The Spend Times: Steam’s Holiday Sale Is Live

It’s Chriiiiiiistmas, as Noddy Holder screams every morning to the terrified residents of Toyland, no matter what the season. Beneath a mechanical tophat festooned with mirrors and baubles, he gambols and grimaces, throwing colourfully decorated parcels containing tiny tartan trousers and other glam trinkets.

Steam is a lot like young Noddy, spreading goodwill whatever the season with its regular sales. But now is your chance to grab gifts for one and all (yourself included), because the Holiday Sale has just begun. Highlights below.

First up, there are special ‘Holiday 2014’ trading cards, which is a relief. I’m not relieved about the existence of new cards, available for a limited time, but I am relieved that there’s no immediate evidence of a complex shop-based metagame. No potato sacks here. You can find out more about the Holiday cards here.

Now, to the games.

There are new flash sales every 12 hours and community choice voting is open now, but there are some big names in the initial line up is well.

The Total War Master Collection is worth a look, containing almost every thing related to Creative Assembly’s strategy series. The inclusion of Total War: Rome II’s much-improved Emperor edition means you’re getting almost the entire fifteen year history of the franchise for £24.99. Rome II’s Emperor edition is available on its own for £7.49 – I haven’t revisited it for enough time to give a definite recommendation but did play for a few hours at the weekend. It’s not quite a different game to the original release but it is a much better version of that sprawling, troubled epic.

How about Dark Souls II for £11.09? Not to be sniffed at. DLC isn’t on sale, which is a shame since the whole bundle of add-ons is now pricier than the game and I’d quite fancied picking them all up, having only played the first. We quite liked Dark Souls II.

a picture of a cold place because it's a winter sale...

If you have a burning desire to add Beyond Earth to your collection, it’s as cheap as it’s been since release a couple of months ago. £17.99 for that. Here’s our review and verdict.

But here’s what you really want – Euro Truck Simulator 2 for £2.24. If you’ve ever wondered why I bang on about it all the time and have considered buying it to find out, now’s the time. It’s £2.99 with the Going East expansion, which adds chunks of Eastern Europe.

a man carries his fallen friend from the site of an excessive spending spree

Flight Simulator has landed on Steam for the first time in the form of Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. It arrived today and went straight into an 80% discount – it’ll cost you £3.99. Almost everything I know about it is contained in this post.

Another new release with a discount in the shape of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which is £11.38, discounted by 33%. Rich Stanton wrote fine words about it earlier today.

Our horror game of the year, Alien: Isolation, has a 25% discount, but as with anything that’s not in a flash deal, it could be worth waiting til later in the sale, which runs until January 2nd.

Oh, and those Amplitude sales on the Endless games from earlier today are continuing as well. Hurrah!

53 Comments

  1. StevieW says:

    Bye Bye Christmas Money…..

  2. Anthile says:

    Winter has come.

  3. Tom De Roeck says:

    Come join us on the forums discussing the steam sales:
    link to rockpapershotgun.com

  4. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I’ve been saving my Steam wallet money for months. And now, to buy a bunch of games I won’t play.

    Just kidding, I’m only grabbing Metal Gear.

    • iniudan says:

      Ground Zero is only a very expensive demo for Phantom Pain, I would suggest to avoid it, unless your are making your decision in full knowledge of that and are a fan of Metal Gear, thus do not mind the expanse, even for a teasing.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I’d say it’s much more than just a demo if you’re at all familiar with the MG series. I got a whole bunch of hours out of it on PS3 with the challenge missions. It’s an excellent little sandbox to play in for the (currently discounted) price.

        And remember this? link to ign.com

      • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

        I appreciate the concern. I’m aware of what people say about the game and it doesn’t bother me at all. The MGS games are pretty much the only games I’ve played multiple times each, and being given a sandbox level to play in will undoubtedly give me more hours than most games I play.

        In fact, I’ve already “beaten” the Ground Zeroes mission in a little over 2 hours, but have only completed 8% of the game. There’s more stuff to unlock, new side missions, trying different tactics and different routes, and the joy of messing with the A.I.

        I don’t normally gush about games I like, but man, I love Metal Gear.

        • iniudan says:

          And that perfectly fine, just making sure you are actually a fan of the series, for Ground Zero can be such a downer for people who don’t have a vast interest in MGS, due to how short the main part is. But knew what little is there is at least of quality, so can be worth it for those who are into it, even if I myself consider it way overpriced.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Any MGS game would be worth the price even if ALL it amounted to was messing with the AI. There are few joys like it.

  5. le4slie says:

    The heavy load is preventing me from spending money.

  6. SomeDuder says:

    I get the impression that its a lot more restrained, compared to the previous year. I like it. The dumb achievement stuff/collect x cards/whatever else didn’t add anything.

    Now 75% off Dungeon of the Endless please

  7. oceanclub says:

    80% off Flight Sim X seems like a bargain for anyone curious at all about flight sims *dusts off joystick* (*)

    (*) Oh stop.

