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Steamworks Documentation
Discounting

Overview

Discounting can be a valuable tool to help grow your audience and extend the life of your product on Steam.
We encourage you to participate in sales and take advantage of discounting tools where it makes sense for your product.
In general, we've found that there is a customer at every price point, and an effective discounting strategy can contribute to overall long term success on Steam.

As always, this advice is generalized for a huge variety of products, developers, and customers, so take your own product and community into account when making decisions.

Configuring Discounts

Required Permissions

Discounting requires the "Manage Pricing & Discounts" permission for the relevant product. In addition, you must be a member of the Steamworks partner that is getting paid for the product you are trying to discount.

How to Configure

1. Navigate to the landing page for the product you intend to discount by selecting the product from your Steamworks home page.
2. On the landing page, you will see a section of store packages listed near the top. Select the package you wish to discount.
3. On the package detail page, click 'Edit discounts' in the package pricing section.
4. Click "New Discount."

Repeat these steps for each package you wish to discount.

Discounting Rules

  • You can run a launch discount, but once your launch discount ends, you cannot run any other discounts for 2 months.

  • It is not possible to discount your product for 30 days following a price increase.

  • Discounts cannot be run within 2 months of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events or other specific Valve-organized sale events.

  • Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 30 days of releasing your title or 30 days from when your launch discount ends.

  • You may not change your price while a promotion is live.

  • It is not possible to discount a product 100%.

  • Custom discounts cannot last longer than two weeks, or run for shorter than 1 day.

Types of Discounts

Self-Serve

Partners are able to create and manage the following discounts on their own.

    Launch Discount

    Launch discounts start once your title is released on Steam and will last for 7 days. Generally launch discounts should be around 10% to 15%. There is a limit of 40%. Launch Discounts are optional.

    Weeklong Deals

    Weeklong Deals begin every Monday morning at 10AM Pacific time and run for 7 days. Participating titles are featured on the Weeklong Deals landing page and included in a Steam News Post, which is syndicated to Twitter and Facebook. To participate in a Weeklong Deal, you will need to opt in at least two hours before that deal begins.

    Custom Discounts

    You can configure your own custom discounts to align with special events like a major update or the anniversary of your products's release. You can schedule a custom discount to begin on the following hour. So if you are entering a discount and the current time is 8:13, you will be able to configure a discount to begin at 9:00.

Curated

The following discount types are created and managed by Valve. When selecting titles to fill these front-page promotional slots, we try to be as fair as possible and select titles that we feel customers are most interested in and will result in the most happy customers. While there aren't strict rules, as a base guideline we tend to focus on the top 10-20% selling games on Steam that are well reviewed and have otherwise proven to be successful. If your title qualifies for an upcoming curated slot, we will contact you with details.

    Daily Deal

    These promotions run for 48 hours, starting at 10am Pacific time. Daily Deals are featured on the Steam homepage for 24 hours

    Weekend Deal

    Weekend Deals run from Thursday at 10AM Pacific time until Monday at 10AM Pacific time, and are featured on the Steam homepage during that time.

    Midweek Madness

    Midweek Madness promotions run from Tuesday at 10AM Pacific time to Friday at 10AM Pacific time. Midweek Madness deals are featured on the Steam homepage from Tuesday 10AM Pacific time to Thursday at 10AM Pacific time.

    Seasonal Sales

    There are several sale events per year, which you may have the chance to participate in. Some of these, like the Summer Sale or Winter Sale, are open to all partners. Some may be only open to products of a certain category, like Anime or VR. You will receive announcements about these events ahead of time, as well as instructions for submitting discounts for your products.

Discounting Best Practices

    Stairstep your discounts

    It's typically best to ease into discounting, and increase the level of discount over time. For example, a title might move from 33% to 50% to 66% to 75% and beyond, over the course of a year or more. Rushing into a 50% or 75% discount weeks after your launch, or releasing with a very high launch discount sends a bad message to customers who bought at full price and undermines the value of your title.

    Time discounts to content updates

    When figuring out your discounting plan, try to make as big an event as possible, ideally tying to content updates as well. While the discount can attract interest, it's even better to show you are committed to your community by improving your product with content updates.

    Take your sales decay curve into account

    It can be tempting to use small discounts in an attempt to climb the Top Sellers list or gain more exposure, but look carefully at how many customers are purchasing your product at full price before entering a discount. It's important for customers to feel good about their investment, so it's probably best to use discounts once you've settled into the tail of your sales curve.

    Discount all associated packages (DLC, Deluxe Editions) at the same time

    If your product has multiple editions or DLC, discount them all together. Discounting only part of your product, orputting the base game on sale this week and the Deluxe Edition next week, dilutes your exposure and prevents you from taking advantage of all the network effects of Steam that happen as more users get excited about your product at the same time. You might not want to match the discount on every package. For example, if one DLC is a year old, and the another just came out, it probably makes sense to choose a different discount percentage for each.
Note: Discount Stacking
If a discount is already live on a product, any additional discounts will stack on top. For example, if a 20% Weeklong deal is active on your product, and overlaps with a 20% Summer Sale discount, the price displayed for customers will be 40%. If possible, avoid discount stacking as it causes confusion for customers. If the combined discount is 100% or more, your product will not be purchasable on Steam.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Q: How are promotions scheduled? Can we bring ideas to Steam?
    A: Scheduling promotions has typically been a conversation between you and Steam. We may come to you with ideas, and if you feel you have an idea of a unique Curated Promotion, please contact us. But you can also set up your own discounts whenever works best for you, or you can opt into the regular weekly sales.

  • Q: Are promotions mandatory on Steam?
    A: No. We might invite you to take part in a special event or promotion, but there is nothing that you are required to participate in.

  • Q: How are discounts approved?
    A: For Curated Promotions, Valve will come to you with an idea for your approval if we think your title is a good fit for one of these promotions.

    For Self-Serve Promotions, once you set up your discount using our Discount tool, then your game will automatically go on sale at the date and time you specified.

    For detailed information about best practices with discounts, see Discounting Best Practices.

  • Q: Can I participate in Steam-wide seasonal sale events if my product recently launched?
    A: Generally, you cannot submit a discount within 30 days of release or 30 days from when the launch discount ends. However, if you submitted a launch discount and your product releases within 7 days of a Steam-wide seasonal sale events (like the Steam Summer Sale, for example), Valve can help you extend that introductory launch discount to last through the sale event.

    There are always future opportunities to put your game on discount, so you shouldn't feel pressured to change your release date for the sake of a seasonal sale event.

  • Q: Can I run a launch discount when transitioning from Early Access to fully released?
    A. You may run a launch discount and participate in the Steam-wide seasonal sales events when transitioning from Early Access to fully released, unless you have increased your product's price within the last 30 days.

    For more information, please see Early Access Documentation.

  • Q: How often can I discount my game?
    A: Custom discounts must be spaced at least 2 months apart and at least 2 months after the release of your product on Steam. Custom discounts don't affect eligibility for Steam-wide seasonal sale events. Note that the 30-day cool-down for new releases and price increases will still apply for the Steam-wide events.

  • Q: What happens if my discount time period overlaps with another discount?
    A: If you run a discount less than a week before a Steam-wide seasonal sale event that you are also participating in, you'll need to pay attention to the start and end dates of your configured discount as well as the seasonal event. If the two discounts overlap, both discounts will apply. Note that if the total discount percentage exceeds 100%, the product will not be purchasable.

    If you find that a discount you are configuring will overlap with another planned discount, please let us know and we can manually configure the start or end dates of one of the discounts.