Valve targets dodgy discounts in new rules for Steam game sales

Steam Sales
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve has provided further information regarding upcoming changes to its rules surrounding games sales and discounts. These new rules affect the frequency with which developers and publishers can discount their games, and the percentages they can discount them by.

These rule changes were originally announced earlier this month, but Valve only offered details about changes to the "cooldown period" between discounts, sharing plans to reduce this period from six weeks to 28 days. Now, Valve has unveiled the full list of rule changes, which you can see below:

  • You can run a launch discount, but once your launch discount ends, you cannot run any other discounts for 28 days.
  • It is not possible to discount your product for 28 days following a price increase in any currency.
  • Discounts cannot be run within 28 days of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
  • Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 28 days of releasing your title, within 28 days from when your launch discount ends, or within 28 days of a price increase in any currency.
  • You may not change your price while a promotion is live now or scheduled for the future.
  • It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
  • Custom discounts cannot last longer than two weeks, or run for shorter than 1 day.

The upshot of these changes is basically that developers can run discounts more often. But one alteration seems geared more toward cracking down on anti-consumer behaviour. This is outlined in the sixth bullet-point, "It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%."

Previously, the rule simply stated, "It is not possible to discount a product 100%". This led to unscrupulous game sellers offering discounts of 1% to get their games featured on the sales lists without offering a meaningful price-cut. The new rules restrict devs and pubs to offering a minimum discount of 10%, meaning all discounts should now be offered in good faith.

You can read Valve's full announcement here. The new rules come into effect on the 28th of March. The newly implemented cooldown period will apply to all Steam sales, except for the platform's "four major seasonal sales", namely Summer, Autumn, Winter, and the most famous season of all, Lunar New Year.