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 dashboard here: https://partner.steamgames.com/promotion/discounts/dashboard/ (or select "Apps & Packages -> Discount Management")
- 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 30 days.
- It is not possible to discount your product for 30 days following a price increase in any currency.
- Discounts cannot be run within 30 days of your prior discount, with the exception of Steam-wide seasonal events.
- Discounts for seasonal sale events cannot be run within 30 days of releasing your title, within 30 days from when your launch discount ends, or within 30 days of a price increase in any currency.
- You may not change your price while a promotion is currently live or scheduled for the future.
- It is not possible to discount a product by more than 90% or less than 10%.
- it is not possible to create new discounts for a product that would result in the price in any currency falling below Steam's minimum possible transaction price. See details.
- 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. Any discount set to 20% or greater will automatically trigger email notifications to players with your game on their wishlist. Discounted titles are eligible to appear in various 'specials' sections throughout Steam, based on your game's tags, popularity of your game, and to users that it is recommended.
Launch DiscountLaunch discounts start once your title is released on Steam and can be staged to run for between 7 and 14 days, ending at 10am Pacific on the applicable day. We generally suggest launch discounts around 10% to 15%, should you chose to set one. 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.
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.
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 Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Learn more here.
The following discount types are created and managed by Valve. When selecting products to fill these front-page promotional slots, we consider games of all price points and genres. While there aren't exact rules, as a base guideline we tend to focus on the most-played or best-selling games on Steam. If your title qualifies for an upcoming curated slot, we will contact you with details. These promotional slots aren't negotiated for or sold, they're just built around player data. If your game has lots of happy customers and you'd like to discuss promotion options, feel free to contact us any time.
There are three main types of curated promo slots for products. The default discount length for all three promo slots is one week, but we're happy to be flexible with shorter or longer discounts, within our existing discount policies.
Daily DealDaily Deals are featured on the Steam homepage for 24 hours, and rotate every day at 10am Pacific. There are two or more Daily Deal slots per day. The artwork used for the Daily Deal is our standard "Header Capsule" 460px x 215px, and is imported from the associated game or bundle automatically. Daily Deal discounts run from 7 to 14 days. Learn more here.
Midweek DealMidweek Deal promotions are featured on the Steam homepage for 72 hours, from Monday at 10am Pacific until Thursday at 10am Pacific. There are up to six Midweek slots per week. The artwork used for the Midweek promotion requires custom asset sizes detailed here, which will be localized by Valve. Midweek discounts default to one week, but by publisher request we can run those discounts anywhere from 3 to 14 days.
Weekend DealWeekend Deal promotions are featured on the Steam homepage for 96 hours, from Thursday at 10am Pacific until Monday at 10am Pacific. There are up to six Weekend Deal slots per week. Similar to Midweek promotions, Weekend Deals require custom asset sizes detailed here, which will be localized by Valve. Weekend Deal discounts default to one week, but by publisher request we can run those discounts anywhere from 4 to 14 days.
Visual Example of Curated DealsHere's a sample display of the Special Offers carousel on the Steam homepage. Midweek and Weekend spotlights occupy the larger spaces on the left side. Daily Deals are on the right side. A user can page through this carousel, where they'll see multiple spotlights from curated sales, as well as other discounted products that are organically recommended based on current popularity with customers.
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.
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 the discount to a content update 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 in the early days of your title, 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, or putting 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
Please note that bundle discounts stack on top of any individual bundle component discounts that are occurring.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: How are Steam curated 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. To remove a discount, just set the discount percentage to 0%.
- 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 until 30 days from when the launch discount ends, however, there are a couple options if your game "just released".
- If your game launched 30 days prior to the start of the seasonal sale and DID NOT have a launch discount, then you are welcome to join the seasonal sale and enter a discount.
- If your game launched 30 days prior and had a launch discount, then when that discount cooldown DOES prevent you from joining the seasonal sale. You could choose to join the sale already in progress after the discount cooldown for establishing your base price ends. 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.
- You can now choose your launch discount duration to be between 7 and 14 days, so if you launch close to a seasonal sale and would like to have a launch discount extend into that sale, then you could choose a max launch discount duration of 14 days. We cannot extend a launch discount longer than 14 days, so you might miss the final days of a seasonal sale.
- 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 30 days apart and at least 30 days after the release of your product on Steam. Custom discounts don't affect eligibility for Steam Seasonal Sales. Note that the 30-day cooldown for new releases and price increases still applies for the Steam Seasonal Sales.
- Q. Will these new discount cooldowns apply to curated promotions too?
A. Yes, discount cooldowns will apply to promotions like Daily Deals, Midweek Deals, Weekend Deals, Weeklong deals, publisher weekends, and any custom discounts. Any discount applied to a game must have 30 days between the end of one discount and the beginning of the next discount. The only exceptions to this cooldown are the four seasonal seasonal sales: Spring, 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 95% 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 (see Price Minimums for a table of minimums per currency). 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.
- Q: I thought the cooldown was 28 days, not 30 days?
A: As of January 1, 2023, the cooldown requirement has been extended from 28 days to 30 days.