As near as I can tell, this summer’s Steam sale is less about making money and more about economic experiments. Sure, the revenue is nice, but the long-term value to Valve will come from seeing how people react and buy. There are flash sales, community choice, today’s deals, pack deals, and a few other ways to see sales. They vary in discount, placement, and duration, but you’ll see the same sales appearing multiple times in multiple places. Missed that flash sale? No problem, it’s tomorrow’s daily deal, and you’ll get a chance to vote to bring it back in a few days.

It is a real time experiment in marketing with millions of people paying to participate.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “Experimentation”

  1. It is an interesting way to see how are the market reacts while earning a few million dollars but it’s so tempting not to fall.

  2. Guard your pockets!

    I’ve been consciously avoiding the steam store during the sale, because I know I don’t have the time right now to get sucked in to additional games. But I’ll probably break down anyways before summer’s end.

    I’m not really seeing this type of experimentation as a bad thing. Or a new thing. Consider certain retail stores where every single item is always under some sort of discount or sale. “Today’s deals” and “Pack deals” have been old ploys in meatspace for a long time, and even Jamba Juice uses “Community choice”.

    The difference is that Steam markets these deals directly into the faces of those who will most likely buy them. Now that’s new!

  3. I have never been so happy to be a test subject. :) I’ve picked up several games I’ve always wanted to try or have nostalgia for and so far have spent less than a night out.

  4. I know I don’t have time for the sale games right now. I gamble that I will have time, betting that I can save money by getting games cheaper and the money saved on that will outweigh the wasted money on games I don’t. So far I’m not sure if I’m ahead or not.

  5. Indeed. It’s been trickier than ever to evaluate whether something is a good buy or no, as they’ve wised up to the “75% off, buy it” indicator by ratcheting the original price of certain games higher than normal.

    Would be interesting to find out whether folks will give in to temptation and buy a game that didn’t win the community vote, merely because it was brought to their attention.

    I’d brag about how I rarely fall for those kinds of promos and always get games at a good 75% off deal, but well, I make up for it in quantity and lack of discernment. I just can’t resist trying even a poor game for a buck or two though, because I’m always so curious about its game mechanics and design, especially if it’s experimental and indie.

    On the bright side, I’m never going to run out of game in my lifetime. Ever.

  6. “On the bright side, I’m never going to run out of game in my lifetime. Ever.”


    It’s strange to think that 15 years ago PC games came sporadically and the little ones were spread by word-of-mouth.

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