

by

Valve has announced new tools that will allow developers to configure their own discounts for custom sale periods on Steam or opt in to take part in upcoming weeklong sales.

According to an image of the announcement sent out to developers and posted to Reddit, to participate in weeklong deals, a developer can select from the upcoming promotions, up to two months ahead of time, and just enter the desired discount percentage.

Custom discounts can be set up two months in advance, and can run for up to two weeks at most. Developers can set the percentage of the discount here as well.

Steam sales have been known to be hugely profitable for some developers. Q-Games, for example, doubled its lifetime income on the PC version of PixelJunk Eden after the game was featured in a flash sale as part of the 2013 Steam holiday sale.

However, indie developer Jason Rohrer recently argued that “sales screw fans” over the long-term, training them to wait for discounts rather than ever pay the full price for a game when it launches.

Either way, the new tools should at least give developers more control on when and by how much they discount their games, and might mean we’ll see more discounts throughout the year.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer, and you can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

139 comments
grenadehh
grenadehh

Newell y u no online for AMA that started 15 min ago!!!!

OSJ-1987
OSJ-1987

The guy below me said it right when he talked about companies doing stupid things like cashing in on pre-orders then stopping support for the game, releasing all kinds of stupid DLC that should have been included in the final copy of the game that nickel and dime people, etc etc etc.  Who can blame folks for wanting to wait for a sale?


I won't get into a forty paragraph spiel on gaming and what's good and what's bad these days.  Let it suffice to say that I own plenty of games and consoles from all generations, as well as a high end PC, and I use them all.  To this day, I still turn on my top loading NES and play Contra on a CRT TV.  I enjoy it as much as my PS4, just as much as I enjoy playing discounted digital games on my PC.


Price a game at $60 and sell a hundred copies, or price a game at $15 and sell a thousand?  Who really wins here?  The answer is both the developer and the gamer...more money for the devs and people playing their games, and the gamers get to play games they want and not break the bank.  I love consoles and I always have, and I'll continue to buy them as long as I see anything worth playing on them, but Steam really has their shit together when it comes to digital distribution of games, and if the console manufactures want to succeed in the future, they need to take note.


I'm not a PC elitist, or a console fanboy, or anything else.  I just play games that are good...old or new, console or PC, mobile, even board games if it tickles my fancy.  Bottom line...the sales work.  They've been proven to work.  We like them, most of the devs like them, and we'll continue to see them as long as that relationship exists.

death4us2
death4us2

People love sales that is why all stores and most businesses have them. People are going to pay full price for games they really want right away. Pre-orders of games are higher than ever. Like most people I don't want to pay 40-50 dollars for a 4-5 year old game but I will pay and tend to go broke buying 4 or 5 games that are on sale and pre-ordering games I want asap.

grbolivar
grbolivar

Who wouldn't wait for a sale when what a lot of these developers do is a very bad port of their consoles games? I.E. Every resident evil, the Final Fantasies, Metal Gear Rising, etc. No HD Textures, No 60-120fps, No 4K... They don't care for PC games.

eyeseller
eyeseller

Im cheap and love to play games on my spare time. Im not hardcore so i can wait for a good sale. The steam sales have turned me on to some really great games.  Lets be honest who pays full price for anything. It is always the poor that get suckered into full retail price. Those with money learn to be patient and wait for the deals to come up then pounce. 

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

"training them to wait for discounts rather than ever pay the full price for a game when it launches"

No.

Actually most of the reason I wait for sales is that most of the franchises that made the gaming industry great were turned into dumbed down consolised, DLC abused shit and are not worth the full price.


Also the instant drop off of support after a release since they cashed in on preorders from the gullible is too common.


When I start seeing honesty and good, innovative development of the franchises I care about I won't be paying in full.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

I cant figure out how sales screw fans. I think I could make the case companies like EA screw fans more.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

An abridged version of one of my comments:

Many people think Steam is the second coming, in great part because they came to trust the service over time. Of course they had nice specials also. But I think we should be careful with them and for many reasons. A year back they cut on their workforce which suggest a major drop in their revenues. Steam sales are now pretty much only rehash of previous sales. (How many times can you resell Half-Life 2, Portal, Fallout 3 or whatever?) Last Black Friday and last Christmas sales should have been eye openers for many, when the only thing that sold was DayZ, while other games kept switching position in terms of sales which suggest they didn't sell much, if at all.

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

pfff nothing can take on GMG 


just got thief for 40$ 

installing it right now, pray for me that will this enjoy this purchse (i finished dishonored with all DLC's all good endings and minimal casualties, think i'll manage to avoid combat completely)

Stinger78
Stinger78

Just a note to Mr. Rohrer - Some games are worth the full price at release, others are not.  Sales help draw interest that might not be there otherwise, and can help a lot if there happens to be a sequel nearing release.

