We're now a week into the Steam Summer Sale 2017, and the PC game deals keep bubbling to the surface.
But to paraphrase R-Kelly, "my wallet says, "NOO!" But my body…MY BODY SAYS, "YEEESSSSS!" It's a time of year that PC gamers love and fear in equal measure – when the PC gaming gatekeepers Valve slash the prices of a huge number of top quality PC games, and bank balances take a hammering in the process.
As soon as Steam Summer Sale 2017 dates were finally revealed, PC gamers began prepping for the annual gaming deal-a-thon, with Valve lining up wallet-walloping deals on a whole range of titles.
There are always massive savings to be had – but there are some Steam sale pitfalls to avoid, too. With that in mind, here are our tips for to make the most of – and survive – the Steam Summer Sale 2017.
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When does the Steam Summer Sale 2017 start?
As is almost becoming an annual tradition, the money handlers at PayPal lifted the lid on this year's Steam Summer Sale dates. Tweeting from the official PayPal account, it revealed the Steam Summer Sale for 2017 kicks off on June 22.
It's worth noting also that UK gamers who spend £20 or more in the Steam store during the sale will also receive £5 off the purchase when paying with PayPal. The offer will run until July 5 2017 – which would suggest that's when the sale will end, too. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent deal for other countries at the moment, unfortunately.
TechRadar's Steam Summer Sale pick of the day
Whether or not you're a fan of the television series, there's no doubt The Walking Dead games put out by Telltale are fine examples of the genre when it comes to episodic storytelling through the video game format.
Treat yourself to some gore and zombie action with between 50% and 75% off everything in the franchise. You can pick up A New Frontier for half price, for example, and get 75% off the original game from 2012.
The best Steam Summer Sale deals so far
Skyrim: With over 200 Game of the Year Awards to its name, Skyrim is undoubtedly one of the greatest games of recent years. With its seemingly endless open world gameplay, this is truly a game that has something for everyone.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, is complete with remastered art and effects, plus all the mods, meaning in it's own words: "there are no limits to what you can experience". , and so is the entire
The Witcher 3: Inarguably the game of 2015, The Witcher 3 is also now often considered the best RPG of all time. A sprawling dark fantasy epic, it's a beautiful game and one that's a great show piece for your souped-up gaming PC too.
And, with the Game of the Year Edition being heavily discounted in the Steam Summer Sale 2017, you've got all the more reason to pick it up if you've yet to play it. Currently 50% off its usual asking price, it's a fantastic way to jump into this monumental game, and get all of its DLC at a discount too.
Deus Ex Franchise pack: The Deus Ex games are fantastic first-person shooters, and if you you've never played them this is the perfect way to get into the franchise without bankrupting yourself. Most of the games in the franchise are 80% off, but you can also buy a five game pack with an 82% reduction, meaning you get all five games for less than one game would normally cost you.
Overcooked: Multiplayer madness, this one. You and a group of your friends have to prepare, cook, and serve dishes before your clients leave in a huff. If you haven't played it, you must. It's an office favorite. What's more, it's now 50% off.
Just Cause: Like your open-world games with a bit more boom in 'em? The Just Cause series has been letting gamers live out their action movie fantasies for more than a decade, and the trilogy came to a superlatively explosive close with Just Cause 3. The third-person title lets you pull of car stunts, walk the wings of planes and blow up buildings on an epic scale as you look to take down a dictatorship.
And, thanks to the Steam Summer Sale, you can now pick it up for a giant 75% off the usual asking price. It's a giant game, so there's a lot of bang for your buck there.
GTA V: When it first came out back in 2014, Grand Theft Auto V was the biggest-selling video game of all time in the UK. Before it hit the shelves it had already sold 3.7 million units in the UK alone, and with good reason. It's a fantastic instalment in the ludicrously popular franchise and with the Steam Summer Sale it's 50% off.
It's a great way of getting you ready for GTA VI when it finally comes out, and still has a massive multiplayer player base.
Tom Clancy's The Division: One of the hottest games of 2016, Tom Clancy's The Division sees you exploring a post-apocalyptic New York reeling from a deadly virus. Survival is the aim in this huge open world with the option to fight with or against other players online.
