Steam's annual Summer Sale is rumored to start today, but before you go and empty your wallet, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the most for your money and catch the titles you really want.

If you're not familiar with Steam's regular sales, the summer sale is usually around mid July and can net gamers huge discounts on popular titles released during the first half of the year—and the first half of this year has been particularly awesome. Even popular, best-selling, and newly released titles can see huge discounts, on the order of 75% to 90% off in some cases. Those discounts are hard to resist, but there's a method to Steam's madness. Here's how to get the games you want for as little as possible.

Wishlist Feature

One of Steam's best features is that they'll send you an email alert when a game on your wishlist goes on sale. It's both a blessing and a curse—you'll be able to jump right on that sale, but you also may jump on a sale that's a little premature. We'll get to how to tell when your favorite game is discounted as deep as it's going to get in a second, but for the time being, go ahead and load up your wishlist with titles you've been meaning to check out. That way you'll at least be notified, and you won't miss them.
Know Your Steam Sale Types

Each steam sale has four different types of discounts going on at the same time:

The broad, store-wide discount that any game not released in the past six months gets. This discount is usually anywhere between 25% to 75%.

  • Daily deals, where selected games are on sale for 24-48 hours. These discounts are generally a bit steeper, but still in the 50-75% range. These are the deals you get to sleep on if you want to.
  • Flash sales, where selected games are on sale for 12-14 hours. These are the ones you may have thought were daily deals and wound up missing. Sucks, doesn't it? Discount levels are the same, but the clock runs out faster.
  • Community deals, where Steam users vote for one of three games to get a discount. These deals last about a day, and you can weigh in on which one you want. The result is up to the community, but it's usually the biggest title or the steepest discount that wins.

When to Buy, and When to Skip

Don't buy a game unless it's a daily deal or a flash sale. You may be tempted by one of the general store discounts, but don't do it. Those titles will likely go further on sale somewhere before the end of the week, and you'll miss out on a deeper discount. If your favorite game doesn't go on a daily deal or a flash sale before the end of the sale, you can pick it up on the last day at the same discount that it got on the first day—you'll just know that's as good as it's going to get.

If you miss your favorite game as a daily deal or flash sale, do not buy it anyway. The last day of the Steam Sale is almost always an Encore Sale, where the most popular daily deals and flash sales come back at the same discounts. That's when you get to buy whatever you missed—or whatever else you may want.

This thread at GameFAQs sums up these rules pretty clearly, and some of the other posters there offer a few more points to consider when shopping Steam sales, but these are the big two takeaways.
The Exception: Buy Bundles Any Time You Want

Publisher bundles

Publisher bundles are almost always ridiculously deep discounts. If you're looking at an Activision bundle or a Eidos bundle and wondering if those prices will get any better, stop wondering and just buy it. The side effect is that you wind up with a bunch of games you may not want to play, but if everything in the bundle interests you, it can be a fantastic discount for a ton of games.

Before you buy any game on sale, make sure to check a publisher bundle to see if the game is discounted in the bundle as well. You never know, it may be a steeper discount in the bundle than it is on its own. It's not terribly likely, but you should always check first. While you're at it, check DLC (Downloadable Content) prices. Sometimes a title you want has a ton of DLC that's also on sale too for as little as $1, and it's worth buying them all together.
How to Know When You're Getting the Biggest Discount

Daily deals and flash sales offer the deepest discounts Steam will offer. That means if you see Bioshock Infinite for sale for 60% off as a flash sale, even if it comes back, you won't get it any cheaper than that. You probably won't see that though—as the Scientific Gamer notes, new games that have been recently released will usually only get a 25%-40% cut. Grab it if you really really want it, but deeper discounts will come in the next few months. 50%-66% off are modest discounts, worth jumping on if you want the title or have been meaning to pick it up, and if the title is an Indie or a cheap game anyway, go for it. You run the risk of seeing a steeper discount after the sale is over, but probably not. Anything discounted 75% or more is the cheapest you'll ever see it on Steam. Go for it.
Use Technology to Help You

If you don't want to be bothered with emails from Steam, check out the Steam mobile apps for Android and iOS. You can keep track on the sales anywhere you go, and if there's a flash sale, you'll be able to check the prices from your smartphone.

