I made out like a bandit in the Steam and GOG summer sales, but amid all the deals there was a curious absence: Elden Ring, 2022's biggest release, has held steady at a full $60 price point since launching February 25.
I find Elden Ring's lack of participation in the big sale interesting in the context of PC Gamer's own research into game prices, the price decreases of previous FromSoftware games, and the timing on discounts for some of 2021 and 2022's other major releases. In our 2017 investigation into the rate at which games are discounted on Steam, we found that full-price, triple-A games took an average of around 60 days to see a 25% off sale, while it has been 125 days since the release of Elden Ring at the time of writing.
FromSoftware's previous two Soulsborne games, Sekiro and Dark Souls 3, released around a month later in the year than Elden Ring but still received 20% and 25% discounts in their respective Summer Sales.
Taking a look at more recent releases, last year's fantastic immersive sim, Deathloop, had a 34% off sale a little over a month after release, and while Resident Evil Village took five months to see its first sale with a 25% price cut, it likely still beat Elden Ring to the punch—it would be strange for Elden Ring's publisher, Bandai Namco, to skip the main Summer Sale then put the game on a discount later in the season.
It's worth noting that, while all those games are successful, Elden Ring's been a phenomenon, and has, week to week, remained one of the top five best selling games on Steam from release through just two weeks ago when it fell to #7. It was finally dislodged from the top ten just this past week by an influx of games discounted by the Summer Sale.
As a consumer, it can be easy to take the fluid prices on digital storefronts for granted, but we see such significant discounts because they benefit a company's sales. It's surprising to see Bandai Namco buck recent trends and keep Elden Ring out of the Summer Sale, but the company clearly didn't feel the need to juice Elden Ring's numbers given its continued momentum.
That's certainly a bummer if you were waiting for a price drop to check out Elden Ring, and it's not the only game of FromSoft's that's been kept out of the Summer Sale: all of the Dark Souls games have remained full price, presumably because Bandai Namco wants to avoid an influx of new players unable to access the games' advertised multiplayer—the series' servers remain offline as FromSoft continues to address the security vulnerabilities we've reported on previously.
If you're looking for something to play and have never sampled Warren Spector's gift to mankind, let me point you in the direction of Deus Ex. The greatest immersive sim ever made is currently on sale for less than a buck, and we've curated a list of our recommendations in this year's Steam Summer Sale.