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

Only GameSpot could whine about better value for customers.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

Steam sales are really not a good as people say, especially considering it's digital games with DRM. Buying off Ebay or Amazon is better deals Steambots are such sheep.

robertcain
robertcain

Valve is trusting developers to sort out their own deals and discounts; but what if there WON'T be any of these at all? A lot of developers these days have a focus of maximizing their profits and to do that, they may keep the game at full price at all times.

Barighm
Barighm

@PinchySkree Yeah, sure. There are NO dumbed down PC only franchises. Riiiiiight....

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@abcdefgabcdefgz

Reminds me business talk. If you make suggestions about not giving them tax rebates, subventions or whatever they'll say it will impact employment negatively as if they care about employment. If there's one thing corporations don't care about it's employment and the displacement of the industrial sector to third world countries in the past 30 years is proof of that.

Any business, when it can replace someone with someone paid less, or with a machine, or with a piece of software, will do so in an instant. In the financial capitalism we live in there is no direct relationship between owners and workers. Only profit matters, human beings have no value whatsoever except as tools to be used and disposed of.

cracka123
cracka123

@SpicaAntares

You can't automatically extrapolate that large a drop in revenue is the reason for trimming fat. Because they are a relatively small private company, it is even more important for them to not let costs get out of hand. Furthermore, I think a more logical reason for Valve firing those people has more to do with the fire-ees' activities not being in line with the overall vision of Valve. For example, Jeri Ellsworth and her crew seemed really fixed on their little augmented reality gimmick, and it  really had nothing to do with Newell's mission for Valve. Why should Valve subsidize those people's pursuit of unrelated fields of interest? Valve giving them the rights to the AR device after they were fired is further evidence that Valve had no interest in what they were doing and that the fired employees (the ones involved with the AR) were so set on continuing to develop it.


abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@SpicaAntares You can buy lots of the games from different places and get a steam key. Keeping all the games in one place like steam is the good thing its not always that your locked into buying from a steam sale.

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

@guardianofhonor  i don't give a shit if i own the game or not 

as long as i can play it, enjoy it, review it i'm satisfied 


in 3 more years i dunno what i'm going to do with all my CD's 

probably gonna collect dust or something 


digital games are cheap, easy to get, and overall it's the feature of steam 



Defender1978
Defender1978

@guardianofhonor  Guess I'm a sheep because Steam has the best deals in gaming.  I bought the new Shadow Warrior on Steam for $10.  You know the same Shadow Warrior that will retail on Xbox One and PS4 for $60 when it comes out in a year.  That is just one of over a hundred examples of savings I have in my Steam library.  

Mellowcow
Mellowcow

@guardianofhonor  Yeah, because optical disks can't contain any DRM. It's against the laws of physics or something.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@robertcain There are a lot of games I bought that were on sale I never would have bought otherwise. Lots of games I have never finished and some I never played. Without sales I just buy fewer games period.

DaX_Factor
DaX_Factor

@robertcain  Games on sale can help push people to by something they otherwise wouldn't due to the price. If you are not selling due to price then you are not maximizing your profits.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

@Barighm @PinchySkreeNothing I said states that there aren't.


I can't think of any right now, probably because they are insignificant.


Note that "consolised" means removing things that made the game great (you don't need that when you can sell off a purchased IP with a legendary prequel) and simplifying the challenge with hand holding and the hardest difficulty feeling like normal in a classic PC game. Removing interesting depth seems to be the forte of multiplatform developers.


Wave after wave of "multiplatform" games which are actually console games given the least possible amount of effort for a PC port, to the point where they have only console controls in the menu like resident evil 4.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Thanatos2k @SpicaAntares

Its crock? Ok. Then what's the truth about Steam sales then? Tell us what sold and what didn't, what brought money and what hasn't.

Or I'll make it simpler for you: tell us the 5 latest PC games you bought at Steam, shouldn't be too hard to do, no? Waiting to see how great PC gaming is nowadays.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@cracka123 @SpicaAntares

You could be right but when I look at what's sold on Steam looks more to me that Steam is out of Steam, and limited to the scraps developers don't care about, while gamers are only interested in $5.00 AAA games. Since we now have profited from what was to be profited from, seems to me the future is bleak.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@abcdefgabcdefgz @SpicaAntares

The thing I wonder about is how much can you trust sites when you can't find information about who they are, where they are, that you have nothing but an email address or sometimes only an interface on the site itself to leave a comment? The fact that you can pay with PayPal, if you can, is it protection enough?

