Reality Check - Why Do Steam Sales Take All My Money?!

This week on Reality Check, Cam and Lucy investigate the psychology of steam sales and why they make us part with so much cash.

Discussion

174 comments
Wensea10
Wensea10

Well, just because there is a video game sale does not mean you have to make a purchase.

zeth626
zeth626

Lucy, welcome! May your new role bring you success happiness and all those rewards that come when you do what you love.

sotired
sotired

RE: Steam badges/cards/whatever the hell they're called... I've seen them, but I ignore them. I have no idea what they are, and I can't be bothered to find out.

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

lost the sale? just buy through the trade forums for TF 2/CS GO/DOTA 2 keys 


people usually make like 5$ of a profit over you which is no bigge since you just saved 60% off the game 

raptor1998
raptor1998

I didn't buy anything in this Steam Summer Sale Lol.

chaosa1
chaosa1

awesome episode!

btw, what is the music at the ending called?

Scorch_22
Scorch_22

Cam and Lucy just proved that the people at Valve are really evil masterminds.

zofotoziggy
zofotoziggy

Hey, where do I have to go to see your citations/links? Research psych makes me never trust where I can't see the citations

geost91gr
geost91gr

What kind of ungodly fast connection do I need to watch in HD?...

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

I am sales impervious! MUAHAHAHAHAHA


No, seriously. All the games I bought on sale were individual discounts.



BTW That stupid SONY ad is annoying as all hell.

Subterfuge71
Subterfuge71

I broke my Steam virginity with the recent summer sale, and I found myself getting a little carried away at times. Not with Triple A titles, as my Laptop isn't powerful enough, but with Indie games. Because my Laptop has never been used for gaming, I knew very little about Steam, or the vast array of Indie games that are available. Out of curiosity, after the sale was reported here, I took a look to see what the big deal was. 

I bought Metal Slug 3 just to see how it would run on my Laptop, and it runs great, so I started buying a couple more Indie games, and then a couple more, and then a couple more. You get the picture. The prices were just so good, and I ended up with 11 games for under £20. It ended up that there are two of them that I don't like, but their combined price was only £1.88, and the other 9 great games more than made up for the minor loss on those two. You can now consider me hooked on Indie Steam games, and my consoles haven't been touched since.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Even without doing the psychology tricks and just having flat out sales, Steam was getting a lot of people to buy games they would never play.

Remember folks, there's another Steam sale just a few months away.  If you can't get the game played by then, don't bother, because the game will likely be on sale all over again in the next sale.

jeffgost
jeffgost

Sometimes it's good to be poor, Steam Sales "is not very effective" on me \o/

maitkarro
maitkarro

And everything you said I don't work like that. I exploit them, I only buy what I like (I avoid bundle games won't buy Publisher/Developer bundles), even if I won't play it(except for this I'm like that) I will only buy if it's cheap enough, I will look for high percentage but the price itself matters the most so I look if at the time of the sale is the game worth under 5 or 10 euros over then I won't bother, when it's a steam sale I'll wait for it when it's for the daily deal, when the steam sale is over I buy from the keyshops like GMG(not using it anymore as the prices are high as the original), also I can just compare all the prices with allkeyshop kind of like sites. 

The only games that I buy at full price are extraordinary, like the Soul's series or something like very close to Diablo series, or oh yeah DBZ games on consoles.

quaker04
quaker04

What is the song name that starts at 5:42?

Apastron
Apastron

It's amazing what effect having a shave and putting a new shirt on has on Johnny.

