When Do New Games Go on Sale?

a close up of a video game controller

Should you pay full price at game release or wait for the first sale? This is the data on how long it takes before the first sale and how much discount you can expect on average.

Paying the full amount for a new game at release can be very costly. However, if you wait for the price to drop you miss out on an official launch event and there may also be some perks associated with preordering. As such, I cannot tell you whether it is worth waiting as it clearly depends on your own patience and budget. Nevertheless, I can give you the facts on historic sales, so you can make an informed decision.

Brief about the approach

In short, this is an analysis of how long it takes for new game releases to go on their first sale and how much discount you can expect. It covers high-rated, big-budget PC games between 2018 and 2022 in their digital versions on global stores like Steam, Epic, Origin, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and Microsoft. If you want to know more about the approach, read below.

Show me more details about the methodology

Only great games

I have gathered data on the top 100 PC games on Metacritic between 2018 and 2022 as I am only interested in great games. Poorly received games will inevitably get faster and bigger discounts, but who really wants to buy them in the first place?

Big-budget games with high savings

Moreover, I have only selected expensive AAA games because those have the highest potential savings. That means no indie, remastered, ports, minor expansions, or freemium games.

Global digital stores

Only large, global digital stores are included for two reasons. Firstly, the analysis should be a big-picture view and not subject to minor local differences. Secondly, I cannot verify the credibility and price data quality of some of the smaller stores.

Multiple data sources

I have gathered and cross-referenced data from steamdb.info, gogdb.org, epicgamesdb.info, isthereanydeal.com, gg.deals. Prices are calculated in EUR but in general, there should be only minor differences to other currencies.

Statistical limitations

Sure, my data is very limited and as such, conclusions should be drawn with caution. I can only get more data by including other games that are either different types or poorly rated or I can go further back in time. In that case, the games would, in my opinion, not be relevant anymore. You may think that a lot of games are missing, but take a closer look at the Metacritic top 100 per year and you will realize that there are in fact very few big-budget games on this list. The selected games, even if few, are representative of the games I want to analyze – there is simply a scarcity of great games!

Now, let’s jump in.

Game releases

Below is an overview of the games included in the analysis. As I mentioned in the methodology section, there are surprisingly few high-rated AAA games.

overview of highly rated AAA games that went on sale
Games included in the analysis.

It takes 70 days on average before the first sale

This means that you should, on average, wait 70 days between the release date and the first sale before you buy.

However, the average may be slightly misleading because Elden Ring took 300 days to go on sale. I suspect that this particular game is not representative of a typical scenario, as it was highly anticipated and released during Covid with very little competition. If we remove Elden Ring from the equation, it takes approximately 2 months for the first sale.

Most games dropped within 1-3 months

If we take a more detailed look, most games dropped in price within 1-3 months. In my opinion, this is actually not bad. but there are also a few games that took half a year and more to go on their first sale. The problem is, of course, you don’t know where your specific game belongs when it’s new. However, also keep in mind that I only selected highly rated games, which means this is probably a “worst-case scenario” as lower-rated games may be forced to go on sale faster.

distribution of months it took before games went on sale
Distribution of months it took before the games went on sale.

You can get a discount of 25% on average

If you decide to wait, you may on average get a 25% discount. This is equivalent to savings of 15 EUR / 16 USD compared to the full price at release.

Realistically expect between 10-30% discount

Again, if we go into the details, the most frequent discount is 11-20 %. Most games get their first discount somewhere between 10% and 30%. Also, keep in mind that I only include the first sale. The discount will inevitably increase when the game gets older.

distribution of game discounts
Distribution of game discounts.

A breakdown per game reveals big differences

If you’re interested in how long it took for the first sale on specific games, you can see a detailed breakdown below.

It is pretty evident that Elden Ring is an extreme example that took 300 days before the first sale. On the other end of the spectrum, some games that went quickly on sale were released close to Christmas, which is another thing to consider. If a sale event is on the horizon, it may be worth waiting to see if the game gets discounted.

As you may also notice, there’s no clear pattern between the time you have to wait for a sale and the discount you get. That is, waiting longer for the first sale does not guarantee you a larger discount.

breakdown of games based on first sale
Breakdown of games based on days until first sale and discount %.

When in doubt, check on Steam

Steam was the first to put most games on sale. This is not surprising as the platform also by far has the largest selection. However, even when the game was offered in multiple stores, Steam was a frequent winner, which leads me to conclude that you can’t go completely wrong on Steam. Blizzard is a bit out of comparison here because they sell their own games exclusively on PC.

digital stores where games went on sale first
Stores, where the games went on sale first.


For highly rated AAA games, it takes on average 2 months before the first sale appears. If the game is released around Christmas, a sale may be near. On average, you can expect to save around 25% when the game goes on sale for the first time and there’s a high likelihood that you will find the sale on Steam.

I think 25% is a pretty decent discount but then again, 2 months can be a loooong time to wait. The choice is up to you.

Full dataset

gamemeta rankmeta scorerelease daterelease pricesale datesale pricestoredays until salediscountdiscount percent
Elden Ring29425-2-202259,9922-12-202241,99steam3001830%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2977928-10-202269,9916-12-202259,49steam4910,515%
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales148818-11-202249,9922-12-202237,49steam3412,525%
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight618228-11-202249,9914-2-202339,99blizzard781020%
Hitman 388720-1-202159,9924-2-202135,99steam352440%
Forza Horizon 53919-11-202159,9922-12-202153,99steam43610%
Microsoft Flight Simulator39118-8-202069,9919-10-202055,99steam621420%
DOOM Eternal128820-3-202059,995-5-202044,99steam461525%
Cyberpunk 2077208610-12-202059,9911-2-202153,99steam63610%
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands358323-11-202039,9911-3-202131,99blizzard108820%
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla438210-11-202059,997-1-202149,79epic5810,217%
Immortals Fenyx Rising77793-12-202059,997-1-202141,19epic3518,831%
Read Dead Redemption 21935-11-201959,9922-11-201947,99epic171220%
Devil May Cry 57897-3-201959,9930-05-201939,59steam8420,434%
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice108822-3-201959,9925-06-201947,99steam951220%
Gears 5458210-9-201969,9921-11-201934,99steam723550%
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order518115-11-201959,9920-12-201949,79origin3510,217%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare638125-10-201959,9928-11-201949,99blizzard341017%
Forza Horizon 488828-9-201869,9919-11-201845,49microsoft5224,535%
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey16862-10-201859,9916-11-201839,89ubisoft4520,134%
Hitman 2418213-11-201859,9921-12-201837,79steam3822,237%
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth747913-8-201844,9920-11-201834,99blizzard991022%
Far Cry 5877827-3-201859,9921-06-201844,99steam861525%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider957714-9-201859,9915-10-201839,59steam3120,434%

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