Steam Summer Sale 2017: how to get the best games and deals

To paraphrase R-Kelly, "my wallet says, "NOO!" But my body…MY BODY SAYS, "YEEESSSSS!" Yep, it's that time of year that PC gamers love and fear in equal measure – the Steam Summer Sale 2017 is almost upon us.

With Steam Summer Sale 2017 dates finally revealed, PC gamers are now preparing for the annual gaming deal-a-thon, with computer gaming overlords Valve lining up wallet-walloping deals on a whole range of titles.

There are always massive savings to be had – but there are some Steam sale pitfalls to avoid, too. With that in mind, here are our tips for to make the most of – and survive – the Steam Summer Sale 2017.

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When does the Steam Summer Sale 2017 start?

As is almost becoming an annual tradition, the money handlers at PayPal lifted the lid on this year's Steam Summer Sale dates. Tweeting from the official PayPal account, it revealed the Steam Summer Sale for 2017 will kick off on June 22.

It's worth noting also that UK gamers who spend £20 or more in the Steam store during the sale will also receive £5 off the purchase when paying with PayPal. The offer will run until July 5 2017 – which would suggest that's when the sale will end, too. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent deal for other countries at the moment, unfortunately.

What games will be in the Steam Summer Sale?

At this point, Valve has yet to reveal what specific games will make up the bulk of this year's Steam Summer Sale. But going by previous year's offerings, it's quite easy to manage expectations.

First off, don't expect brand new games to get the deep discounts that have become synonymous with the Steam sales. You may see a 5%, or even 10% discount on titles 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 once the sale starts.

But with the exception of the newer titles, pretty much the entire store receives a 25% discount, if not higher. Some hit the heady heights of 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.

How to get the best deals in the Steam Summer Sale

Whichever way you approach the Steam Summer Sale (or the Winter holiday sale, or any other Steam deal-a-thon, for that matter), you're guaranteed to pick up something great at a good price. 

But there are a few techniques and tricks worth using to get the most out of the sale.

  • Use your Steam Wishlist: Fill it up with all the games you're interested in picking up, and it will alert you the moment they go on sale, and how much by.
  • Bundles are great: Publishers often pull their titles together in sale megapacks, 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 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 inevitably 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. It gives you a historical look at the price of all Steam games, letting you see just how many pennies have been saved.

Of course, Other Gaming Stores Do Exist™, and it's worth checking their wares too to see if you can't bag an even bigger bargain elsewhere. GOG.com is, for instance, 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. There's a reasonable chance that the odd game may turn up at one spot or the other at a slightly more affordable price.

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