Do we really need the Steam autumn sale?

Nov 26, 2012
20

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of partying with a bunch of my friends. All of them are pretty big nerds, just like me. If you're a nerd too, you know that not much changes when a bunch of nerds get a few drinks in them, they just talk about nerdy things louder than usual. Therefore, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to hear that the Steam autumn sale was among the topics that came up that night.

“So what do you think of the autumn sale?” one of my friends asked.

“Not impressed,” I replied. The look his face indicated that he agreed with me.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good deal as much as the next gamer, and I am always willing to spill some serious cash during a Steam sale. I went into the autumn sale thinking that I was going to be buying up games left and right, but we've now entered the final day of the sale and so far I've purchased two games for a grand total of $17.48. I'm in fine standing with both my bank and my girlfriend as a result, but I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed.

There have been some good deals, to be sure – earlier in the sale, Skyrim took the stage as a featured deal, and right now Dishonored and Torchlight II, the latter of which being one of my 2012 favorites, are both 50% off. The problem, though, is that there's going to be another Steam sale in less than a month. It'll be big too, as Steam holiday sales always are. The autumn sale just pales in comparison to the blowout events that the holiday and summer sales have traditionally been, which leaves me wondering why we even need the autumn sale in the first place.

I understand why the autumn sale exists – everyone is going nuts over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so Valve holds a sale of its own to net some of the shoppers who have cash and are ready to spend it, provided the deals are good enough. With the autumn sale, however, it's hard to get excited in the same way I'm excited for the holiday sale. In fact, it feels like the autumn sale is intentionally watered down in anticipation of the incoming holiday sale. It's shorter than its summer and holiday siblings, there aren't any publisher catalogs on offer, and the discounts don't seem as deep. So, what's the point when the holiday sale is knocking on the door?

Maybe this is all in my head. Maybe the problem is with me and not with the sale itself. With the holiday sale on the horizon, I'm hesitant to spend money during the autumn sale because there's a feeling that they might be even cheaper in just a few short weeks. Even if I see a deal I know is good on a game I've been wanting to play, I question whether or not I should take advantage of it since I know (or at least assume) I'll spend a lot of money during the holiday sale.

I can't be the only one who feels that way, can I? I'd be interested to see how many people bite during the autumn sale in comparison to the summer and holiday sales, because I would imagine that the numbers for the autumn sale end up falling short. Valve – and other digitial distribution platforms for that matter – have something of a unique problem here. Most retailers don't hold a holiday sale on the scale of Valve's, only hosting massive sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Since PC gamers are used to blowout holiday sales and therefore expect them year after year, it makes pulling off an equally impressive Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale a bit trickier for those in the digital distribution arena.

What about you – has this been a great sale for you, or are you like me and feeling a little underwhelmed at the end of it all?


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