The new Steam Sale that went up today has me ticked off. Wait… saving money is a good thing, right? Piles of cheap games, ripe for the picking should be exciting.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s making me hesitate when I’m hovering over all but the newest games.
As a full-time gamer, I’m often picking up games when they’re brand new, before they’re eligible for sale. I have no problem paying full price for a new game. It’s actually something I take great joy in. I love knowing that I’m helping support a developer I like or am curious about. But I don’t just buy new games. I might pick up an old game I missed out on for research, to catch up on something I’m told is must-play, or maybe I’m picking it up for a friend. Dude, you haven’t played FTL? You have to play FTL.
Just two days ago, I bought a game for a friend. With this new Lunar New Year sale, the game is now 70 percent off. I should’ve waited! But who knew the sale was coming?
With these constant surprise Steam sales, I’m finding myself wondering if now is the time to buy a game, or if I should wait for the sale. Pricing and sales are already a problem in games. How are we, as consumers, to know when to pull the trigger? Not only that, these sales are driving the price of games down and making it harder for creators to continue creating. Where’s the incentive for creators? Even just with the scheduled seasonal sales each of the many digital game marketplaces offer, this was already a problem. Gamers on smaller budgets would wait until those sales to pick up games, if possible, to get the most gaming out of their limited dollar.
The surprise sales, though, are going to make the problem worse. Those of us who tend to buy games at random or just don’t like waiting for seasonal stuff are now at risk of buying a game and finding its price slashed days later.
Sales like these are good in the short term, but in the long term they start to do more harm, making us reticent to open our wallets when we have no idea when the next sale is coming, turning sales into the time to buy games instead of a time to find some great deals. Like a giant cookie, it’s too much of a good thing.