Steam’s Sales: How to Do Them Right?
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by Ketki Jadhav
11 hours ago

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Great article! Thanks for the awesome read.

Wow, this is so cool! Nice job!

Steam's Sales: How to Do Them Right?
15 August, 2016

Developers of Shovel Knight, Stellaris and Braveland series gave us some highlights about Steam Sales efficiency. And also shared some tips about giving a discount on games.


As a game developer, what do you think about putting your own game on a sale?

David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games

We’re very cautious about putting the game on sale. We would prefer people are invested in the game when they buy it. A low price can sometimes mean players disregard the game and not give it their full attention. But of course, we simultaneously want to get the game in as many players’ hands as possible!

Andreea Chifu, Paradox Interactive

Like in every other market, sales campaigns represent a good way to help older products.

If done right, it can be a strong marketing tool  for increasing the fan base for an incoming product.

It also helps the developer evaluate the price elasticity and users’ price sensitivity in different regions.

Still, you might upset your early adopter fans if you start running discounts one month after the release.

But overall, it can be beneficial both for the developer and for the users if done at the right moment and at the right discount level.


Anton Mikhailov, Tortuga Team

Steam Sales are yet another possibility to show your game to the interested players. Gamers who have added the game to their wishlist receive notifications. And also the game can get in Featured Items. That is what happened to our game Braveland Wizard – it was put into category ‘Magic’ during one of the sales.


The sale on Steam has just ended. Did the same winter/summer sale on Steam affect your game before? Can you share some numbers?

David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games

The winter/summer sales always bring in a lot of players. Maybe somewhere around 10x-20x our typical week sales.


Andreea Chifu, Paradox Interactive

We think that sales campaigns are a great way to increase our fan base and introduce our games to a new audience.

The results are more relevant when we can  complement it with a marketing push, or find ways to target the users that had the game on their wish list.

We definitely have seen an increase in sales during seasonal sales; but we are trying to focus on the product’s life time value and not only on the number of units sold.


Anton Mikhailov, Tortuga Team

You shouldn’t put high hopes on sales. The biggest part of the revenue comes in a first weeks after the release. Sales add a few to the total revenue, but no miracles happen. Nevertheless, a monthly revenue can grow by several times during the sales season. But the selling tail is usually unimpressive by that time, so you can’t expect marvels.


Can you share an advice about how to sell your game with a discount right? For instance: how many percents and why?

David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games

We aren’t seasoned pros at selling games so I wouldn’t take any advice from us with too much weight, but I’d recommend discounting your game in a way that still upholds the value of the game, while making it accessible to more people.

Andreea Chifu, Paradox Interactive

I would advise developers not to run discounts in the first 3 or 4 months.

Test the price elasticity and the demand curve by running smaller discounts,  for short periods. Try to find the sweet price that will make you the highest revenue, not the price that will sell the highest number of units.

Campaign duration is also important, there is always a point when a campaign stops being profitable. Make sure your campaign is not too long.

Ultimately, be loud! Use all your marketing and PR channels to spread the word about your campaign.

Anton Mikhailov, Tortuga Team

At the start of the sales, developers usually give a 10-15% discount. During the first year, they try not to set discount rates higher than 20-30%. And after that, they can discount up to 50-60%. Sometimes developers offer 90-95% discount to their customers. But from my point of view, you should couple that kind of things with some sort of Steam feature. Otherwise, that massive discount will go unnoticed and won’t be able to reach the needed effect.



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