Steam’s Winter Sale Has Started

Steam’s autumn sale or Thanksgiving sale or whatever it was has barely just ended, but ’tis is the season to spend to spend wildly so hey: the Steam winter sale is now on. Head on over to Steam to see an awful lot of video games sold for cheaper than they were yesterday. Once the site recovers from the hordes flooding it, I mean.

This year’s winter sale is, like the autumn sale, fairly restrained. You won’t find a billion daily deals, flash sales, and minigames giving coins you swap for gems which you can craft into trading cards which you can craft into badges which increase your coin drop rate. Well, it does have some of that stuff – but it’s far more optional. You can get free Steam trading cards each day by flicking through your discovery queue, and these cards can be crafted into a badge, but that just gives you Steam XP (sometimes I forget how much gamifying shite Valve have added) and chat emoticons and stuff. Check the FAQ for more on that. And each day will bring a new page of a comic about a hardboiled gingerbread gumshoe. That’s about it.

It seems Valve are pushing their fancy-and-much-improved-but-still-inadequate automated tools for introducing people to games they might like. Try looking at our Steam curator page, your recommendations, your discovery queue, your wishlist, or, heck, just remember which games you’d like to buy or ask your pals for tips.

As ever, I recommend Deadly Premonition for £1.99. That doesn’t mean I’m your pal, mind. You’re not invited round for Christmas dinner.

The sale will end at 10am PST on Monday, January 4th (that’s 6pm our time).

83 Comments

  1. Brosecutor says:

    Best deal would be working servers, Valve.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Quake is showing up on the front page for -£5.45.

    You’d think that after all these years and incidents they’d have a sanity check for negative prices by now.

    (No, you probably can’t actually go through with the transaction.)

    • Jalan says:

      Those transactions never go through, much to the disappointment of the individuals who tirelessly try to find workarounds to get them to do so.

      There was (at least) one like that during the autumn sale as well but it was never featured on the front page at any point so it took days into the sale before a change was put in place for it.

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    Straight out of a one sale to the next. I can live with this.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      The number of sales is quite salient (or sale-ient). Unlike the Autumn Sale, this actually has plenty of my wishlisted games at good prices, so I’ll probably buy some.

      Or, I can just wait and sell all the trading cards (3 per day) for 0,10 euro each. That will net me a small, but ever increasing sum of money. Damn, people are crazy about cards, but who am I to object if it increases my Steam wallet. They’re completely pointless to me, but since people are buying them, I guess they’re not completely pointless after all.

  4. Procrastination Giant says:

    I literally just clicked on this article to make sure that you hadn’t forgotten to mention Deadly Premonition. *nods in approval* I guess I can go and make my celebratory Sinner’s Sandwich in peace now.

    • Pazguato says:

      Just finished Deadly Premonition. Terrible mechanics, terrible writing: terrible game. 20 hours of my life completely wasted.

    • caff says:

      For a couple of quid I’ll give it a go. It sounds like it might be up my street, if it’s all a bit Lynch-ian. The videos on the Steam page remind me of Call of Cthulu.

      • caff says:

        Ok no. A game that requires a patch to get it running properly in full screen, then runs with terrible graphics and frame rate? No. Just no. PC gamers deserve better, no matter the content.

    • Henke says:

      Deadly Premonition is amazing, but I suggest playing it on console instead, if you can. I never got the PC version running well, or for more than 30min before it crashed and I had to redo the whole last level. Bleh.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I already watched supergreatfriend’s excellent LP of this, and the way people talk about it makes me feel like that was the best way to experience it.

      • frightlever says:

        I have it on Xbox but the original version not the remaster, so I might just go the LP route. That’s basically how I experienced both Dark Souls.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    Quake is “132%” off!

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      Ha, whoops. I didn’t click “Opinion, away!” until a few minutes after I’d typed, and so LionsPhil has rendered this useless.

  6. Distec says:

    Just checked my wishlist and found only a fraction of my picked titles were on sale, most of which haven’t had any price adjustment for about a year or longer.

    I know Valve is done with the flash sales and daily deals, but is it possible more games will be discounted as the sale progresses? Because if not, this might be first time I’ve skipped out entirely.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You can get to your wishlist? Lucky bugger.

      • IonTichy says:

        I get redirected to my profile whenever I try to get to the wishlist…
        The sales are great and all, but they really should do a total rework of the steam-client…or at least the webbrowser component.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        Same with me. How would I know what to buy then. :p
        Explore queue just the same.
        One might think they could rent some server time for Christmas sale.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      The sale blurb promises thousands of titles on sale, but when I scroll down the front page the actual sale counter promises “57 games on sale!” so I suspect something’s not working quite as it should be.

