Steamworks developers now have the option to set up their own sales, and they can opt into Steam weeklong deals at discount percentages of their choosing. Valve announced the new sale system in the private Steamworks Development forum, as spotted by Reddit user Sharkiller. According to Valve:
"With new Steamworks tools, you can configure your own discounts for custom sale periods or opt in to take part in upcoming weeklong sales. Once configured, the discounts will automatically start at the time specified." Developers can book weeklong or custom sales up to two months ahead of time, and custom sales can run for up to two weeks.
Valve launched Greenlight in 2012 to deal with the influx of indie (and larger) games vying for spots on Steam, and it started Steam Early Access in 2013, allowing developers to sell beta and alpha versions of their games, a la Kickstarter. Steam is at the heart of the indie PC bubble, and developers fear that the service could become overpopulated soon. Retro City Rampage developer Brian Provinciano explains how gaming's deep-discount culture can have a negative impact on indies:
"The big challenge we now face is saturation, quality and protecting platforms from the race to the bottom, which happened to mobile. It's been a bit concerning to see that this most recent Steam Holiday Sale saw developers doing deeper discounts than last year, no doubt in an effort to try and rise in the charts against the ever-increasing competition. However, it's a very slippery slope, and if this continues, it will once again become less viable to be indie."
For now, consider putting your wallet in the freezer. For your own sake.