×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The most ridiculously expensive games on Steam

Steam continues to maintain its spot as the juggernaut of digital game sales: in 2015, Kotaku reports that there were 125 million active Steam accounts, and it seems fair to guess that the number has only increased since then. Part of the reason Steam has managed to stay on top is because of the sheer number and variety of games available on the service. Steam is also great for the gamer on a budget; small daily sales and fairly regular platform-wide sales mean that those in search of a good game for a good price can almost always find it.

That said, not every game on Steam is cheap; in fact, there are some insanely expensive ways to spend your money on Valve's digital gaming platform. Some of them are critically acclaimed, massive products with so much DLC content available that it seems unlikely you'll ever see it all. Others are obscure little titles that hardly seem like they can justify their exorbitant asking price. Let's take a gander at some of the most ridiculously expensive games you can pick up on Steam.

Emission VR packs a punch on its price tag

Virtual reality games seem like they should pack a heftier price tag than non-VR games due to the specialization and smaller target audience. That said, if you've already spent several hundred dollars on an HTC Vive or Oculus headset, you might not be overly eager to drop another hundred on a single game.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what Emission VR is asking for.

This zombie hunting game looks suitably terrifying: creep through dark corridors and try not to panic as you line up headshots. Unfortunately, it also seems like the reason for the ridiculous price is that the developer has abandoned the game. One Steam review recalls originally purchasing Emission VR for only $1.99. The Steam community is also full of discussion about developer support completely drying up and the new cost either being a typo or just a developer trying to scare new buyers off.

If you absolutely must get your zombie fix in, maybe you should check out Left 4 Dead 2. It goes on sale an awful lot.

Crusader Kings II will cost a king's ransom to own it all

Paradox Interactive is known for their insanely deep strategy games: Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron both have dedicated fan bases and more content than most players are ever likely to see. The king of content in Paradox's catalog, however, has to be Crusader Kings II. This grand strategy game tasks you with leading a dynasty through hundreds of years, conquering territory while setting up advantageous marriages and well-timed betrayals in order to become the most powerful family in history.

If that sounds a bit Game of Thrones to you, don't worry: there's a total conversion mod that simply transforms Crusader Kings II into George RR Martin's epic series. And that's an unofficial mod: Paradox is still adding new content to CK2, six years after its initial release.

If you want every last bit of content that CK2 has to offer, you can pick up a full bundle of it on Steam for around $300. What's great about all these expansions is that they work independent of one another: each can integrate into the game as the only addition, or alongside dozens of others. Some add entire new nationalities, leader options (want the chance to be a werewolf? There's an expansion for that), or other game-altering items. Whether or not you buy the complete collection, just know you're getting into a giant experience with CK2.

CrisisActionVR is a poorly translated mess that costs way too much

As far as we can tell, this is the single most expensive game on all of Steam. Clocking in at $199.99, CrisisActionVR better deliver. Let's have a look at the Steam description: "Take your power-ups and invite your friends together into the immersive VR world! Here we offer you a journey of the virtual bullet-flying battlefield, zombie-raging city, and fast-moving truck."

Yikes. There's a lot to unpack here.

Bad translation aside, it looks like CrisisActionVR reached for the stars and came up short. According to Upload, Crisis Action began as an eSports shooter that dove headfirst into the VR realm. Why it runs for nearly two hundred dollars is a mystery, but it reeks of an abandoned game. The few available Steam reviews are "Mixed," but tend to lean more in the direction of reviews like this, which compares it to "wet hot garbage." That review also has some gameplay footage; you may want to check it out before you drop that kind of cash on a single game.

The Sims 3 will cut through your paycheck faster than your real life will

The Sims series found that special gaming magic that every developer hopes for: a level of mainstream success that helps the franchise transcend being "just another video game." A big part of that comes from the steady stream of expansions to the four base games that the developers have released. Although the series' newest iteration is The Sims 4, gamers confined to Steam will have to settle for The Sims 3 and all nineteen of its expansions.

At twenty bucks a pop, the base game and every other release for it will set you back close to $400. Granted, part of the fun of a game like The Sims 3 is picking and choosing the content that interests you: if you want your pretend person to become a firefighter, own a dog, and go to late night cocktail parties, there are three different expansions that let you live your dreams.

Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations has almost no graphical interface

The term "Armchair General" refers to someone who claims to be an expert in military matters, despite having little to no true combat experience. If you want to rise above that derogatory term, but don't have access to, you know, an actual military, then Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations may be just what you need. One of the most expensive non-VR games on Steam, it'll set you back a cool $79.99 for just the base game.

