Steam sales have sprung upon us, not by any surprise of course as the start date was leaked a while ago, and with it everyone knows to grab their wallets and start checking their wishlists to see what they can get for a good deal, with a look at the day one deals done by us as well. However, not all the sales are quite what they seem, some have manipulated prices to help make the deal look better. The technical issues of this steam sale have been larger than most, and combining that with some quick assumptions some rumors have gone around that aren't quite justified on all the games being accused of deceptive advertising. Most of the accusations began in a Reddit thread that quickly caught fire but has now been removed because of those errors.
The biggest offender to this is Wolfensten: The New Order, the latest stand alone game in the Wolfenstein franchise. Up until early this morning, the game had been sitting on the Steam store for $44.99, but then, without any notice, the base price changed to $60 just in time for the game to become 50% off. So for all you deal grabbers you can actually get the game for 33% off what the game should actually cost right now, though it may drop further in a daily or flash deal.
One point of confusion this sale is the pricing of the XCOM: Enemy Within sale price and bundle price. It seems that if you go to purchase it from the XCOM sales page, the price and discount for buying XCOM: EW is not listed correctly, instead listing the XCOM bundle price and discount and if you attempt to purchase it then you will instead have added the XCOM bundle to your cart. We recommend that you go to the individual Enemy Within store page if you wish to purchase this expansion on its own.
An honorable mention goes to Rockstar and GTA V where the base game is getting no discount whatsoever but if you were to want to purchase the game as well as a Great White Shark Cash Card which gives you $1,250,000 for your GTA Online character then you're able to purchase the stand alone game. You can also get it with GTA: San Andreas and a Tiger Shark Card or Max Payne 3 and a Tiger Shark Card for a similar discount. Gives people a deal but still is making them pay for something they might not have necessarily wanted. There was also some confusion earlier in the day around GTA V as for a while it was removed solo from the store before being added back. Given the price bouncing around that happened with the bundling, it appears that it was technical errors there largely.
There are also rumors of other developers that are trying to use this method but a lot of these rumors aren't true. Firstly Table Top Simulator developers were accused of trying to pull the same stunt by raising their prices only so they don't lose out when the summer sale happens. TTS went out of early access last week on the 6th of June and raised their price from $14.99 to $19.99, now that the sale has started you are able to get it at it's discounted price that is the same as it's early access price. The game had listed for a long time that it would raise its price when it left Early Access and the developer replied in that reddit thread, as well as posting it separately to clarify.
Another case of confusion has been with Age of Decadence, another early access game to have it's price raised, two days ago. When the question was posed on a Steam discussion, Vince, the lead developer, responded saying the following:
It's true that we didn't plan to increase the price originally but it took us a lot longer to develop the game than we anticipated. We didn't rush the game, we didn't cut any corners, in fact we added a lot more content than was planned originally and took months to improve the combat system and add more features.It's not just Indie games that were caught up in the mess though, Ubisoft were fingered as well for raising the price on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. In a case that may shock many familiar with Ubisoft, it appears this actually isn't the case as it has been listed with a $39.99 base price since at least the end of last year. It is available for 40% off right now on the Steam site. It is possible that the confusion here may rise from other sales the game has had recently.
I believe the extra year (at very least) that we invested into the game does justify a modest $5 increase. Not to mention that the price is consistent with Dead State (a game we helped develop) and many other RPGs.
Free to play game War Thunder by Gaijin Entertainment was also poked at by the reddit thread. While it may seem a big odd, the game has a lot of content that you pay for and they recently raised the price on their Ace Advanced pack. However, the developers have said that while they do have a summer sale package, there are no plans for the Ace Advanced pack to join that set.
What do you think of this rocky launch to the Steam Sale? Have you already purchased many games? What do you think of some companies tactics in creating the best looking sale?