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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?