Steam Summer Sale 2014 Recap: The Good, The Bad And The Weird
One of the most tumultuous periods for PC Gamers, the Steam Summer Sale, is finally at an end and the storefront now looks eerily sad and deserted. For several days, activity was at an unprecedented high.
This time, there were several big changes to the interactive model of the sale. The community could put in their two cents on what games they’d like to see and craft badges to obtain prizes.
With so much going on, maybe we can look back at what stuck and what didn’t in the Steam Summer Sale 2014; the good, the bad and the weird.
More Flash Deals: For the first time, community voting for Flash Deals, which revolved every eight hours, were tied to more than one game. This is an improvement in multiple ways.
First off, logically, it creates more discounts. More importantly, however, is the fact that it severely reduced the chances of having to settle for an uninteresting choice by default.
Community votes used to be between just two titles. Now, this is decided between two packs of four, leaving everyone with most likely one decent choice midst the eight.
It was also a great way to get something else than the usually featured games.
More Cards: Each big promotional event gets its own set of Steam Trading Cards, used for its overarching badge crafting activity. These show participation in the sale in a tangible way.
This year, getting cards to craft a sale badge was made a little easier, as anyone even trying to get towards that goal would be awarded a card or two each day. Seeing as the sale ran for about ten days and there are about ten cards, it could easily let anyone collect enough for at least one badge.
If nothing else, those items are quickly sold for extra cash.
Sell, Sell, Sell: Not just event cards are worth money during the sale. Any and all items on the Steam Market are in high demand, as people rush to collect trading cards for badges.
Moreover, this is the opportune time to shed off some backgrounds, emoticons and various things that were clogging up the inventory. It might not fetch quite as high a price, given the influx of new players, but it’s more likely to sell.
Certainly when it comes to obscure games, it’s possible to speculate on dumping costly goods during the sale, to pick them up at a reduced price later on for some sweet profit.
Indie Blips Are Popular: With the community votes exposing more and fresher titles, there were an unprecedented amount of lesser known indie titles sold. Given the novelty for users, these proved to be quite popular, frequently hovering in the top 10 sales figures.
For instance, The Blackwell Legacy appeared in the community choice of Day 6 at 10AM PT, alongside Kentucky Route Zero. Dave Gilbert of developer Wadjet Eye Games tweeted the following upon its conclusion:
So I think more people bought Blackwell during yesterday’s flash sale then in the entirety of its existence. So… hello new players!
We can always use fresh, new games.
Crashing: “Oh, nice, a new sale is h… Well, Steam is down.” That was the daily routine whenever games shuffled on the front page.
Given the recurrence of server spikes, it’s not too much to ask for Valve to tackle these indiscretions with their store. It’s not like they’re unaware this happens.
It’s not just a cosmetic annoyance though. Server issues messed with collecting items, which would show up as a blank notification, before disappearing. For those with a sizable inventory, this was a hell to find out what goodies got added.
Stress testing is over, Valve. Fix the lag; god!
Mini Discounts: No one goes into the big Steam sales expecting a minor discount, which made the first day a bit of a cold open. Zombie game DayZ was up at 15% off and Divinity: Original Sin only managed to climb to a 20% reduction. Yawn.
This model proved to be a standard for any popularized game, which isn’t exactly the sale mentality. Many of these items could’ve dropped a few more cents, though that’s unlikely.
More constructively, the big titles with small discounts could’ve made way for the growing library of lesser known games that were willing to go deeper. They didn’t.
Déjà vu: So, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was featured again. Oh, so was Far Cry 3. And let’s not forget Grand Theft Auto IV. Fallout. Counter-Strike. Civilization. Dark Souls. The Witcher. Borderlands 2.
Does anyone else feel stuck in a loop?
While these repeats kept filling up space on the featured list, newer items were relegated to the depths of Steam. As we noted, a lot of Bandai Namco games had great prices, but very few made it to the spotlight.
This is a stark contrast to reports of Steam releasing more new games than ever. Change needs to happen on the front page.
Teams, teams, teams: If there was one novelty in particular that didn’t work out, it’s the implementation of random teams for the sale’s adventure event. Did anyone really care?
There was no point to it. For starters, the singular effort any one person could achieve was void of impact, given the rapidly growing score.
After some time, people were able to rig the whole thing, so any involvement in there otherwise would become useless. It’s just a thing that happened. If anything, it reduced activity on “losing” days.
A new idea is not a good idea by default. This was a bad idea.
Crippled Economy: For some inexplicable reason, Valve changed the Steam Market to an ethereal stock exchange. Now, people can visibly put in orders to buy at different prices.
This immediately lead to sales blockade for just about anything, as sellers could see the leagues of cheapskates waiting for bargains and no one taking on the going rate anymore. This also has effects past the sale, since it’s the new adopted model. Everyone loses here.
No one has to stay on top of goods anymore, so no one feels any urgency. Goodbye, auxiliary game support. Just put in a cheap price and maybe it’ll get there, eventually.