Thinking about picking up a summer sun tan? Think again – the Steam Summer Sale 2019 is in full swing, bringing with it a treasure trove of PC gaming deals.
You know the drill by now: If you're a PC gamer who uses Steam, the chances are that you've got a library of games full to bursting point that you've never even installed, let alone played. But the Steam platform's regular sales, offering such heavily discounted deals as they do, mean that you won't be able to resist picking up a couple of extra games with which to collect digital dust.
And so, from June 25 to July 09, 2019, the Steam Summer Sale will be running, letting you get your hands on PC gaming titles you may have missed, for cheap.
While there are always a smattering of 20-40% price cuts, you'll also find a good number of half-price or 75% offers on certain games and franchises, while 90% savings aren't unheard of either – and are often the best ways to get your hands on a lot of add-on or DLC content bundled in for no extra cost.
This year's Steam Summer Sale has a motorsports theme, with the Steam Grand Prix event. If you team up with a gang of friends, you'll be able to take on in-game challenges for titles across your library. Prove yourself worthy with high scores, fast times or certain quest parameters, depending on the game you're playing, and you may even find yourself gifted a number of your Steam wishlist items for free.
This guide will run you through how to get the best out of the Summer Sale, as well as the other seasonal Steam Sales throughout the year. But remember, there's only a few days left of the sale so make sure to grab anything that catches your eye sooner rather than later.
The best Steam Summer Sale 2019 deals
There are literally thousands of games on sale through Steam at the moment, so your first port of call should be to check your Steam wishlist to see if any of your favorites have already received a discount. Once you're done with them, however, these would be the TechRadar top picks from the current Steam sale.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey - (50 percent off)
Swords, sandals and stabbings, this latest entry into the historical murder-sim series is arguably the best, taking the franchise in a more RPG-driven direction, set to a gorgeous Ancient Greece backdrop.
Life is Strange Complete Season - (85 percent off)
A high-school supernatural story, this one's perfect for getting you in the mood before Stranger Things Season 3 kicks off.
Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition – (90 percent off)
Pocket money prices for this surprisingly good Grand Theft Auto clone, set in the mean streets of Hong Kong.
Just Cause 3 – (85 percent off)
Another GTA-alike, another incredibly-affordable price point. This one lets you play out your action-hero fantasies on a gigantic tropical island.
Soul Calibur 6 - (67 percent off)
A recent decent sees a rare price cut here, with the latest in the swords-and-shields beat-em-up getting a healthy price cut.
Monster Hunter: World - (50 percent off)
It's gone on to be Capcom's best-selling game ever, and Monster Hunter: World is more than worthy of the title. Pitting you and your pals against ancient, lumbering beasts, it's part Jurassic Park, part hunting simulator.
Two Point Hospital - (50 percent off)
Any fan of the classic Theme Hospital needs to give this a look. Made by members of that game's original development team, it essentially takes the Theme Hospital idea and brings it up to date for modern audiences.
Total War: Warhammer 2 - (50 percent off)
Grand strategy with a fantasy twist, this has all the fun of the tabletop battle game, with none of the paint pots and gluing.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition - (40 percent off)
If you're holding out for the upcoming Baldur's Gate 3, give the Divinity series a go, as its developer has just been handed the keys to the Baldur's Gate sequel. The Divinity titles are great RPGs in their own right, offering hundreds of hours of play, and a truly open approach to how you take on its quests.
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition - (75 percent off)
If you can't get enough old-school RPG play in your life, this is arguably one of the best. A bizarre trek through the afterlife, this Enhanced Edition makes this veteran game play more nicely on modern systems.
How to get the best deals in the Steam Sales
Whichever way you approach a particular Steam Sale, you're guaranteed to have the chance to pick up some top gaming titles at great prices.
Finding bargains isn't too difficult, but there are a few techniques and tricks that are worth using if you want to get the most out of the sales.
- Use your Steam Wishlist: Fill it up with all the games you're interested in picking up, and you'll be alerted the moment they go on sale, and how much they've been discounted by.
- Bundles are great: Publishers often pull their titles together in sale mega-packs, ramping up the savings to even greater heights. If there's a suite of titles from a publisher like Square Enix or Activision that you've never played before, this is the best – and cheapest – way to bag them all at once. As you'd imagine, the value diminishes if you've already got a few bundled titles in your library.
- Highlighted deals are where the real savings are: The majority of the Steam store back-catalogue will get some sort of price cut, but it's the 'Highlighted' deals (the ones promoted on the Steam front splash page) that tend to be more heavily discounted. These are the ones where you may fall into impulse-buy territory. Which leads us on to our next tip...
- Only buy what you'll actually play right away: Once those 75% off signs start floating around, you're going to want to break open the piggy-bank. But the Steam Sales of yesteryear have proved that our desire for overflowing game libraries leaves us with more titles than we could ever humanly play. Save some cash, and only grab the ones you're really going to play – keep in mind that if you wait a while, the games will almost certainly get cheaper as they get older.
- Use this browser extension: Want to make sure you're getting a good deal? Use the Enhanced Steam browser extension. This gives you a historical look at the price of all Steam games, letting you see just how many pennies have been saved.
What games will be in the Steam Sales?
First off, you shouldn't expect brand-new games to get the really steep discounts that have become synonymous with the Steam sales. You may see a 5%, or even 10% discount on games that have been recent big hits, but if they're still new enough to be spinning money without needing a price cut, don't expect that to change now that the sale is here.
But, with the exception of the newer titles, pretty much the entire store receives a 25% discount, if not higher, with a select few seeing a massive 90% off the list price. While the store now highlights what Valve considers the best deals, it's worth noting that flash and community sales are no longer in the mix, so feel free to pick a title on sale when you like – its discounted price will stand for the duration of the sale.
Of course, there are other gaming stores out there, and it's worth checking their wares too, to see if you can't bag an even bigger bargain elsewhere. GOG.com is a great place to start, and if you're platform-agnostic and looking for multi-platform titles, keep an eye on the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Deals with Gold offers, too.
(Image credits: Steam/Valve)