For many people, PC gaming is synonymous with Steam. Valve’s popular gaming client serves as a convenient one-stop shop for purchasing games, managing your library, and connecting with friends while gaming.
However, there’s more to Steam than meets the eye. It is packed with hidden features that can enhance your PC gaming experience, some of which are often overlooked. Chances are you can play games on Steam with more bang for your buck. What’s more, savvy Steam PC gamers know that they can use a VPN for games at an even lower price.
Whether you’re a seasoned Steam gamer vet or you’re new to Valve’s marketplace, these Steam tips will help you out.
How do I get the most out of Steam?
#1 Add non-Steam games to your library
From DRM-free indie titles to EA games available exclusively through Origin, not every PC game finds its place on Steam’s digital shelves—which can pose a challenge if users prefer to game and socialize exclusively through Valve’s service. Thankfully, Valve offers the option to add non-Steam games to the Steam client.
While these non-Steam titles won’t receive automatic updates or have their game progress saved to Steam Cloud, adding them to your library allows your friends to see when you’re playing the game. Additionally, it unlocks the Steam overlay feature (Shift + Tab), enabling full screenshot capture and in-game chat functionality.
#2 Try Steam Deck
What should I do first when getting a Steam Deck? Definitely install compatible games. There is even a list of guaranteed compatible games. Once you get the hang of it, the second question comes up: “How do I get the most out of my Steam Deck?” At this stage, you should customize the Steam Deck for yourself.
Whether you prefer using a mouse, a gamepad, or a touchscreen, the Steam Deck has you covered. Valve goes the extra mile by allowing players to create and share their own controller layouts with the community. To download a community layout, users simply need to visit a game’s page, click on the controller icon, select the currently active layout, and then navigate to the community layouts section. Here, users will discover a variety of unique and highly rated layouts crafted by the community.
#3 Change region
Although changing the Steam region is not available by default, this option is still present. There are detailed instructions online on how to change the Steam region. The key element of this puzzle is VPN for Steam, without which nothing will work. You need a reliable VPN service like VeePN that will allow you to switch to another country. There you can already get free games, good discounts, and unlock access to games that are not available in your region.
#4 Share your library
If someone has an extensive gaming collection on Steam, they have the option to share it with their loved ones. They can choose up to five individuals who will be able to access and utilize their library across 10 authorized devices.
To enable library sharing on their computer, they need to open the Steam app, click on the Steam option located in the top left corner of the screen, and select Settings (Windows) or Preferences (Mac). Afterward, they should navigate to the Family section in the side menu and check the box that says “Authorize Library Sharing on this computer.”
If they wish to remove someone’s access, they can click on their username at the upper right corner of the Steam app and select Account Details from the drop-down menu. From there, they can take appropriate action.
#5 Know your frame rates
In certain scenarios—such as after the installation of a new graphics card it can be helpful to assess the performance impact on your system and monitor the frames per second (FPS) in your games. Fortunately, Steam provides a convenient feature that displays a persistent FPS counter in one of the corners of your screen. Accessing this feature is as simple as opening the Steam menu, navigating to the In-Game section, and selecting the desired placement for the in-game FPS counter (i.e., top-left, top-right, bottom-right, or bottom-left). Additionally, there is an option for a high-contrast color scheme to enhance readability.
#6 Reduce bandwidth use
For numerous gamers, maintaining a stable internet connection is vital for attaining success in their preferred titles. The Steam client provides a range of options to reduce bandwidth usage, all conveniently accessible through the Settings in the Steam menu. By opting for Low Bandwidth Mode in the Library section, users can deactivate the client’s auto-loading features. Additionally, in the Downloads section, they have the freedom to select a preferred time for game auto-updates or completely disable them. For those who prefer a more technical approach, this panel enables the configuration of specific bandwidth limits for the Steam client.
#7 Get involved in the Steam beta
Joining beta programs can offer a valuable and unique experience for users, allowing them to access new features and preview interface changes before others. Despite the occasional bug or application crash, participating in beta programs, like Steam’s, provides users with early access to cutting-edge updates. To join or opt out of the Steam beta program, users can navigate to the Steam menu, select Settings and Account, and click on Change next to Beta participation. It is important to note that restarting Steam is necessary to confirm any changes. Users can rest assured knowing that the Steam team promptly addresses bugs, ensuring a smooth experience for everyone.
Steam provides users with a plethora of features that can improve the gaming experience. From adding non-Steam games to their library and trying out Steam Deck to changing regions, sharing the library, and more, gamers have plenty of options at their fingertips. With these tips in mind, they should be able to explore the benefits of this online platform like never before.