Steam’s Holiday Sale Has Started Already

By John Walker on December 20th, 2012 at 6:50 pm.

Yes, that’s right. It’s that time of year again. If you’ve been a good girl or boy, then Santa Gabe will slip down your chimney and deposit some really rather decent prices for PC games. The Steam Holiday Sale has begun, with the usual shennanigans of voting for deals, daily offers, flash sales, and astonishingly cheap publisher packs.

Mirror’s Edge for £3.24, Arkham City for £4.99, every Valve game in one pack for an utterly mad £25… You know the deal.

And an odd Easter Egg in there – for utterly bemusing reasons we’ve still not been told, the entirely finished, already in multiple languages Scribblenauts Unlimited, is at 33% off with an EU release date of the 15th February next year. Bonkers.

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128 Comments »

  1. nimzy says:

    There’s a curiously Steam-shaped hole in my wallet.

    • darkChozo says:

      Steam is a fluid, silly.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        ^^ Physicist / mechanical engineer in the place

        • darkChozo says:

          Electrical engineer, actually, so somewhere in the middle. Secretly I don’t actually know anything about fluids (could have taken a course in it, didn’t hate myself enough to do so), though I do know some multibody rigid dynamics — that counts, right?

          • erikagarver9 says:

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          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Embarrassed to say I have forgotten everything I learnt in my engineering degree. Multi body rigid dynamics. Might be a good thing. Rigid. Dynamics. Yeah… *cough*

            I like bunnies. How about you?

          • P7uen says:

            I think we all know a little about multibody rigid dynamics, am I right folks?! Am I right?!

            Well. Anyway, Scribblenauts has made me so angry that I nearly became one of those “I’m going to pirate it” people. I really wanted to show my family how awesome it is over xmas, but I can’t (don’t have my NDS anymore). And not just a week, but months.

            No oceans indeed.

          • nasbas1645 says:

            The two festivals to come! 30% discount! Apple iPhone, ipad, ipod Accessories! Many! Great! http://ick.li/nsWQdY

          • jezcentral says:

            I stand to be corrected, but isn’t steam a gas? It’s also invisible (look at just above your kettle spout). What we think of clouds of steam is actually water vapour that has cooled, and that is, of course, a liquid.

          • solidsquid says:

            @jezcentral – I think he’s referring to it’s behaviour coming under the category of fluid dynamics rather than it’s actual physical state

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Yup. In Thermodynamics, its classed as a fluid, which is not the same thing as, but can be, a liquid. Common usage sees “fluid” interchangably used with “liquid” e.g. water, but thats not strictly the only case. Here’s a bit from Professor Wikipedia:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_fluid

            Heh. Welcome to RPS QI

          • jezcentral says:

            Okay, cool. RPS, your education in gaming AND fluid dynamics. :)

          • darkChozo says:

            Just to clarify, all gases are fluids in a scientific sense, as are liquids, plasmas, and plastic solids (to a limited degree, and I’ll admit that I wouldn’t have said that without some remedial lecturing from Professor Wikipedia). Fluids are just substances that flow under pressure, regardless of any other qualities, though in common usage a fluid is just a liquid (just like a theory is just a guess). So steam, water, the sun, and a mound of lukewarm butter are all fluids.

      • Sam says:

        Suddenly it all makes sense.

      • Lekker says:

        Actually it is gaseous state of water.

        • darkChozo says:

          And gases are fluids. Something about transitivity.

        • sophof says:

          Sorry to keep going on on this, but actually steam is liquid. It is little droplets of water. You can not see the gaseous state of water.

  2. Revisor says:

    I have to admit, after all the GMG, GG, GOG and Amazon sales, I find this one – at least the first day – underwhelming.

    • Baines says:

      I’ve been expecting it to happen for a while.

      Everyone else has been trying to catch up with Steam, with bigger deals and such. Amazon has its steep discount sales on specific bundles. GOG throws out some pretty good deals at seemingly random times throughout the year. Gamersgate has been running its Winter sale for a while.

      Indie bundles are now constant. You can sometimes get smaller games for a fraction of the prices of a major Steam sale, and larger and more commercial games have been making their way into bundles, particularly with the last two Humble Bundles.

