Before you open up Steam and drop some cash on some new games, you should know that there are a few tips that you can take advantage of to maximize the value of your dollar. Steam is known for being super convenient for managing one’s video game library, and it’s also useful in a few other ways, but did you know that with a bit of effort you can obtain new games for huge discounts? Sometimes even for free!
Some have eschewed Steam altogether, but I think it’s wonderful because the Steam store is pretty much its own marketplace. The prices are constantly fluctuating, and if you have a watchful eye, you can pounce on extreme deals as they surface. Unfortunately, having to manually find all of these opportunities can be a time-consuming process, so here are a few tips and sites to make it all easier for you.
Steam Summer Sale
Steam is perhaps known best for its mind-blowing annual Summer Sale event. It usually hits sometime around July and provides massive discounts on games of all types. The best thing about the Summer Sale is that it isn’t limited to old games. You can find recent releases and best-selling titles included in the sale, and prices can drop up to 90% off in some cases.
You can take advantage of three different types of summer sales: the store-wide discount, which is the weakest discount but applies to all titles not released in the past 6 months; the daily deals, which set sizeable discounts on specific titles for 24-48 hours; and flash sales, which provide huge discounts on specific titles for 12 hours.
It should go without saying that if you want to save the most money on your Steam purchases and your intended purchases aren’t time-sensitive, then you should wait for the next annual summer sale.
SteamGameSales is a website that acts as a sort of price aggregator, pulling game prices from multiple sources including Steam, GamersGate, GOG, GameStop, Desura, and more. You can select which sources you want to include in your price comparisons and for each game, SteamGameSales will show you how much you can save off of retail price by purchasing from said source.
The website even lets you select your region and will use that to pull region-specific pricing information for maximum accuracy. This way, you won’t run into region-specific sales that ultimately let you down when you realize you don’t qualify.
All in all, the site is kept up to date, and it has a clean and intuitive interface that makes it very easy to browse. Year round, you’ll be able to search for specific games and purchase them from the cheapest source to save money. Be sure to set the filter to only show Steam games if you only want Steam deals.
Like SteamGameSales, SteamPrices tracks game cost on the Steam store, but only focuses on Steam instead of aggregating from multiple sources. It also differs in another unique way: instead of looking for current sales, SteamPrices tracks drops and hikes over time. This is a great way to look at Steam store trends and buy when prices truly are low.
You can select your region, which lets you look at regionally-accurate pricing trends. Furthermore, you can filter results in two ways. The first way is by product type: games, DLC, packs, and guides. The second way is by list type: top discounts, top savings, top rip-offs, new on Steam, among others.
Another feature is comparing the price of games between different types of currency. For example, if Game A costs $30 USD but £10 GBP, it would show you that £10 GBP is approximately $16 USD, resulting in a $14 USD difference. This is great for considering price disparities between regions and you could take advantage of it to save some money if you’re watchful.
SlickDeals is one of the best sites in the world for tracking great deals of all kinds, including electronics, clothing, and services. The site has a special section for Steam deals and sales where users can post notifications on special promotions that they run into. Each posting can be rated by other users to show the validity of the claim.
The benefit of SlickDeals is that other people post the deals so you don’t have to scan prices to find them on your own. The downside is that if some may go unnoticed if people don’t post them in time. If you create a SlickDeals account, you can receive notifications of new postings, or you can just check the listings regularly for new ones if you don’t want notifications.
Some might consider CheapAssGamer, or CAG, to be one of the best gaming deal sites around – and that reputation is well deserved. For the most part, CAG is a user-driven forum with user-submitted deals, but there are tools on the site to help you find the best deals almost immediately. In particular, the Price Tracker tool is fantastic for finding the largest sales.
If you’re specifically looking for Steam sales, the Price Tracker isn’t exactly great as it doesn’t seem to track Steam prices too well. However, CAG has a running thread on their forums where users can post the awesome Steam deals that they find, so you’ll do well to check that out. Search for “Steam Deals thread” if you’re interested.
But if you’re willing to expand outside of Steam, the website’s Price Tracker is pretty flexible in what it can find for you. You can filter by gaming platform, by new/used/trade-in prices, and which retailers you want to buy from. It’s remarkably useful for regularly finding games that are over 50% off.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways for you to expand your Steam library without breaking the wallet or the bank. It may require some patience and diligence from you since you’ll need to watch these sites for deals that are relevant to you, but once you find them, you’ll be that much happier than you waited and your wallet will thank you for it.
Now that you know how to buy Steam games on the cheap, you may be interested in a few tools that make managing Steam even easier. What other sites do you use to find Steam deals and sales? Share your thoughts with us so we can all benefit together!