Is there a point in adding a non-Steam game to Steam?

Are there any advantages besides being able to launch the game from within Steam?

  • 1
    I like having a browser ingame. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 23:53
  • 3
    Yes, lying to your friends, because that's always fun :). Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 20:59
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    @TimmyJim I don't see how this question is opinion-based. It's just poorly-titled, and a better title would be something like "what else does adding a non-Steam game do"? Also, I don't think it's appropriate for moderators to unilaterally overrule the community by closing a question that has recieved two "Leave Open" reviews and zero close votes.
    – pppery
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 1:04
  • @pppery Perhaps a slight misjudgment - there are kind of two questions being asked here in this now almost 12 year old question, where the second question asking about "advantages" would be ok with me (that I did not see originally). I had my reasons as to why I closed it, but I can't squeeze all of it into a comment. While we are here, would you agree gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/138121/… is a duplicate?
    – Timmy Jim
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 1:42
  • 1
    @TimmyJim No, I think that is "What are the advantages of using Steam for games that it natively supports but are also available some other way" which is different enough from "What are the advantages of using Steam for games that it doesn't support" to stay open. But that question has an unresolved duplicate comment from 2013 for a different target, which I've brought to the attention of the close vote review queue by casting my own close vote. But I don't use Steam, so am not really well-equipped to evaluate whether its questions are duplicate anyway.
    – pppery
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 2:09

8 Answers 8


Having everything in one launcher is nice, but the big advantage is that it will try to enable the steam in-game interface. This isn't always a good thing - you may want to disable it for some games if it makes them unstable.

Launching non-steam games from steam will also display to your friends that you are playing that game. For me, this is a critical feature. It will not track your play time on that game, however.

Update: You can now in-home stream non-steam games if you add them. Thanks to the other replies for mentioning this.

  • 12
    It's also fun for confusing your friends, by appearing to play a game which isn't on Steam, isn't out yet, or doesn't exist. Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 15:07
  • 71
    badp is now playing Microsoft Word
    – badp
    Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 16:43
  • 2
    @badp using that program is certainly a game! Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 17:31
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    @badp My friends and I are also fond of renaming the EXE for those sorts of things so they can see, for example, that I'm playing "Minecrack" or "MotherF'in" Minesweeper". Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 18:23
  • 16
    @Codex no need to rename the exe, renaming the shortcut from inside Steam works too :)
    – badp
    Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 20:04

The advantages (already mentioned) are that you can have all game shortcuts in one place, other people can see you playing that game and you have Steam overlay in-game.

There are also some disadvantages. If you are downloading or updating a game on Steam launching the non-Steam game stops the download/update; this is the default behavior of Steam. Useful if you are playing a multiplayer game, but annoying if you are playing a single player game.

But the main disadvantage is that not all games are compatible with Steam overlay. Just as example I can cite League Of Legends. If you try to chat during game the chat stoles the focus and you game does not get anymore key inputs; the only workaround in this case is Alt+Tab to desktop and than return to the game.

  • You can disable download pausing from the Steam settings. Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 16:25

Non-Steam games added to Steam can be streamed with In-Home Streaming.

  • Do you have any source or at least a first hand experience with that?
    – Fredy31
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 23:38
  • I've done it myself and lots of other people have too (you can read about it on the associated Steam group). Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 0:45

This way you can let your ever eager to play friends know what you're busy doing besides games. Sometimes I'm playing Microsoft Visual Studio 2017, so everyone knows I'm not really up to much else at the moment.

Also, it's fun to be playing ridiculous non-game stuff. And games are about fun, so it's a nice feature.


Having all your game library all in one place has the advantages of having only one launcher which can lead to a cleaner desktop. It allows you to remember those older or indie games you don't play as often anymore.


Using Steam allows you to make screenshots and chat via the steam chat system (including voice comms if set up) even if the game itself doesn't allow it.

I've found the screenshot feature very useful.


These days, it also enables Steam Gamestreaming if you add a non-steam game to your steam library so all your friends can watch in envy as you play Elite: Dangerous.


One advantage is the ability to use any controller that isn't supported natively by the game but is mapped by Steam through the controllers menu.

An example I can provide is Genshin Impact using a Nintendo Switch Pro. That game only supports Xbox and Dual Shock controllers natively.

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