Part of Steam’s appeal must be its regular discounts and price drops. But with so many titles in the catalog, it can be easy to miss out on some of them.
Yet that should now be practically impossible, thanks to the efforts of Steam forum user sciss0rz, who’s taken it upon himself to update other forum members with information on—you guessed it—the latest discounts and price drops on Steam! The list (found here) also includes information on Steam game packs, compilations of multiple titles that are usually available at a lower total price (sciss0rz does not list packs that represent no savings).
Even more important however is region availability. Lots of Steam customers have complained about the inconsistent availability of games worldwide. Specific games aren’t available in certain regions and countries, and you can see who misses out on what.
Nevertheless, the “Price Reduction and Sales!” thread is a very useful resource that any Steam user should bookmark. Heck, I’d even suggest making it your browser homepage, if only not to miss out on any new promos cooked up by Valve’s sales team.
Up for this weekend: 50% off on Assassin’s Creed for the PC, and 10% off the Freedom Force: Freedom Pack, for a total of just under 17 dollars! The Assassin’s Creed promo lasts over the weekend, while the Freedom Pack goes back to regular price by the end of June 5.
Why would you get those games? Well, Assassin’s Creed is probably the best 3D platformer I’ve played in quite a while (finished it on the PS3 last year). For some reason, dealing fatal counters to attacking enemies seemed very therapeutic.
The original Freedom Force, on the other hand, is a great strategy game that features a campy yet compelling story, and very wonderful art direction. Personally, it’s also a chance to finally try out the expansion!
I’m starting to hate Valve. They perfectly understand that, after development work, the production costs of video games are practically zero. More so if distribution is done through a digital platform like Steam.
Of course, Valve has to pay for servers to keep Steam running smoothly (they should!). But you can bet they pay less for each copy’s distribution. And they can tempt me to pay through the nose for games, because with all their game packs and weekend promos, they end up selling copies for less than what the pirates do.
Since I (currently) pay a flat monthly fee for internet access, those are very good deals indeed. Until you realize that you’ve spent more on games before signing up for Valve!
If for some reason you haven’t played Team Fortress 2, today’s TF2-for-$10 promo leaves you with no excuses. That’s 50% off the regular price until the day ends, a promo coordinated with the addition of new features to the game. Sure, the Steam platform responsible for serving the game has some kinks that Valve really really really needs to work out, but no one can fault the software company’s games. But don’t take my word for it: TF2 is available to play for free until May 25.
Of course, you could’ve bought The Orange Box, a five-in-1 package featuring three Half-Life 2 games, and TF2, when it was $10. But I can assure you that even getting Team Fortress 2 all by its lonesome for $10 is still money well-spent. Besides, misery loves company; I thought I got a good deal when Valve was selling Left 4 Dead for $20. About a month or so later, the company discounts the game again—selling it for $10!
I’m not really sure how many Steam players are into achievements, but the team behind Valve’s gaming platform has decided to make the total aggregates publicly available. In other words, players get to see their achievement-based performance compared to other Steam members.
If we take Left 4 Dead (by far my most favorite Steam game), some of the trends made clear by the achievement tally make sense. For instance, only 0.5% of L4D players have achieved “Legendary Survivor”. Achieving that means holding off endless waves of zombies for at least 10 minutes—in five different situations while hoping your 3 teammates know what they’re doing. Read more
How does paying $10 for five games from Valve sound? Head over to Steam to take advantage of the 2/3 price drop (The Orange Box regular price: $30), which lasts until today only.
To recap, The Orange Box is Valve’s award-winning bundle, which bundles the following games:
- Half-Life 2
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Team Fortress 2
…into one neat package. The Half-Life 2 series and Portal is great for solo-play, while Team Fortress 2 has won accolades for its enjoyable multiplayer gameplay and distinctive art direction.
Everything’s handled (purchasing, installation, and actual game playing) through the Steam platform. So you’ll need to buy into Valve’s gaming and content delivery system, and a good internet connection to download all those gigs of data. If you’re not a Steam user, this promo will probably turn you into one! Or at least, make you more willing to try it out.
Concurrent with an update announcement for Team Fortress 2 was Valve’s re-explanation of their Steam Hardware Survey. Perhaps noticing the privacy concerns raised regarding their data collection service (which has no opt-out), Valve decided to point out its benefits in their own special way. Read more
Thus began the interesting—but unverified—account of Steam user “The Neighbor”, who describes the results of his tweaks as instructed by a Steam forum thread (which apparently details how to run games on the dreaded integrated Intel GPU).
More of an experiment rather than a desperate penny-pincher trying to get the popular multiplayer shooter running on his basic netbook, the tweaks hardly produce an optimum gaming experience. Neighbor warns that framerates drop to as low as 10 per in outdoor environments, and that the “Discolorations with the characters is bad that you sometimes can’t tell the enemy. (sic)”
Still, chalk one up for Filipino ingenuity! It’s not the kind of original thinking that Takipsilim-haters would love to see, but any Filipino who steps up always makes me teary-eyed.
(reprinted with permission from Technograph)
The Steam Hardware Survey is a great tool, for PC video game developers and players alike. For the former, as Valve says: “The survey is incredibly helpful for us as game developers in that it ensures that we’re making good decisions about what kinds of technology investments to make.” Or in layman’s terms, its a great indicator for what the next games’ minimum requirements should be. Read more