Okay, wallets. The Steam Summer Sale’s done and dusted, you can come out of hiding now.
If this year’s sale taught me anything, it’s that I think I’ve reached a plateau where the acquisition of games is concerned. Last summer I was going crazy, purchasing three or four things each day (one or two of which I may have actually played since then!), but this year’s bargain hunting turned up very little. In fact, here’s my entire catch:
- Operation Flashpoint: Red River
- Bully: Scholarship Edition
- Strike Suit Zero Mega Bundle
- The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
So, barely $20 worth of goodies.
With roughly 400 games in my Steam account, there really isn’t much left that I actually need, especially when you consider that I could actively stop buying games for the next five years and still not run out of stuff to play. (Because there’s all my GOG stuff too!) Granted, there’s some recent-ish stuff I wouldn’t mind owning—Remember Me, Civilization V: Brave New World, DmC, Resident Evil 6 etc.—but I can probably wait a while for those.
As 1pm EST rolled around each day, I’d be there with everyone else, hammering F5 on Steam’s store page to feast upon the Daily Deals, but this year my response to most of them was either “got” or “meh”.
Valve are obviously very much aware of the fact that a significant percentage of their users are running out of games to buy (and even games to gift!), which is why we now have the Steam Trading Cards phenomenon, whereby JPGs and XML are now changing hands for money. I can’t help wonder if the cards will plateau a lot faster than the game store—most cards are ridiculously easy to come by and are worth very little (even the rarest ones) so it’s tricky to see where all this is going. There’s a lot of very clever people working at Valve who know more about economics than I’ll ever learn in a lifetime, so surely this is all going somewhere… right?
So, a fairly lackluster sale for me, but a good number of my Steam pals appeared to go bonkers, grabbing handfuls of new titles each day. But you guys will find yourself plateauing within the next 12 months or so too. The question then remains: what will Valve do next to convince you that your money belongs in their bank account? After all, Steam is now pretty much a game unto itself, with its own set of achievements, rewards and leveling up for being a good consumer. How much longer can we continue playing their game?
Edit: Since publishing this article I acquired two more games—Section 8 and Hydrophobia—after selling off a bunch of duplicate trading cards I had.