      It’s also saying I’ve exhausted my recommendation queue, when I’ve not touched it in weeks.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Usually takes a bit for sale prices to be applied to all the games.

    • Vesperan says:

      I’m suspecting theyre having some issues in ‘loading’ the sales on at the moment?

      I say this as the Steam front page proudly said to me that they have a grand total of 57 games on special at the moment.

      57 is far too low.

      • Distec says:

        Yeah, I probably jumped the gun and should have given Steam a bit of time to get its shit together. I still don’t expect the currently discounted ones to go any further.

        Man, I was so hoping this would be the year I could loudly proclaim myself over Steam sales.

    • TheSplund says:

      Me too. My wishlist is looking most un-seasonal and I see that, yet again, GTA5 is down to 23.99 for the 3rd or 4th time (and no lower) – Bah! Humbug!

  7. kud13 says:

    Now the wait for the “game on your wishlist is on sale” e-mail begins. *tents fingers*

  8. raiders says:

    It definitely ain’t epic. Not a single Projects Cars DLC on sale. Oh well. Guess I’ll clean off a couple of other DLCs and be done with it.

    • TheSplund says:

      I was kind of hoping too

    • SomeDuder says:

      Well, we are pretty much desensitized at this point. The very first time a seasonal discount period happened, we all went apeshit and thought that the sky was falling, so many good games for such a huge discount! Holy shit, how can this be, they must be losing money on this!

      Now, 10 years later, it’s just another “Ehh, I’ll see if there’s anything on my 80+ games wishlist that’s discounted if I can be bothered”.

  9. Velko says:

    Every year the same thing: pretty much the entire store is unusable for the first hour or two. How is it even possible to not notice this and figure out some kind of peak-hours fix?

    • Baines says:

      Don’t forget that events are always broken.

      Though this time they aren’t running an event. Just giving people cards for viewing their Discovery Queue. Which is currently broken.

    • KDR_11k says:

      I’m guessing the amount of servers needed to handle the peak load would be extremely expensive and they figure it’s better to just ignore the peak and wait a bit.

      • mukuste says:

        That’s why stuff like CloudFlare exists, where you don’t buy physical servers but simply pay for the extra bandwidth when you need it.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It probably isn’t cost effective to scale up capacity for just a few hours of peak overloads during these sales events. You can plan for that when using third-party infrastructure, but Valve probably runs their own servers, where the excess capacity would sit idle most of the time.

      • Velko says:

        Hmm right, I can sort of understand if it’s their own actual hardware that’s squeaking under the load right now. But nevertheless, poor show.

      • LionsPhil says:

        This is pretty much exactly why things like Amazon Web Services exist.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          Yeah. It’s also not very difficult to use your own dedicated servers for normal load, but spin up a bunch of “cloud” servers to help during peak times.

          That’s how AWS should be used, though lots of people waste money by running all their servers on it 24/7.

          • keithzg says:

            In fairness, if their load is extremely variable, that isn’t even necessarily a bad plan. And their prices are cheap enough these days (and the cost of an internet connection as fast as theirs is high enough) that it’s not a terrible plan, it’s just one that gives an increasing and unsettling amount of centralization to the internet.

    • Velko says:

      For crying out loud, I’ve been trying to make a single €5 purchase for an hour now. Shouldn’t modern cloud services enable you to purchase temporary extra power for even just a few hours if needed?

    • Person of Interest says:

      Here’s how it tends to go down:

      1. Quadruple the number of web servers, reverse proxies, caching servers, and database slaves the day before. Double the memory installed in each server.

      2. 10:01 AM PDT: A network switch starts dropping packets. The rest of network saturates as all that new hardware re-transmits packets multiple times.

      3. ???

      4. 11:30 AM PDT: Store starts working again.

  10. Zankman says:

    Now, cards aren’t use for Badges, lol.

    You sell them for 0.05-0.15 eurocents and eventually you’ll be able to buy something!

    • mukuste says:

      The real question though is, sell them now or gamble on prices rising towards the end of the sale?

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        They generally go down in price do they not? You also don’t want the sale to end before you can sell them.

        • Jalan says:

          That’s typically been the run of it the last few big metagames. The exceptions were very early on right after the cards came out of the beta phase, before it became clear that the early event metagame cards weren’t going to expire and now just kind of sit on the market waiting for people who are either badge/level whales to scoop them up or people disappointed by the fact that they missed out on them initially.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Like I said in another comment, it’s crazy how fast these cards sell. I got 3 cards for looking at my “Discovery” Queues and then earned 0,10 euro a piece!

