How long should I wait for a game's price to fall before buying on Steam?

Rob Browning

Rob Browning, Lifelong gaming enthusiast (30+ years)

Répondu il y a 28w

Edited 2018–04–06 00:51 EDT

As someone with a Steam library that’s approaching 10000 games, I’m probably as good a source as any for advice about how to handle Steam sales.

When I see that a game is on sale, the first thing I look at is the percentage of the discount. If it’s 75% or higher, I’ll usually get the game unless it came out too recently and/or it’s clearly asset-flip garbage. If it’s less than 50%, I won’t even think about buying it. In between those two ranges, things get a little more complicated.

Now-a-days Steam has a giant sale practically every other month on average, but they still have their two biggest sales at the same times every year—one sometime in June and the other in late December through early January. My strategy in the case of a game within the aforementioned moderate discount range is defined by these two pivotal sales.

What I do at this point is look at when the game was released versus when the last pivotal sale was. If the game came out more than 14 calendar months before that sale, then I’ll consider buying it, but not until then. For example, the last pivotal sale was in December 2017, so I’ll only look at games with a 50% or 66% discount if they came out before October 2016. When the summer sale comes, I’ll move this date up to April 2017. (Why 14 months instead of a year? Just personal preference; I don’t feel like a game has breathed quite enough if it came out during the previous holiday season.)

Obviously the two sales are when you should be the most free with your money. It’s pretty unusual for a game to have a better discount outside of those sales than during them, and fairly common for a game to set an all-time high discount record during one of those sales. You should use SteamDB to know the sales history of any game you’re planning on buying so you won’t be fooled by the rare occasions where a game actually had a better discount at another time. Some developers will also try to trick you by increasing the retail price of their games during the big sales so the discount looks bigger than it is, and SteamDB will help you avoid that.

Lastly, the best way to get bang for your buck is to take advantage of game bundles. Some bundle providers like the massively popular Humble Bundle have high-quality games but command higher prices and publish bundles less often than bottom-shelf fare like IndieGala. In my opinion, the best value ratio is at fanatique. They even have set prices so you don’t have to feel guilty for not pledging more money than the minimum like with the other bundles.

tl;dr: If it’s at least 75% off, you might as well get it. If it’s less than 50%, don’t bother. In between, the game should be at least a year old. Take full advantage of game bundles.

Disclaimers: I’m an obsessive game collector who has a six-figure income and no family, so I’m a lot looser with my money than most people. Your mileage may vary. Also, if you really want a game and don’t have anything else you want to play, you don’t really need to worry about a sale; just give the game enough time to where user reviews can tell you about any major problems. Finally, I mostly dislike multiplayer gaming and thus do not look at games from the perspective of “peak userbase;” you can buy and enjoy single-player games pretty much whenever you want.

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EDIT: One important thing I forgot to mention: When I talk about not getting a game unless it’s at least a year old, I’m talking about its release date on Steam. There are quite a few games that were released off of Steam originally and have this date listed on their store pages. Most of the time the “actual” release date shows up if you do a store search under the game’s name. SteamDB also does a pretty good job of telling you when a game actually appeared on Steam if you look at the sales history graph.

Cameron Michalak

Cameron Michalak, former Crew/Carhop/Cook at Sonic (2017)

Mise à jour il y a 28w

Short Answer: don't.

Longue réponse:

About a year ago, I was beginning to look for jobs. I had just turned 16 and I was so focused on getting a job so I could pay for things like games, a car, food when I went out with my friends, and stuff like that. Before I got a job, I had to resort to things such as sales as you're describing. Thing is, now that I (kinda) know how sales work, I realize how much of an effect it has on people.

One year ago (almost to the exact date: March 28th), I went to a concert that had my favorite band opening. I got to meet my favorite drummer and he told me “hey, we're finally releasing an album this summer,” so I decided to save my money for whenever that album released. Not even 6 months later, the album was released and they were on tour in America again. I told the drummer about me saving up money for his album and it practically brought him to tears. He said a sentence I will never forget in my life, while he himself was almost being brought to tears: “It means so much that you'd save up what little money you had for something I did.”

Why am I bringing this up? Because it shows that buying products supports developers. If a developer is making a game (such as Playerunknown's Battlegrounds), and they release it early (again, PubG makes a great example of this), it shows that they really need the support that the money will bring them. Life is definitely not free. If I were you, and didn't have much money, I would still put in the effort to buy the game for its full price, or, do what I did (since I can't afford a computer that will run it), and download the FREE mobile app on your phone.

