Preview: It’s Attack On Wallet This Steam Holiday Sale
I know it’s a little early for this but time is of the essence here. Every year the Steam Holiday Sale rears its most beautiful head but every year we are always unprepared. We’ve all tried the basic sale strategies: giving ourselves spending limits; only buying games on our wishlists and such but let’s face it, they don’t work.
This year Valve is throwing us a curve-ball. Instead of having to play with our schedules in order to make sure we are able to get a game at the best price, we’re going to be hitting the ground running. All games will be on sale at their lowest possible price for the entirety of the sale. This changes things up a bit now you’re going to be assaulted with savings, so how can you possibly pick out the good from the bad?
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Instead of the daily and flash sales that we’ve come to know all too well, everything will be set to its lowest price from the start. This doesn’t mean we’ll be sitting with a front page full of sales however, featured products will be displayed each day that will try and tempt your wallet. This puts us as Steam users in a weird place. It’s a new sale with new rules and all this change is starting to scare me. So instead of being overwhelmed, lets take a look at some of the things we can look forward to this upcoming Steam Holiday Sale.
Uh oh, this is the first big sale where we’re going to be able to work with our local currency. This is a little unnerving because, while we can finally see exactly what we’ll be spending right away, we can finally see exactly what we’ll be spending right away.
We have been lucky that the currency conversion has, for the most part, benefited us. Games on Steam are a little bit cheaper for us now which means that this sale should be a little bit cheaper as well. This means you can buy more and spend less, so be careful. I think it’s going to be nice to be able to know exactly what you’re spending when you make purchases, which makes planning purchases that much easier. Let’s all use this to our advantage to make sure we can get what we want without hurting ourselves too much.
Sales That Aren’t Actually Sales
Now it’s time for a quick story. I really want to play Grand Theft Auto V. I skipped out on the console releases because I would prefer to play the game on a PC, even if I would end up playing with a controller anyway. So the game gets released on PC but I feel it’s a bit too pricey for me and decide to wait for it to go on sale. The Steam Summer Sale comes along and what do you know, GTA V is on sale the first day. It being the first day of the sale and all I struggle to add it to cart and purchase it but think to myself that I can just do it later and it’ll all be okay.
Well, that wasn’t to be. Turns out that the pretty amazing price of $29.98 was a pricing error. Okay, I’d even go for $40, that’s not too bad for a game I’ve been waiting for that seems to run pretty well. That wasn’t even the case, turns out the sale price was to be $60 which is also the games normal price. How is that even possible?
What happened was that for the duration of the Steam Holiday Sale, you could not purchase GTA V without a Shark Cash Card. You were forced to buy in-game currency for GTA Online which meant that the cheapest you could get it for was the standard price. It’s crazy, but this is just one example of this happening. A similar thing was done with Day Z, but at least we were told it was going to happen instead of just being blindsided.
Just be careful when looking at sales during these big Steam sales. Not everyone feels like being lowering their prices, and some will find the strangest ways to justify it. On that note, GTA V was recently on sale for about R400, but the price has been upped from R600 to R800 so don’t expect to see that price on Steam anytime soon.
Games That May Not Actually Work
This has been in the news often enough that I shouldn’t have to go into too much detail about it. Batman: Arkham Knight is available on Steam and you can even buy it with a Season Pass for R1,200. It’s just a pity that it released in a broken state, was pulled, re-released in a slightly better state but will no longer receive any more support. If you buy Arkham Knight on Steam, you’re stuck with a less than optimal experience.
We sit with the unfortunate position where there are some bad ports and broken games on Steam. Some are lucky enough to have a dedicated fan base who take it upon themselves to fix it. There are quite a few games that have community mods that bring them to acceptable standards, so hope is not always lost. You just need to make sure you’re well aware of what you’re getting in to. Read the Steam reviews, do a quick online search, all the resources are available. You just have to unfortunately make use of then to make sure you are making a sensible purchase.
Large Open Worlds And Immersive RPGs
So every game is set in a large open world nowadays and while they might be fun to play, they’re a killer on time. If you’re a completionist, they’re going to suck away at your gaming time until you almost wish you had never started them. They’re the real reason most of us have disgusting backlogs, we need more short, linear games in our lives.
I’m guilty of this, very guilty of this. When sales come by, I see a RPG that I’ve wanted to play and I buy it. Then I see another and buy it. Then I see… you get the picture. I always tell myself that I’ll get to them later but it’s been a year and I’ve made no progress in Final Fantasy III.