Use Enhanced Steam

Similarly, check out Enhanced Steam for Chrome and Firefox. The extension gives you full price histories for the games you browse, helps you avoid buying DLC you already own, notifies you when a game you're looking at has third-party DRM (worthwhile for finding out if a game requires Games for Windows Live or Ubisoft's UPlay before you buy it and find out), and shows you how much you're really saving on a bundle purchase. If you haven't tried it, it's worth installing.

Finally, if you use Steam Wallet to make your purchases, load it up ahead of time. You don't want to get stuck in the last moments of a sale trying to add funds and then process a sale only to be denied because the transactions are taking too long. For more suggestions, check out this post over at GHacks.

With these tips, you won't buy a game only to find it's a daily deal and thus a steeper discount later in the week, and you won't miss a sale hoping it'll come back at some point later on only to find out it never does. Keep an eye out for your favorite titles, make your wishlist in advance, set a budget for yourself (seriously, otherwise you will empty your wallet), and have fun. Then spend some time actually playing through your backlog so you can get to the games you just bought.

Source : by Alan Henry

DavidSarif (1 year ago)

Nice but a little formatting would make this easier to read IMO.

Done

Saiyan6

(1 year ago)

good guide, thanks for sharing

DavidSarif

(1 year ago)

Nixxi (1 year ago)

I already know all of this, but thank you.

grundig (1 year ago)

will read this later

Arrgeron422 (1 year ago)

I only skimmed it, since I mostly understand how the sales work, but it appears to be a great read for anyone confused on the subject. +1

dimon222 (1 year ago)

There're also hidden sales. Some games will have discount, but will not be shown in discount list.

http://www.steamgamesales.com/ for such hidden sales ;)

frankyboy

(1 year ago)

doctorofjournalism (1 year ago*)

Excellent cliffs for Summer Sale neophytes

0x442E472E (1 year ago)

So, everything as usual

luneaux (1 year ago*)

Nice newbie guide. Thanks for sharing.

Not by me, the guy in the source called Alan Henry wrote this, I just wanted to share it here

Saiyan6

(1 year ago*)

Thanks for sharing then :p

CrazyShark24

(1 year ago)

Welcome

Saiyan6

(1 year ago)

Ah ok. Didn't see the reference.

luneaux

(1 year ago)

TheSmiler (1 year ago)

Thank you helped me a lot :)

mhmed009 (1 year ago)

thank you btw where can i find this enhanced steam?

RanTH

(1 year ago)

UndyingZombie (1 year ago)

Mostly common sense things. Still nice for those who are new to it all.

Think I remember seeing a post like the one you mentioned a long,long time ago on the forums for steam. ( Not word for word mind you )

iridian (1 year ago)

and remember 'new' games don't get big discounts/ will probably not end up in a flash sale

Mozendo (1 year ago)

Eww Gawker.

madnessnewb (1 year ago)

How do you know this sale will be like last ones? With community voting etc?

Lezz (1 year ago)

1st: Panic.
2nd: buy the first thing you see
3rd: repeat until you are out of money
4th: ????
5th: proffit

hahahaha

DavidSarif

(1 year ago)

6th: regret when the game is bundles.

Necroblight

(1 year ago)

vidmavidma (1 year ago)

TL:DR.

So you don't need any tips on the summer sale. Nice :)

Nice find and thanks for sharing Saiyan6. I read a similar article/thread in here yesterday on the same note. Basically it covered most of the points here. Can't find it right now to link it to you and the others.

Denariand

(1 year ago)

just buy flash and daily deals or on the last day if the game you wanted wasnt a flash/daily deal :P

Thompzen

(1 year ago)

^ this sums it up perfectly.

bull21

(1 year ago)

dondiablo29 (1 year ago)

Hmm...I should indeed add more things to my wishlist I guess

Amateur7 (1 year ago)

Thanks for the info. Though I've found everything my myself some years ago already. :)

Tetony (1 year ago)

Thank you for sharing!