      Steam itself is just a month past its big Thanksgiving sale.

      Steam can’t afford continuing the blowout deal arms race that they themselves started. The only other thing they’d have going for them would be some kind of event, like last year’s coal. I figure they aren’t doing something like that this year because of how people try to exploit such things.

    • cptgone says:

      IMHO Steam have raised their sale prices because they can, now that people are hooked.

      ending the gamification of their sales wasn’t that smart though.

      btw i have a copy of Lololo: The Lolz for sale and you guys get 99% off, so it’s only $99.99.

      • Baines says:

        Steam did massive sales to take over the digital download market. Steam succeeded, but everyone else jumped on the massive sale gimmick.

        Now we can just wait and see what happens. Does Steam continue to hold its market share without outdoing its competition? Steam has created a dedicated audience, with people who flat out refuse to buy games through other means. Steam also increasingly wants to push its community as a feature that other stores don’t provide. But Steam’s pushing of community is annoying some, as has Steam’s domination of the market, and some are rejecting the removal of special holiday gimmicks (coal, tickets, etc) . Other recent events, mainly War Z and some Greenlight stuff, have eroded faith that some people have in Steam.

  3. Bonedwarf says:

    No coal hunt this year. It’s just another sale.

    Very disappointing to see we don’t have the coal from last year. Was nice to have achievements actually be worthwhile.

    • arccos says:

      Agreed. Steam is pushing their social/community section hard these days, but didn’t do much with this to make it an event rather than just another sale.

      I’m sure it takes a ton of work to get things lined up for something more than a sale. It’s a shame Steam is working itself more towards a storefront and less towards a creative way to encourage people to try games (and make lots of money doing it).

      I probably bought half a dozen games last year I never would have due to the event. This year, I’ll just stick to what’s on my wishlist.

      • Bonedwarf says:

        It seems the more Steam moves to the mainstream the more the cool stuff is disappearing.

        And yes, I discovered some great games from last years achievement based coal hunt.

        Just another sale that I’ll check twice a day for the flash deals and that’s it. Shame:(

      • Dark Nexus says:

        I don’t think I bought quite that many because of it, but I definitely bought some games I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

      • f1x says:

        You guys are actually serious? :D

        Well I was really waiting for this sale, missing many of the good games still, Dishonored or Torchlight 2 to name a few,
        to be honest couldnt care less about coal, achievements and all sort of megalomaniaccollectingbadgesthing

        • Baines says:

          Torchlight II was on sale everywhere last month. It was apparently 50% off on Gamersgate a week ago. Steam currently has it at 25% off, so I’d guess it won’t flash sale for better than 50%.

        • Zelius says:

          You could get free games with coal and achievements, as well as a chance to win the entire Steam catalog. So, you don’t like free games?

        • f1x says:

          Yeah I should’ve purchased Torchlight back then, I dont know what happened, :(

          I like free games of course, didn’t manage to get any last year tho, but what I mean is that of course its better when they do something more creative but its not like its not good to have a sale after all

    • ShineyBlueShoes says:

      I’m sure the singular reason is because of the exploitative people that ruined it for everyone.

    • Bobka says:

      I am also rather disappointed. The coal hunt was crazy fun last year; surely they could have had some kind of metagame around the sale, even if not exactly the same.

      Still, low prices are nice.

  4. The JG Man says:

    Dun made a thread wot discuzes dis on dese ‘ere forums.

  5. Mathute87 says:

    I might risk it…

    I might buy Natural Selection 2 and Mark of the Ninja now and never buy anything else again… But then, maybe Mark of the Ninja will get a bigger discount…

    Sigh, first world problems…

    • Kuschelwampe says:

      With daily deals, community votes and flash sales it will , for sure.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Mark of the Ninja is fantastic. Easily worth the price.

    • DD says:

      I highly recommend Natural Selection 2. As a avid fan of the first I can say the sequel is well worth the money and them some. I played in the beta a bit and was kinda put off by the state of the game. Since release its been a joy to play.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      NS2 is an amazing game and you should buy it. Slightly short on maps at the moment, but truly a steal for ten bucks. And better yet, the devs are continuing to support it (for free!) and say there is a major content patch coming early 2013.