    P.

    • Llewyn says:

      Can’t argue with that. I wouldn’t normally go as far as to say I’m curious about them (though I enjoyed Flight Unlimited I and II many years ago) but I’m at least £4 worth of curious.

  8. JaminBob says:

    Oh ffs. I’m I’ll off work and bought euro truck expansions at full price literally this morning.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Ohhh friend, you bought something full price at this time of year? You have my full sympathy, but hopefully you’ve learned your lesson – there’s a sale everytime you blink around the end of the year.

      • JaminBob says:

        I have. I have. But I should know better. Must be the man flu.

  9. Melody says:

    Nope. Still gonna shop at Humble. Or at Gog. Or directly from the developer. Or at itch.io, but that’s an entirely different catalog (albeit one that is starting to interest me more than Steam’s in many ways) Unless there’s an exclusive that is just not sold anywhere else, I suppose.

    Also, wasn’t it just yesterday that we were complaining about Steam’s near-monopoly?

    • Arren says:

      Are “we” not multiplicious, fractious and prone to dissent?

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        I’m not, but that guy over there is.

        • Kempston Wiggler says:

          What? oh…

          *pokes the guy next to me*

          Hey. i think those dudes are talking about you.

      • airmikee says:

        NO! If Melody hears one person say something, then all people must believe the same thing.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      My answer to that is because it was first and thus I hadn’t gotten sick of this fragmentation, where you need to have several third-party programs if you want to play games from different companies. I wanted to play Half-Life 2 and wasn’t thrilled in any way about needing to download an extra program to do so, but I obviously relented. However, if Half-life 2 had been released along with the other (much worse) competitors I probably wouldn’t have any such DRM/store system. GoG will always get my cash when it has a game that Steam also has, but apart from needing to start Steam before I can run my games, I don’t mind Steam or its near-monopoly system.

    • Faxanadu says:

      There was, but Gabe did the non-monopoly-move in the end, so it’s all good now. *<|:)

    • rcguitarist says:

      Have fun with that. Good thing Valve doesn’t use it’s near monopoly against the consumer. They just have amazing sales. So go ahead and leave yourself out.

    • Llewyn says:

      You might have been, I wasn’t.

      In particular I was surprised at the criticism of Valve for taking an action that might, to however minor an extent, have weakened their monopoly position, and then surprised again by the enthusiasm for their follow-up which might be seen as intended to entrench that position.

  10. Kaeoschassis says:

    Gonna check this out later when the initial server-shock dies down and I have more time (and money). Hoping to pick up Xenonauts if at all possible, after that, we’ll see what grabs me.

  11. Museli says:

    “it could be worth waiting til later in the sale, which runs until December 2nd”

    That’s a long sale.

    EDIT – You’ve fixed it! My joke is ruined! :<

  12. Hex says:

    I lost my only auction attempt by a crummy 80-some gems.

    And Gabe won’t give them back. :(

    • jezcentral says:

      What a poxy crock of *** the auction was. I couldn’t work out what it was supposed to be about.

      Then I saw the “Turn into gems” button on one of my emoticons. Not only did I get to clear my inventory of a load of unwanted backgrounds, I scoured ALL my emoticons from this Earth, and got Kentucky Route Zero and Light for NO MORE MONIES.

      I love the auction idea. It was brilliant.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        That was more or less my reaction to the trading cards, back when.
        “What, cards? Little silly images on my inventory page pretending to be pieces of hard paper with shiny fronts? Whatever, Steam, have fun with that one.”

        Then I realised I could buy games, with money I got from selling cards, which I got from PLAYING GAMES.

        Trading cards are the best thing ever.

  13. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    I’m limiting my spending to the 12,03€ I made from useless card junk during the auctions. I’m hoping it won’t feel as bad when I buy more games I will never play before they inevitably get included in a PWYW bundle.

    • iniudan says:

      Same thing, made like 35 buck of selling stuff during the auction, but like 20 already went to gem purchase, which I got on the cheap, early after they were re-instituted, could have made money just reselling at price I got them, if my bidding anticipation were wrong, for was easy to guess they would raise in price, due to the price of crafting 1000 gem from emote and background.

      And I did get good deal on the auction for game that interested me and anticipate would not be at a better price, then what the gem cost me, once winter sell went on. And I did anticipate the number of gem I needed right, for only have 30 gem left, and I think saved 10-15 dollars in total on what I think the best price would be for those, worse case I anticipate is I saved 5 bucks, at which point I would have been better to resell when price peeked.

      And yes, this kind of crappy speculation is worth it, right now, for got plenty of time, which I wish I didn’t.

      • Lagran says:

        And I did get good deal on the auction for game that interested me and anticipate I would not be a better price, then what the gem cost me, once winter sell went on.

        Same here. I got 5 games, worth over £50 at full price for ~£10. Even managed to have enough gems leftover to sell a bag of 1,000 before the prices dipped down again. One game might go on sale for less than the price I effectively paid for it, a second might match it, but those will be buffered by the ridiculous 90% discounts I got on two other games.

