Get ready to empty your wallets into the coffers of Valve over the next couple of weeks.

Valve has begun its highly anticipated Steam Holiday Sale of 2010, and it’s already a doozy on day one. It’s hard to tell exactly how many games are on sale, but by my count I see a billion or two, or three. The Steam Holiday Sale will run through January 2, 2011.

Here’s how the promotion works this year: There are daily deals, package deals, and individual publishers are putting their entire catalogs (or most of them) on sale at reduced prices. Valve is also holding a sale within the sale by awarding a Holiday Bonus discount on specific titles if Steam users already own other titles.

For example, Portal is currently priced at $3.74. However, if you own Half-Life 2, Steam will give it to you for $2.25. There will be a different Holiday Bonus title for each day of the promotion.

The daily deals are self-explanatory, but I’ll explain them anyway just for fun. There will be new daily deals every day. The package deals come in both indie and non-indie, with publishers like THQ, Rockstar Games, and Telltale Games putting together entire packs of games for up to nearly 90% off. There are currently a dozen different indie package deals, each with a theme, that include 5 titles for $5. There’s also the Indie Heavy Hitters pack which includes 8 titles like Braid and Zeno Clash for $20, and there will be an indie deal of the day every day until the sale ends.

Just about every major publisher on Steam is discounting the majority of their catalogs, and there’s even a big section for Mac-specific discounts. The best way to peruse the Steam Holiday Sale is really just to visit the Steam website and flip through the easy-to-use book interface. It’s almost as long as War and Peace, so expect to browse for a while, and bring a credit card.

Source: Steam

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