As time goes on, the idea of the semi-annual Steam Sale retains it’s appeal, but the actual event seems to be losing it’s luster. In anticipation of this holiday season’s deep discounts I loaded up the Steam wallet and sat patiently by the window each day for 1PM EDT to roll around so I could see what’s up for grabs. Each day I’ve been more or less disappointed. Part of it is my fault: practically every day there have been more “In Library” tags than not, which tells me that I’ve already bought more than I could ever play, and that I’m not playing enough of what I’ve already bought.
Worse, though, is that Valve seems to have lost its way in regards to how it executes the sale. Many people have bemoaned the lack of the “eight hour flash sale”, the four-times-a-day rotation of a select number of games that caused people to obsessively check back more often. Now with just the daily update, we only see what’s being surfaced to the places of honor on the main page despite the fact that all items that will be on sale are on sale simultaneously. We are being sent to dig through the list of something like 10,000+ titles to find everything that’s on offer, which is a whole lot to ask of people who are used to the big homepage list augmented by flash sales. That’s not helpful. In fact, according to Jamie Madigan, that might actually be hurting Valve this time around. If you want to add insult to injury, there was a snafu with caching that caused users to see other people’s account pages, and (at the time of writing this post) if you want to look in on that 10,000 other games, you’re SOL: the search functionality that the list uses to cycle between pages is broken, so you just see page 1.
I’ve only made two purchases so far: one was an item that was on my wishlist and was already marked down because it’s new to Steam and carries a promotional price, and the other was a game that I was only casually interested in, but was marked down significantly and had great reviews (i.e., something I won’t lose sleep over if I never get around to playing it). I actually had bought two other games, but I refunded both because after trying each, one was too stupidly difficult to learn for the projected payout, and the other one…I couldn’t see the point of the things it asked me to do. Both were games that I should have enjoyed, but I’m thinking that there’s enough power in the idea of the Steam sale to make me buy things just because of ridiculous discounts, but the overall payout of the Steam Sale is diminishing with each successive inception. I’m regretting having put money into my Steam wallet, as that’s money I could have used for another purpose, although I suppose it could sit there in wait for a single game (even at full price) that I actually want when it releases.