I play all my games on console, but I am soon making a full changeover to PC. I am not new to computers, but I am kind of new to Steam and overall PC gaming. Due to me not finding the "better" editions of the games I want on the Steam store, I decided to pre-order all the games for disc. But before I do this, I want to know one thing:

If I put the disc into the PC, will it automatically download onto steam, or will it just play off the disc? What exactly happens?

Please don't question me about why I wouldn't just get digital games etc. I will only get the digital copies of already released games and/or games without extra content in them (Season Pass) etc. Please tell me if there is actually a way to buy the "better" editions of the game (digital) with steam keys etc.

Thanks in advance!

  • 2
    This would be different depending on which game you're referring to. If you're looking for a general answer that works for all games, that's too broad to really be helpful. Please specify which game, exactly, you're asking this for.
    – Frank
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 16:18
  • Tom Clancy's The Division is one of them. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 16:22
  • 2
    No PC game sold today plays off disc. All require you that you fully install them on your PC. Any game still using disc based DRM will require that you have the disc in the drive while you play, but it won't actually use it. You can't buy or pre-order physical copies of a game on disc from the Steam store.
    – user86571
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


As a general rule, games that use Steam for distribution and DRM (or otherwise register on Steam) will install some content from the disc then update (or download) further data. This absolutely relies on the game being a Steam game - if it doesn't require Steam (or a Steam account) on the box, you probably won't be able to register it on Steam.

You can see a list of the games that use Steam for this purpose here, though it doesn't appear to be exhaustive (for example, not including CoD:BO3 which does seem to use Steam).

The Division (another game you mention) is a game published by Ubisoft, who these days seem to sell games on Steam, but physical copies with keys for uPlay.

  • games that use Steam for distribution and DRM (or otherwise register on Steam) will install some content from the disc - That is actually not guaranteed. Mad Max had only a steam installer on the dvd. NOTHING ELSE. They shipped a DVD with 2 mb data, while the game is 60 GB big
    – user28015
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 16:35
  • @DeleteMe: Yes, I was bearing that / MGS5 / Batman: Arkham Knight in mind when I wrote that - but thought it was unnecessary to elaborate past that in this answer.
    – Jeeva
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 16:44

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