PC games are regularly discounted on Steam, and sales may become even more common. A Reddit poster has leaked a developer-only Steamworks announcement revealing that game makers can now discount their titles directly using Valve's tools. The company's approval was apparently required for previous promotions. Now, developers reportedly have full control.
The poster adds that games can't be discounted more than once every two months. Sales must expire after two weeks, as well. Those sound like reasonable limitations, and they appear to be the only ones. The snippet quoted from the Steamworks FAQ says that developers are otherwise free to customize discount amounts and choose their own sale dates in advance. Developers can also use Steamworks to join regularly scheduled promotions.
Valve founder Gabe Newell has said that he wants to break down the traditional barriers between developers and their audiences. Giving game makers direct control over Steam's discount mechanism is a logical step along that path, and I like the direction Valve is heading.
My Steam folder already is peppered with impulse purchases inspired by Steam discounts. I haven't gone overboard, but only because the sales are so frequent, I don't feel the urge to pounce unless I'm dying to play the game right away. Most discounts seem to return again and again and again. With developers at the wheel, sales may become even more frequent. It will be interesting to see if the one-off discounts match the savings offered in Steam's larger holiday sales.