Valve has no plans for a 'Steam Pass,' but would help Microsoft put Game Pass on Steam

Will we ever see Game Pass on Steam?

It was a big moment for PC gaming when Microsoft stopped releasing its games exclusively through the Microsoft Store and started putting them on Steam. It wasn't every Microsoft game at first, but now it's gone that direction—just three days ago Bethesda announced it was dropping its own launcher and releasing everything on Steam going forward. But Microsoft also has Game Pass, a subscription service that's grown to millions of subscribers across Windows and Xbox, and those games notably still run out of its own app, not Steam. When I spoke to Valve president Gabe Newell about the Steam Deck last week, I asked him if Valve is interested in its own subscription service, or whether we could see Game Pass games on Steam in the future.

"I don't think it's something that we think we need to do ourselves, building a subscription service at this time," Newell said. "But for their customers it's clearly a popular option, and we'd be more than happy to work with them to get that on Steam." 

It sounds like we won't be seeing a "Steam Pass" subscription anytime soon, then, but the possibility at least exists of Game Pass games being available to download from Steam. There is some precedent there: EA Play, EA's game subscription service, was added to Steam in 2020. But Game Pass would likely be trickier. The service currently delivers different versions of games than those developers release on Steam, which is why we often see issues pop up specific to Game Pass games.

If getting Game Pass on Steam would help Microsoft sell more subscriptions, though, it seems plausible it could happen eventually. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has also tweeted positively about Valve's new Linux-based handheld, the Steam Deck. "We've talked to people there quite a bit about that topic," Newell said. "If your customers want it, then you should figure out how to make it happen. That's where we're at."

The Steam Deck isn't quite Game Pass ready just yet. As of this writing on February 25, Valve and AMD are still working to finalize driver compatibility for installing Windows on the Steam Deck. When that's sorted out, those brave enough to dual boot will be able to play their Game Pass games on the go.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).