      I already had 0,21 euro from selling other cards and now it won’t be long until I have enough money to buy some of my wishlisted games. Unlike other people here, there’s quite a few of my wishlisted games that are 75 % off and roughly 2 euros or even less. Don’t need to sell that many cards to be able to buy them. The sale lasts for 2 weeks, i.e. 42 cards or 4,2 euros at most.

  11. jonfitt says:

    The Crusader Kings 2 DLC is only 66% off. What the hell kind of non sale is this?

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Almost all my wishlist is merely 50%, except the games that isn’t on sale at all. You were lucky with that 66% off, lol!!

      • teppic says:

        Yeah, it’s mostly 50% off for the games I’ve looked at too. Last year there were 75-85% off daily sales, which aren’t happening any more. Seems a bit weak.

  12. AngoraFish says:

    Man, Valve have really given up, haven’t they? The only activity is ‘explore your discovery queue’? Colour me dissapoint.

    • mukuste says:

      To be fair, people also complained when they went nuts on gamification and crazy meta stuff. Can’t please everybody all the time.

      The sales themselves seem rather meh this time around though. Wonder if this is the price we have to pay for refunds being a thing now.

      • instantcoffe says:

        Well there *could* be an ARG.
        link to reddit.com

        • AngoraFish says:

          Yes. I’m starting to think that’s a possibility. The progressive reveal of the backgrounds and the detective theme hint at… something? Strange that there’s not more buzz surrounding the possibility that more is up.

          I’ve been googling for quite a while and couldn’t see anything on the web at all. I dropped back here to see if anyone was mentioning something, and here you are. Thanks for the link.

  13. mollemannen says:

    these sales mostly reminds me of how much money i could have saved if i would’ve been more patient. but you never know, it’s almost a form of archaeology.

  14. Bobtree says:

    It was rumored that this sale would have the same prices as the last, but see some that are lower: MGSV $40, Chaos Reborn $10, Outland $1, Crypt of the NecroDancer $5.

    • MisterFurious says:

      Some are higher, too, though. I think I paid something like $2.50 for Antichamber but it’s $5 this time.

      • Jalan says:

        Most likely. I bought a three pack I’d been procrastinating on for years since it came to the store and it was 2£ less than what it was during the autumn sale.

  15. BooleanBob says:

    Quite happy with what I picked up! Not as much hype as the daily sales but some good discounts out there.

    CivCity: Rome £1.49 (from £5.99)
    Consortium £1.09 (from £10.99)
    Door Kickers £2.99 (from £14.99)
    Downwell £1.33 (from £1.99)
    MechaNika £1.11 (from £2.79)
    Shadow Warrior £2.99 (from £29.99)
    Tetrobot and Co. £1.74 (from £6.99)

    Definitely going to play all of these, and soon. Definitely. But.. assuming I don’t, hypothetically. Entertain the frankly ridiculous notion that I barely manage to play one of them in the whole 2016. Which should it be?

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      My vote is for Downwell.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Consortium is pretty dang neat, but also something which could easily fail to take your fancy. As safer options I couldn’t possibly decide between Downwell and Door Kickers.

    • Banyan says:

      Door Kickers sucked me in for weeks, but I haven’t tried the others.

  16. ShatteredAwe says:

    I love how they’ve been doing the sales lately.

    While some people don’t enjoy the lack of “flash sales” and “daily deals”, I find it muuuch easier to comfortably purchase titles without having to find out 3 hours later that the game went into a flash sale >_>.

    Anyways, (all prices Canadian) Witcher 3 is at 30$, the Crusader Kings 2 Collection is at 45$, and alot of good indie games are 5$. My favorite sale of the year easily.

    • MisterFurious says:

      The problem is that there’s a million games on Steam and it’s hard to sort through them looking for great deals. There were a lot of games that I got on Flash Deals or Daily Deals that I had either never heard of or had forgotten about. Now, I’m scratching my head trying to remember any games that I had some interest in years ago and wondering if there’s some great game that I’d love that I have no idea about on sale right now.

      • gabrielonuris says:

        And that’s exactly the reason why my wishlist has gone from 10 games to 40, and it’s increasing in size as we speak.

      • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

        This is my exact predicament. I was fine being spoonfed games I’d never heard of or had forgotten about. I always keep my wishlist at ten or less games. Guess I should change that.

      • Ingall says:

        I avoid the head scratching with the Wishlist.

