Gamers, prepare to open your wallets wide. Summer is here, which means it’s time for Valve’s annual Steam Summer Sale, an 11-day bonanza of game discounts from the online game marketplace.
The sale opened today, and will run until June 30. Every day, Valve will feature certain games with deep discounts on the front page of the Steam store, along with shallower discounts throughout much of the catalog it has available. The company is also running a special “Summer Adventure” that makes it possible for users to get free games by purchasing items and voting on “Community Choice” flash sale titles.
These sales are an excellent opportunity for people interested in picking up a game or two for their computer, no matter what sort of hardware they have available. There are a ton of older and indie games out there that don’t requrire the computing equivalent of a Ferrari to run well but still provide an excellent experience.
For those people who have never partaken from a Steam sale before, here are some tips from a veteran:
- Only buy from the specials that get featured every day. Those are deeper discounts than are available during the other days of the sale, so people looking to maximize the bang for their buck should keep their eye out for new deals.
- People who miss the specials can wait until the last day of the sale, when Valve puts a certain selection of games on sale again at their old discount level. Similarly, if a game you want doesn’t go on sale by then, it’s safe to buy on the last day and know you’ve received the best price possible.
- Check the system requirements. These are usually a mixed bag for people who don’t have high-powered hardware. There will be some games that will surprise you with how little processing power they take, while others will be astonishing for just how demanding they are.
- Set a budget. It’s really easy to spend more than is necessary on a load of new titles, and then leave half of them sitting, un-downloaded, waiting for a mythical period when you have time to play them.
- Experiment with games you may not try otherwise. Spending $20 or $40 on a title that may not be enjoyable is a purchase, but the same games will be available for a fraction of their original cost. Spending $5 on something that’s a little bit different could turn out to pay off big time.