It's never too early to plan your penny-saving with a Steam Sale schedule. In times past, predicting Steam sales was more soothsaying than science, but we're in a beautiful new world of predictable price cuts. Nowadays, Valve reveals Steam Sale dates well in advance, major seasonal sales serve as reliable quarterly landmarks, and—best of all—there's no messy augury required. Still, with Steam now rolling out frequent genre-specific sales, it can be helpful to have someone keeping the calendar. That's where we come in. We're tracking all the confirmed Steam Sale dates as they're announced, so you can focus on curating your wishlist. You're welcome.
The seasonal sales during Summer, Autumn, and Winter generally offer the widest and deepest selection of discounts, with a Spring sale joining the seasonal rotation this year to replace the place of the Lunar New Year sale of years past. Between seasonal sales, there are genre-specific "Fests" offering discounts on specific game categories.
Whether you're looking for the best time for a genre-specific fix or marking your calendar for the tentpole seasonal sales, here's your handbook for expanding your Steam library—without emptying your wallet.
When is the next Steam sale?
The next major Steam sale is the Steam Autumn Sale, which will run from November 21 - November 28, 2023. As one of the single-week seasonal sales, the Autumn Sale might not offer the range of discounts you'll find in the Summer and Winter sales, but there should still be plenty of heavy price cuts. In the run-up to November, we'll have a series of monthly-ish Steam fests for genre-specific deals.
Here are all the upcoming Steam sale dates we know so far:
Jan 23 - Jan 30, 2023: Base Builder Fest Feb 20 - Feb 27, 2023: Mystery Fest Mar 16 - Mar 23, 2023: Steam Spring Sale Apr 24 - May 1, 2023: Puzzle Fest May 15 - May 22, 2023: Sports Fest Jun 29 - Jul 13, 2023: Steam Summer Sale Jul 24 - Jul 31, 2023: Stealth Fest Aug 7 - Aug 14, 2023: Visual Novel Fest Aug 28 - Sep 4, 2023: Strategy Fest Sep 12 - Sep 12, 2023: Steam 20th Anniversary
- Sep 25 - Oct 2, 2023: SHMUP Fest
- Oct 26 - Nov 2, 2023: Scream Fest (Halloween)
- Nov 21 - Nov 28, 2023: Steam Autumn Sale
- Dec 21, 2023 - Jan 4, 2024: Steam Winter Sale
How long do Steam sales last?
The Summer and Winter sales are the big ones. They tend to last two weeks (ish). The smaller Spring and Autumn sales, along with the genre Fests, all last about a week.
What times of the year does Steam have sales?
Steam now has genre-specific sales nearly every month of the year, but the quarterly seasonal sales are the ones with sales hitting across the Steam catalogue: the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter Sales.
As for which Steam sale is biggest, we tend to see the steepest discounts in the Summer and Winter sales, with the Summer sales offering the choicest selection. With Autumn and Winter sales following so close on the heels of Fall release season, there tend to be fewer big, recent titles with hefty discounts. By the following summer you can get great discounts on relatively new games. (Here's how long it usually takes for games to get cheap on Steam.)
In the past, when we've rounded up the best Steam deals ever, we've seen some remarkable discounts. Valve's Portal 2 went from $50 to $5 in the Summer Sale a year after release.
Don't entirely ignore the smaller, genre-themed sales throughout the year, though. They might not offer as deep discounts on as wide a selection as the seasonal sales, but they're still worth a look if you've been craving the kind of gameplay being highlighted and can't wait until the next headliner sale.
When is the next Steam Next Fest?
The next Steam Next Fest will run from October 9 - 16, 2023. These festivals usually happen close to Steam's bigger yearly sales.
Once called Steam Festivals, Next Fests aren't sales exactly, but they're another way to play games for cheap. Since 2020, Steam has been running regular festival weeks where hundreds of upcoming games offer free demos for you to play. It can be a daunting list to sort through, like sales are, but it's a great way to try something you've had your eye on.
Steam sale tips
Use your wishlist
Whenever you see a game you might want, add it to your wishlist. You will receive notifications when wishlisted games are on sale and having a list makes it easier to resist buying unlisted games for the sake of it on impulse. If a game is not on your list, do you really want it?
Looking for a way to quickly fill up your wishlist? Check out our round up of the top 100 games you can play on PC today. Here are 100 other smaller games judged by algorithm to be the best hidden gems on Steam. And these are the best PC games we recommend right now.
Keep an eye on publisher bundles
Publisher bundles can knock lots of money off entire series or catalogues. If you want to buy an individual Hitman game then you might want to check for a series bundle—chances are you could get all of the games for not much more.
Snap up expansions and DLC
Expansions can often feel a little overpriced, especially if they're only adding a few hours of new stuff to your game. In Steam sales you can pick up a lot of DLC for just a few bucks and reinvigorate games in your back catalogue.
Stock up on indie treats
You can get big percentage discounts on big budget games in the major Steam Sales, but even with a hefty trim those games can still cost 20 or 30 bucks. If you want to maximise the amount of play time you get out of a Steam sale, quality indie games go down to dollars, and even cents. If you need more storage to hold them all, these are the best SSDs for gaming right now.
You can always wait for another sale
If you're not going to play a game before the next big Steam sale rolls around, you might as well wait. Chances are the discounts will increase as the annual sales roll by, all while you're clearing your backlog.
It's also much easier to wait on a purchase these days because there are no daily or flash deals. If you see a discount, you know that's going to be stable until the end of the sale so you can wait a few days to make a decision. Maybe that'll give you time to upgrade to one of the best gaming PCs, or pick out a new graphics card if you need to upgrade.
Check on weekends for publisher or themed sales
It's not uncommon for a publisher to showcase all of its products on sale during a weekend, an event which is usually marked by a homepage takeover of sorts. Look out for these if you're after a blockbuster game at a better price.
Consider Steam resellers if you don't want to wait for a sale
Check out our guide on where to buy PC games, if you want more places to shop around.