Thanks for reading! Sorry my grammar and basic English was kinda rough. This was a hard answer to write without it sounding a bit weird.

Edit: 100 upvotes! I'm famous! Thanks!

Ivanov Moreno

Ivanov Moreno, likes his coffee black, just like his metal.

Répondu il y a 27w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 379 et de vues de réponses 219.4k

Who wouldn’t like to buy all what they want on launch day? I guess everybody… BUT as much as you want to support the people behind the things you like, you may have other priorities to think about first. Perhaps you are supporting yourself. Perhaps you’re also supporting someone else.

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Good things come to those who wait. Patience is rewarded.

I have read many times that waiting between 6 months and a year after a release it’s smart for your economy, in some cases it guarantees at least a 50% discount, if you can hold yourself.

Also you will have avoided crowded servers, disconnections, online lag because of popularity and launch day bugs. You’ll get a patched and optimized game.

The only downside would be that you’re be at a disadvantage if you’re interested into online ranking, but something about your original question tell me that you’re not interested in that. Also, don’t forget that we’re in the age of stupid online dares and competitions, so in every game you’ll find really hardcore people who don’t mind risking their health or life just to place higher than you on a virtual ladder, so for most of us who don’t care about competition or leaderboard placements won’t have a problem starting a little late in order to save some $.

But that’s just my opinion.

Celidor Aramus

Celidor Aramus

Répondu il y a 28w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 220 et de vues de réponses 153.3k

I would wait for a 50% sale or better.

Though sometimes a game has a price drop and will be 25% off but taking into account the previous price drop it could be less than 50% of the original price, so be aware how much the game is worth originally before buying and how old it is. Some more popular games will not get as many discounts even as months and years pass. GTA V for example has been out for years but they still charge full price for it. And the best you can usually get is 50%. (Though I got it for 55% using Razer zvault and Gamersgate.) Call of duty games are also famously overpriced, never getting price drops even on the earliest titles.

You should also check out Gamersgate, and Greenmangaming which are legit sites that sells game keys for Steam, Origin, Uplay and whoever else. And don't forget GOG.com which is usually completely DRM free. And also features remakes of some old classic games like Turok or System Shock.

A little less reputable place to buy digital games cheap are sites where people sell gaming keys. My preferred site for this is G2A. But watch out for their hidden transaction fee and I never buy the shield as it offers very little extra. Best to buy a number of games at once instead of one at a time because they will charge you almost $2 for a transaction fee. These gaming key sites will also have some game keys for consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.

Tyler Johns

Tyler Johns, I enjoy video games

Répondu il y a 28w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 642 et de vues de réponses 211.7k

How long should I wait for a game's price to fall before buying on Steam?

Most games’ prices won’t fall very often. Even then, it is up to the developer rather than Valve. If you want to get a game at a good price, wait for one of Steam’s major sales. A lot of games will go on sale for pretty cheap around the summer and holidays. Steam also has weekend deals and midweek madness, which are much smaller scale sales. Just keep an eye on the games you want, and it will probably wind up on sale at some point.

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Leonardo Yoshi

Leonardo Yoshi, Creative Writer (2018-present)

Répondu il y a 28w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 52 et de vues de réponses 19.6k

There are multiple factors to consider when dealing with game discounts.

If a game is hyped up beyond belief and you can't stop thinking about it, just get it then. If it's really good the game probably won't be going on sale anytime soon.

There's also the fact of Multi-player. If a game is hyped and it is multi-player, most people will be done with the game by the time it goes on sale. Let's take Monster Hunter World for example. It hasn't gone on sale (that I know of) and isn't even out on pc. Most people who own the game though are done with it.

If the game is single player, it probably won't be as hyped. This allows for some more time to wait, though if you can't stop thinking about it, just buy it. I've been looking at Surviving Mars for a while, but I can go my life without it. I prefer to have it at some point so I'm going to wait for it to go on sale.

If you're looking at flat percentages, I wouldn't suggest purchasing anything on sale up to about 30%. If the game is on sale then, it'll be cheaper in the near future. This isn't including the sparatic 10% discounts on games you get every now and again.

There's then the final factor of your financial situation. Obviously if you have money to burn, don't bother waiting at all. If you're a bit low on money then you should wait a bit. I say to about 50–60% off.

There are many more factors to put in such as event sales on a series, but I say these are more important and what I was taught to consider when dealing with Steam sales.

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