Steam has rather come into its own during the coronavirus lockdown. With many people furloughed with nothing better to do, they’re turning to the PC/Mac games store for entertainment. And although there are ALWAYS bargains to be found on Steam, it might be the game that you really want is still at full price. So how do you score discounts on Steam games?
Search for discounted Steam keys online
Oddly, Steam isn’t always the cheapest place to buy games off Steam. Yes, I’ll let that one work through your system for a minute…
Other retailers or games publishers can purchase batches of Steam codes and then sell these independently, sometimes cheaper than you can buy the game on Steam itself. Steam codes are sold widely, on stores such as Amazon and through authorised games retailers. The key is finding the cheapest one for your game and avoiding the cons (I’ll come back to that shortly).
I’ll give you an example. Earlier this week, I bought the Mac version of Football Manager 2020 (I already had it on Google Stadia, but needed the Mac version to play an online mode with pals.)
On Steam, it was still at its full price of £39.99. However, searching online I managed to find it on Gamesplanet.com for £33.99, a saving of 15% compared to buying directly from Steam.
Once you’ve completed the transaction, Gamesplanet sends you the Steam code which you simply enter into Steam by doing the following:
- Open the Steam client on your PC/Mac
- Click Add A Game in the bottom left of the screen
- Select Actviate A Product On Steam
- Click through the next couple of screens and then either cut and paste or type the Steam code into the box provided
- Provided the code is correct and genuine, the game will be added to your Library, from where you can download and install it on your system
How do you know if a site selling Steam codes is genuine?
Of course, this is the internet and there are people on every corner trying to fleece you. Many of the sites supposedly offering cheap (often stupidly cheap) Steam codes will take your money and leave you with nothing more than 15 random digits that Steam won’t accept. You’ve got more chance of finding God in KFC than getting your money back.
So how can you tell if a site genuinely has Steam codes to sell? Well, look for a list of authorised resellers.
Sega, the publisher of Football Manager, publishes a list of approved partners. Gamesplanet appears on this list, which gave me sufficient confidence that I was unlikely to be ripped off if I bought a Steam code from them. Sega helpfully publishes links directly to the sites, too, helping you avoid being caught out by companies that squat on domains that are a typo away from a legitimate seller.
Other games publishers produce similar lists. Here are the approved retailers for Electronic Arts (EA) and Ubisoft, for example. Other publishers are less forthcoming or only sell games directly, so do a little research before buying. The golden rule applies: if in doubt, don’t do it.
Other ways to score discounts on Steam games
There are other ways to avoid paying full whack for titles on Steam. The first is to show a little patience. Add a wanted game to your Steam wishlist (you’ll find a prominent button to do this on all the Steam games pages) and hold tight. When the game is almost inevitably discounted on Steam, you’ll receive an email alerting you to the discount on offer.
Another way to scoop up loads of games at much less than full price is on Humble Bundle. This site regularly packages together groups of games that are sold at a knockdown price. You might find that, of the 10 or 15 games in a bundle, you only want three or four of them, but that’s normally still cheaper than buying them individually.
The only annoying thing about Humble Bundles is that each game has to be activated individually, rather than in a batch.
NOW READ THIS: How do I get a Steam refund?