I Don’t Need It But I Do NEED It: Steam Sales & Human Obsession With Value


You don’t really want it and it will likely join the long pile of things you will never touch. Pity then that there is a niggling feeling inside you that just can’t stand to see opportunity missed, even if said opportunity doesn’t appeal to you. I’m talking about the dangerous waters of Steam sales, however I’m also talking about human beings in general. I’d like to craft you a little mindset first before talking about the mighty Gaben and the holy offering that is big games dirt cheap. I’d like to point you to a store chain In America know as J.C Penney.

J.C Penney would often have all products on a perpetual sale, selling products at say double the RRP for half price, essentially selling you what they normally might but under the pretence of value for money. They became rather well known for this yet despite that well known fact still did rather well. At one time in their future they came under new management with an immediate change to the stores policy. Said policy was one of clarity with its faithful customers, no longer maintaining a never ending sale period but rather display their products for their genuine price, an act of honesty from the company to their consumers.

Can you guess what happened? Their sales crashed harder than ever before and to my recollection said new management was given the pinkest of slips as they struggled to undo the damage, to this day they are still declining. The lesson we can pull from this is rather clear: human minds don’t like worth anywhere near as much as they like value. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t paying anything different, the mind doesn’t think 30 is a good price when that seems expected, the appearance of being 30 when it should cost something else triggers some sort of primal opportunist in us, the kind that is part of the reason we dominate the Earth.

From what we can ascertain it seems people just can’t resist a good deal. Some concoction of the fear that the sale might end and the opportunity is wasted alongside a craving for value for money causes people to grab near enough anything. Steam sales don’t come around all the time, sure there is pretty much always something on sale but when you see that 75% off, ooh~. I-I-Is that a 90% off sticker for that game that I don’t want? Well I don’t think I’m that fussed to play it but when I could buy it with all the money jangling in my pocket I simply cannot control myself.

As some weeping yet somehow pleased Steam consumers might scream on about, they have a real issue with impulse buying on Steam, building up a backlog a mile high that is very easy to ignore in digital form. Had you seen all the games in your Steam library piled up in their game boxes you’d probably notice it sooner, regardless there is a veritable mountain of titles that you really just never seem to find time to get to. I don’t often think it is a issue of time however, it appears to be more likely a case of buyers regret. Not disliking what you have bought per se, more along the lines of realising that you have no control over your computer mouse when you see those numbers which brings on a guilt that then pushes you further away from ever playing them, a spiralling of awful feelings and lonely games.

I also think there is something to be said about money in digital form, when I see people flipping through wads of paper money my instinctual feeling is “woah that is quite a hefty amount of money”. I see that currency as just numbers in my online bank statement and it oddly seems like less. Clicking away the cash is such a odd experience, when I laid down the 400 close pounds for the Wii U and all the games I imagine I would have almost cried if I had laid down that money physically in a store, each note having a tearful goodbye. If the future is digital I expect for many the future will be loose pockets and big spending index fingers betraying us.

I’m not a Steam person myself, I have qualms with their quality controls among other things and sometimes feel I am getting too good of a deal occasionally, I mean a very good game or possibly a fantastic one…all for £2 says Steam?! That has gotta be kinda painful for a developer, something I’d like to delve into at a future date. Hearing the gleeful screams followed by bellowing moans every time there is a big sale going on is at this point sort of amusing, the fact that there is a joy anticipating and during the act only to be followed by misery and disappointment at ones willpower is a parallel to something rather sinister. I like sinister, at least when it happens to people who deserve it, good old schadenfreude will never let me down.

I expect eventually people will get conned into buying something they have never wanted on Steam or something similar all because they can’t resist the pretty prices, I hope it knocks some sense into them. I personally never had a lot of money growing up and now I’m rather tight when it comes to spending money so I don’t really fall to the trappings of the Steam sales. I will stand at the sidelines happy and content with my purchases as the world gets nickel and dimed out of everything they own, all for something you don’t want and will never use. You know that whole thing about dominating the Earth? We are such fantastical, intellectual creatures, aren’t we.

Do you ever suffer from the dreaded Steam library backlog? Do you take time to think about your purchases or are you somewhat impulsive in your spending? Does a future of mostly digital games welcome a massive issue onto many gamers? Thanks for the read and I’ll check you later.


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  1. #1 by Jo-Shu on February 24, 2015 - 12:58 am

    Yeah, I can see how that can get to be a problem. I tend to be pretty good about it, although right now I’m ten games behind. Maybe I should skip out on future Steam sales until I finish the ones I already have… not an unreasonable thing, right?


    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 1:51 am

      Depends on how much you enjoy getting things almost disgustingly cheap.


  2. #3 by aaronstphnsn on February 13, 2015 - 5:03 pm

    You’ve just reminded me about my backlog, kind sir. I think in the coming week I’ll play my way through all that forgotten goodness. Cheers


  3. #4 by The Night Owl on February 5, 2015 - 6:50 am

    I wish I could give you an additional like for the graphic… made me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. #5 by Alkasyn, the Owner on February 4, 2015 - 9:11 pm

    Yea, I have a lot of games on steam bought in Humble Bundles that I haven’t played enough.

    I’m not even trying to go through the backlog, tbh.


  5. #6 by rexisgamer on February 4, 2015 - 4:38 pm

    Im not a Steam guy either. I prefer the hard copy, but I’m a collector so it makes sense. For that reason, a future of digital only games scares me. I knew exactly where you were going with JC Penney and I have been skeptical of sales ever since I found that many retailers do the same thing. It’s scary how easy it is to give away your money online. Great post!


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