Steam Bundles Prices Should Make More Sense Soon

Look, I’m not here to criticise anyone for taking their sweet time. I have a pictures folder that has been begging me to organise it since 2008. By now I know my way through the mess so well that actually sorting it out would slow me down.

So, really, when I heard that Valve will allow developers to adapt the pricing of their bundles to make them more appealing for people who own some of the games in the bundle, I just applauded the fact that they got around to doing it at all.

The new Steam bundle system, as reported by PCGamesN, is not across all bundles yet and we’ll have to see how widespread it becomes Either way, dynamic pricing simply means that if you want to buy a bundle that contains some games you already have, the price of the bundle will go down accordingly. Steam does not give you additional copies of the games you already own if you buy a bundle, so dynamic pricing is fairer, as it will always make sense to buy the bundle, rather the individual games you need.

I know, GOG have been doing it right for ages. Some of my friends already have neat pictures folders too.

Here, let me show you what it looks like, and I’m sure you’ll understand. One bundle with dynamic pricing activated is Valve’s own Valve Complete Pack. This is the bundle price for someone who has none of their games:

That’s the way it’s always been. Now, this is what it looks like for me:

I own some of their games, but not all of them. It wouldn’t have made sense for me to ever buy the Valve bundle before, because getting the individual games I missed was cheaper. But now it does, and I can enjoy the same discount as everybody else.

If you want to get slightly more technical, to calculate the final price of a bundle with dynamic pricing you have to apply two different discounts: the individual game’s and the bundle’s. First of all, the games will be discounted one by one as usual. Then, when they’re bundled up, calculating the bundle’s final price means adding up all the games at their discounted price point, and it is on this sum that the bundle’s discount is applied.

Hopefully we’ll also soon see an end to the nonsensical bundle pricing situations which occasionally crop up where, in some currencies, a bundle is more expensive than buying its games separately.

All of this means one thing: you can now catch up on some of those embarrassing games that get thrown in bundles together with good ones, and use the excuse that you just got them as part of the bundle. Don’t worry, it’ll be our little secret.


  1. jasta85 says:

    Finally, been waiting for this feature forever. The packs of games I’m usually the most interested in are usually the ones in which I already own one or more games (which is the whole reason I’m interested in the pack in the first place). Will be looking forward to this during the next steam sale

  2. quietone says:

    Two words: finally!

  3. Det. Bullock says:

    Good grief, they took their time, huh?

  4. gunny1993 says:

    May be Post hoc ergo propter hoc but in the years since more digital markets started gaining traction valve have been doing some really consumer friendly moves. Refunds, sales doing away with manipulative stuff and now this..

    Competition works in this instance apparently.

    • cafeoh says:

      Yes, and it seems their fear of the community abusing those newly gotten advantages never really came to fruition!

      After all, assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit, and people realize that!

  5. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    I’m not sure if I should shout “Great!” or “Damn, there goes another shield against impulse buys!”

  6. monkeytommo says:

    haha… Can so relate to the folder of images that needs organising! I have image folders from 2003 which have countless pics that need to be deleted!

    Back to the topic at hand… This is brilliant. GoG have done this for ages, so will be very nice to have this in Steam.

  7. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Doesn’t really make sense for me to buy dozens of games in a bundle even if I ususally like the products say from Square.
    Who has the time to play through half a dozen Final Fantasies or similar at once?
    Well twenty+ games actually lie in the backlog (until they wander to the “pile”), 2-3 maximum are played in rotation. Then there are amazing new releases and regular wishlisted sales, don’t know where I could fit bundles in. Plus released DLCs and returning to beloved games and already bought EA-games moving to release.

    And why buy dozens of games of which I play two to three and future releases aren’t even covered…

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It’s good they fix the pricing, alright. Just saying.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      It makes sense if you have a game that has a lot of DLC, like say, Crusader Kings 2 or Europa Universalis 4.

      • froz says:

        Yeah, it would. Except the bundle is almost the same price as if you get them all individually (currently the bundle for EUIV with DLCs costs around 5% less in pack then if you buy individually). That’s definitely not enough to make me buy it, it would have to be at least 20% less in a pack.

  8. Baines says:

    Does this apply the discount percentage evenly to each game, or is it variable by game?

    The reason that I ask is that sales discounts show that publishers value individual games to different degrees even beyond their regular retail price. (One game might get a 25% discount while another gets an 80% discount, after all.) If the new bundle pricing formula applies a generic discount value for each individual component, then it potentially adds a new wrinkle to searching for the best possible deal. (For an example, if an individual game has a higher sales discount than the bundle itself saves you, then it might be cheaper to buy the individual game and then buy the bundle.)

  9. Jaeja says:

    Posting to note with approval that whoever this “Melody” is, it seems RPS has finally found another news writer who can hit the site’s prosaic register correctly. Hurrah.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      I concur.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Yes. Melody has got off to a good start.

    • wwwhhattt says:

      She’s got a website with quite a bit of writing on it at link to

    • GWOP says:

      I just hope she gets around to the pictures folder, it’s been eight years and three Mass Effect games already, dammit!

    • Melody says:


      I’d be remiss not to mention that Alice’s editing helps a lot.
      Still, thank you very much. It makes me very happy to read comments like these.

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        Ah, now that you comment here, I recognise you. You’re not a strange newcomer after all. :)

        But let me agree with Jaeja that your work here (including other recent articles) is appreciated.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Oh, weird! I did my usual thing of not noticing the author, and I read your comment before scrolling back up to see who it was. I had no clue it wasn’t writen by an RPS regular, so I definitely concur, too.

  10. Tony M says:

    Now please fix the problem where the “Gold Edition” of a game has been deeply discounted (often multiple times), but the DLC included in that edition has never received a good discount.

  11. Viral Frog says:

    I don’t remember the last bundle I bought on Steam where I didn’t already own at least one thing included with it. This is going to be so damn nice.

  12. Unsheep says:

    I just want to rub it in that GOG has been doing this for quite a while now.

    However the main problem with Steam bundles remains, which is that you still end up with games you don’t actually want and won’t actually play. This is just wasteful.

    So the Steam bundle systems still have a long way to in order to catch up to sites like GOG.

    • JonWood says:

      I’d buy the wastefulness argument if Steam weren’t a digital distribution platform where all the waste that’s happening is an extra row in your games list. Since nothing is going to be physically shipped anywhere you may as well buy a bundle if it results in you getting the games you want cheaper than you would have done otherwise.

  13. racccoon says:

    More butter on your toast yet again than you need!
    Steam is like the decease of Trump!
    Its not going away and they are both useless thick senseless tools.