In this article, we’ll share a few methods you can use to preview your game for free on Steam. There are a number of reasons why you might want to do this.
For example, most of the best games have negative or mixed reviews, although overall they are enjoyed by most players. In addition, reviews for many of the latest releases are heavily focused on feedback from those who reviewed the game shortly after purchasing it but did not give it a full rating.
The end result is that it becomes very difficult to know if a game is good or not until you try it yourself. Let’s see how to do this without spending any money.
Wait for the free weekend on Steam
From time to time, popular games will have a free weekend. During the Free Weekend, you can download the game and play it like everyone else. If you choose to purchase the game after the Free Weekend ends, you will keep all progress made during the free period.
This can be a great way to try out new games, but there doesn’t seem to be a timeline on which upcoming games will be available for free. Because of this, it can be very difficult to know when a game you’re interested in will be hosted for free, if ever.
Right now, the best way to find free weekend games on Steam is to open the Steam client every weekend. You will see all games as news pop-ups. You can also find them by scrolling down the Steam Store home page.
Purchase the game and refund it
In most cases, buying something with the intention of refunding after use is considered terribly rude and rather immoral, but with Steam it is acceptable. Steam currently has a refund policy that allows players to refund money for games if their experience falls short of expectations.
The entire return process is automated and usually happens instantly if you meet two criteria. You must purchase the game within 14 days and have less than 2 hours of play time.
You cannot refund money for games purchased outside of Steam, and you generally cannot return DLC without creating a support request, but this refund policy will apply for real games purchased on Steam.
Through this process, you can test the game for two hours, and if you don’t like it, you can submit a refund request. If you like it, you can keep playing. Alternatively, you can return it and buy it again in the future and you will still have progress made on your first playthrough.
Also, keep in mind that if you buy a game with Steam Wallet funds, the refunded money will be returned to your Steam Wallet and not to your card or PayPal account.
If you would like to know how to get your money back for the game, follow these steps.
- Open the Steam client.
- Click your profile name in the upper right corner.
- Click on your account information.
- Then click “View Purchase History”.
- Find the game you want to refund for and click on it
- Then click on the “I want to refund” button.
If you adhere to Steam’s 2 Hours and 14 Day Ownership Return Policy, you will be able to receive an instant refund. If not, you will need to submit a request and provide information about why you think you deserve a refund.
One final note on Steam refunds: the system is not intended for demo games. Instead, it is intended for players who feel like they weren’t given the experience they advertised on their store page, or for those who encounter bugs or glitches that mean they can’t play the game.
As long as you don’t abuse this feature on a regular basis, however, you shouldn’t have any problems, and Valve usually relaxes when issuing policy-compliant refunds.
Watch the game on Twitch or YouTube Gaming
Reviews, trailers, and game videos can be misleading at times because they very rarely show you what kind of experience you can expect from yourself. Reviews can often only paint a rough picture in your head, while trailers and game videos on YouTube have clips written from the script or chosen for better entertainment.
If you want to see what the game looks like in clear, unencrypted form, visit Twitch.tv or YouTube Gaming and find the game you want. You will immediately be able to see people playing the game without the need for editing. All gameplay elements, content and potential bugs will be right in front of you and you will see them.
One caveat: if you like what you see live, be sure to check the system requirements first.
Most streamers have very high-end PCs, so the game might run smoothly on their system, but it might not be as good on yours. You can find the system requirements and recommended specs in the store listing for each Steam game.
Thanks for taking the time to read our guide to previewing free Steam games. Did you find the information in this article helpful? Would you like to know more about Steam games or Steam refunds? If so, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you shortly.