      • ShatteredAwe says:

        I can see why people miss being excited by brand new games that are unknown but are on sale, but one way that I’m still seeing that type of “effect” is through my discovery queue. Although sometimes it’s not all that good.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I like the new format too. I can spend one day picking up what I’ve been tracking that I’m interested in, and then ignore Steam after that. I only use these sales for games I’m not 100% sure I’ll like anyway, so it streamlines the process.

      This time around, I picked up Total War Attila mainly for the Charlemagne expansion that finally made me interested in it, and IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad, which I wasn’t sure I’d like enough to pay full price. On sale, I can justify trying it out.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Oh, they aren’t doing different sales daily now?

      GOOD, I can actually buy the games I was waiting for a sale for (War of the Human Tanks: ALTER and Chaos Reborn) instead of checking every day for the next two weeks until the level 2 discount finally rears its head.

    • fabronaut says:

      Wait, I’m confused.

      I know there aren’t any flash sales (which is frankly a good thing — beats checking the store page every eight hrs and slamming the servers all over again).

      But there are no daily deals any more? So the sale price is the sale price, and that’s it?

      That’s kinda nice in the sense that I won’t feel obligated to actually check the storefront several times daily… but some of these deals just don’t strike me as that compelling. :/

      I bought a whack of tiny games for about $10 CAN yesterday. I’ll probably forget they exist and only install two or three of them. I rationalize it by telling myself I’m spreading the dollar around to smaller developers. :3

  17. Carra says:

    Euh, it’s only been a month since the last sale during which I bought everything I wanted. Guess I’ll pass this time.

  18. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Picked up Thomas Was Alone and the Rescue Team DLC for Dungeons of the Endless for about $5. Also bought Undertale as a gift for my cousin. That’ll probably be it.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      It wasn’t it. I talked myself into Devil May Cry 4: SE as I never did finish it on the PS3.

  19. DanMan says:

    And as usual, our forum’s victim support group has your back, if you feel like you can’t resist the urge to succumb to the call of the sirens from the one they call GabeN.

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

  20. Jakkar says:

    I already own all of it, and play none of it. Go away, Steam. Go away and make games, or fund the making of games. You’re undermining your own foundations to build your tower higher, there are *no games left to sell or buy*, and your desperate pushing of godawful scamming unfinished and broken indie games onto ‘recommended’ lists and ‘discovery queues’ shows how well you know this.

    Stop it. Change your approach. It isn’t too late. What the hell are you spending it all on, anyway?!

  21. Ingall says:

    I think I prefer the sale done this way. No compulsion to check every few hours, and no tearing hair out when you realise you missed a flash sale. Only grabbed Windward and Besiege so far, but I’m still browsing and the sale is young.

    • Zekiel says:

      I love it. I no longer feel like I need to make a decision to buy a game within 24 hours (or even 8), I can just reflect on what I’m happy to get and buy it at my leisure before 4th Jan. Yay. Not sure it’ll make Valve as much money as the other approach (flustered customers tend to make worse decisions and spend more) but it does feel less manipulative!

  22. caff says:

    Wasteland 2. What does everyone think? Great fun or fussy nonsense?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Kind of middling. I got past the first major mission, the boss bugged out and didn’t give their dialogue properly so I had to look it up on wikia, I got a permanent status effect penalty from the other of the two places (which you can apparently heal much later, since apparently my own doctor skill is useless and the only doc in the starting map region was in the town that got wiped out), and kinda just lost all steam.

      I want it to be good but it just wasn’t hitting the magic. Haven’t tried Director’s Cut yet, because honestly having to go back and redo from start (they didn’t bother with savegame import) does not appeal—which is probably a big tell-tale that it wasn’t really quite fun.

      • caff says:

        I think that would probably make me want to hit something… I’ll pass.

  23. wyrm4701 says:

    Team Fortress 2 is 75% off! It’s $21.99 price is crossed out and replaced by ‘Free to Play’. Christ, Valve, you’re doing the opposite of making me want to give you money. That is some fraudulent sale-pricing bullshit right there, on your own damn product.

    • Jalan says:

      They did the same thing during the autumn sale, so possibly hold off in throwing up your arms in complete disgust.

      Plus, consider that the game is still “technically” sold as part of both The Orange Box and the Valve Complete Pack. Each of those are currently on sale and buying either (assuming one doesn’t already own them) will grant the account that does so a “premium” account in the otherwise free to play Team Fortress 2 without the need of them having to a microtransaction in the game itself if they were to play it otherwise.