      • socrate says:

        Oh yeah NS2 is totally worth the $$$ also your helping people that started from a mod which is always awesome compared to big publisher who just steal these idea and cash in.

  6. Durkonkell says:

    I like Gabe Newell, but I very much doubt that he’ll fit in my chimney. It’s just as well really since it doesn’t lead anywhere. Also, if he’s going to wear the above expression when delivering prices to me, I’d prefer it if he’d just do it electronically. He does not look amused by this whole Christmas thing.

    • Narzhul says:

      He looks like a better, faster, stronger Santa to me. Portal guns > chimney

      • Durkonkell says:

        If he’s going to portal into my living room he can wear whatever expression he wants!

        • HadToLogin says:

          Even the one that says “hmm, I wonder what will happen when I try to use portal on living tissue”?

    • abandonhope says:

      Santa’s breath smells like when mommy puts vanilla extract in the cookies.

  7. Dark Nexus says:

    I’m a little disappointed.

    I mean, the main part of the whole thing – the big discounts from the daily deals – is still there, so it really is just a little. But it’s just a sale now instead of an event. I understand ditching the whole coal thing after last year’s abuse of it, but to ditch everything but the discounts seems to be an over-correction.

    I’ll still buy a game if I think it’s a good purchase for me. I’m not going to boycott them for not giving out free stuff – I’ll miss the chance at that happening, sure, but I’ll also miss the holiday achievements, the incentives to try out new games or go back to old games, etc.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      There was abuse of it? How exactly? (Serious question. I did not know this.)

      I agree. It’s very sad it’s not an event now. It’s just another sale. It’s gone from being something to look forward to every day to just check when I get the chance.

      It’s gone from “Must See ASAP” to “Oh right, yeah, sale is on. Better check it later.”

      Fingers crossed Dark Souls at least gets a good deal so the one game I really want will at least be mine.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        People were creating multiple accounts in order to hoard coal. They were also abusing the system by buying unlimited Humble Bundles for 1 cent each and activating the Steam keys from those game in order to get even more coal.

        I’m damn glad they didn’t do anything like the coal system this year. Valve never bother to plan that kind of stuff out properly.

        • Bonedwarf says:

          Oh right, yeah, I remember the Humble thing now. It’s why the introduced the $1 minimum.

          Wish they’d done SOMETHING this year. I enjoyed achievement hunting last year, and discovering some games I had but had never played were really good.

          Plus that Men of War one from last year was great fun.

          I’d have been happy if it was just achievements earned untradeable coal and each coal was an entry to win something. Anything to make this Christmas sale seem like an event and not just another sale.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      ME too, although I don’t even really need free stuff. I just liked the fun of playing all of those indie games I’ve collected over the years from various bundles in order to get holiday themed achievements.

      They don’t even have all that many games on sale for daily deals anymore and instead focus on their stupid flash deal system, which might encourage impulse buys, but it’s a head ache if you miss a game you really wanted.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Very much this.

        Looks like they are doing a “holiday badge” which seems a bit cynical to me. This time you get awarded a badge for buying something rather than playing something, and doesn’t seem to have the same “spirit” as last year.

        • Durkonkell says:

          The sale badge is irredeemably meh, but you don’t actually need to buy anything to get it. You need four out of the six, and only two of them require you to buy things. The rest you can get by voting, having ten items on your wishlist and logging in to the mobile client.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Me too. I think the coal system was flawed, but I liked the summer arcade ticket system where you could use tickets earned from achievements to buy largely inconsequential DLC. It was a really neat idea, and I hope they do it in the future.

  8. Axyl says:

    Scribblenauts Unlimited being on sale and discounted on Steam, yet not released in the EU/UK is a colossal pain in the dick.
    WHY do we have to wait til Feb? In fact, I don’t even give a crap about the reason why.. Just sell me the damn game! ><

    • iniudan says:

      Because they need to add all the missing U. =p

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah. I’d be all over that if I could actually freaking play it.

