Steam Sale dates aren't the privileged info they used to be at Valve HQ: the sale calendar is revealed well in advance—usually, anyway—and the seasonal sales serve as predictable landmarks for expected savings. Still, with Steam now rolling out frequent genre-specific sales, there's still some soothsaying involved. Luckily, you've got someone handling the calendar-keeping for you. We're tracking all the confirmed Steam Sale dates as they're announced, so you can focus on curating your latest wishlist.
Steam sales happen on a pretty regular rhythm throughout the year, making them fairly easy to predict even if we don't know the dates just yet. Even with continued pandemic delays in development, Steam sales have been chugging along since 2020. Nothing stops this train.
The seasonal sales during Summer, Autumn, and Winter generally offer the widest and deepest selection of discounts. Here's your handbook for the best times to expand your Steam library without emptying your wallet.
When is the next Steam sale?
Steam's next major sales event will be the Halloween Sale running from October 21 to November 1, 2022. Steam is calling it the "Steam Scream Fest" this year, but we can expect the usual emphasis on horror games and suitably spooky savings.
Here are all the sale dates we know so far for this year:
February 28 - March 7, 2022: Remote Play Together March 14 - March 21, 2022: JRPGs March 28 - April 4, 2022: SimFest - Hobby Edition (for job simulators) May 2 - May 9, 2022: Going Rogue: A Festival of Persistance (Roguelikes, Roguelites, Soulslikes, and Metroidvania) May 23 - May 30, 2022: Racing Fest June 13 - June 30, 2022: Steam Next Fest June 23 - July 7, 2022: Steam Summer Sale July 18 - July 25, 2022: Steam VR Fest August 1 - August 8, 2022: Steam Survival Fest
- September 19 - September 26, 2022: Steam Bash Bash
- October 3 - October 10, 2022: Steam Next Fest
- October 25 - November 1, 2022: Halloween Sale (Steam Scream Fest)
When is the next Steam Next Fest?
The next Steam Next Fest will run from October 3 - October 10, 2022. These fests usually pop up multiple times a year, and the last one ran from June 13, 2022 to June 30, 2022.
Steam Festivals (now called Next Fest) 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.
When do Steam sales usually happen?
Steam's biggest sales (usually) occur at regular times of the year. Steam sales tend to start at at 6pm BST/1pm EDT/10am PDT on the third or fourth Thursday of their respective month, with the exception of Autumn/Black Friday sales, which have landed on Wednesdays in the last few years.
Here's a list of last year's sales dates to give you an idea of when this year's Steam sales will happen:
Steam Lunar New Year Sale 2021: February 11th - February 15th, 2021
Steam Golden Week Sale 2021: April 29th - May 6th, 2021
Steam Spring Sale 2021: May 27th - 31st, 2021
Steam Summer Sale 2021: June 24th - July 8th, 2021
Steam Halloween Sale 2021: October 28th - November 1st, 2021
Steam Black Friday/Autumn Sale 2021: November 24th - December 1st, 2021
Steam Winter Sale 2021: December 22nd - January 5th, 2021
How long do Steam sales last?
The Summer and Winter sales are the big ones. They tend to last two weeks (ish). Other sales like the Lunar New Year sale and Black Friday sale last about one week.
Which is the best Steam Sale?
We tend to see the biggest discounts in the Summer and Winter sales, and the Summer sales tend to be the best. 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 (opens in new tab), we've seen some remarkable discounts. Valve's Portal 2 went from $50 to $5 in the Summer Sale a year after release.
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 (opens in new tab) you can play on PC today. Here are 100 other smaller games (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), if you want more places to shop around.