The Steam and GoG Showdown: A Tale of Summer Sales, Part One

So the buzz of the Summer Sales has come and gone. And I have to say, I think GoG outdid Steam this time around, though I did eventually spend more money on Steam. GoG gave us something new, an improved iteration of their previous sales, while Steam gave us…more of the same, or actually, less of the same, if memory serves. Let me touch on that before I get to my own little trifecta.

Steam usually has its own approach to these sales: the general sale, then the special deals, which run in 48 hour or 8 hour cycles, with some being vote on by the community. Again this year, Steam ran the community choice and flash (Valve-choice) specials concurrent with each other. Log in three times a day, and you can see all you need to see. It used to be, if I am remembering right, that those sales were at once time split into 8 and 6 hour versions. So you were dropping in four times a day, and the sales were switching over sometimes midafternoon as well. I seem to remember being more excited then. It could be nostalgia creeping in, but there was something boring about (again) just checking steam once when I woke up, once in the afternoon and once right before I went to bed. And the community sales packs were tilted so horribly that I voted on every single one of them, not based on what I wanted, but rather what I thought was going to win. And I was right, every…single…time. The end result – while the deals were good, the process was not fun.

And don’t even get me started on the bizarre contest, which was even worse than previous iterations, in part because I couldn’t do a damn thing with it because I wasn’t a high enough level.

GoG on the other hand, was a blast. Each day, two themed packages, and then running sales, usually two games per hour, with the ability to see into the future for about four hours and know what was coming up. I ran the battery out on my phone twice while we were out of town last week (dance competition ftw) checking GoG every hour to see what was coming up. But when we were busy, I didn’t get panicked because I knew I had hours before those games ended up rotating of the list. A lot of fun.

What I was looking at when I wasn't watching my daughters dancing.
What I was looking at when I wasn’t watching my daughters dancing.

Now, I don’t know which was more successful. For all I know, Steam has this down cold because it makes them the most money. And GoG has certainly been shifting their sale style around a good bit. But this one captured the best of their earlier frenzy sales while not making me feel left out.

Anyway, here is the butcher’s bill:

Blitzkrieg II Anthology $1.99
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream $1.19

GoG Total: $3.18

Space Hulk $2.50
*Long Live The Queen $2.49
Sleeping Dogs $3.99
*Eador: Genesis $1.50
State of Decay $4.99
Agarest – Collector’s Edition Upgrade $2.99

Steam Total: $18.46


My wife couldn’t help but notice my constant sale checking, and mentioned something about budget and blah, blah, blah. I only heard some of it. But these competitions are not cheap and with both our girls involved now, we do have to be careful about the purse strings. So I told my wife I would “stay within my allowance.” That is an old joke of ours back from when we were first married and didn’t have a lot. We decided to give ourselves a small allowance every month that the other couldn’t complain about. My wife *loves* getting her nails done, and so hers went to that. Mine usually went to books or a game. The cap is $25. I probably could have picked up on more deep sale game but eight items took the edge off for me..

I put a star by two of the games – they were ones I could have bought on either sale, but Steam won out either because it offered more content (wallpapers or soundtracks, etc) or a better price. That being said the best bonus content out of any of these was getting the Harlan Ellison short story the game was based on as part of the package deal. I would have paid twice that for the story alone.

And that to me, is where GoG won in my book, even if I didn’t spend as much money there. The constant rotation of games absolutely jacked my wishlist up with titles I didn’t know about or got intrigued with in the parade of sales. Steam’s rotation seemed to consist only of the new big hot titles and some old retreads. GoG threw the kitchen sink at us, and while it may not have paid off here on a tight budget, come Christmas with some gift cards in my hand, it is going to be a different story.

Tomorrow in Part Two, I will talk about the best, worst, and weirdest of what I got. So if any of those games on the list are interesting to you, check back in for my thoughts on them.

Gaming Budgets and Spending Money

I mentioned previously that I was a little short on spending money.  You see, I was doing a little money upkeeping, budget work, etc.  You know, all that stuff you have to do when someone starts using your apparently stolen card numbers for nefarious purposes.   (On the bright side, there are lots of safety nets for that sort of thing, and in this case I can safely say that this was not my fault!)


Anyway, that along with the summer sales has led me to doing something I hadn’t done in a while, which is seeing how much I spend on games this year.  Years ago it was a pretty set amount – I’d ask for whatever new games I wanted as Christmas or birthday gifts, and just paid out 1 or 2 subs a month for a year.   Back in those days when F2P was not an option.   And I never really got a discount because I could only bounce around month to month and there was always some shiny new game to check out, all of which required a sub.    Throw in some scratch money for the occasional clearance game, and it was a pretty easy number to conjure with.


So I was both shocked and also relieved when I totaled my “fun” spending for this year and encountered about the same number.


*rough estimate.


On the one hand, shocked because the only real sub I am running these days is for Xbox Live and its a bit cheaper than your plain old run-of-the-mill MMO sub.   Not to mention we are only halfway through the year!   And that there is some money not counted there because of gift cards that offset.


On the other hand, our life and job situation is better, and there are some one-time purchases in there (I had to break down and buy a bigger hard drive for Xbox because of my daughter’s purchase and obsession with Minecraft, for example).    And since that money is not only games but also includes books I’ve bought for pleasure and my soccer league fees, I guess its not too bad (though fantasy football season approached with alarming speed).   Part of me is convinced that is a far cheaper hobby total than what some of my peers are involved with.   Like, say, owning a boat – which involves gas and maintenance and such.  Then again, as my wife is quick to point out, at least in that hobby the rest of the family gets to enjoy the spent money in some way (time on the lake), whereas my hobby is cheaper but in not way contributes back to the family.


It would be easy to turn this into a tale of how F2P can rake in more money than sub games, but that’s not the case really.   On the one hand, as I mentioned, that’s a mixed bag of hobbies up there, and the spending on F2P games actually accounts for very little of the overall total (about a quarter of it actually).  So it would be easier to say that in the last couple of years, with the advent of F2P, it has not only allowed me to jump into several different games, but its also allowed me to spread my hobby money around into other areas.   I appear to be slightly less obsessed with games in general and MMO’s in particular.   On the other hand, after looking at the totals, I understand why my wife has threatened to ban me from Kickstarter.


So what about you?  Are you spending the same as you did back in the days of subs only?  More? Less?


And, most importantly, please tell me that some of you are spending about the same as me.   Otherwise I’m going to lose a discussion with my wife…


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