  14. Brinx says:

    No discount on EU IV: Art of War yet? Sigh, guess I’m gonna buy it anyway. Don’t want to wait anymore.

  15. Ansob says:

    Don’t buy Dark Souls 2, since they’re releasing a separate GOTY edition next year with enhanced visuals: link to steamcommunity.com

  16. Martel says:

    Any reason to buy FSX if you already have a copy of X-Plane 10 that you’re just getting started with?

    • Chaz says:

      The training tutorials are pretty good and at £3.99 it’s also well worth having.

      • Martel says:

        Thanks Chaz, that’s good to know. Might have to just pick it up, especially since the only game I was going to get this sale was Endless Legend and a friend got it for me for christmas.

  17. Wedge says:

    No mention of Metal Gear: Rising at $6? That’s the only decent thing so far it looks like.

  18. Faxanadu says:

    Call of Pripyat 9.99€ right now… Slap Misery mod on dat bad boi and we got sumtin’ gut.

  19. Phantasma says:

    Finally! Dark Souls!
    Waited for what felt like an eternity until they got rid of GFWL and the first Steam sale after that.

    Now i’ll be able to assess what all this commotion surrounding this game is about.

    I’m a little afraid it ultimately may be too hard for me, but for merely 5€ i surely can’t complain.

  20. lomaxgnome says:

    Wow, happy there’s no metagame? So free games and a motivation to visit the sale other than just once a day for price changes is a bad thing? Bizarre. Most people lament the loss of the metagames. At least we got the auction beforehand.

    However, this is objectively a much worse sale than we’ve ever had before, they are putting even fewer games as daily deals than in any previous sale in years, and the store has twice as many games as last year. Valve has pretty much just given a giant “fuck you” to any smaller developer hoping for that bit of promotion that can make a year’s worth of sales in a few hours. Sad really. Especially after hundreds of those developers donated games for the auction that made Valve millions.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s probably because Steam’s metagames have got more and more carefully manipulative for lesser and lesser rewards. Gone are the days of “fill up your wishlist with reccomendation data and some tiny fraction of you might win things from it”.

    • Chaz says:

      To be honest Steam has so many sales now, it’s no longer a big once a year thing any more is it? They’re just not the big deal they once were any more. I don’t think a metagame would have pulled in that many more sales this time around. A lot of people are just too gorged out on games now from previous sales. You got the summer sales, the Halloween sales. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 3 months time we see another big Steam sale. It only feels like a few weeks ago since we had the last sales. It appears you can have too much of a good thing.

      • lomaxgnome says:

        Well, it was a few weeks ago, because we had the fall sale. Which is basically just a pre-sale to the winter sale as it has the same prices. But that’s the whole point of the metagames, it makes the two major sales something more significant. Like you said, there’s low prices somewhere all year round now. But even a minor metagame makes things more interesting than just “log on once a day to vote and check the prices.”

        And while you may think it doesn’t matter to you, the free cards they hand out were worth three times as much during this past summer as the ones this winter are now. That means over the course of the sale even with trivial effort almost everyone could get a few dollars worth of credit on the store, which is greatly diminished now.

    • kalirion says:

      Lacking a metagame, the holiday sale is very anti-climactic for me, especially after that fun auction. I think perhaps the auction was originally meant to be the Holiday Sale Event metagame, but they decided it would be counter-productive to run both at the same time.

      Got 10 games in the auction, but don’t see myself getting even 5 games in the sale. Now what to do about my 100+ holiday cards…

  21. derbefrier says:

    Flight sim x and metal gear rising revengence are mine as soon as I get off work. Gotta love steam sales.

  22. Premium User Badge

    dnelson says:

    Also, it looks like our Horace designed the main page.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’m a compulsive reader and frequently find myself scrolling through stuff on the internet I’m not especially interested in just because reading it is something to do.
      Imagine how steam’s new frontpage makes me feel.

  23. Wut The Melon says:

    Actually, Origin has some not-too-bad sales going on as well. Mass Effect 3 (which I suppose everyone who wants to own already owns) for €3, Digital Deluxe edition upgrade for €2.50 (soundtrack + artwork should be worth that IMO, and includes some DLC as well), Crysis 3 (nice graphics demo, if nothing else) for €3.

    Not sure what the common opinion on Origin is these days, but as long as the client works (which it has done for me so far – fingers crossed) and the games are cheap I don’t see anything wrong with it.

  24. feanarosurion says:

    There’s currently one item on the Top Sellers list that isn’t even on sale: Crusader Kings 2 DLC. Wow.

  25. jolieabc says:

    Not gonna look… don’t want to spend a bunch more money on games I’ll never get around to playing. I prefer to watch a movie, glad that just got a DVD Ripper from Voilabits for free, now is busy in ripping some of my home DVDs and then watch them on my iPad freely.