Developers can now set their own Steam sales

Valve gives devs control over timing, duration and discounts in sales of their games

Steam will allow developers to design sales for their own games, with complete freedom to set prices and duration.

The change was initially published to Steam's private developer forums, but was ultimately leaked by a Reddit user known as "Sharkiller."

The new Steamworks tools cover both fixed weeklong promotions, which developers can decide to join and then set a percentage discount, and custom promotions, where the price and duration can be decided up to a two-week maximum. Prior to this change, pricing in Steam sales was worked out in collaboration with Valve.

"As with the addition of a 'Recently Updated' section to Steam, this is another effort to shorten the distance between developers and customers," Valve's Alden Kroll said in a statement issued to Ars Technica.

"This new Steamworks tool allows developers to configure discounts for their own products, on their own schedules. They can define custom sale periods or opt in to regularly scheduled sales. This will enable developers to better coordinate their promotions with events, announcements, or major updates they are planning for their products."

While there have been arguments both for and against the short, deeply discounted sales on Valve's digital distribution platform, from a consumer perspective they have been instrumental in allowing Steam to become such a force in retail.

These new tools, and the freedom they give developers to control their own inventories, represent another bold step from Valve.

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Latest comments (6)

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital7 years ago
Sony allows the devs to control the timing, duration and amount of sales on the PSN for as long as I remember. Just yesterday I have submitted sales for like five of our games, including PS Plus discounts, without really asking anyone from Sony if we can do that and immediately got back confirmed that the sales are OK and will come through. Just saying...
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Eyal Teler Programmer 7 years ago
Hopefully this will stop the disconnect between Steam sales and bundle sales.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd7 years ago
@ Jakub That is not actually any different from how Steam worked. You would have to submit sales and be approved. The difference between Steam and PSN is devs aren't exactly tripping over themselves for PSN sales because there are far fewer games on PSN and a small fraction of the consumer base. In the past Valve has solved this deluge of dev sales by filtering and managing them themselves. While I'm sure there will still be managed sales, this lets people directly set their pricing without Valve staff involvement whatsoever.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus7 years ago
It's a good step. I really like what Steam's doing to the front page - "Recently Updated" is a very, very nice section - even if they still need a modicum of quality control (though that's less to do with them than it is to do with what 'quality' is nowadays. There's only so many 80s/90s "inspired" games I can take).
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
@Christoper: Yeah, there IS a plague of faux "retro" stuff out there (to a fault it seems). I wouldn't call them all "inspired" either, but I guess I can't slam them too hard because it's someone's hard work at the end of the day. Unless I see another "Metroidvania" game that's got neither game in it (or too much of them for that matter)...
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Rolf Moren Freelance Marketing Consultant 7 years ago
I don't just seem like steam is doing a free base jump into the appstore rabbit hole of chaos and price dumping.

@Christopher Brown: Remember the first one in the 80 revival bonanza.. Valet Parking 1989?
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