Afinati
Afinati

I own so many games on Steam that I'll never play. The team competition didn't get me this year, but selling those Steam Summer Sale cards for monies in my Steam wallet did. <sigh>

archav3n
archav3n

I ended up burnt my wallet. The amount is equivalent to a new PS4. But why if i can pirate but i ended up paying? What's the logic i really like asking the console fanboys.

rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

I spent 80 bucks and got around 30 games this summer sale, a mix of newish and old classics I never played before. Now I am playing this god of war ish game called marlow briggs I never heard of and it's pretty good...was 99 cents! I can see how someone could lose control and spend alot more than I did, the value is immense.

noah364
noah364

It took all of my self control not to buy Machinarium during the GOG summer sale. I had to keep reminding myself that I'd probably never play it.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

I only buy games that I have wanted but forgotten about. And when I buy them I play them. I play all the way thru them.

deterupit
deterupit

Reality Check - Why Do Steam Sales Take All My Money?! because thats what u are, a dollar sign, a resource meant to be exploited. they used to dig out coal with pickaxes. now they are studiyng psychology to separate u from your money. Because the only way to make money is off of other people. money doesnt just grow on trees u know, other ppl have it and you need to expliot them. We are feeding off eachother instead of working together towards a greater purpose (most of us dont even know what that is anymore)

eyeballkid85
eyeballkid85

The concept of reciprocity doesn't apply to Steam because it's a commercial, rather than a gift economy - i.e. it's a business rather than a community.  I'd be very surprised if people felt personally indebted to Steam because of a free gift or trial, though of course I could be wrong.  Another great show in a great series, but Cam - I wish you'd stop using the notion of an 'innate' brain so casually. You're such a psychologist!

nomailx
nomailx

Steam is Awesome. The way they Manage Dota 2. Omg. I purchased 200$ of custom items, even though I didnt need them! Why I did it? CAUSE THEY NEVER USE A LAME SYSTEM AS PAY TO WIN! That's enough for them to earn Respect! They make money? Of course they will! They respect players in return!

shnull
shnull

They do so because you are normal, middle of the bell-curve people, and that is what marketing is aimed at, that is what marketing psychology studies. So if you're one of these people complaining, it means you got a mediocre run of the mill standard normal brain and theres nothing special about you


short, blunt, alleycat-version, sorry to burst your bubble. I know a thing or two , ...maybe ...

even ....

three, about the blueprint of the human mind, the anima sola chained to a rock in space showed it to me when she drew me out 

all the way overthere

the human bllueprint is pretty simple, unless you're what would be considered psychotic or some other fancy word, which just means you are not run of the mill middle of the bell curve

it doesnt mean you have fits where you throw your neighbours at that spiked wall in your basement


SORRY, you have been deemed

nothing special

if you easily fall for that, there's no CEO-material in you im afraid

ilayoeli
ilayoeli

Why do people want to but cheap games?

Doesn't make any sense

Bazz3442
Bazz3442

I hope people don't fall into the trap of Steam's cheap psychology tricks and buy things for the sake of it like Reality Check is suggesting. I didn't partake in any of that team collecting garbage and I hope most didn't. Even though I like the show, I hate how it keeps throwing the notion that we are not just animals (we can't change that) but primitive one's at that who can be controlled with these simple tricks. 


I only stick to the games I know and what I've been waiting for on my wishlist. The only games I bought that were not on my wishlist were two racing games that were below €5 for my nephew. 


ptflea1
ptflea1

i dont understand the point of trading cards, i just sell them as soon as i get them and for some reason people are willing to give me money for it. i value a free low price game over a digital badge and some kind of emote icon thing i will never use

hermitkiller
hermitkiller

I only buy from steam if it's totally necessary.

I prefer physical copy. Collector's life :)

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

Steam is okay. I use it just as a digital game distribution service. I only buy the games i like (AAA or indie) and ignore all the rest including those attractive deals.


Besides those steam deals are no different than women's fashion shopping deals which they waste a lot of money on even though they aren't going to wear/use a lot of the stuff they buy. 

hitomo
hitomo

steam is like a trash.bin ... I prefer torrent, its cheaper and titles general have better Quality


no really, people like to be dump, and thats because they are extremly egoistic and selfcentred,

didnt you learned anything from walmart? steam is the same


and do I hate it to buy a game in teh store, only to come home and have to install steam, have an account, wait for updates ... and you through money at those f.u.ckers, unbelievable

Bienio11
Bienio11

What is happening now is a good sign, people they noted the Pc shows the direction in which he evolve and gaming market (Pc), which is good for everyone regardless of whether or Pc you are looking or going consoles. Steam is great Pc is great!!!:)

Gencic
Gencic

I'm not a hard-core PC game hence I'm not interested in Steam sales. However I do like my AAA titles.


