With so many upcoming video games and reveals planned for this year, the PC gaming community is already taking stock of all the Steam sale dates for 2020. If you’re looking for a great deal on a huge variety of games, these sales are great opportunities to load up on discounted titles.
Steam often sticks to the same schedule for its major promotions, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to keep track of throughout the year. Before we get into a rundown of each, here’s a quick list of all the best opportunities to catch a great deal in the next Steam sale:
- Weekend Deals & Special Offers
- Lunar New Year Sale 2020
- Spring Sale 2020 (hopefully, although it was skipped in 2019)
- Summer Sale 2020
- Halloween Sale 2020
- Autumn Sale 2020
- Winter Sale 2020
Let’s talk now about when to expect some of the most familiar upcoming Steam sales and how long each major promotion tends to last. Since the official sale dates are not released to the public, there is some guessing involved. Steam may still surprise us and announce new plans or change their old habits, but we’ve compiled these entries based on precedent from a growing number of years.
1. Weekend Deals & Special Offers
Want a good deal on a new game, but can’t wait for the next big Steam sale? If you’re looking for some of the best prices on games, Steam’s Weekend Deals
are a great way to get huge discounts on small selections of games.
The scope varies but sometimes you’ll find great indie titles
or discounts on big parts of a particular developer’s catalog.
While these Weekend Deals are great, they may not include exactly what you want. Fortunately, one of the main ways to shop for Steam bargains is available every day of the year on the service’s homepage.
Simply log in and click the Store tab
. Right below the Featured and Recommend section, you can find the “Special Offers
” area that features a small selection of noteworthy deals and a link to “Browse More
Steam’s Weekend Deals and a regular slate of special offers are great reasons to revisit the Store tab the next time you log-in. Even if you aren’t planning to buy, you can compare prices and make sure you’re getting the best deal when you do.
Browsing is also a good opportunity to build your wish list and look out for unexpected discounts. You’ll almost always find something on sale, whether it’s a smaller project or a more recent triple-A (AAA) title.
2. Lunar New Year Sale 2020
Ran from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27 in 2020
Keeping up with a relatively new tradition, Steam’s sale marking the 2020 Lunar New Year was a good sign of what the platform has in store for users this year. Also known as the Chinese New Year, the celebration marked the beginning of the lunar calendar. The occasion served as a cost-saving extension to the holiday sale season.
The 2020 sale event played host to many great sales and daily featured discounts on some of the most recognizable titles from the past few years. This year’s event may be over for 2020, but make sure to mark your calendar for 2021 and check for lingering deals. For now, Steam’s Lunar New Year Sale seems like it’s here to stay as an annual celebration.
3. Spring Sale 2020 (Hopefully, although they skipped it in 2019)
Swapped out for a smaller promotion, previously held mid-May
As we mentioned earlier, Steam typically operates on a fairly regular schedule. There are some exceptions, however, and one of them is the Spring Sale. Typically one of the earliest Steam sales of the year, it takes place during one of the last weeks in May, at least it did in 2018. And in 2019, most users were expecting the same with a big sale close to the Easter holiday.
The dates came and went without a major promotional event, replacing the previous year’s Spring Sale with a badge-oriented Spring Cleaning event.
So, will there be a Spring 2020 sale? It’s hard to say for certain, and there is plenty of speculation about what may happen. With a fairly regular sales schedule, the gap between early winter and summer leaves a lot of room for possible promotions.
Given last year’s Spring Cleaning specials, it’s hard to imagine that Steam will let the season go by without any event. We recommend doing more research as we get closer to May, but for now it’s safest to mark your calendar.
4. Summer Sale 2020
Usually early to mid-summer, expect late June or early July
Typically one of Steam’s biggest sales (along with their mid-year autumn event), the 2019 Summer Sale ran for a full two weeks from June 25 to July 9. This event provides gamers with a lot of time to browse and consider different titles and discounts, making the Steam Summer Sale one of the year’s best opportunities to stock up on a ton of heavily discounted titles.
As the Steam catalog has grown, expectations for the event have grown with it. Most gamers expect a similarly long runtime for the event in 2020, with selection and savings to match. You can get some sense of the scope of this sale from The Geek Cupboard’s 2019 Highlights video
Historically, this is one of Steam’s major promotional events, and it’s a great opportunity to pack your cart with a huge variety of discounted titles. Mark your calendar for late June and early July if you don’t want to miss out.
5. Halloween Sale 2020
Ran from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 in 2019
Other than its regular on-site promotions, Steam typically skips major events until the days before Halloween. While this can sometimes leave a mid-year dry patch if you’re looking for blowout events, 2019’s 5-day Halloween event marked the beginning of a busy sales season. After Halloween, Steam offers two more major events before the New Year.
