Valve is changing the rules for its Steam PC game sales and discounts

Razer Blade 15
Razer Blade 15 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Valve is a PC games retailer and publisher, via their famed Steam store app.
  • The company is changing the rules for devs and publishers in a fight against "manipulative" discounting practices.
  • The new rules for devs and publishers will go live on March 28, 2022.

Valve's big Steam store is getting some changes for its famed sales, the retailer revealed on its official partner site. The previously-announced changes will come into force on March 28, and will change the ways in which retailers can engage with sales and create discount promotions for their games.

Valve has become somewhat of a legend for its famed store discounts, which often see games discounted from anywhere between 10% and 90% off. However, in recent years, some developers and publishers have attempted to "game" the system, offering small discounts of 1% for a couple of days or so just to manipulate Valve's store algorithm and potentially get featured during sales periods. Valve's new rules should circumvent manipulations of the system, with discounts now mandated to start at 10%, with new restrictions on the length of time discounts can run to stave off "fake" discounts.

For example, one of the more annoying things with Amazon's Black Friday sales in recent years is the rise of false discounts, where outlets increase the price of an item, then discount it during "sales" to make it appear to customers like they're getting some kind of deal.

Microsoft Edge and browser extensions like Honey help you track whether a discount on a web retail page is genuine, but within Steam's app, it can be a little less obvious. Valve's new rule changes should lead to a healthier and more transparent market for Steam and its upcoming Steam Deck, and probably represent things other retailers like Amazon should look into adopting.

The full list of updates, set to go live on March 28, are as follows (via Valve):

  • 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.
Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!