      • Llewyn says:

        Scribblenauts will allegedly be cheaper ($7.50) in the amazon.com sale from the 24th. At that price I might be tempted to buy it even if I can’t play it until February, and might also be tempted to break my policy of not faking a US address to buy things – if Warner want to screw Europeans over the release then I won’t feel so bad about screwing them with regional price differences.

  9. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Waiting for Hitman to go sub £8, and for XCom to drop to about £12 or less

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I doubt you’re going to be seeing any deals that good in this year’s sale.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        I am hopeful. Dishonored came out at same time as XCom and has already been on sale for half price (I think I got it from gamefly though). We shall see – I don’t intend parting with much more than that though.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Well, good luck to you brother/sister/alien/elder god.

    • MrLebanon says:

      you don’t want hitman, it’s ok

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Oh, it’s okay, so that means.. it’s.. bad? Since when is an ‘okay’ game not worth buying if you like the genre? Sure, if there are tons of similar games on the market, but to my knowledge there aren’t in this case.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Check HotUKDeals, you can already pick XCOM up for the PC for £12.99… Had it since release and not sure if its worth it even at that price though.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Thanks chaps

  10. Ryan Huggins says:

    THE SALEEEEE. VALVE. MY WALLET ISN’T READY!!!!!

    • Ernesto says:

      A sale so short before The End of the World ™?? Neither can we enjoy our games nor can Valve enjoy the money they made… Insanity :D

  11. LTK says:

    This is starting to become an attraction more than a spending opportunity.

  12. Lambchops says:

    Saw Prince of Persia series on there and decided to click on Forgotten Sands to see what price it was. Seemed I’d . . . forgotten . . . that I already owned it. Presumably from a previous sale. Haven’t played it yet.

    This is exactly why I’m not going to be buying much at all this time around.

    The complete Prince of Persia pack for £10.27 is an absolute steal and if you don’t have them you should buy them. Every one has its flaws Sands of Time has weaker combat, Warrior Within tries to be dark and moody and spoils the atmosphere, Two Thrones has quick time events and chariot racing and cel shady PoP is absolutely gorgeous but has too much backtracking through the area you came from collecting glowy orbs and then going back there again later to get the ones you couldn’t get first time. But Warrior Within aside they all look lovely, they have entertaining popcorn flick style stories (with the odd clever twist), mostly likeable characters (Warrior Within again I’m afraid) and the acrobatic movement pretty much always feels wonderful.

    • BubuIIC says:

      I always liked Warrior Within the most, yes even the mood and heavy metal music :-).
      But the combat was far superior to the other titles in the series.

      Anyone can say anything about forgotten sands? I’ve heard it’s kinda not good…?

      • basilisk says:

        Let’s put it this way: after the cel-shaded PoP sort-of flopped and legions of angry fans expressed their outrage over the game being experimental (like only true fans can), Ubisoft chose to respond in the most cynical way possible. “Alright, so you want more Sands of Time? Here’s more Sands of Time. Now piss off.”

        It’s a soulless, short, uninventive and perfectly forgettable game. There’s nothing in it you haven’t seen in the other PoP games already.

      • Lambchops says:

        Aye, it’s probably a testament to just how enjoyable the actual gameplay of Warrior Within is that despite my grumblings about the aesthetics, The Prince being a dick and those cringe-worthy succubi type enemies that I still was happy enough to replay it when I played through the previous games before Two Thrones came out.

  13. FurryLippedSquid says:

    That THQ Collection is rather stonking value for money.

  14. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    %header_html_output%

    Looks like the store page has blown up.

    Edit: What’s with the “Indie Games” logo? Do Indie Games developers tend to look like shrek (compared to institutionalised developers, at least)?

  15. Scumbag says:

    And as I prep to buy I suddenly notice I have almost everything I’ve wanted of which half of it is unplayed.
    The things I do want? Sequels to games I got in prior sales and never finished.

