Friday, 20 June 2014

Steam Summer Sale of 2014

And so it begins. Steam Summer Sale of year 2014 Anno Domini is upon us. That opening does make it look like some sort of beginning of an end. In all seriousness and joy this entails, Steam Summer Sale is on its way. Now, general feeling on the internet is that we all feel fatigued. It is just too much. It all started years ago when a Steam sale of such proportions was simply something unseen. Nobody did it on such a large scale. But as of late there are decent number of alternatives. GOG, Humble Bundle, lately even Origin just to name a few. And without a doubt, competition is good for us consumers. It ensures there is no monopoly over the market, even if Steam probably still holds the largest piece of the pie. But with sales left and right at every given moment, it somehow lost its original charm, some would claim.

But what I want to discuss today is not how big Steam is, or how good sale is over at GOG. I want to talk about our hoarder, gatherer, or hunter instinct, whatever you want to call it, that comes out in time of those great sales and even greater discounts. You know the feeling. You were ogling that one game for some time now, months even. You thought how good it would be to play it one day, you decide now is the good time to buy it, it is really cheap. It feels like a crime to let it pass by without taking it. You buy it. And this is where the story end, and the game collects dust for years to come until your bad conscience kicks in and starts nagging at you for not actually ever playing that game.

So, in order to appeal to your senses, reason and your very being I urge you to think first, and buy later. We all have our impulses, myself included. I am guilty of such purchases as any other mortal soul lurking over at the Steam store these days. Maybe in the end, I am writing all this under a pretence for the greater good. To imagine how I am helping you avoid bad calls you would come to regret down the line, while in fact it is a warning for myself not to buy a game that I will not play immediately. Who would know, right?

One thing to avoid is the analogy of prices. "This game costs less than a beer." "A coffee is costlier than this game, that is such a great purchase!" While those analogies do have a grain of truth, it is a misplaced grain to begin with. When you order a beer, you drink it. You do not take it home, put it in the fridge and then forget about it for years to come. Same with the coffee, you drink that coffee, because you ordered it. You wanted to drink that coffee. Not to wait for it to turn into some weird undrinkable black puddle of tar. In the end, this is a false analogy, because with beer or coffee, we get money's worth out of the product, while the game we buy but do not play, turns out to be both, a waste of money and effort. We saved on time, but we would profit more if we actually played the game.

How to solve this perennial problem then? I would love to say it is simple. But at the end it all depends on us. And because we humans are so unreliable, erratic, and fickle creatures we are left with nothing but ourselves. How very appropriate. It all falls down to questioning ourselves. Why do you want to buy this game? Will you actually play this game immediately? Are there any other games you have in your library that you have yet to play? If so, why don't you start with those?

I believe that if you simply answer for yourself to those questions you should be able to avoid any unwanted purchases in the future. Granted you are free to do as you choose. I am not there to actually stop you from buying anything. And you might as well go and continue in already established manner of hoarding all the games you want, but have no time to play. Or, if you so decide, you realise time has come to start with curating your own library, and you will do something about it. Clean up all those dusty titles in the library, and buy only when you know you will play.

It is not like Steam Sales will just go and never come back. Just to reassure you, they happen approximately every 6 months. Give or take. You will not miss a thing if you just focus on the backlog you already managed to accumulate. One could argue you are doing a good deed, giving the games you thought were worth your money, the time they deserve.

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