However, you may be looking at the most complex and realistic military simulation available. Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations has very little in the way of a graphical interface (it just looks like a computer desktop screen), but it packs an awful lot of data underneath its hood. Across over forty different scenarios, players can issue orders, re-enact historical skirmishes, and command squadrons of period- and nationality-accurate vehicles in their quest for military supremacy.

There are no 360 no-scope headshots or highlight reel stunts to pull off: this is a game that requires concentration, calculation, and a huge amount of strategy. Rock Paper Shotgun calls it "fascinating but flawed," and I suppose it's up to armchair generals everywhere to decide if it is worth the $80 price tag. It has a small but extremely dedicated fan base, so there definitely is a niche market for this type of game.

Lock Parsing offers an insane discount if you buy all the DLC at once

Here's one of the more obscure games on our list. Lock Parsing seems less a full game and more a developer test, like someone said "Let's see if those programming classes paid off!" In it, the player is given an oddly shaped key, and must cycle through a series of lock combinations to find its inverse shape so they can fit together. Sounds straightforward enough: with a timer ticking down, it becomes a test to see if you can match or top your high score.

It's when Lock Parsing players try to fancy things up when things get a little pricey.

There are four DLC options that, seemingly, only change the color of the lock and key in the game: gold, steel, chrome, and aluminum. If you pick up all four with the purchase of the game, it will run you just over $16. However, that bundle is a whopping 98% off, as each DLC costs $199.99. Individually. That means, if you wanted to take your time with your Lock Parsing DLC purchases, you would spend close to one thousand dollars just for a few fancy colors in your matching game. The Steam DLC pages themselves simply ask this question: "Do you want to feel special?"

For a game that has zero reviews on Metacritic, that's a bold pricing scheme. Has anyone taken the plunge?

DCS World Steam Edition costs more than actually taking a flight

You might be thinking, "Wait a minute, the Steam page for DCS World says it's free!" That's because this combat simulator gives you bang equal to your buck: that is, you get what you pay for. You pay for nothing, and you probably aren't going to get much from DCS.

If you really want to lean in on DCS World, however, there is a pretty significant DLC bundle for you to pick up, to the tune of over $1,500 all combined.

This will provide you will with all sorts of different vehicles, maps, and scenarios to simulate to your heart's content. Want to fly an F/A-18C Hornet over the Persian Gulf? Get your flight suit on. Take to the sky in planes from different countries and different eras, and see just how they can compare with one another. But don't let that "free" tag fool you. You're going to have to open up your checkbook to fly these skies. HistoryNet calls it the best diehard combat simulator around, though, so wannabe pilots know they're getting into something good.

Train Simulator 2018 literally costs thousands of dollars

The Train Simulator series is probably the most infamous of all outrageous DLC schemes. Kotaku has reported on the insane cost of the "full" game multiple times. Steam community threads incredulously ask if anyone owns all the DLC for the game. Even developer Dovetail Games has explained that they don't intend for people to buy all the content available for Train Simulator 2018.

That's understandable, considering there are over 450 individual pieces of DLC, and the grand total cost of all those items will set you back over $8,000.

Train Simulator is essentially a digital playground for a train hobbyist: you set up tracks, put cars together, and let them run. Like many hobbies, train hobbyists will put massive amounts of research and time into recreating even the tiniest details. Train Simulator DLC lets you add new cars, locomotives, types of track, landscaping, and pretty much anything imaginable you could want in your digital little train world. It may seem ridiculous, but train hobbyists are a meticulous lot, so it seems likely that the amount of specific DLC available would be perfect for someone who wanted to unleash their inner conductor.

Crazy Stone Deep Learning is a powerful Go teacher

Beware of Crazy Stone Deep Learning, as it might actually be a complex AI masquerading as a game. It contains variable difficulties and a complex analysis program for the game Go, one of the oldest games in existence. Crazy Stone Deep Learning hopes to do the same thing for Go that engines like Stockfish have done for chess.

Crazy Stone Deep Learning boasts twenty different ranks for its AI, from 13 kyu all the way through 7 amateur dan, which means it should be able to provide a strong challenge for all skill levels below professional-level players. This explains the price tag: this is a powerful Go engine, meant as much to study and improve your own play as it is to provide an AI opponent. It's Steam page boasts language like "Deep Convolutional neural networks," so don't be surprised if it makes your PC self-aware and it tries to murder you when you're done playing.