Steam's cut-price culture means most won't pay $25 for The Banner Saga - but devs call sales a "powerful thing" | PCGamesN

Steam's cut-price culture means most won't pay $25 for The Banner Saga - but devs call sales a "powerful thing"

Stoic launched the single player part of The Banner Saga in January. We gave it a nice review.

The Banner Saga was one of the top 10 best-selling games on Steam yesterday, and rightly so going by our Banner Saga review. The indie RPG did away with 40% of its asking price for its second mid-week sale since release in January, and seems to have done rather well out of it.

“It’s like a cultural thing now on Steam,” Stoic programmer John Watson told PCGamesN. “Where unless it’s a game that you’re really looking forward to and you’ve got to get it right now or you have some other motivation - you want to play with friends - most people are very savvy and they just say ‘Wishlisted’ and then in a month or two, it’ll go on sale.”

The Banner Saga has sold well - well enough for Stoic to pay their bills, after two years living off their savings. Much of that income came from its first mid-week Steam sale, which “pleasantly surprised” Stoic.

“It is a powerful thing, people wait for the price to come down,” said Watson. “$25, a lot of people think is too expensive for the game, and a lot of Steam players - including myself - generally don’t pay full price for a game. If I want a game and it’s full price, I’ll wait three or four weeks and get it.”

“All my friends say that too,” added Stoic artist Arnie Jorgensen. “Even my friends go, ‘When that goes on sale, I’m getting it, man!’”

The Banner Saga is on “seven or eight” other PC stores - but Steam still accounts for 90% of the game’s sales.

“Humble was one of the last ones we got in on so we’ve not got as much data for that yet,” said Watson. “[But] Humble has been the number two and it’s substantially stronger than the rest.”

The Steam Summer Sale is going to be the true test of Stoic’s theory about PC gamers’ patience for sales.

“It’s a new one for me,” said Jorgensen, “because I’ve heard from so many developers that, ‘I make more in that one day than we made the entire rest of the year!’. And I’m like I’ll believe that when I see it.”

Do your own buying habits match up to those Stoic describe?

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J-J-Jam It In #pls avatarShriven avatarDog Pants avatarMrJinxed avatarMountain_Man avatarJezcentral avatar+2
Mountain_Man Avatar
3 Years ago

Maybe this should be a clue to developers that their games are over-priced.

J-J-Jam It In #pls Avatar
J-J-Jam It In #pls(10 hours played)
3 Years ago

I don't think they're game was worth the starting point to begin with it's not being savvy I just would not pay that price. There are games that I do buy at release day price because I believe they are worth it they are just trying to blame others.

Shriven Avatar
3 Years ago

Rather worries about this. I didnt buy Banner Saga as i was waiting for a sale. This might be more serious than I thought.

Dog Pants Avatar
3 Years ago

Yeah, my habits pretty much reflect that. I'll probably add Wolfenstein to the list today. I don't think people should necessarily read that we're not buying full price games any more though - I buy far more games than I ever did before Steam became prolific. I buy games on a chance and end up not liking them. I experiment or buy in the sale for a rainy day. Without Steam sales I wouldn't have bought half the games in my collection. I do also wait for games I want to come down in price, it's true, but if I really want to play something I'll buy it there and then (assuming I have the spare cash).

Something else to consider is the tail sales have. Sales tails. I've heard that there remains an increase in sales after the price goes back up. I bought Payday 2 at full price after I missed it on sale and my mates had all bought it.

MrJinxed Avatar
3 Years ago

Yep that's my habits, only I tend to wait longer than 3-4 weeks. I'll generally wait as long as it takes as I already have a huge backlog, and there's always a sale somewhere. This means the only reason I pre-order or buy on day 1 is if I plan to coop with friends, and we for some reason can't wait to get it (which has happened like twice in 10 years).

The results of sales speak for themselves. Developers/publishers make WAY more during a sale than during long stretches with no sales.

Jezcentral Avatar
3 Years ago

My buying habits are exactly as John Watson says. I usually start the year with three or four games that I will buy Day 1. Occasionally, I will be pleasantly surprised by reviews and end up buying a game at full price that I planned to wait for. E.g. today I bought WolfieTNO, at full price. Other than that, I will wishlist for later.

Ocid Avatar
3 Years ago

Describes my habits mostly for the past year and a half having not got much money . There's a few exceptions to that though.

Will change back to old ways when/if I've got more cash in the bank though. Prefer to be able to grab something when it comes out if I'm interested. Like this week Tropico 5. Want that but will have to wait.

It also doesn't help Steam that any thing that also has a physical copy is often £10 cheaper off of Amazon.

Helfeather Avatar
Helfeather(10 hours played)
3 Years ago

Depending on how long this game is I'd pay full prife or even 150% of full price for it, I got it on sale and am looking for a place to donate to it.