    My wallet is safe (FOR NOW)

  16. luukdeman111 says:

    Hitman: Absolution 50% of? That’s sick!!!
    Still not interested….. but it’s a sick discount for a month old game

  17. Ryan Huggins says:

    I just realized that Steam is just preparing to make some money before the Apocalypse. It makes so much fucking sense now. GABENNNNN! What do you know that we don’t!

  18. Michael Fogg says:

    Remember guys, the more money you throw at Steam the more you reinforce their dominant market position and enable them to screw you over and abuse their near-monopoly in the future.

    • jalf says:

      On the other hand, as long as people are willing to give them money, they’re obviously going easy on the screwing-over…

      Yeah, I don’t much like Steam, but let’s not be melodramatic.

    • f1x says:

      I feel so abused by Steam,
      yesterday Gabe broke into my house breaking a window and put a gun to my head, he forced me.. to use.. big picture…

    • Narzhul says:

      As if they couldn’t have already abused it in their near-decade of being the dominant player in the PC market. I think I’ll buy some more games on Steam now. Tribute to the overlord and all.

    • xao says:

      Ensuring that you get screwed over is pretty much why I buy from Steam.

      Alternatively, Capitalism 101: if Steam abuses its market position, the consumer base turns to alternative suppliers and Steam loses said market position.

  19. Blackcompany says:

    So Valve is only a few thousand short of ticket on a doomsday ark…got it!

  20. Tuckey says:

    Naught but “AAA” console sequel ports, dissapointed

  21. zaprowsdower says:

    Is Natural Selection 2 any good? Are there enough people playing it?

    • Stochastic says:

      It’s the kind of game where you really have to decide for yourself whether it’s any good. It really depends on what your expectations are and what you enjoy in games. Overall, I would say it’s good. The developers have been releasing a patch almost every week since release and will continue supporting it with additional content in the months to come, so for $10 I don’t think you can go wrong in getting it.

      Its got a decent population of players, and hopefully there will be even more after this sale.

  22. thergonomic says:

    So it begins.

  23. 2late2die says:

    Been holding off on buying the new hitman and asscreed3 and looks like i was right – hitman is half off, and now just waiting for asscreed3 to hit that price and it’s all green to go.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Ubisoft is handing out surprise discount codes at the Uplay store, anywhere from 35%-100% off.

  24. Nim says:

    I’m staying the heck away from Arkham city on steam, with all its unpatched problems, limited activations, securom and GFWL. The developer’s at Rocksteady really need to start pushing back against all these usability atrocities because if I pirate the game I only get the unpatched issues for less money (I already own Arkham city retail version and would have purchased the goty version for DLC)!

    • f1x says:

      Guess it depends on the user, I’m not saying GFWL is good, because is a crappy useless thing, but myself I didnt had any problem with Arkham City

      But you are right they should stop putting 3 millions of layers of DRM and other annoying things which in the end mean nothing because the game got pirated anyway

  25. derbefrier says:

    must resist urge to buy more games i’ll never have the time to play…

    • zaprowsdower says:

      Lol I have the same problem. I’ve barely played nearly half of the games in my library.

  26. Roz says:

    …meh.

  27. mwoody says:

    Grr, can’t even log in to the Steam client right now. Just when I start to forget Steam’s faults, I can’t play any of my purchased games because they decided to have a sale. Which I guess it better then when they decide to take the servers down for “planned maintenance” right as I get home from work. *sigh* They make too much money to have such terrible servers.

    • xao says:

      How much money do they make, and what’s the acceptable threshold where you’re still allowed to have server downtime for maintenance?

      Is it your opinion that a company should float enough servers to be able to handle once or twice yearly usage spikes that are an order of magnitude higher than standard traffic? How much of that cost should be passed along to the consumer?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        They could, you know, rent servers for use during the annual sales instead of passing the buck onto the customer. If anyone can afford that, it would be Valve.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Given the traffic is from increased business and is fairly predictable since they know when they’re going to launch a sale, no, it is not unreasonably to expect them to take measures to maintain service during these spikes.

        Depending on the issue, you can stagger maintenence downtime amongst multiple load-balanced servers so that there’s always some capacity up and working. To be honest, though, I’ve not noticed Steam’s ugly DRM side be down in quite a while—it’s usually just the community side that falls over, and while that’s inconvenient for organizing multiplayer games, it’s not a dealbreaker.

