Steam is the ultimate online gaming platform, letting you download games straight to your computer. Compatible with PC, Mac and Linux, you can take advantage of what this platform has to offer, no matter your chosen system. Steam’s vast library of games is regularly updated with both high-profile titles such as Grand Theft Auto and fun-filled classics like Micro Machines World Series. Steam has something for every type of gamer, with a much wider range of titles than competitors Origin and GOG.
Read on to find out how to access free games, share titles with your friends, uninstall unwanted titles and more.
How to get Free Games on Steam
Steam offers a selection of 164 titles that are available to users for free. Although some of the big names in computer gaming don’t feature on this list, the free-to-play games are highly-rated and feature recognisable titles such as Raft and World of Tanks. Other free downloads recommended by reviewers include DOTA 2 and Duelyst.
The free-to-play games are easy to access via the Steam platform. Before downloading any titles from the Steam library, you must download their software from their website.
After downloading the software, go to the Games > Free to Play. Once you’ve got to this page, you can browse through available free games and download the ones you want to play. Some of these titles do contain in game purchases, so play carefully if you want to avoid spending cash.
If none of the titles available take your fancy, there are ways to get paid-for games for free.
Beta testing: Games developers will often ask people to play games in development, so they can get feedback about what works and what doesn’t. You can find games that need beta testers on websites such as Alpha Beta Gamer.
Free games for signups: Developers and companies will often offer free game keys in return for you signing up to mailing lists. You can find offers like these by researching on Google or checking pages on Reddit which tend to be up-to-date with what’s available.
Rewards for social actions: Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with the gaming industry will often offer free keys or other benefits for those who share or comment on their posts (for example). Follow your favourite developers to check out where you might be able to get a new title for free.
How to Share Games on Steam
Alongside its huge library of titles, Steam has a massive community of 100 million users. Steam lets gamers interact with and play against other users in their online forums.
As well as playing against your friends, Steam also lets you share titles with them. You can share games in your library with friends and family by using the following steps:
Log in to Steam using the computer you want to share your library with (the friend you want to share with needs to have logged in on the computer previously)
Enable Steam Guard via Steam > Settings > Account in the Steam Client
Once Steam Guard is enabled go into Settings > Family
Authorise the accounts you want to share your library with by ticking the check box next to them
Once you’ve done this, the next time your friend logs in on their computer they should be able to see all your titles in their library.
You can share your library with up to five accounts across 10 devices. However, only one person can play a title at any one time. You’ll always take priority on games in your library. That means if you want to play a game that another device is already playing through your library, a notification will be sent to them with a few minutes notice. It’ll tell them to either quit or buy the game themselves.
If you want to stop sharing your library with anyone, it’s simple. Go back into Settings > Family and deauthorise their account by unticking the check box next to them.
How to Uninstall Steam Content
With so many titles available on Steam, you may end up with games you no longer play. These can take up room on your hard drive and slow down your computer’s performance.
Luckily, uninstalling Steam games you’ve downloaded is easy. Just follow our step-by-step guide to find out how:
Right click the game you want to uninstall in your games list
Select “Delete Local Content”
Click “Delete” on the dialogue box that appears
A confirmation box will appear to tell you that the title is being deleted, with a progress bar below.
If you’ve deleted a game, but want to play it again later, don’t worry! You can re-install any title you’ve previously downloaded from Steam whenever you want.
To re-install a game you’ve previously deleted from your computer:
Go to “Library”
Click on the game you want to re-install
Select the “Install” button in Steam’s middle panel.
Click “Next” on the dialogue box, select your set up options and click “Next” again
Once you’ve completed these steps, your game will be in your Steam games list, ready for you to play again.
How to Refund a Game on Steam
If you buy a game but find that it’s not what you thought, or that’s not compatible with your computer, never fear! Steam offers a good refunds policy.
Downloaded Games: If you’ve bought a downloadable game from Steam you’ll be able to request a refund for it within 14 days of making the original purchase. For the refund to be approved the game can’t have been played for more than two hours, so don’t try and use this as a free trial!
There are some games that are exceptions to this refund policy, most of which have come to Steam through third-party developers. However, it’s always made clear before you buy where refunds won’t be available.
In-game Purchases: You can also request refunds for in-game content purchases, but the policy is slightly stricter than with full game downloads. You can request a refund for in-game content within 48 hours of buying, if this hasn’t been used. Again, there are some third-party games that won’t allow refunds, but this will be made clear to you before you buy.
To request a refund from Steam go to their help page and follow these instructions:
Click on the purchase you wish to refund
Select the reason for your refund
Select “I’d like to request a refund”
Fill out the refund request form
You’ll get a confirmation email shortly after this, telling you whether your refund has been approved. If it has, you’ll get a refund within seven working days.