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Valve targets dodgy discounts in new rules for Steam game sales


The company Valve has published further information on forthcoming changes to its policies governing the selling and discounting of video games. The frequency with which developers and publishers can discount their games, as well as the percentages by which they can discount their games, will be affected by these new laws.

These rule changes were first disclosed earlier this month, but Valve only provided specifics on the adjustments to the “cooldown time” between discounts, detailing intentions to cut this period from six weeks to 28 days in order to minimize the number of discounts available. Valve has now released the complete list of rule changes, which you can see in the section 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 net result of these modifications is that developers will be able to provide discounts on a more frequent basis. One change, on the other hand, appears to be targeted more toward addressing anti-consumer behaviour. In the sixth bullet point, it is stated that “it is not feasible to discount a product by more than 90 percent or by less than ten percent.”

Previously, the regulation merely stated, “It is not possible to provide a product at a 100 percent discount.” Due to this, dishonest game vendors offered discounts of as little as one percent in order to have their games included on sales lists, rather than delivering a significant price reduction. The new guidelines require developers and pubs to give a minimum discount of 10 percent, which means that all discounts must now be presented in good faith in order to be valid.