Note important changes to discounting rules as of March 28th. Please see Discount Rule Changes
for more information.
Discounting can be a valuable tool to help grow your audience and extend the life of your product on Steam. You can participate in official sales events and take advantage of discounting tools to run your own custom discounts.
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.
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
- Navigate to the new discounting page here: https://partner.steamgames.com/promotion/discounts/dashboard/ (or select "Apps & Packages -> Sale Approvals")
- On this page you will see a grid of the games you have pricing permission for and all upcoming sales that your games can participate in.
- Simply enter a valid discount for each package and event as desired and click the 'save' button at the bottom of the page.
How to Edit a Discount
Discounts can be edited up until the discount itself has started. You can do so by visiting the same dashboard URL as you used to create the discount and simply change the discount % you wish to set.
How to Delete a Discount
Discount can be deleted up until the discount itself has started. You can delete a discount by visiting your discounting dashboard and entering the number 0 for the discount percentage. Click 'save' the same way you would when entering a discount and you will have removed that discount.
Specific Discounting Rules
- You can run a launch discount, but once your launch discount ends, you cannot run any other discounts for 28 days.
- It is not possible to discount your product for 28 days following a price increase in any currency.
- Discounts cannot be run within 28 days of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
- Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 28 days of releasing your title, within 28 days from when your launch discount ends, or within 28 days of a price increase in any currency.
- You may not change your price while a promotion is live now or scheduled for the future.
- It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
- Custom discounts cannot last longer than two weeks, or run for shorter than 1 day.
Types of Discounts
Partners are able to create and manage the following discounts on their own.
Launch DiscountLaunch 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 and are configured near your release date setting on your app landing page.
Weeklong DealsWeeklong Deals begin every Monday morning at 10AM Pacific time and run for 7 days. Participating titles will be accessible through a spotlight banner on the shopping cart page, that leads to the Weeklong Deals full listing. As with any other discount of 20% or greater, it will trigger email notifications to any players with your game on their wishlist. And your game can appear in various 'specials' sections throughout Steam, based on your game's tags, popularity of your game, and to users that it is recommended. To participate in a Weeklong Deal, you will need to opt in at least two hours before that deal begins.
Custom DiscountsYou 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 calendar day.
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 positively reviewed and have otherwise proven to be successful. If your title qualifies for an upcoming curated slot, we will contact you with details.
Daily DealThese promotions run for 48 hours, starting at 10am Pacific time. Daily Deals are featured on the Steam homepage for 24 hours. See Promo Spot: Daily Deal for more information.
Weekend DealWeekend 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 MadnessMidweek Madness promotions run from Monday at 10AM Pacific time to Friday at 10AM Pacific time. Midweek Madness deals are featured on the Steam homepage from Monday 10AM Pacific time to Thursday at 10AM Pacific time.
Free WeekendsFree Weekends are promotions where customers have temporary access to your game. Users can try out the game for free, but lose access when the time period expires. This kind of offer is used strategically for certain types of games or circumstances, and is usually paired with a discount to help convert trial players to paying customers. Learn more here.
Themed SalesSteam organizes various themed sales events designed to showcase certain categories of games. These events will have specific criteria for eligibility, and a process of invitation, registration, and discounting. Each of these sales will be promoted on the homepage of Steam and organized into sub-categories relevant for each event. Learn more here.
Seasonal SalesThere are four major seasonal sale events per year, which take over the Steam store experience in a big way. All games on Steam are invited to participate with a discount. These four events are Lunar New Year, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Discounting Best Practices
Stairstep your discountsIt'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 updatesWhen 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 accountIt 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 timeIf 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 besides those applied via Bundles will not affect the price of the game.
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 update a discount?
A: Yes, if your discount is not yet live, then you can edit or delete it.
If you would like to adjust your Launch Discount, you can do so by going to your game's landing page and clicking the box next to the launch discount you have entered currently.
If you would like to change a discount for an upcoming weeklong sale, custom discount or Steam-wide seasonal sale, then you can simply return to your discounting dashboard and change the percentage you wish for any given discount.
- Q: Can I participate in Steam-wide seasonal sale events if my product recently launched?
A: Generally, you cannot submit a discount within 28 days of release or 28 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.
If you decide you would like to extend your launch discount so that it lasts through a Steam-wide seasonal sale then please do the following BEFORE YOUR GAME IS RELEASED:
- Make sure your game's release falls within 7 days of a Steam-wide seasonal sale, if it does not, then this option does not apply to your game.
- Complete all the necessary steps to releasing your game on Steam. See Release Process for more information.
- Enter your launch discount.
- Enter the Steam-wide seasonal sale discount. This can be done by either going to the Apps & Packages drop down menu > Sale Approvals and entering the discount(s) in the correct column, or following the process outlined in the How to Configure section of this documentation. Select the intended Steam-wide seasonal sale in the "Discount Type" dropdown menu.
- Make sure the launch discount and Steam-wide seasonal sale discount are the same.
- Submit a ticket and confirm that you would like your launch discount to be extended into the Steam-wide seasonal sale. If we confirm that we can make this adjustment, then go ahead and launch your game on its intended release date.
Reply to the ticket once your game has been released as we cannot extend the launch discount prior to the game being released.
- 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 28 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 28 days apart and at least 28 days after the release of your product on Steam. Custom discounts don't affect eligibility for Steam-wide seasonal sale events. Note that the 28-day cool-down for new releases and price increases will still apply for the Steam-wide events.
- Q. Will these new discount cooldowns apply to curated promotions too?
A. Yes, discount cooldowns will apply to promotions like Daily Deals, Midweek Madness, Weekend Deals, Weeklong deals, publisher weekends, and any custom discounts. Any discount applied to a game must have 28 days between the end of one discount and the beginning of the next discount. The only exceptions to this cooldown are the four major seasonal sales: Lunar New Year, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
- Q: Is there a limit to how deeply I can discount a game?
A: You can set a game discount up to 90% off the base price. However, the Steam store only supports a minimum unit sale of $0.49 USD or equivalent in each currency or region. As such, a discount on a package can only bring the discounted price down to $0.49 USD. Also, if you set prices below the suggested equivalent price in any currency or region, your discounts may be restricted by the minimum discounted price in that currency or region. If you wish to sell content below these limits, you are welcome to use the Steam Inventory service to sell items within your game.