Account Cart Search

Steam’s new “Points Shop” makes us all too aware of our spending habits

Article posted on 7/9/2020

I am kind of a compulsive shopper (a habit I have been trying to curb over the last few years). Because of this, there is a small amount of dread and a large amount of summoned self-restraint every year when the Steam Summer Sale arrives.

I haven’t bought anything yet this year - I guess I’m waiting for the last minute - but I noticed while perusing articles on gaming sites that Steam has introduced a new Points Shop. So, of course I had to go and check it out, though I’ll be honest that I was surprised at what I discovered about myself and my game buying habits (more on that later). 

The concept of the Points Shop isn’t unlike a lot of store reward programs: you get a certain number of points for every $1 you spend (in Steam’s case, it’s 100 points per dollar) and can redeem them for various bonuses. Any points you might have in your account now have been accrued from anything you’ve bought starting in January of this year. This is sort of where my shock came in.

I have zero points. Zero! That means that, somehow, I have managed to avoid spending a dime on the platform in the last 6 months. This astonishes me, frankly, because I always feel like I’m constantly picking up a game here and there - but then I’ve come to realize that a lot of my recent acquisitions have been through places like Humble Bundle or other direct storefronts that just provide me a Steam key. It’s important to note, of course, that none of those external purchases will count at all toward your points.

Honestly, I’m not sure the Points Shop will have the intended effect - which is, I assume, to encourage people to spend more money so that they can claim special chat effects, emoticons, avatar frames, and all sorts of other aesthetic goodies for their Steam profiles. For me, at any rate, I feel like seeing my points on blatant display reminding me of what I’ve already spent might cause me to second-guess my impulse purchases (which, for me, is a good thing, but for Steam, not so much). 

This actually got me curious about my overall Steam profile over the last 12ish years or so, so I ran my profile through SteamDB Calculator and it really wasn’t as drastic as I expected. I know for a fact that I have a mild case of game acquisition compared to a lot of others! This year has been the year of Switch and PS4 purchases for me, so I suppose it’s natural for my Steam spending to go down a bit. 

In fact, I think my new challenge might be to see how long I can maintain 0 points - can I make it till the end of the year? (Probably not, the Phoenix Wright trilogy keeps going on sale for $14.99 and it’s been calling to me).

So… how many points do you have? Get anything good during the sale this year?