Steam is the most popular PC game shop and multiplayer platform, and it’s filled with features that will improve your gaming experience. Here are 10 Steam features you may not be familiar with that you should be using.
Use the Storage Manager
Because it might be difficult to identify which titles are using up the most space in your library, Steam provides a somewhat hidden Storage Manager tool. To access it, go to your Steam settings, then Downloads > Steam Library Folders.
Storage Manager reveals all of your installed games and their overall size, as well as a graph at the top that shows how much space is left on your discs. Steam even divides game size into the original title and any downloadable material (DLCs). Each game has an option for uninstalling or transferring it to another library location.
The one caveat is that Steam cannot monitor all files made by installed games, particularly if they store data outside of Steam’s library area. Many Windows games save files under the Documents directory’s “My Games” folder, which Steam cannot readily follow. Fallout 76, for example, saves screenshots and setup data to that area rather than Steam.
Related: Windows 10 Gaming Optimization
Test a Few Beta Updates
Some Steam games have beta update programs that allow you to test new features and improvements before they are completely released. Go to Properties > Betas after right-clicking on any game in your collection. A beta program will be shown in the dropdown menu if one is available.
Sell Your Trading Cards for Cash
Steam will regularly send you trade cards for a game you’re playing (if the game has them), which you may collect to earn badges for your Steam profile. If you don’t want to spruce up your Steam account page for others, you may sell them on the Steam Marketplace for a few cents apiece.
To view all of your trade cards, mouse over your name in Steam’s top bar and select Inventory from the pop-up menu. The current beginning price in the Community Market may be found by clicking a card. If you want it to sell fast, look at the graph of previous sales, enter the most recent price into the “Buyer pays” text area, and then click “Put it up for sale.”
Add Games to Your Wishlist
You may be aware that Steam offers a Wishlist option, which stores titles for later purchase (or viewing). However, it is more than simply a list. If you add an unreleased game to your Wishlist, Steam will notify you (through email) when the game becomes available for purchase. If a game in your Wishlist goes on sale, Steam will alert you in the same way.
Lastly, depending on the privacy settings on your Steam profile, your Steam buddies may be able to see games on your Wishlist. That simplifies gift-giving for birthdays, holidays, and other special events – if your Steam pals coordinate the gifts, of course. To access your Wishlist, hover over the huge “Store” link in the top bar and select “Wishlist” from the drop-down menu.
Check for Linux (And Steam Deck) Compatibility
Steam is compatible with Linux operating systems, including the SteamOS platform, which powers the Steam Deck console. There are a few places to go if you want to buy a Steam Deck or want to know what titles you could lose if you replace Windows on your PC with Linux.
To begin, each Steam game’s shop page has some information. The list of supported platforms, represented by icons, appears directly next to the “Add to cart” or “Play Now” button. The Windows and Mac logos are simple, while the Linux support icon is simply the Steam logo. Tux, the Linux mascot, used to be the symbol, but it was changed in 2015. On the shop page, scroll down to the System Requirements section to find the particular requirements for Linux and SteamOS.
However, the Steam icon shows only if the game developer has a fully-supported native Linux version available. Many popular games can only be played on Linux using Proton, Valve’s clone of the Wine compatibility layer included into Steam.
You may do a filtered Steam search to see if a game works exclusively on the Steam Deck. Some of the games run natively, while others utilize the Proton layer; however, all games that have been validated are entirely playable. If you scroll down, you’ll see a “Steam Deck Compatibility” box on the right side of each game’s store page.
If you want to find out about game compatibility on desktop Linux, use the third-party ProtonDB database. It ranks each game based on feedback from Linux users, and many of the comments provide troubleshooting procedures and other tips. ProtonDB also includes comments from Steam Deck gamers, so it’s worth a look even if a game is Deck-verified on Steam.
Check Someone’s Name History
Because you may alter your Steam name at any moment, you may find yourself in a situation where you don’t recognize someone on your Friends List. Fortunately, checking someone’s past names on Steam is simple.
Select the down arrow next to someone’s name in your Friends List, then click “View Profile.” It will not list all of the names used in the past, but it will display the most current names.
Give Your Friends Nicknames
Another option for not recognizing people in your Friends List is to manually give nicknames. Any nicknames you give them will not be seen by the other person; they are simply for your reference, similar to establishing a contact card for email or messaging.
Setting a moniker is simple, although it does need a few clicks. Hover over someone in the Friends List, click the down arrow, and then travel to Manage > Change Nickname.
Skip the Store on Startup
When you launch Steam, the Store page will appear first, most likely because Steam wants you to buy more games. Luckily, alternative pages may be opened by default. Simply go to Steam’s settings and select the Interface tab.
You may browse the Store, Library, News (which displays game changes), Friends, Friend Activity, Community Home, and Servers. If you don’t currently open them from your computer’s program list, changing it to Library provides you faster access to all your games.
Check Price History for a Game
Despite the fact that Steam deals are regular, large discounts may persuade you to feel that some offers are a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Fortunately, there’s an easy method to determine if a sale price is a good deal or the same 60% off that occurs every few months.
This isn’t a Steam feature, but searching for a game on the third-party SteamDB site will show you a pricing history in all regions. Many titles, like Portal 2 in the top picture, drop to the same price during each of Steam’s site-wide deals, but SteamDB can give you a better indication of what to anticipate from future reductions.
Install Several Games at Onetime
When you initially install Steam on a new computer, you’ll undoubtedly want to start downloading many of your games. The good thing is that you don’t have to start the download by clicking on each individual game.
Steam allows you to queue up many titles for download at once. You can pick numerous games by shift-clicking on your library list (click one game, then another further down the list while holding Shift), or you may select them out of order by holding down Control while clicking. Once you’ve chosen your games, right-click on any of them and select “Install Selected.”