Steam bundles will finally stop charging you for games you already own

March 2, 2016 by Kris Ligman

The truly miraculous thing is why this somehow wasn't already a feature.

Great news for the habitual Steam collector: according to PCGameN and documents sent to developers, Valve is changing the way it sells bundles on its storefront, so that you are automatically discounted for the games you already own.

Previous bundles "were sometimes a bad deal for customers that already [owned] one or more of the products in the pack," Valve explained in its statement. "Either it made bad economic sense for those customers to purchase the pack, or they just felt bad about doing so since it [looked] like they were paying for products they already [had]. The new Steam Bundles system addresses this."

These bundles -- in which entire collections of games based around a franchise or theme are sold for one discounted bulk price -- have become a mainstay of digital storefronts like Humble and Valve's Steam service over the last few years, to where they're more of a constant presence rather than a special event. In a given week, you might see a bundle for an entire publisher's catalog for the price of one new release, or a collection of critical indie darlings for less than a suggested donation to an artist's tip jar.

These bundles are not without their criticisms. Some feel they're overused, for one, and the steep discounts mean less of a profit is passed on to the developer (which is a bigger deal when the developer is one person working in their garage than whe it's a major studio like say, Rockstar). But undeniably they're a cheap means of growing your game library, whether or not you ever get around to actually playing the things. So Valve adjusting its storefront so as not to double-charge customers is a net positive.

That said, I'm still wondering why it's taken them so long to do this. If you go onto iTunes and buy a single song from an album, it automatically offers you a discounted price for the rest of the tracks. Probably someone will tell me that it was 'too hard' to implement or something but come on, it's freaking Valve, I'm sure someone could've figured it out before now.

Anyway, the feature will be rolling out soon but already exists in the wild with some active bundles. Here are some screens (courtesy of PCGamesN) comparing the list price on the current HeadUp Games Complete Bundle.

List price of the HeadUp bundle if you own none of the included games. List price of the HeadUp bundle if you own none of the included games.

List price for the above bundle if the customer already owns a few of the games. List price for the above bundle if you already own a few of the games, like Greed and Future Wars.

Prior to this change, if customers purchased a game they already owned, the spare copy would go into their gift library and could be sent to another player. But it was still money spent that could just as well be not spent, and you know what they say about a penny saved: you can put it toward the next Steam bundle you can't resist buying.

(h/t PCGamesN)

Kris Ligman is the News Editor of ZAM. Their Steam library stands at 243 games and they regret so much. Find them on Twitter @KrisLigman.