As the title states, what are the advantages to having a game on your Steam account versus having the game outside of Steam (especially for MMORPG games)?

Take Rift for example. Rift recently became available on Steam again and I've considered the possibility of re-installing the game just to have it on my Steam account, however at the same time I don't see any advantages to doing this (aside from getting to see the total number of hours I've played the game). Is there something that I'm missing?

For those that aren't aware, Rift as an MMORPG could be installed on any computer out there, signed in with an account, and all of characters on that account would be where they were last left off at. Cloud servers don't apply to a game such as this.

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    Related, probably not duplicate: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/9616/…
    – Frank
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 14:12
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    Within the context of the game Rift, there are essentially no advantages aside from the chat/friend system and showing people your in a game. Personally with 2 monitors, the in-game overlay is also useless as I just play fullscreen windowed and can see/access anything I want on the second monitor.
    – Enigma
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 14:50

5 Answers 5


Other than the social features of Steam, nothing really.

Some games will have Steam achievements, collectible trading cards, and statistics (I think it'll track hours played for almost every game) -- if these things are interesting to you, then you may want to use Steam for those games.

Steam allows you to chat with people and show them what you're doing at any given moment in the game. If you like notifications popping up saying that so-and-so you knew in college has started playing Dota 2, then you may want to use Steam over not using it.

Steam will base "recommendations" on the games you purchase and play on the platform. If you don't know what you want to buy, or like having suggestions for such things, then you may want to use Steam for all your personal computer entertainment needs.

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    There are also features like cloud saving, a convenience factor involved with being able to install a large portion of the games you own from a centralized service, and possibly a reduced cost of ownership (Say you bought the game during a sale) for the game itself. Of course, for Rift specifically, most of this is pointless.
    – dotVezz
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 16:47
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    As well as automatic updating, downloading/reinstalling from the cloud (no scratched/lost disks to worry about), the overlay which provides links to guides as well as a web browser so you don't need to alt-tab out of the app (which isn't so much a problem with Rift, but some games like Fallout/Skyrim don't handle being alt-tabbed too well.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 0:50
  • Also Steam has the ability to check and repair broken files and you can toggle on/off your DLC packs. You could probably earn money by selling items, but at it's least, when you make badges out of the trading cards, you get discount coupons.
    – altac bori
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 5:49

Well, for starters:

  • All games you own are on the steam servers. You can install them on every computer, at any time you want. Some games even on multiple pc.

  • Some games, those that got full Steam support, have their save games in the cloud. So when you play a game on your desktop for 2 days straight. And you want to pick it up on your laptop when going mobile, your latest save file gets downloade from the server, and you can continue from where you left off.

  • Since everyting is on the servers, you don't have to keep dozens of cases everywhere in your room. So more space for other stuff.

And steam itself has A LOT of sales.

  • Daily Sales
  • Weekend Sales
  • Weekly Sales
  • Summer Sales
  • Winter Sales
  • If you read this before the first of november: Halloween Sales
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    He is talking about adding a none steam version of a game since he already had Rift before it went on steam. Considering this your first 3 advantages will not be granted unless you buy a real steam version.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 15:16
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    @MennoGouw It's free to play on Steam, he wouldn't need to buy anything, just download it from within the Steam client (and thus link it to his Steam account).
    – TZHX
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 15:38
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    @MennoGouw It's not that unclear, if you read it. It was originally a bit less focussed on Rift, so Vascovd and myself have tried to give generic answers. I don't understand what you mean here though -- does Rift already notify you when your friends outside of Rift are playing different games?
    – TZHX
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 15:58
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    @TZHX otherwise it pretty much depends on what he is asking. He mentioned Rift as an example, that is made clear by not having the tag. So i would guess this question is globally about the advantages of adding none steam games to the library. This understates my first comment under this answer.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 16:43
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    @VascovdEng It's also pretty lame to downvote ones answer because that person questions your answer. Therefor, an eye for an eye. Which might be more lamer but i guess that is how we roll.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 16:48

In addition to the other answers, I find it extremely helpful to use the Steam Overlay to easily get a web browser.

When playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (added as non-steam game) I often find myself wanting to get into a web-browser to research something or find hidden items. You can also browse the web while waiting for something.

I also like that I can share screenshots easily with Steam, even for The Old Republic.

Note that these features may not be compatible with all non-steam games, but it is always worth a try.


There are no real advantages to add a custom game to steam other then some social and statistical aspects. Your friends can see what you play and how often you play it, the game gets added to the "games you own" list as well.

It does not make it possible to play the game anywhere you are as long as you can log in to steam. Unlike you buy the game on steam.


I'm a little late to the game in answering this question for the OP, but maybe this will help anyone who reads afterwards. All of the above answers, I consider to be excellent. If this question is about one game, then by all means play it on your PC. My account has close to 700 games acquired over a 12 year period on Steam, bought through Steam for a cost of about $1500. There's the savings factor right there. Quite a few of the games have community workshops where games create free content to play. The Steam levels have advantages too. Games have the ability to drop cards that can be used to craft badges. The more badges, the higher the level, the faster cards are dropped. Each level-up yields and emoticon, a profile background, and a coupon for a game up to 90% off. Emoticons, backgrounds, and cards can be sold on the market. You can use that money to buy more games or cards, etc. to speed the level-up process. I like the notifications that my friends are playing games I may be interested in joining with them if I wish. I like the discussion groups for support, reviews, trading the commodities. And what I like most of all, is that everything is in one place. These are just some of the initial thoughts that come to mind. So, in conclusion, for playing one game, no advantage, but for serious gamers - not saying that you are not - whether it's one game of people on steam with 10000+ games, it's the way to go. I think Blizzard is the only game community that comes close.

Some of you may already know of these: https://steamdb.info/ https://www.steamladder.com/ Chrome had the steam inventory helper extension if you're managing your inventory for sale or conversion to gems.

Hope this helps someone!

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