Steam Summer Sale 2014 launched this afternoon as expected. The 12-day event offers discounts on a wide range of games and DLC available for PC, Mac and Linux.

A new set of games will get discounts each day from now until June 30th. Here's the first batch of games getting 24-hour discounts:
  • X-COM Enemy Unknown
  • DayZ
  • Witcher 2
  • Democracy 3
  • Far Cry 3
  • Don't Starve
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Sins of A Solar Empire: Rebellion
Not content to have customers visiting their store only once a day, Valve also offers several Flash Sales. These deals will be replaced every eight hours. You can even vote for one of these discounts. The first "Community's Choice" sale will go live at 9pm EST tonight.

Fortunately, they don't have any discounts with durations shorter than eight hours. The current setup's likely to result in a massive influx of customers and ensuing server outages for Steam. Imagine the sort of chaos that would result from hourly sales.

Speaking of massive influxes, I wonder whether we'll see Steam hit another user record. Over 7.6 million gamers were logged into Steam simultaneously during the holiday sale. The store hit that peak partly because they were giving away Left 4 Dead 2 for free, though. Wonder if they've got another freebie up their sleeves for this event?

Even without offering a free game on Day One, Steam's already slammed with traffic. Here's the error message you'll probably see this afternoon when you try to shop:

Steam traffic error

You might want to check back in a few hours to keep your temper in check.

Like the last year's summer event, Steam Summer Sale 2014 offers an exclusive set of Steam Trading Cards. You can earn these cards through activities like buying games or voting on Flash Sales. Once you've collected the full set, you can create a badge that grants other extras like chat emoticons, profile backgrounds or limited-time discounts.

Alternately, you can sell those Steam Summer cards on the Marketplace. You'll probably be able to make a tidy amount of money off the people dead-set on collecting the full sets. Don't expect to make a fortune but you could at least get a few bucks toward your next purchase.

This year also introduces a Summer Adventure feature. Each day, you can join one of five teams of Steam users. You'll then compete for points by collecting cards and badges.

"Each day the team with the most points wins," Valve explains. 30 members of that team who contributed points that day will win 3 games off their Wishlist. Make sure to update your Wishlist. Anyone who contributed points to that win will get 2 bonus Summer Sale trading cards. Everyone else who contributed points that day will get 1 bonus card."

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