Unlimited Discount Works!
Summer is upon us, and with it the legendary Steam Summer Sale, a sale where almost the entire store is marked down. As we lay with our wallets in wait, what’s the magic behind this crazy ten days of sales?
As I stated in my E3 article, PC gaming evolved into a raw deal around it’s origin. Nothing can stop you from sharing a disc all the way around or copying that floppy, and with an abundance of PCs around for you to proliferate your spread, you could play your PC game anywhere (theoretically). So anti-piracy measures fought back in turn with various DRM limitations, and if your computer got compromised from anything including the hands of time itself, have fun re-purchasing software, something unthinkable with consoles.
Enter Gabe Newell and a mantra we all know; consumers don’t mind paying for a product when it’s good. Steam gave people what they wanted, they could take their game anywhere and install it on anything (again, theoretically) via digital release. One up pirating by saying you don’t even need a library of disks and keygens! Yes, many friends would be bummed out of playing the game, but on the other hand, prices could be driven down to about half of console counterparts or even less with digital releases taking most of the effort out of the marketing and production costs of games.
However, even with the cost slashings and daily deals, many games still stayed stubbornly at their retail console price. Sixty dollars for games without the ability to hand them off to your friends and play proper local multiplayer with. You don’t even get a hard copy in case your account gets compromised, let alone all the physical perks of OST albums or Nendoroid figurines. That’s where the sale comes in. In light of all the “drawbacks” of a digital copy you pay a vastly cut price, the “true” price so to speak after you sacrifice the benefits of hard media. As a gamer who as kid thrived on making do with the inability to afford optimal specs and borrowing countless carts and discs (sometimes permanently), the summer sale really made me feel like I got a bargain.
That’s really the benefit of the summer sale, you’re paying the “true” price of the game without the “features” of transferring it, lending it, physical media, etc. Anyone who has been looking for a way to play all the A-list games they wanted has found the opportune time to jump on board. Gamers have been laying in wait and even if not every game has a massive discount, between daily deals, community choices, and flash sales, the chance to drag down cost is there. It’s a smart business decision. After teasing the public with an already big cut, secretly have an even more drastic cut in the woodworks. Only those with a gameplan will survive, and even they will be buying. Valve has essentially designed a well-oiled hype-train and it works.
Many gamers who may not have the resources for PC gaming are given a hype train to ride where tickets to board are cheap. This is a hook for new consumers too since the barrier of entry is so low. At any rate, it doesn’t matter if you have a high end rig and money stockpiled months in advance or a humble gamer with a laptop that gets work done, you’ll be enticed to buy games, buy utilities to play your newfound stockpile of A-list games, and participate in the Steam community. There’s something for the new and something for the old, and it happens to be the same thing, affordable gaming and extreme buyer confidence. This is PC gaming playing its strengths to its best done right. Join me next time when I make a sandwich.