Steam Sales Devalue Games

The Steam summer sale began a few days ago, and thousands of people are buying games at huge discounts as you read this. Sales like this are great and I’m not trying to say they’re bad necessarily. In fact, I rarely even buy PC games that aren’t on sale. However, there might be a point when a game is too cheap.

Games are only becoming more expensive to make. As controversial as it is, one of the reasons DLC has caught on is that developers have to make more money from every individual who buys their game as time goes on. That was actually a pretty big problem with the App Store early on. The most successful games like Angry Birds only cost 99 cents, so that’s the price everyone put their games at. It turns out that only the most popular games can afford to charge one dollar and still make money. Developers have figured that out, which is why most of the mobile games coming out now are closer to five dollars. With the amount of work that goes into mobile games, they can’t only charge a dollar to everyone who buys it. The most popular games on the App Store have brought this perception that mobile games should only cost a dollar, which made higher-priced games seem expensive. That perception was somewhat of a hindrance for any mobile developers trying to break into the industry who weren’t already established.

Steam sales might be doing the same thing. Many people look at a PC game that’s even 25 or 30 dollars and think it’s too expensive. They’ll just wait for it to go on sale for 5 or 10 dollars before buying it, which has created the same kind of perception. It lowers people’s idea of what PC games should cost, even if the game is worth more than that. Also, because almost every game on Steam gets a discount pretty regularly, people will just wait for those sales to buy games instead of buying them for full price.

On the other hand, most people can’t afford to spend 60 dollars on every game that comes out. Cheaper games are certainly better for the consumers. People will also buy more games if they’re cheaper, which is better for the gaming industry as a whole because a larger variety of games are discovered and played by more people. Steam sales often actually increase the profit for games because people love to buy games that are on sale.

Cheaper games also encourage some people to purchase them who would not buy games normally. I know quite a few people who would never buy a game for 60 dollars, but they might try out something that looks interesting for five. Overall, Steam sales are probably better than the App Store situation because the cheapest games are on sale instead of that being the normal price for Steam games.

Steam sales and overall cheaper prices on games are much better for the consumer, but what about game developers? Tell me your thoughts below.

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