Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Not doing that Steam Sale

Recently Ars Technical data-mined Steam and found that 37% of games that people had bought then stayed unplayed in their libraries. I'm afraid my personal Steam library has even more unplayed games in it. I tend to pick up games that look interesting for cheap in a Steam sale, and then never find the time. So this year I don't participate in the Steam summer sale, because I simply don't need any more unplayed games.

Between Steam sales and cheap iOS games, I have reached the point of game saturation. Neither money nor availability of interesting games is a limiting factor any more, the only limit to the number of games I can play is the time I have for games. How about you?

I bought a dozen or so of the under $5 ones. Most of the expensive stuff I'm at all interested in I buy at release, so there's little temptation there.

I do have quite a few games that I look at for just a bit and then never touch again, but that's ok. When games only cost $5, even just a half hour of keeping me amused is decent value. Not every game needs to be some hundreds of hours consuming beast of a game, like Kerbal Space Program or EU4.

I don't mind keeping a stock of some dozen games I've never touched, just on the chance that someday I'll be bored and in a mood for something quite specific.
That's been my limiting factor for at least five years. And I have a lot of time available to play, too.
I follow a simple rule of thumb:

Game sounds interesting and like I may play it once? Check if it's 75% off or more and if it's $5 or less.

Triple A titles for $5 or less are a buy. Indie titles for $2.50 or less are a buy. (Assuming the 'will try once in my life' holds, an hour or so of experiencing what this game is trying to do is worth that amount to me.)

Lately, Steam has been getting sneakier with pricing during their regular holiday sales, with some games going for only 66% or a marked up 75% (games are $7.49 or $3.74) - these become more careful deliberations of 'I might buy later when it goes on daily deal for cheaper'

I put off MANY games when they are first released though, I don't think I've bought any full price $50-60 boxes since a couple years after Steam, beyond a handful of MMOs at launch. Games that I'm keenly interested in and have been wanting to play for ages but refuse to pay launch premiums for.

(After all, singleplayer games do not have to be played at the same time as their zeitgeist.)

These are usually the ones that I break the above rule for, and cave in at about 50-66% off, but I make certain that I will be playing them the instant I buy them.
Same boat, I am however doing a test to see how fast I can download the Bioshock Suite once my google fiber is installed, or I would of played at least one of them some since the last mega sale.
As a rule I don't buy any computer games any more, so not really caring about sales or whatever.
Agreed. I bought a $5 game the first day, mostly out of habit... then thought "why am I doing this?"

Another reason is the rise of cardboard. There are so many great board games that I'd rather be playing with my family.
Like @Michael, I've started to favor small indie or arcade games. I have way too many untouched AAA games in my play queue.

But on the other hand.. when I do have time and could play a game, I often find myself reading a book or a comic or watching something instead. I didn't plan on doing that; I was just so (mentally) exhausted at work for a time that I didn't want to keep myself at high adrenaline levels during my free time as well. I wonder whether that will change when my vacation starts next week.
I spend $100 to keep people working.
Steam games on sale still present tremendous value.

A recent example: Wildstar beta kept my attention for about an hour before I was bored.

In contrast I played through Gone Home, Fez and Arkham Asylum over the course of a week and enjoyed them all immensely for the variety and freshness. Now I'm working my way through Sleeping Dogs ($3.99 incl DLC) and probably will stay at it until 100% completion.

Yes, there are many unplayed games but I am happy to keep them for rainy days. If it's less than $5 and has a metacritic of 80%+, there WILL be a point at which I'm up for playing them.

Pretty much the same. Time is a rare commodity for me nowdays and that means that : (a) I can only play one game at a time and (b) that game better not have any forced time sinks and grinding, because I'm so over that.
After being relatively restrained and with the help of a WoW holiday I have finally finished with the games purchased in the last couple of sales.
I buy games new from key sites so I get them at launch for Steam sale prices.

The sales don't interest me anymore.

I believe that Ubi/EA/Valve are colluding and price fixing as they all charge the same identical 100% mark up on new games versus other territories.

I think the EU should investigate them as the samey pricing across those services stinks.

The prices when new on Steam have been creeping up and the sale prices aren't as good as they were.
Sorry if I am being a bit rude but... what's the point of your post? You lost interest in videogames so you will not buy videogames. Isn't that obious :-D ?

If you were still interested in gaming you would jump on the sales train, because -as the name says- you can save a lot of money (and make some too, with trading cards).

I find that the unplayed part of my Steam library is bloated by games I got as part of a bundle, but aren't the reason I bought the bundle. Most of these are destined to never be installed, although the relatively recent innovations of 'free' credit for playing games from steam cards and playfire rewards means that I do give an increasing number of them a try out.
"Signs you've become an adult; the barrier to buying new games is time, not money." - @techn0madic
Sorry if I am being a bit rude but... what's the point of your post? You lost interest in videogames so you will not buy videogames. Isn't that obious :-D ?

Sorry if I am being a bit rude but ... what's the point of your comment? Isn't it "obious" that you only have the time to play all these games because you are unemployed and living in your mother's basement?

Snark aside, don't you believe that it is possible to have too many videogames? I spend hours every day playing videogames, but I simply can't keep up. And it isn't "saving money" if you buy a game that you then don't have the time to play.
I had to re-read your post. I thought that your sentence "I have reached the point of game saturation" was meaning "I reached my gaming interest saturation". Which is not the case, apparently. You reached the "games per hour" saturation, right?
Yes, the problem is too many games and not enough time. You can get a decent Steam indie or iOS game that will keep you busy for a week for under $5, and there are thousands of them.
As Rocktart said, I have quite a few games in my Steam library that I ended up with as part of a bundle but weren't the games I was after. So many that I have had to create a category in my library called "no thank you".

Still, I have tons of unplayed games. Bundles are responsible for quite a bit of that. I pick up a bundle for cheap figuring that if I even get an evening of play out of each of the games I'm interested in, it's worth the money. Then I end up going back over and over to the games that I most enjoy, never processing through the "try once, uninstall" ones fast enough.
I do as with books. There's no way on earth I can read everything that is published, so I pick new ones as I finish reading the ones I previously bought. The same with games, when I'm tired of what I'm playing I look and try something new. In the case of MMOs, you don't even need to buy them as all the F2P ones you can test for free.....

I'd heard of other people having unplayed games when I was playing the crud out of any game I bought.

Then at some point I suddenly found myself with games that I hadn't started. Sitting therre. And games unfinished.

Might be something about the games though (infamous 2 and dragon dogma stand out), as I got dragons crown and have finished that about three times so far.
I stopped doing Steam sales a couple of years back but sadly it hasn't reduced my backlog. There are so many bundles these days and so many other etailers offering weekly deals and my willpower cannot hold out for 365 days of the year. Plus I noticed that Steam are rarely the cheapest any more even with their famous sales.
Yeah, I am trying to not buy anything since I know I have games I will never play.

Still, I will check. ARR was only 50% off. I did set some 80% targets: when I can get Wildstar, TESO, ARR or GW2 for less than 20%, I will probably buy them even if not install right away.
I've bought a few this time around....about $60 worth which for me is positively frugal. That said as usual a couple buys turn out to be horrid, and a couple turned out to be gems. If anything the only issue I have with Steam sales these days is I already own everything. I try to justify my immense Steam collection by saying my son will benefit from it, but honestly by the time he's old enough to care he'll probably find dad's antiquated collection of old games laughable.

I think a lot of people do buy during the Steam sale on the idea of "I don't have time now, but what a deal...I'll just grab it and try the game sometime down the road...." that's where a giant chunk of my library rests right now (555 games and counting. Someone stop me, please....)
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