How to make the most of the Steam Summer Sale

Here are few buying tips for Steam's 2014 Summer Sale.

Jeff Bakalar
Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
3 min read

Screenshot by Jeff Bakalar/CNET

Steam's massive annual summer sale is upon us (in the UK and Australia as well as the US) with hundreds of bargains on great games both triple-A and indie, new and old. So how do you make sense of all the chaos?

It's no easy task, but I've got a few tips on how to make the most of your hard-earned cash.

The Steam Summer Sale 101

The Steam Summer Sale extends to June 30, 10 a.m. PT. During this time most games available on the platform are discounted to some degree, ranging from 20 percent off to as much as 90 percent off in rare cases. Most of the time you'll see items for around half off.

Deals are split into three categories. There are daily deals that change every 24 hours, flash sales that rotate every 8 hours, and community-voted deals that change every 8 hours as well. If you see a game you want in the flash sale section, it's likely the best deal you're going to see for that game during the entire event, so be sure to pull the trigger on it!

Patience is key

The summer sale ends on June 30 so you've got the better part of a week to decide which titles to buy. If you don't see the item you want in the flash sale section, just add it to your wishlist. Steam will email you when a game in your wishlist dips below the price it's currently at.

Screenshot by Jeff Bakalar/CNET

Vote in the Community's Choice

By voting you also get a glimpse of which games will potentially go on sale when the next set of games rotates in. Not only are you afforded that look into the future, but voting also earns you "Summer Adventure" trading cards within Steam that let you play and trade for actual cash. It's tough to explain on a surface level, but definitely worth checking out if you have the time.

Use third-party sites for help

Sites like Steam Database do a great job of indexing and tracking sales on Steam. You can sort information in an easy-to-read fashion and crawl through lists of games much more easily than within the Steam app or website.

Steam Database even tracks flash sales and Community's Choice deals so you can organize and plan out what you want to buy before the June 30 deadline.

Screenshot by Jeff Bakalar/CNET

Make sure to check out by June 30

When all is said and done, be absolutely sure to check out before the end of the sale on June 30, 10 a.m. PT. That's when nearly everything gets reset back to or close to its retail price.

If a game you want isn't featured in one of the three sale sections of Steam's front page, don't worry. Odds are it's still on sale and definitely worth purchasing at whatever discounted price it's at.

Hopefully these tips will help you navigate through Steam's Summer Sale. The sale should save you even more money and prepare you for the next sale event this winter! If you have more tips, please add them to the comments below!