Steam is one the biggest digital game distribution service on PC, well known for its generous discount runs throughout the year. These discounts also help developers with discovery on the platform, and potentially reach out to a wider audience.
However, some also misuse the system by offering miniscule discounts to get featured on the Steam sales page. There’s also the classic ‘price hike before a sale’ ruse where developers misrepresent the actual extent of discounts on their games.
Valve is finally introducing a new discounts policy to end these malpractices. According to the new policy, games cannot be discounted less than 10% or more than 90% on Steam. Moreover, discounts cannot be offered on games until after 28 days of the prior discount run. This also applies for a price hike following which the game cannot be discounted for a period of 28 days.
Steam hosts many discount events throughout the year, like Week-long deals and Daily deals, to name a few. The new cooldown period applies for all these events except the four major store-wide seasonal sales: Lunar New Year Sale, Summer Sale, Autumn Sale, and Winter Sale.
The new Steam discount policy will apply on discounts scheduled to start after March 28, 2022.
Specific Discounting Rules
- You can run a launch discount, but once your launch discount ends, you cannot run any other discounts for 28 days.
- It is not possible to discount your product for 28 days following a price increase in any currency.
- Discounts cannot be run within 28 days of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
- Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 28 days of releasing your title, within 28 days from when your launch discount ends, or within 28 days of a price increase in any currency.
- You may not change your price while a promotion is live now or scheduled for the future.
- It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
- Custom discounts cannot last longer than two weeks, or run for shorter than 1 day.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will there still be sale events that accompany other physical and digital festivals?
- Absolutely! If you have been invited to participate in a Steam sale event organized by someone outside of Valve (eg. physical events such as PAX or Gamescom; regional events such as a Made in France sale) you’ll just need to consider whether that event works for the discount cooldown timing on your game. It’s also fine to participate in events like that without being on discount.
- Will these new discount cooldowns apply to curated promotions too?
- Yes, discount cooldowns will apply to promotions like Daily Deals, Midweek Madness, Weekend Deals, Weeklong deals, publisher weekends, and any custom discounts. Any discount applied to a game must have 28 days between the end of one discount and the beginning of the next discount. The only exceptions to this cooldown are the four major seasonal sales: Lunar New Year, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
– Steamworks Documentation