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

Valve’s big Steam store is getting some changes for its famous sales, the retailer revealed on its official partner site. The previously announced changes will come into effect on March 28 and change how retailers can engage in sales and create discounted promotions for their games.

Valve has become somewhat of a legend for its famous in-store discounts, which often see games discounted 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 few days or so just to manipulate Valve’s store algorithm and potentially be featured during sale periods. Valve’s new rules are expected to circumvent system manipulation, with discounts now mandatory to start at 10%, with new restrictions on how long discounts can apply to prevent “fake” discounts.

For example, one of the most annoying things with Amazon’s Black Friday sales in recent years is the rise of fake discounts, where outlets raise the price of an item and then discount it during “sale to make it appear to customers as if they were getting some sort of deal.

Microsoft Edge and browser extensions like Honey help you tell if a discount on an online retail page is genuine, but in the Steam app it can be a little less obvious. Valve’s new rule changes should lead to a healthier and more transparent marketplace for Steam and its upcoming Steam Deck, and likely represent things that other retailers like Amazon should consider adopting.

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

  • You can run an introductory discount, but once your introductory discount is over, you can’t run any more discounts for 28 days.
  • It is not possible to return your product for 28 days following a price increase in any currency.
  • Discounts cannot be run within 28 days of your previous discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
  • Discounts for seasonal sales cannot be executed within 28 days of the release of your title, within 28 days of the end of your introductory discount, or within 28 days of a price increase in any currency .
  • You cannot change your price while a promotion is in progress or planned for the future.
  • It is not possible to reduce a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
  • Personalized discounts cannot last more than two weeks or last less than one day.


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Steven L. Nielsen