Valve has started their annual holiday sale through their revolutionary Steam platform.

Through January 1st, new deals on games hosted by the Steam platform will be announced. These deals are traditionally some of the best of the year, with some packages as much as 91% off their normal price. Each day, the deals will change until the celebration concludes at the beginning of January.

In addition to individual prices, various bundles and developer packages will be available for purchase at drastically reduced prices every day during the sale.

Today’s individual sales include 75% off the following games:

  • Fable III
  • Orcs Must Die
  • Max Payne
  • Portal
  • Bunch of Heroes
  • Pendulo
  • Singularity
  • Rift
  • Just Cause 2
  • Metro 2033
  • Amnesia
  • Sam and Max

In addition to the sale, Steam will also host an event called “The Great Gift Pile.” The concept is similar to the system used for the Steam Summer of Games event earlier this year. Every day, a short list of achievements will be released relating to various games on sale. Upon completing each achievement, the player will receive a gift box on Steam which will contain either a piece of coal or a gift containing some kind of Steam-related gift. New achievements will be released each day, but any past achievements can be unlocked through the duration of the sale.

Gifts can be opened to claim either a full game or coupons to be used on Steam following the sale. Coal, on the other hand, is slightly more complex. Initially, coal is worthless, but seven lumps of it can be crafted into a gift. However, coal can also be saved for entries into the Epic Holiday Giveaway on January 2nd. At this point, each lump of coal you have left will be entered into a grand prize drawing. 1,000 winners will receive the Valve Complete Pack, 100 winners will receive the top five items on their wishlist, 50 will receive the top ten items on their wishlist, and a single grand prize winner will receive every single game on Steam.

As a result of the sale, traffic on Steam has skyrocketed, leading to a laggy connection with servers and sluggish download speeds. This is not uncommon for such a large event, and will most likely be resolved in the very near future.

For more information concerning Steam and the holiday sale, refer to http://store.steampowered.com/ or download the free Steam platform from their website.