Steam’s seasonal sales are the stuff of legend, but the Spring Cleaning Event incentivizes something much different. Instead of encouraging you to buy mountains of cheap games that - let’s be honest - you probably aren’t going to play - this event is all about clearing out the massive backlog of titles you already own.
The five day event running through May 28 asks you to simply play games from your library. There are trophies lasting throughout the week for completing tasks like “play a game you purchased within the last 6 months,” or “play a game that you've spent less than an hour playing.” There are also daily tasks, including assignments like playing a game you’ve got no play time in or playing something randomly assigned by Steam.
Maybe clearing out your Steam backlog means you'll finally play some of the best PC games.
Alongside the event, a selection of nine games have gone free-to-play for the duration. Those are Dead By Daylight, Cities: Skylines, Don’t Starve Together, Dirt 4, Left 4 Dead 2, Tyranny, Borderlands 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Castle Crashers. That’s a good selection of titles new and old, and there should be something there to fill your gaming time. Of course, they're also all on sale if you want to undo your good backlog-clearing work.
Your reward for completing those trophies and daily tasks comes in the form of a “mystery item,” a nondescript box accompanied by the message “this item might be useful in a future sale.” The most likely result would be a coupon for further discounts, but personally I’m hoping for a friendly hand that nudges my cursor away from the “purchase” button once the next sale begins. (I know I’ll need it.)