As for the Steam Halloween Sale itself, this is a great chance for horror fans
to load up on a variety of games. 2019’s sales brought numerous deals on acclaimed titles like Resident Evil 2
While it may not be the biggest or most diverse sales event of the year, it offers deep access into a growing niche on the platform. Long story short, if Halloween is your favorite holiday, this sale will be a highlight of your Steam calendar.
6. Autumn Sale 2020
Usually starts mid-November, coincides with Black Friday
Typically scheduled late in the season, Steam’s Autumn Sale overlaps with Black Friday and usually runs for a full week. In 2019, the event began on Thanksgiving and ended a week later, extending beyond Cyber Monday for three days.
Now one of several mid-length major promotions, the Steam Autumn Sale delivers a smorgasbord of great games priced to move. Want a better sense of what to expect? Check out the GrobeMan Guides & Gameplay’s launch summary on YouTube
to see a bit more of what Steam users had to choose from in 2019.
7. Winter Sale 2020
Usually runs from late December into early January
The last major event of the year, Steam’s Winter Sale is the platform’s second primary event. As usual, we anticipate that Steam will host two full weeks of discounts on an ever-expanding selection, with expectations that it will run through mid-December and into the early days of the New Year.
Beginning on Dec. 19, 2019 and ending Jan. 2, 2020, the event featured Festivities Tokens that users could redeem for bonus gifts. That makes the Steam Winter Sale a great parallel for the holidays, and in 2020, it will hopefully offer gamers a chance to pick up the typically pricier items on their wish list. Barring any major changes, the year-ending sale should be just as big as always.
Still getting used to Steam?
The regular sale schedule at Steam is actually a big part of the platform’s broad appeal. Whether you play all the time or just occasionally, taking advantage of these sales means you can pick up more games at a much lower cost. Weekend deals, special offers, and the usual Steam sale dates should make it easy for you to find discounted prices on a regular basis.
Where to look for discounts and sale information
You can expect to find great deals regularly highlighted in the Steam store. Just keep a lookout for new discounts listed below the store’s featured titles. For a sneak peak, check out the browser version
if you haven’t installed the application.
Steam also provides an expansive, searchable index of on-sale items
. You can often find huge discounts on modern classics like The Witcher III
and Grand Theft Auto V
What else to watch out for during Steam sale dates
Finding great prices may be the main appeal of the busy Steam sale calendar, but these events also provide unique opportunities to shop differently. With so many special offers throughout the year, Steam makes it easy to avoid paying full price for most of the games you play. Here are some other tips to get the most of your typical Steam sale.
Great opportunity to bundle expansions
Looking to get more time out of a recent game purchase? Steam sales and special offers are a great way to load up on downloadable content (DLCs) for favorite games as well, whether you’ve had them on the backburner for a while or you just finished one.
You’ll find a lot of expanded content bundles that make it easy to stock up while only paying a fraction of the original price. Be on the lookout for “Game of the Year” editions that bundle the original game with all the key DLC.
Steep sales on lesser-known titles
For many users, Steam sales are a unique way to sample and experience indie projects, smaller releases, and experimental work from niche developers. As of this writing, the Steam store classifies more than half of its supported releases as indie titles.
With lower starting prices to begin with, this lets you grab even more great games for much less than you may be used to. For some titles, you’re paying less than the cost of a candy bar to try something new on your gaming PC
Don’t forget to watch for release discounts
Rather than use long-running pre-purchase periods, Steam encourages publishers
to opt for early adopter specials instead. These offers typically involve a discount on select titles just after they’re released. To stay up to date, watch out for games you want on Steam’s upcoming list and then check for specials after their release date.
Use your wish list so you don’t miss out on the best time to buy
With so many promotions and discounted titles, using your Steam wish list effectively can be a big help. Simply add the games that you want, regardless of the current price, and scroll through periodically to see what’s on sale.
Sometimes a big sale may pass over the games you want, but a thorough wishlist means you won’t have much trouble finding individual discounts whenever you feel the urge to shop. The advantage is shopping from your own curated list, with discount prices easily visible in the Steam interface.
Best of luck next time you shop the sales
There you have it, a complete guide to keeping on top of Steam sale dates in 2020. And for anyone wondering “How long until the next Steam sale?” thankfully the answer is not too long at all.
Of course, without a formal calendar from Steam, we’ve based most of our dates on past events. For example, most users expected a Spring promotion last year that unfortunately never happened, which means we’ll have to wait to see if everything lines up. And who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us with a few new Steam sale dates in 2020.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.