Berion83 (1 year ago)

I don't care Steam Summer Sale. -75% euro prices it's still "poor" discount with my currency exchange rates.

+INFINITY

Like this Alice game. 50 fuckin euros, so during the awesome 75% sale, it's something like 14-ish euro soo cooool wow. SO, I went to trade, and got it for 2 keys + cards from a brazilian trader.

EUROPE, home of the most expensive games on the whole world.

MrD

(1 year ago*)

You also get paid in euros though, Soo...

LiNcKz

(1 year ago)

Yeah bro, you totally got my point. :) I don't think, we are even getting paid better then the americans, ... ;

but a 20 dollar game in europe costs 50 euros, totally legit and understandable.

MrD

(1 year ago)

taytothief (1 year ago)

People need guides for a sale now?

Dronak (1 year ago)

These are generally good tips, and I think I learned them before last year's summer sale. As for people needing a guide to sales, yes, for people new to Steam (like I was last year), this is helpful. If you're not familiar with the way Steam generally runs their big sales, you could end up regretting buying games early because they were say 50% off because you didn't wait until they were daily deals or flash sales for say 75% off. So a guide like this that explains things to newer gamers is useful, I think.

MrD (1 year ago)

TLDR version:

Buy only games on 75% sale (min 66%, even if you really want the game) or more. Possible bundles or packs (if you want most of the games included). And ofc, keep your wishlist updated. #commonsense #don'tfuckinspendallyourmoney

That's like, my one rule.

Necroblight

(1 year ago)

Necroblight (1 year ago)

I think I would miss the Summer Sale if I started reading this.

Select66 (1 year ago)

Good guide. Thanks

Tiny (1 year ago)

Good tips, thanks.

Pesmerga (1 year ago)

skyrim legendary at 40% off is really tempting me.

never seen bethesda games sales higher than 50% ^^

frankyboy

(1 year ago)

So you don't think Morrowind or Oblivion will be at 60 or 75% off?

mechanicalbride

(1 year ago)

it seems that i missed these sales with big % off
Morrowind sales history
Oblivion sales history
so now i am not sure... sorry

frankyboy

(1 year ago*)

Wait for daily deal of Skyrim(notice there is a steam card for skyrim), they will give a bigger discount IMO and add cards for the game

TheSnake

(1 year ago)

Highly doubt there will be a bigger discount than that.

yupignome

(1 year ago)

skyrim atm is 30%, you realydoubt it wont be 50%? -.- it was before duh.

TheSnake

(1 year ago)

Skyrim maybe. We're talking Legendary Edition, since...ya know...it's a flash deal right now.

yupignome

(1 year ago)

it seems that i missed these sales with big % off
Morrowind sales history
Oblivion sales history
so now i am not sure... sorry

frankyboy

(1 year ago)

CaillouofSwag (1 year ago)

Good bump. Keep this on the front so people can stop asking questions that can be found here.

panchox (1 year ago)

What about games that not many people care? I want to get The Last Remnant, and it's already very cheap :/.

matoboss (1 year ago)

is the 75% discount the highest? Or can be the game cheaper? Thanks :) P.s. nice guide ;)

Some stuff goes to 90% but that wont happen for the biggest games

I use this site http://steamdb.info/ to see just about everything

ZerbaDerb

(1 year ago)

thank you very much

matoboss

(1 year ago)

ToXXiN (1 year ago)

Its good, thx

Cyco (1 year ago)

Thanks for the guide! I will definitely... OMG Psychonauts AND Skyrim are on sale right now!!1 Something tells me this will be a short sale for me.

zeyqer (1 year ago)

Hey, I made a thread on this guide on Steam discussion, check it out if yo want to.. http://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/1/864973123261612138/?tscn=1373578764#p5 and thanks for this guide hehe

Great though shorter but you summarized the main points

Saiyan6

(1 year ago)

jperry55 (1 year ago)

Awesome thanks!!!

Welcome

Saiyan6

(1 year ago)

ZerbaDerb (1 year ago)

Borderlands 2 won the community choice. Dammit.

This topic is now closed.