I don't know about the rest of the world... however here in New Zealand (Middle Earth) I can often find a better deal in a shop selling physical media than on Steam, for a new release AAA title .


Additionally this practice supports local business, which in turn keeps the money in the community.

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@raptor1998

I think I may have picked up one game....


Mostly due to me not paying attention to when it was going to start...and that it started a couple weeks earlier this year than last..so I almost missed it.

loafofgame
loafofgame

@chaosa1 Welcome to the world of stock music. It sounds like the music we know so well, but it's actually a royalty-free variation that can be difficult to find, because hardly anyone actually knows what it's called and who made it. This particular track is called 'Way Up High', by Helen Jane Long. Wikipedia reports that she worked as a music assistant to Howard Shore when he was scoring the music for LoTR, so that might explain the very recognisable chord progression in the strings. You can find a lot (if not all) of the music that Gamespot uses in videos on Audionetwork.com.

rohitv2312
rohitv2312

@geost91gr nothing much, a 2mbps connection would do. And thats like basic wi-fi even in a third world country like India. Although the FUP limits sucks.

leandrombraz
leandrombraz

@Bazz3442 In this sale, there was a lot of money coming from this teams thing. There was a group of people on Reddit manipulating which team would win in which day, to make sure that all the teams would win 2 times during the sales. They was able to keep it through almost the entire sale, which certainly involved a lot of money on cards to make badges.


I consider myself someone with a lot of self control when it comes to money, so I never buy games I won't play just because it's cheap and, even if I always have a game that I didn't played yet in my steam, I always play all games I buy eventually. Even with this attitude towards steam, i will be lying if I say that it doesn't affect me. I feel compelled to buy even when logic tell me I shouldn't. I feel like doing points for my team even if I know it's illogical and ultimately I don't do anything to get such points.


 We are smart enough to avoid this kind of thing but, yes, it's that easy to manipulate us through this cheap techniques to give us the right feeling to comply. Marketing do this all the time and we are all affected by it in some degree, even people with a lot of self control. We are exposed to so much of this kind of thing that eventually you comply to a suggestion and don't even note.

leandrombraz
leandrombraz

@ptflea1 It's the level, it doesn't make any sense but having your steam level going up give a good feeling. There's some gambling involved too, since a bigger level means more chance to get a boost card, which might have a foiled card, which you can sell for considerably more. Yeah, I know, it doesn't make any sense..

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

@hitomo It's because of people like you that some developers refuse to release their games for PC. Pathetic thief! 

kutmulc
kutmulc

@leandrombraz @ptflea1

You buy 6 cards for $0.12 each to craft a badge. The badge gets you a chance at a background or emoticon. Rare ones sell for $40+.

As for how much SENSE it makes? Well, does gambling make sense? Maybe, maybe not, but that's essentially what it is.

hitomo
hitomo

@4kgamer_lmxxx @hitomo  you are a believer ... but I like comfort in my everyday routine and steam isnt provideing that

leandrombraz
leandrombraz

@hitomo @4kgamer_lmxxx Quite the opposite. Piracy is strong here in Brazil and in the last years I saw more and more people leaving piracy behind because of steam. Games are cheap, you don't need to do anything to make it works (crack ad such things), you have free access to online features, support, updates (a good thing imo, unless you have bad internet connection), a lot of features on steam that add more value to the game, such as workshop, communities, achievements, cards and other stuffs. 

 Once I bought my first steam game a feel years ago, I completely lost my interest in piracy and I prefer to ignore a game (like Watchdogs that is ridiculously overpriced here in Brazil) rather than getting it illegally.