        • mwoody says:

          Recent games that actually use Steam’s servers for multiplayer – Borderlands being the huge example – will not merely not matchmake, but kick you out and fail completely if the community servers go offline.

          Which they did. Due to planned maintenance. On Borderlands 2′s LAUNCH DAY. For over an hour. Around the time everyone on the East coast of the US was getting off work and finally able to play.

      • mwoody says:

        The servers in my area go down multiple times per week, usually during the two hours or so I have to myself. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a “You have been disconnected from Steam” somewhere in the backlog of my chat windows, and no, it’s not on my end.

        LESS THAN THAT would be nice.

        And they’ve admitted before that they schedule downtime on their servers when they have the most people on-hand, rather than doing them in the middle of the night like a reasonable company.

  28. Stephen Roberts says:

    Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty face.

    *returns to Grumpy-Internet-man cave.

  29. anmghstnet says:

    Anyone else notice that while the “Borderlands Franchise” is on sale the “Mechromancer DLC” is NOT. It is not included in the bundle or discounted in the least.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      That’s your punishment for not pre-purchasing. Bad consumer! BAD!!!

    • darkChozo says:

      Same with all the rest of the DLC. That’s not exactly unusual for franchise sales.

  30. P7uen says:

    I’ve been putting all the RPS calendar games that I don’t already own on my wishlist, so this could be interesting for my wallet.

  31. Bobka says:

    I feel… underwhelmed. Maybe that’s because last year’s sales were my first winter sales, and boy, were they ever fun.

    Seems like almost all games are discounted around 25-50%, instead of 60+. I don’t know, I just seem to remember things being cheaper and more fun.

    • jezcentral says:

      Bobka, you are young in the ways of Steam. :)

      The 25-50% percentages-off are just the normal sales. You should wait until the flash sales for the 60-75% off.

  32. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    ALready got my first games: Hard Reset and InMomentum (both at 75% off making a total price of less than 6 euros). Sure, they could go on flash sale.. but that wouldn’t change too much.

  33. Avenger says:

    I have just been scammed by Steam… I can’t believe they did something like this.
    I have been waiting for Arkham City for a LOOOONG while now. It has never appeared on Steam for my country.

    And now, ITS THERE ON THE MAIN PAGE. But when you click on the flash sale, it TURNS INTO ARKHAM ASYLUM without any warning.

    Stupid as I was in not noticing the subtle difference in the cover art, and in the spirit of urgency that a flash sale entails, I went on with the purchase and bought Arkham Asylum, thinking it was Arkham City.

    Now, I am not saying Steam did this on purpose, but it is there, and if somebody were to register an official complaint, it would be a pretty valid complaint…

    • Norskov says:

      While no optimal you should be able to file a ticket and get a refund. In my experience they are rather fast at servicing refund.

  34. Dark Malady says:

    So… what is going on here?
    I looked at the UK steam page… PRE-ORDER scribblenuats
    I looked at the US steam page… BUY scribblenuats
    I looked at my own steam page here in Australia…

    http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu53/DarkMalady/Scribble_zpsa89422fc.png

    Seriously! weird steam. weird.

  35. Ham Solo says:

    The fun thing about scribblenauts is if you go into the steam games folder and start the scribblenauts.exe, you can play it.

  36. Unaco says:

    Holiday Sale? Which Holiday is it in aid of… Hanukkah?

  37. ZephaniahGrey says:

    This whole sale feels like Steam saying “Oh yeah, here’s your sale. Now buy something or get out.”
    Really kind of depressing from the company that defined online stores. You’d think they’d be trying to convince us to make use of all the nifty new (unimpressive) social features they’re trying to develop instead of convincing us to shop elsewhere.

    • Prime says:

      That’s some startlingly high expectation there, even by the standards of the usual Valve fanboys we get around here (NB: I’m not calling you a Valve fanboy). It might help to try thinking of them (and Steam) as a business, not your best friend? That way you won’t experience these weird feelings of disappointment and depression when they don’t do what you expect.