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Defender1978 @guardianofhonor

Lets not get carried away here. I bought Thief for $37 at Get Games while Steam kept the price at $45 all the time. On new games you have to shop everywhere.

As for specials Steam is pretty much out of Steam, with the only game that sold during last Black Friday and last Christmas sales was DayZ. Everything else was rehash of what we saw previous years.

Stinger78
Stinger78

@Defender1978 @guardianofhonor  When I can pay something like $4.99 for a game otherwise $14.99 and acquire it digitally in just a few minutes, I prefer that to physical media from a seller on ebay or amazon, which may not even arrive.  Also, to call Steam or Origin DRM is a little negative, as I've been using both of those for years and the only issue I've had, rarely, was when I couldn't remember my log-in information.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Mellowcow @guardianofhonor

There is a difference between a DRM on disk and one on which you have to rely on the existence of some internet service, one that may one day disappear. Some think Steam is the second coming but I saw too many things disappear to believe anything last forever.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@DaX_Factor @robertcain

If you look at Activision's games Activision keeps their price high, even years after those games went out. Their policy is: you wanna play some Call of Duty then pay. They sold millions, they don't care about selling a few copies for $5 at Steam. You can still find their older games for $30 in stores.

If you add to the picture that now major developers are keeping their newest and greatest games to themselves, that very few end up on PC anyway, the outlook for Steam is not great.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@PinchySkree @Barighm  Total War.  They dumbed that shit down hardcore ever since RTW.

cracka123
cracka123

@SpicaAntares @Thanatos2k 

Word on the street is Valve takes a 30% cut of every game sold. Furthermore, according to Valve there are 75 million active users on Steam (up from 65 million 3 months earlier). Let's be ultra conservative and say that the average user spends no more than five dollars a month on Steam... see where I'm going with this? That doesn't include the user-generated content that, according to Newell, is also making them tons of money.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@SpicaAntares @cracka123Steam gets money for EVERY GAME SOLD.  New games are being made - Valve makes money.  Unless you think PC gaming is in decline (it's not) then Valve has absolutely nothing to worry about.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@SpicaAntares @abcdefgabcdefgz  This is unfounded paranoia. The vast majority of sites that sell Steam keys are conspicuously legit. Bundlestars, Indiegala, Humblebundle, Amazon, and others. For one thing, your browser tells you the security encryption details.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@SpicaAntares @abcdefgabcdefgzYou can look up their IP address and do some research if you want. Their are also addons like as WOT for browsers like Firefox/IceDragon and Chromium/Dragon.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@SpicaAntares @Defender1978 @guardianofhonor  False. Firstly, Google image will show you what was on sale if you didn't memorize all of it. Second, the publishers are in charge of the sales each season on Steam. They have literally posted as much on this website with internal memo's to publishers that specify how to use their Steam publisher accounts to arrange the sales.


Having said that, I didn't buy much of anything on the winter sale last year. I already own every game on Steam and the very few I don't own and wanted weren't on sale. You have to diligently pay attention to sales as they come along.


For example, the Ubisoft sale recently - I'd have bought every game on it that I didn't already own, if I had money.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@SpicaAntares @Mellowcow@guardianofhonorDo you remember what MS had planned with Xbone at E3? It's not just digital games that can have that kind of DRM. Anyway, if Steam goes down, the DMCA has a clause about circumventing DRM in obsolete media that could be helpful.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@abcdefgabcdefgz

Can you tell me the offline mode can be kept permanently, that never the Steam interface will try to reach the server once it's on, that if you change your HD, OS, or whatever all you have to do is copy the folder before you do? No one knows how the Steam interface and DRM works except Steam.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@SpicaAntares @Mellowcow@guardianofhonor There is an offline mode, and the games are installed on your computer. If steam closes someday I think they have said you will keep the games or be able to play them still.

I do understand people that fight for the physical discs though. I have discs for warcraft 2 and tons of old games like doom laying around still. I can play them 20 years from now if I want

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@SpicaAntares True, GOG does focus on classics. However, not every game on their site is an older game. I mean, Slender and Anodyne, for example.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Jinzo_111887 @Stinger78 Not too hard to do for GOG when your games goes back to Noah and  some flood.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@Stinger78 GOG actually takes a pretty good strategy. Throw DRM out with the trash. Offer VIP treatment instead.

Stinger78
Stinger78

@Defender1978 @DaX_Factor @robertcain  If you don't find a deal on Steam, there's always Humble Bundle, GOG.com or even gamefly digital.