Sale is a popular fixture in the gaming community, with the deepest of discounts making their way to the fore and spurring even the most tight-fisted of gamers to pull out the wallet—or the credit card, PayPal account or what have you—and make some purchases that might not otherwise have been made. While this model is starting to make its way to other systems like the Xbox 360, in a certain sense, Steam has recently added on a new tool for developers that should prove welcome: the ability to set discounts as desired.
Originally the report came from a screenshot of a page on Steam, showing developers a tool that allows for custom discounting, as well as the ability to set specific discounts related to specific time frames, like a Christmas sale or the like. But developers also get the ability to opt into the weekly Steam sales, and get a chance to light a fire under the sales of older games.
The week-long sales can be opted into as far as two months in advance—which allows developers lead time sufficient to engage in their own promotional efforts if said developers so choose—and the self-created sales can get similar lead time, as well as have the ability to run for up to two weeks, giving the developer plenty of control over pricing and discounts.
Naturally, extra control should prove welcome, and allow for things like the ability to tap lesser-known holidays, as well as things like anniversaries and the like. While there are some out there who suggest that the Steam sale concept may ultimately be doing more harm than good—why buy a game at $60 when a few months' wait might see that price cut in half?--the idea that older games could see a new, productive life as bargain fodder makes sense.
Personally, I just saw this. Microsoft
had another big game sale on the Xbox 360, and I bought both “Fallout 3
” and “Oblivion”. I owned the two on disc, of course, but it always seems like the disc versions lose their punch after a while, develop some unpleasant errors to them. Last time I played “Oblivion” on Xbox 360, chunks of reality were just GONE. I mean, gone, like if you stepped into the street in Skingrad you would fall through reality. I completed one quest by jumping from rooftop to rooftop. It was fun, sure, but sometimes I'd rather just walk.
Anyway, this is a great opportunity for gamers to get re-acquainted with old friends and inexpensively replace games whose discs may not have aged well. And for Steam to open the floodgates like this is a terrific move, giving the games' makers the opportunity to make their own sales, as well as get in on some of the biggest sales going. This may well move more copies, and in the end, that's a benefit all the way around.