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From observation, can I expect that a game will get a permanent price cut (or a weekend special deal) X weeks after its launch, or after the sales dropped by Y percent or whatever other reason?

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Though this is a very interesting question, it is speculative in nature - I think it's better off as a community wiki. –  Oak Sep 24 '10 at 13:00
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Just wait until after I buy them, they ALWAYS go on sale after that :)!!! –  SqlACID Sep 24 '10 at 22:59
    
@SqlACID make sure to send me a message whenever you buy a game :) –  Joe the Person Oct 26 '11 at 2:11

9 Answers 9

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If nothing else, you can be sure that if you pay attention and wait long enough, the game you so look forward to will be on sale eventually. I have yet to buy a game on Steam without a significant discount. I've had to wait quite a bit for some of them, but the vast majority will come on sale after a while.

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I put the ones I have an eye on on my Wishlist, and check back every so often for discounts. It also serves as a massive hint near birthdays etc. –  Stuart Pegg Sep 24 '10 at 19:30

I haven't seen a pattern on new games but, I have seen that Valve will reduce the price of the previous version of their own games (and some that they distribute) just before a sequel comes out.

They also tend to offer discounts/packages on holiday weekends. This is mostly on independent games and retro packages.

Finally, they tend to offer free games when celebrating an event like the release of Portal when the Mac version of Steam was released. In the later case they like to drop hints that something is coming but like to keep the details a surprise.

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Short answer: no.

Slightly longer answer: price cuts Noooooo, sales yes. ie the Summer sale (no way to tell what tho) or discounts on iD games during QuakeCon

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when exactly the summer sale begins? –  Jader Dias Sep 24 '10 at 17:25

Because the discounts and prices are negotiated with the publishers, you'd be better off trying to analyse on the publisher level rather than across Steam as a whole.

Additionally, because people would put off buying a game if they knew it was going to be discounted shortly, Steam will most likely purposefully avoid any such pattern (to ensure maximum revenue).

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I suspect that the second paragraph is pretty much the key to this whole question. –  Beska Sep 24 '10 at 19:51

In addition to what others are saying, I've noticed independent games are often given discounts relatively shortly after their release (like a month or two), while big-publisher titles maintain their price for a longer time.

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Ah yes. Trying to keep the momentum going to recoup their expenses early. Nothing like the ragged edge to make you eager for sales. –  Stuart Pegg Sep 24 '10 at 19:28

The summer sale and winter holiday sales are predictable and always offer insane/awesome sales. Your best bet would to check Steam every week and see is on on sale for that week. For example I picked up Borderlands and its first three expansions for $22 one random week.

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It's common for them to discount GAME X in the run up/at the release of GAME X2. So, for example, expect the Fallout 3 pack to get a price drop pretty soon because New Vegas is due in October.

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I think this answer has a lot less speculation and a lot more experience than the other answers. (It certainly matches my experience) Its also something we could measure if we cared to. –  WillfulWizard Sep 25 '10 at 0:10
    
While your answer is correct, but since Fallout New Vegas is produced by a different studio and isn't an improvement on Fallout 3 but a total different game, is it likely that this will maintain its price a little longer –  Jader Dias Sep 25 '10 at 13:33
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@Jader Fallout New Vegas is much more like Fallout 3 than Fallout 1 or 2. They're the same engine, anyway. –  user56 Feb 26 '11 at 17:03
    
@Arda I only realized it when I played the game –  Jader Dias Feb 27 '11 at 14:17

bad, old, and boring games will get discounts :)

Usually it happened on Thursday, so people could buy them on Friday to play at weekend. Often presales are cheaper, because people don't know how bad is game, so they buy it to try. Another time is when most players stop playing multiplayer game, so making 50-70% discounts bring more people(and money) as servers are already working and there is capacity for players. And one more case: when new game is almost released (e.g. civ5), then previous versions get discount, because almost nobody will buy them after release.

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Thats painting a broad brush. Are you implying that all games that are on sale are bad and that all games that have a preorder are bad too. –  paan Sep 26 '10 at 3:23
    
No! Of course not. There are many good games that have sales or preorders. But usually it is just exception. Also what I mean "bad" is good enough for other people, so it more subjective opinion. I'm just saying that if game very good and people buy it and buy it, then there is no reason to make any discount. –  kusoksna Sep 26 '10 at 9:10

When a similar or better game of the same genre is about to launch, it will become very likely that the older game will get a discount. Modern Warfare 2 got a 33% discount in the week of the launch of Medal of Honor.

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