The magic number for discount: 25%? 50%? 75%?

MushroomCake28

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People love sales and tend to buy a lot more stuff, video games included, during big sales. One of the most famous sales for PC gamers is the big Steam Sales. There are 4 of them during the year, but the summer sale and the Christmas sale are the biggest. During that time, we often see games at 25%, 33%, 50%, and even 75% sometimes.

So this question arises: what's the sweet spot? It's logical to assume that the greater the discount, the more it will sell, but I kinda assume it's not a linear function. So what's the best discount in your opinion?
 

bgillisp

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Sadly, there is none. It varies by game, consumer interest and many other factors. One thing though I have noticed is the more recent the game is, the less the discount is. It's not uncommon for games that came out 1 - 4 months before a big sale to only do 10 or 15% off even. But over time they increase that discount and usually after it has been out for a few years you might even see 90% off.

But there are exceptions too. I've seen some AAA games never go on sale or barely discount them, even when the game is 3 - 5 years old, and they still appear to be doing well as far as anyone can tell. So it really depends.

Overall though I'd say be consistent. If you do one 75% discount but the next one is only 25% those who didn't buy it the first time are going to just wait until the next time you do 75% as you set the precedent with that 75% discount. At least that's what I do, not sure if others do the same.
 

Andar

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one way to get some statistics is
www.isthereanydeal.com

this site not only checks over several resellers who has a sale,but also remembers the highest sale % that was ever given.

That said, there are two different strategies for sales around games.

A lot of AAA companies make their games "fire and forget" and plan with the sales of only about half a year since release, especially because they know that pirates will go after them and they don't want to pay the millions for updating their DRM to work longer.
Because of that they go down with high discounts fast, especially after the pirates version is available and their expected return is in - because every cent after that is extra for them.

Indie developers can't go to the high prices needed to get even within a few months, but on the other had they have less problems with updating their work long-term. And if you expect your game to still sell two years from now, you simply can't go as far down with the price because that will destroy the regular sales you still need to break even.
 

MushroomCake28

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Yeah, I definitely agree on the consistency. Can't do 75% during a sale, and do only 25% for all the sales afterward.

I know that personally I wait for the price to be at least 50% off to purchase, and that 75% off is just a bonus compared to 50% off. So the magic number for me would be 50%.
 
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From what I've seen of games on Steam, it seems the standard is to start with 10% discount, then add 5% discount during each sales event afterwards (every few months) until you reach 75% and then hold it at 75% for every sales event afterwards.

It should take around 2-3 years to reach 75% this way.
 

TWings

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When I'm looking to buy games during steam sales, I usually scroll through my wishlist and look at the games total price with the discounts first (doesn't matter how high or low is the discount). If the prices gets under 10$, I usually start considering it. The only exceptions beeing appealing packs or outrageously expensive games that gets like a 80 or 90% discount to come down to a reasonable price.
 

FluffexStudios

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My suggestion is for newly release game, start with a lower % first and keep going up as time passes. For instance, the first 3 months, start with 10% sale, then next 3 months go up to 20%, then 30% and so on. Eventually you probably want to cap it at a % you're comfortable with, but I don't recommend to lower the % sale once it's already going up as increase in % sale will give people that are on the fence when it's lower % more incentive to buy your game. But this could be different for every game, so you'll have to test out the market and see what work for you.
 

MushroomCake28

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@FluffexStudios Yeah I also think that's the way to go. Otherwise your previous customers would feel screwed, or you'd be losing on profit margins.
 

Pots Talos

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For the first year of release I put my game up for sale at 34% off which is the same price I would sell it at when attending conventions.
I recently did an end of summer sale at 50% off just for a weekend and to see what kind of sales that would bring in. Normal sales doubled during that time period which is nice but it didn't eat into our large wishlist numbers.

For now I think I'll stick to the 34% off on each sale and I don't think I'll be going back to a 50% off sale until after my next title is released. But even then I'll wait because I want to see how each title plays off each other and what bundling the titles together will do.
 

Tome571

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I think it depends on your wishlist number and if its a steam-wide sale.

If you have a ton of wishlists, they are going to get notified when you go on sale, no matter the number. Therefore, its gonna bump your sales, even if the % is lower. If you don't have many wishlists, you're going to need to do a higher number to push traffic.

The latter case is even more extreme during the steam sales, because everyone is on sale. People will laugh at a 25% sale when everything else is 66% or higher.

Smaller sale % to get some wishlist conversion isn't a bad idea, but might not get you much else. Larger numbers will get some more non-wishlist people, but of course cuts into your revenue.

I'd just weigh these things out, according to the sale and your situation.
 

Nightblade50

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You can have a larger discount around maybe like Christmas time, or sites such as itch.io have a thing where they encourage devs to put a discount on all their stuff at a certain time of year. So if you have a 75% discount around Christmas, people aren't going to want to wait a whole year just for a discount, generally...

Unreal engine's asset store has free monthly content. Which reduces price gained significantly for each product but does encourage people to buy the rest of the artist's work, if they like what is temporarily free. I won't shy from it, I never buy anything there unless its free

I would set a release date discount. Maybe 10, 20% off the first week it is released. Like I said about unreal engine, making something you have free, limited time or no, or just discounted, also could encourage people to buy the rest of your stuff if they like what you discount.
 

Kes

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@Nightblade50 Because this is Degica's official site, not a fan site, it is bound by commercial law. We therefore do not permit discussion of other engines, it gets complex. Please, therefore, do not bring Unreal engine into a discussion.
Thanks.
 

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