Summer is a time to leave the house and interact with the warm and friendly outside world. But if you’re like me – and millions of other PC gamers – there’s no better time than summer to binge on new PC games.
School’s out. Work might be slow And your friends may all be away on vacations. Just in time to cure your loneliness, summer game sales arrive. Today, a number of major retailers are jumping on the summer games sale bandwagon, including the two biggest heavy hitters of Amazon and Steam.
However, getting the most out of your summer game sale isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips that will help you squeeze every dollar out of that upcoming PC gaming sale:
Set a budget
Unless you’re rich, you need to worry about the price of things like food, housing, and toilet paper. During a summer games sale, some deals can seem like they’re just too good to pass up. How can you afford not to download the Witcher 2 for $10?
The truth is: every year, millions of gamers pay for games that they won’t ever play. Make sure you read reviews of a game before you make the leap into buying it. And better yet – set a strict budget. Remember: just because the games are $10 or $20 each doesn’t mean you can afford to spend $200 more than you normally would on your gaming habit in a month.
Got it? Okay, now on to the less obvious tips.
Check other gaming websites
Over the next few weeks, a number of major gaming retailers will be having sales. Check the websites of all these games before you make a purchase. In some cases, all websites are selling a game at the same discounted price because that’s the lowest price set by the manufacturer.
In other cases, one online retailer might break away from the crowd and sell a game at an even steeper discount. Be sure to check all of these websites before you make a purchase:
-Green Man Gaming
Sure, it’s tempting to scoop up the latest deal on Steam. But if you want to save a few bucks, take a look at other sites before you make your purchase because you never know how much you’ll save. There are way too many good options out there to skip this step – especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Also, most of these other websites are selling Steam keys anyway as opposed to physical copies of the game, which means that your download and installation process is basically the same.
Don’t pull the trigger early on the Steam Summer Sale
When it comes to summer PC gaming sales, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Steam Summer Sale. During a Steam Sale, Valve reduces the cost of almost all major games in its store by double digit percentage points.
However, if you want to access the very best deals, then you’ll wait until a game shows up as a Daily Deal or Flash Deal. Flash Deals are updated every 8 hours and are chosen by community demand. Prices can be dropped by 75% or more, and the discount is generally steeper than the regular Steam discount.
Always wait until the game you want appears as a Daily Deal or Flash Deal. If it never appears as either one of these deals, then purchase the game on the last day of the sale, when every game is sold at the discount price it was at on its first sale day.
In other words: if you see a game you want as a Daily Deal or Flash Deal, buy it. That’s the biggest discount you’ll see all week for that game.
Don’t let Steam save your credit card data
This tip is for people who can’t control their spending or have families to feed. When Steam saves your credit card data, it makes it disturbingly easy to purchase your new favorite games. This is good for some people, but bad for others. If you don’t trust yourself to control your spending habits, then remove your credit card data from Steam.
Check for bundles
One of the best parts about the Steam Summer Sale (and other gaming sales) are the bundles of games you can buy. A company’s entire collection of games will regularly go on sale, giving users access to a handful of major titles at a fraction of their regular cost.
In many cases, the game you want will be available at a cheaper price through the bundle. And if you were already planning on buying other games in that bundle, then you can potentially save a lot of money. All bundle deals will reappear on the last day of the Steam sale, so be patient.
Use Reddit’s r/gaming section
Whether you love Reddit or hate it, the r/gaming subreddit is a treasure trove of information for summer sales. Every day of the Steam sale, a redditor makes a thread listing all the deals of the day. In past years, other Redditors would chime in with brief reviews of each game, making it easy for users to see which games they might like and which ones were the best deals. Visit r/gaming every day of the Steam Summer Sale for the best deal information.
Be aware of Steam’s DRM policies
Steam is the world’s most popular PC gaming platform. However, overlooked by most PC gamers is the fact that Steam has some fairly restrictive DRM. Sure, you can play your games offline. But you can’t trade them to friends and you can’t share them in any way. Some companies also include additional DRM in order to play the game, and you’ll want to be aware of these DRM policies to prevent surprises during the installation.
There’s a fantastic Steam DRM Wiki page that highlights the DRM requirements of each game here. That page also features DRM information for games on all other PC gaming stores and platforms.
Missed summer gaming sales? Don’t worry
Steam and other retailers feature PC gaming sales throughout the year. If you just missed the summer sales, then you don’t have to wait very long for the next major sales to appear. Steam also has sales around American Thanksgiving and Christmas – although they’re generally not as good as the Summer Sale.