One day after the official beginning of winter, the Steam Winter Sale (opens in new tab) is now underway, delivering a sleigh-load of deals, new seasonal items in the Steam Points Shop, and the beginning of voting for the 2021 Steam Awards.
Steam's annual year-end wrap-up is a big one and there's an awful lot to sort through, but we'll be doing just that and sharing some thoughts on where you might want to throw your money around as soon as we can. In the meantime, there are deals aplenty—although bear in mind that Steam sales often get off to a rocky start as servers are crushed under the great wave of eager deal-seekers, so patience may be called for.
Over at the Steam Awards (opens in new tab), there are some interesting nominations this year. Cyberpunk 2077, which a year after its launch still remains in a very rough state, is nominated for Game of the Year, as is Amazon's troubled MMO New World. It Takes Two, which claimed the top prize at this year's Game Awards, was shut out of the category on Steam but is up for Better With Friends category, while Deathloop, 12 Minutes, and Inscryption all jostle for the Most Innovative Gameplay crown.
There's also a little gift for everyone waiting in the Steam Points Shop (opens in new tab): Free animated stickers will be given out every other day throughout the sale—I got the Penguin Bump—and if you happen to miss any, you'll be able to purchase them in the Points Shop after the sale is over.
The Steam Winter Sale is the big seasonal blowout, but don't forget that the there are some pretty fantastic discounts on the Epic Games Store right now (opens in new tab), too. Many of the sale prices are identical, but Epic is offering a $10 coupon on any game over $14.99: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is $39 on both storefronts, for instance, but the Epic coupon bumps it down to $29.
It's worth doing some price checking, in other words—ten bucks is ten bucks, after all—and we did some of the legwork for you in our rundown of the best deals from the 2021 Steam Winter Sale (opens in new tab).