There are a lot of differing opinions about video games out there. However, I feel there is one thing on which we parents can all agree.
Video games are expensive.
A new game with set you back $60. And your gamer is probably not going to only want one game a year. The cost can really begin to pile up.
That is why I love Steam.
Disclaimer: If your gamer does not play games on the computer, you can probably skip this post. While Steam sales are awesome, they only apply to PC games.
What is a Steam Sale?
Every summer, PC gamers around the world wait in anticipation for the Steam Summer Sale. It is a time when they can get a ton of great games at ridiculously reduced prices, sometimes as much at 90% off!
When the sale starts, just about every game has a discount of some sort. It might be as little at 10% or as much as 90%. Every day at 10am PST, a daily sale will start. This will include a selection of 8-10 games that receive an even steeper discount for 48 hours. In addition, there is a flash sale and community choice sale that will rotate discounts on 8 games every 8 hours.
If you read through that and thought, “Man, that would be exhausting to keep up with!”, you are correct. It is exhausting. I am normally worn out by the end.
One way to help mitigate this is to wait until the last day. They normally rerun their most popular sales on that day. You might miss some good deals but you also won’t have to check the site every 8 hours.
The other encouragement I would give you is that it is worth it. Steam sales, as exhausting as they can be, are awesome.
Why is a Steam Sale Awesome for Parents?
As you can probably probably guess, Steam sales are awesome for the money they save. They can help you stretch your budget much farther would otherwise be possible.
Let’s say you have $200 a year you are willing to spend on video games for your gamer. That is enough to get 3 new games at regular price. Or, as of June 25th at 11:00AM, you could get:
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons
- Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist
- Torchlight 2
- Arma 3
- Fallout 3
- Borderlands 2
- Civilization 5
- Bioshock Triple Pack (Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Bioshock Infinite)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
- Batman: Arkham Origins
Right there your $200 went from buying 3 games to buying 15! And these are not low quality, budget games. These are some of the stand out games of the last couple years. Your gamer would be busy for a long time playing through those. You were earn some major brownies points with that list.
How Do You Take Advantage of a Steam Sale?
The easiest way to take advantage of the sale is through Steam gift cards. These are available at stores like Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart.
(Disclaimer, if you buy a gift card from GameStop keep the receipt. The code for the card is printed on the receipt, not on the card. If you lose it, you will have to go back to the store and get them to reprint it.)
Giving your gamer a gift card will allow them to buy the games they want themselves. They can do all the work of keeping up with the sale.
The disadvantage to this is that you will need to keep tabs on what they are buying to make sure they are following your house rules on content. This might be reason enough for you to forgo gifts cards and buy the games yourself.
There is another reason you might want to put the effort into the sale yourself. Steam allows you to purchase games to be given at a later date. This would allow you to stock up on games when they are cheap and then wait to give them until a special occasion, like a birthday or Christmas.
To take advantage of the sale, you will need a Steam account. You can create one here. You have 3 options when you buy a game as a gift.
- Send it to your gamer’s email – You have the option to gift a game to someone using their email address. This allows you to send games to someone who is not yet on your friends list.
- Send it to a friend – You can send a gift directly to your gamer through Steam if they are on your friend list. This also allows you to see their wishlist so you will know what games they want. You will also see “[Your gamer] wants this” on the store page for any game they have on their wishlist.
- Keep it to give at a later date – This option allows you to build a gift bag of games for your gamer. You get them cheap and can give them whenever.
Then it is just a matter of paying attention to the sale and buying the games your gamer wants.