For the longest time, you could uninstall a Steam game from your machine, but—no matter how regrettable the purchase—it’d remain in your library, cluttering up your precious game hoard. With Steam libraries growing into the hundreds and thousands, this became a problem.
Finally, after years and years, Valve has added the option to permanently delete Steam games. To be clear, this is not a refund, but rather an option to remove games you’ve had laying around for ages, that you simply can’t see yourself having a use for ever, ever, ever again.
The process is relatively simple: go to Steam’s support site, sign in, search for a game you own, and then choose the “I want to permanently remove this game from my account” option. Valve also notes that games you delete will not be automatically uninstalled from your machine, so you should take care of that beforehand—or else you’ll have to dig through files to remove the rusty old needle from your haystack.
It’s also worth noting that you can only delete some games—for instance, third-party bundles redeemed via keys—by removing the entire package they’re a part of from your library. See, when you redeem such packages on Steam, you’re technically subscribing to them all at once, so un-subscribing works the same way. Keep that in mind, eager library annihilators. (Speaking of all this “subscription” and “licensing” stuff, a friendly reminder: YOU DO NOT ACTUALLY OWN YOUR DIGITAL GAMES. IT’S PRETTY EASY TO GET LOCKED OUT OF STEAM. BEWAAAAAAAARE.)
Of course, if you want to get rid of games without decreasing your total game count, Steam also has a “hide game from library” feature. However, if people are scoping out your Steam profile from a distance—perhaps wondering, “Is this person a rad lady/dude or someone who bought The War Z”—those games will still be there, festering. By and large, though, the option to delete games wholesale isn’t super necessary unless, like, the knowledge that you own a certain game (and/or your library’s “hidden” folder) actively drive you crazy. But still, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have options.
Now then, the obvious question: what games will you be deleting, and are they all Bad Rats?
You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s stupidly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us an email to let us know.