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Steam summer sale starts now

Valve, the company behind the hit digital game distribution platform Steam, opened the doors today on its highly anticipated summer sale, which runs through July 23.

A glimpse at just some of the deals from the first day of the Steam summer sale. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

In the PC-gaming world, one sale each year electrifies the community to spend, spend, and spend some more: the Steam summer sale.

Aside from thousands of discounted games, some interesting bundles and featured offers appear right up a spendthrift's alley. The summer sale offers daily deals, multiple random flash sales, and a unique community choice vote where voters choose on the next heavily discounted game (which revolves every eight hours).

Supercharge your gaming library with these massive pack deals from Steam. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

The first day of Steam's event offers discounts on major games, such as the PC version of Portal 2 for $4 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for $29. A series of $49 pack deals from major gaming software studios also appear enticing; many packages -- promising to save buyers hundreds of dollars -- come from big players such as Valve, id software, Sega, Bethesda, Rockstar, Ubisoft, and more.

Those looking to score a deal on specific games may benefit from patience. Ohball, a commenter on the link-sharing Web site Reddit (and a seasoned Steam summer sale observer) suggests that "if it is not one of the daily deals, do not buy it until the last day of the sale. The sale price will only go down, and many games are given an extra discount on the last day. You never know if you'll miss out on a 75 percent off because you were impatient."

The massive influx of visitors to Steam's biggest sale already caused problems today, as some users mingled with this error message: "The Steam Store is experiencing some heavy load right now. Please try again later."