Tools To Optimize Your Steam ExperienceInitially, Steam was created as a small tool to update Counter-Strike and then it quickly transformed into the largest gaming platform in the world. Today, the service has over 223 million registered accounts and more than 12,5 million concurrent users. Through Steam everybody can easily buy and play the games, share experiences and build thematic gaming communities. One of the biggest advantages of the platform is the availability of games in offline mode as well as the variety of useful built-in features. However, there are many third-party websites and apps that add even more value to the Steam platform. Here are some of them:
#1. Steam MoverSteam Mover helps copy the files from one drive to another. It means that as far as you use Steam, the game files will remain in your library, even if you move them on another disk. A less convenient and time-consuming alternative to using Steam Mover is to have multiple libraries managed by Steam. PRO’s
- Steam Mover allows selecting an installation location which is useful in case you have a limited storage space.
- It is simple to use: you can quickly move game files by creating a junction point, so that Steam can see the files at their normal location even when they are stored on another hard disk. Without Steam Mover, you would have to do constant install/uninstall shuffling to get enough space on the disk.
- Steam Mover allows you to save the most frequently played games on the SSD drive while moving older games to a hard disk. It helps optimize a speed boost when playing the game.
- Steam Mover has no warranty
- Works only with NTFS drives, not FAT32
- Junction point can only move folders, not individual files. So, the app is ineffective with the massive files of steammaps in certain games such as Counter-Strike
- Doesn’t work with Windows XP
- Sometimes, Steam Mover can move a lot of odd files without asking you for permission
#2. Howlongtobeat.comIf you are one of those people who have Steam library with hundreds of games bought during sales, so this website is for you. With the help of Howlongtobeat, you can manage the games you haven’t finished yet, create wishlists, mark the games you’ve completed or you want to play later (they will have the status “retired”). Howlongtobeat is also a handy tool when you need to calculate the time you want to invest on the game. Sometimes, you might not be willing to spend much time. But, there can be opposite situations when hours played affect the money paid. PRO’s
- Howlongtobeat can be used even if you don’t have a Steam account, allowing you to quickly search for the game and see how much time you need to finish it.
- It is very easy to use: just enter the name of Steam games you want to play, and the app will display the time it took for other players to compete the game.
- Howlongtobeat provides you with the meaningful data about the requested game including speedrun, single- and multiplayer statistics, information about the platform used (PC, PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4)
- The accuracy of the data is questionable. The statistics is gathered from relatively small amount of users and can’t prove anything.
- New games need a long time to develop fully – during several months after the release, that is why, the time to beat is always a moving figure. Before relying on the Howlongtobeat data, always dig deeper and analyze where the numbers actually come from.
3. Backloggery.сomIt is a similar to Howlongtobeat service that allows tracking your game collection and beating your backlogs. If you are playing a lot of games, Backloggery is a good tool to accumulate a backlog over the years. Backloggery has a custom entries support, so you can add all games you wish from retro to modern, from more famous to unknown ones. You can add the amount of games you have and then organize them according to different variables. Organizing your games list will add you some motivation to complete started games and make you feel more satisfied with your gaming experience. PRO’s
- Access to gaming community
- There is an associated program Steam2backloggery where you can import all games you own on Steam to Backloggery library
- The service can be used not only for Steam users. You can apply it to games from every platform.
- Too basic interface, needs further implementations
- A lack of sorting options
- It takes time to enter the information manually
#4. DepressurizerSince Steam allows a game to belong only to one category at a time (if you have a game in “Favorite” category, it overrules other categories). Moreover, the process of category assignment should be done through the context menu and a dialog box. If you decide to change the name of a category, you can’t do it. You will have to create a new one and then reassign all games to the new category step-by-step, which is a considerable waste of time. When you have several games in the library, it wouldn’t be a problem. But, if you are the owner of a huge library, so you might need some help. Depressurizer is a free utility that can help organize your Steam games into different categories by genre, status, etc. PROS:
- The category assignment is done automatically based on the games’ categories in the Steam store
- You can assign a category to multiple games at once, rename categories and create a backup file with all categorization info
- Available only for Windows
- Sometimes, you may not agree with Depressurizer’s assignment of categories and have to do some work manually to change it.
#5. Enhanced SteamIt is a free open-source browser extension available for Chrome, Mozilla and Opera. Enhanced Steam provides you with additional features and make you informed about new games, help create wishlists and spend money more effectively. With the help of Enhanced Steam, you can see your wallet balance and info about how much you have already wasted on games (it is an approximate number, but still very representative). PRO’s
- The extension is free and exists on donations
- You can add your comments and help developers to do the extension better
- Wishlist sorting, price lookup
- When you are browsing through the games, the extension depicts in colors the games you have already bought, you have discounts for, you add to the list etc.
- Some features may not work, if you have other browser extensions that interfere with Enhanced Steam
- The developers often test new features and are working to detect bugs, that is why some features may be temporary unavailable
TakeawayFor many streamers, PC gaming is associated with Steam. It serves as a store and a streaming platform, delivering a one-stop place for buying and playing the games as well as building your own gaming community. We hope that mentioned tools will help you get more out of your PC gaming experience.