It’s not that you shouldn’t buy them if you want them, the decision is yours to make, it’s just that you can’t complain about a backlog if you continue to pile on yourself. What I suggest is maybe limiting yourself to say one or two 40 hour plus games this sale, they’ll be more than enough to get you through to the next sale. If you’re worried that they may run out, pad your purchases with some fluff. Buy some cheap silly game that can steal your attention for a couple of hours when you aren’t able to devout yourself to these behemoths of games. You might even find yourself a gem among the obscure titles. Steam sales are a fun time to fill up your library, but try not to overload it, you should know how much time you have to kill so you should know what you can get yourself into.
The Steam Features That Will Save Your Sale
Steam is a great platform to buy and play games on, but did you know it can be pretty useful for sales? I mean, of course it is, it’s where the sales happen but it can help you with more than that. Steam has some pretty neat features that can help you through the uncertainty and troubling times that come with Steam sales.
The first one, which is a bit controversial even if it is ultimately for the best, is refunds. Steam offers you actual refunds on the digital products you buy on Steam. While there are limitations to the refunds and there is room for abuse, this is probably one of the most useful things available to you. Spontaneously bought a game that you now regret purchasing? Refund. Bought a game but it doesn’t actually work? Refund. Not exactly what you had hoped for? Refund. You are able to refund a game on Steam within two weeks of purchasing it or having played less than two hours of it, whichever comes first. Once you apply for a refund, the game will be removed from your library and the money spent on it will be returned to you as credit in your Steam Wallet. It’s not ideal that you don’t get the money back in your bank account but hey, at least you can use it for something else later.
The next one is a bit more of a gamble, but you should probably keep it in mind. Steam allows you to purchase games as gifts, which can be added to your Steam inventory and sent at a later date. If you see a game that you’re not completely sold on, but want to buy, add it to your inventory instead. If you decide you don’t really want it, you can gift it away to a friend who may want it or even keep it as a gift for some special occasion. I’ve had games in my inventory for ages that I’ve used as last minute gifts for people and other such things, so just think of this as being able to plan ahead for that kind of situation.
So I’ve given you a couple of things to think about for the upcoming Steam Holiday Sale, but let’s take the opportunity to provide some actual recommendations. Please note that I haven’t played all the games I’m about to suggest, some of these I’ve seen when browsing the Steam store and will probably slip under the radar this sale. So let me humour you with some Steam Holiday Sale recommendations for 2015.
- Bet On Soldier – I remember playing the demo for this game from a NAG DVD when I was younger and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I didn’t ever get around to playing the full game but when I saw it on the Steam store on sale for $2 I thought I might as well give it a go. The only problem is is that since then we moved to having our local currency and now it has no price. If it somehow manage to get priced I would recommend picking it up, even if it is just to have a giggle at what we used to be subjected to in games.
- Jade Empire: Special Edition – Oh look, a BioWare game that isn’t Mass Effect or Dragon Age. I originally played this games original Xbox release and have been wanting to play it again ever since. It offers the BioWare gameplay that we’ve all come to love with a martial-arts theme and a nice aesthetic. It’s pretty much the Kung Fu Knights of the Old Republic and is definitely worth your attention
- Impossible Creatures Steam Edition – You probably remember this as the Ubisoft eXclusive with the weird tiger scorpion cover and that’s probably the only reason you need to try and pick it up. It is an RTS where you create genetically-modified mutant monsters using the parts of recognisable animals. If this unethical experimentation doesn’t sell you on the game I’m not sure what will.
- Duck Game – If you can find a couple of friends to buy this with you, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a 2D multiplayer game where you’re meant to blast your friends away with an array of wacky weaponry. You might find that your friends might be funnier than the game itself, but it looks like a blast to play with friends and subsequently get angry at.
- Undertale – This last one is a weird one to recommend. I don’t know much about the game besides my friends telling me I have to play it. I know that you can play the game without killing a single enemy and that the Earthbound games are often brought up when discussing it. There’s just so much positivity surrounding this game that, even though I’m pretty ignorant on the matter, I can’t help but feel the need to pick this up. I actually feel the need to recommend picking it up at full price, but I know that won’t always happen. Regardless, keep an eye on Undertale. I doubt you’ll be disappointed by it.
So that’s it for my preview of the Steam Holiday Sale 2015. All that’s really left to say is best of luck to you and your bank account in the dark times ahead, and hopefully there will be some fun meta game for this years Holiday Sale. Let us know what you’re planning on picking up, or even if you have some suggestions of your own for the upcoming Steam sale.