Every so often, Valve will have a big sale where they gamify the process of buying games and getting discounts. This time, they’re upping the carrot and lessening the stick with a Grand Prix sale. Participating in this season’s summer sale allows a random chance for participants to win a game on their wishlist.
What Valve meant is that participants will win the top game on their wishlist.
What players interpreted, according to developers charting a mass exodus of their cheaper games on player wishlists, is that participants will win a random game on their wishlist.
This caused a problem! Players were thinking that, to maximize the value of what you could win, your wishlist should only include $60 video games that would, under their interpretation of the wishlist rules, be worth more than a cheaper game. This disproportionately hurt indie games, which rely on Steam’s wishlist to alert the rather large userbase to sale prices and just offer them general reminders that they were, at some point, interested in this game. It’s also just useful to know how many people want your game but aren’t buying it for some reason or another.
Shortly after developers noted this egress of their games off wishlists, Valve issued a clarification to explain that winners receive the game at the top of their wishlist. So if you wanted Assassin’s Creed Odyssey rather than Sleeping Dogs because it was newer and costs more, you would just move it to the top of your list.
To make up for the confusion, Valve is giving those who were active on the first day some extra points. So if you participated at all, you get a little leg up in the grand prix. Just don’t remove every game off your wishlist in the meantime. One wonders if the clarifications will be enough, however, or if the damage has already been done. If you keep a number of indie games on your wishlist for a while, and then removed them in a hurried dash to maximize your value from a possible win, are you going to go through the effort of putting them back? It looks like we’ll have to wait and see.