Game News

Steam Winter Sale Changes a Success – ‘More Customers Bought More Games’

by Kyle Hanson


The Steam Winter Sale was apparently a massive success this year, as Valve announced to their internal community a number of stats that seem to indicate growing sales despite the massive changes introduced in this and the previous Autumn Sale. Those changes included the removal of Daily, Community, and Lightning Deals, focusing instead on presenting discounts that remained the same throughout the sales window. Many in the PC gamer community felt these changes would have a negative impact on the event, but Valve seems to indicate otherwise.

The basic summary of the report, which was posted on the internal Steamworks group page before being shared outside, states that “More customers bought more games across more of the Steam catalog.”

It then goes on to explain “This year’s sale was centered around discounts that ran for the full length of the sale, rather than changing from day to day for featured titles. Our hypothesis was that this new format would be a better way to serve customers that may only be able to visit Steam once or twice during the 13-day event. We also saw this change as an opportunity to showcase a deeper variety of titles to customers each day, while having confidence that any game being highlighted would be at its lowest discount.”

The results seem to show that Steam users were more engaged in the sale, especially due to the Discovery Queue, which presented them with tailored suggestions for new games. “As a result of this format change, we were able to encourage customers to browse through their Discovery Queue, thereby surfacing a string of personalized recommendations including titles that aren’t otherwise highlighted on the home page. By dropping users a free Steam Trading Card for browsing through their personalized Discovery Queue (up to three times each day) many customers were exposed to 36 different product pages every day for each of the 13 days of the event. This resulted in three times as many views of product pages as in past sales events.”

But did all of those views actually result in sales for the games players were looking at? According to Valve, yes. ” It turned out that customers found a lot of value in using the Discovery Queue, resulting in a huge up-tick in sales and wishlist additions. Looking back over wishlist data, we typically see only a slight increase in the rate of customers adding items to their wishlist during sales versus during non-sale time periods. However, this year we saw a 197% increase in the rate of wishlist additions during the sale. Some of these additions were then subsequently purchased during the sale while others remain on customer wishlists as indications of future interest in those games…In terms of revenue, the discount strategy and Discovery Queue usage resulted in a resounding success.”

So, it seems that despite or possibly because of the changes made to the format, the Steam Winter Sale was a resounding success. We’ll have to wait and see if future iterations keep the trend going.

- This article was updated on:March 8th, 2018

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