We're big fans of the game and it can be yours today for 60% off the regular price in the Steam summer sale. Get yourself equipped, keep your wits about you, and see how you fare after the collapse of society.
Tomb Raider franchise: Few franchises are as iconic as this, and if you've missed out on any of Lara exploits so far, this can plug those gaps. Discounts vary between 60% and 80% across the 13 games included in the offer: you can pick up Rise of the Tomb Raider for a 60% discount, for example, and Tomb Raider: Underworld for a whopping 80% off. It's tempting to just spend the whole summer in Lara's company.
The Valve complete pack: If, by some small miracle, you're a PC gamer that's yet to try any of Valve's homegrown titles, here's your chance. The Valve Complete Pack is a staggering 91% off its usual asking price, and includes all the Half-Life games and episodes, every Portal game, every Left 4 Dead game, a bunch of DLC and much, much more.
Mafia III: Take a trip back in time to the turbulent '60s when the US was split by racial tensions and a growing drug war. The third game in the Mafia series is being served up with a big 63% discount right now.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor: This latest Lord of the Rings game, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, was one of our favorites from E3 2017. Now, you can catch up with the first game in the series, thanks to a massive 80% price cut on Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Your favorite crew of space bandits from Marvel finally have a video game of their own. Telltale has brought their hilarious and heroic antics to the click-and-point adventure world, available now with a sizable 33% discount on Steam.
What other games are in the Steam Summer Sale?
First off, don't expect brand new games to get the deep discounts that have become synonymous with the Steam sales. You may see a 5%, or even 10% discount on games that have been recent big hits, but if they're still new enough to be spinning money without needing a price cut, don't expect that to change now that the sale is here.
But, with the exception of the newer titles, pretty much the entire store receives a 25% discount, if not higher. Some hit the heady heights of 90% off the list price. While the store now highlights what Valve considers the best deals, it's worth noting that flash and community sales are no longer in the mix, so feel free to pick a title on sale when you like – its discounted price will stand for the duration of the sale.
How to get the best deals in the Steam Summer Sale
Whichever way you approach the Steam Summer Sale (or the Winter holiday sale, or any other Steam deal-a-thon for that matter), you're guaranteed to pick up something great at a good price.
But, there are a few techniques and tricks worth using to get the most out of the sale.
- Use your Steam Wishlist: Fill it up with all the games you're interested in picking up, and it will alert you the moment they go on sale, and by how much.
- Bundles are great: Publishers often pull their titles together in sale mega-packs, ramping up the savings to even greater heights. If there's a suite of titles from a publisher like Square Enix or Activision that you've never played before, this is the best – and cheapest – way to bag them all at once. As you'd imagine, the value diminishes if you've already got a few bundled titles in your library.
- Highlighted deals are where the real savings are: The majority of the Steam store back catalogue will get some sort of price cut, but it's the 'Highlighted' deals (the ones promoted on the Steam front splash page) that tend to be more heavily discounted. These are the ones where you may fall into impulse-buy territory. Which leads on to our next tip…
- Only buy what you'll actually play right away: Once those 75% off signs start floating around, you're going to want to break open the piggy-bank. But the Steam sales of yesteryear have proved that our desire for overflowing game libraries leaves us with more titles than we could ever humanly play. Save some cash, and only grab the ones you're really going to play – keep in mind that if you wait a while, the games will almost inevitably get cheaper as they get older.
- Use this browser extension: Want to make sure you're getting a good deal? Use the Enhanced Steam browser extension. It gives you a historical look at the price of all Steam games, letting you see just how many pennies have been saved.
Of course, Other Gaming Stores Do Exist™, and it's worth checking their wares too to see if you can't bag an even bigger bargain elsewhere. GOG.com is a great place to start, and if you're platform agnostic and looking for multi-platform titles, keep an eye on the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Deals with Gold offers, too. There's a reasonable chance that the odd game may turn up at one spot or the other at a slightly more affordable price and it's always worth looking for a few titles during Black Friday for some pre-Christmas bargains.
- Or…spend no money at all on the best free games to play right now!
Joe Osborne and Kevin Lee contributed to this article