Steam vs Epic Games: Where Should You Build Your Library?

So imagine this scenario: an interesting game is on sale on both Steam and Epic, but you don’t know which platform is best for building your future library of games.

After all, it would be nice to have all your games in a single library, rather than having 3-4 games on Steam, 3-4 games on Epic, 3-4 games on and so on.

Anyway, if you don’t want to read the whole article and just want the summary, here it is:

Overall, Steam is the better place to buy games, even if Epic Games has free giveaways. Long term, Steam will save you more money by making it easy to hunt for discounts, while offering many useful features such as remote play, mod support, a bigger library, co-op sharing, and more.



Steam doesn’t offer free game giveaways like Epic Games Store does.

However, what Steam does does do are very frequent and deep sales of their games.

At any given time, there are at least 50-60 games on Steam that are on sale, with discounts ranging from 10% to 90%.

However, the biggest Steam sales usually happen around four times of the year:

  • Spring Sale.
  • Summer Sale.
  • Autumn Sale.
  • Winter Sale.

The best part about buying games on Steam though, is that you can track game price history using sites such as This lets you know how often a game goes on sale and at what price points.

Chart above is a 6 month price history of a game from

Overall, if you are patient enough to wait for sales and aren’t in a rush, you can use + the Wishlist feature to maximize the value of your money and strategically wait for discounts.

Epic Games

The single biggest feature of Epic Games is their weekly free game giveaways. While these giveaways are mostly about indies, they also include a lot of AAA heavy hitters such as GTA 5, Death Stranding, Star Wars Battlefront 2, etc.

Just like Steam, Epic Games also offers game discounts. Unlike Steam, however, there aren’t any sites that show historical price data. 

Furthermore, Epic Games Store doesn’t have the tradition of having sales at set times of the year. 

As a result, users may find it harder to time their purchases or plan ahead to snag games at discounted prices.

Library size

Epic Games doesn’t disclose how many games it has. But a manual check by the people at reveals there are only 2000 games on the Epic Store.

Steam also doesn’t disclose how many games it has, but through API integrations, we know that there are 50 000+ games on Steam

This means Steam has a much, much higher variety of games than Epic. 

If you are more of a niche gamer that spends a lot of their time on obscure games, then Steam is hands down the best choice since there are an absolute ton of hidden jewels, even though they are hidden away because of bad marketing or asset flip games.

But Epic Games’ small library problem isn’t limited to just niche gamers. Even mainstream titles like Call of Duty aren’t present on Epic Games.

Reviews and review scores


One of the biggest selling points of Steam is that their review system is very easy to understand and very transparent.

Games on Steam are reviewed with a simple positive like ratio from 1% to 100%, divided into several big “buckets”: 

95 – 99% : Overwhelmingly Positive
94 – 80% : Very Positive
80 – 99% : Positive
70 – 79% : Mostly Positive
40 – 69% : Mixed
20 – 39% : Mostly Negative
0 –  39%:  Negative
0 – 19% : Very / Overwhelmingly  Negative

The nice part is that you can also see review scores over time and measure whether a game has improved or not since launch.

A really nice touch though is that, in some cases, Steam also has systems in place that take into account if the game is review bombed or not.

At the time of writing this article for instance, the game War Thunder suffered from a mass review bombing campaign because the developer hiked prices for most in-game purchases.

Below are some images that show the review scores of War Thunder, with or without the review bombing.

Left image is review bombed, right image is adjusted for review bombing

The written reviews however, are by far the best aspect of Steam since they contain a wealth of information (and sometimes crass humor) about the state of the game.

Epic Games

Perhaps the biggest weakness of Epic Games is how it does reviews. In fact, it sometimes feels their review system borders on dishonesty.

For one, Epic Games never discloses the amount of votes a game receives. Did 3 players rate a game or did 500? Impossible to know. 

This is very important since you need at least 20 to 100 votes to gain some statistical certainty if a game is as good as its rating suggests.

Next, Epic Games doesn’t have written reviews. A simple 5-star system is great and all, but a lot of the time, written reviews by other users contain extremely valuable information for you as a buyer. Things such as game length, how it plays compared to other games, what types of bugs to expect, etc.

But the most worrying aspect of Epic Games’ review system is that it only shows review scores if they are good (a 4.0 rating or above), and hides review scores if the game reviews poorly.

A good example of this is Battlefield 2042 or an obscure multiplayer game such as Operation: New Earth.

On Steam, Battlefield 2042 has a Mostly Negative rating with a 40% positive like ratio, while Operation: New Earth has a Mixed rating with a 58% positive like ratio.

In our opinion, the reason Epic Games Store doesn’t show review scores for bad games is because negative reviews discourage users from buying these bad games. 

By implication, this means Epic Games receives less money since, like Steam, they get a cut of every sale.

Unfortunately, this philosophy of withholding valuable information from potential buyers creates distrust between users and the store since the users have no idea what type of game they’re going to get.

Discovering new games


Steam makes it very easy to find games. For one, the user interface isn’t covered up by gigantic thumbnails, UI elements, and so on. Instead, everything is much more compact, so you can see more information at a glance.

Next, every game has a bunch of tags right under the main presentation heading. These tags tell you what the game is about but also function as links so you can go to similar games.

Steam also has an excellent category and subcategory system you can use to find games. This category system is also divided into subcategories for even better discoverability of games. 

But an understated thing about this category system is that it’s always available. You never have to dig for it in the UI in order to find it.

Steam also has an excellent capsule system, where if you hover over the thumbnail of a game it begins playing that game’s presentation video. This really cuts down on the number of clicks you have to make, how much time you have to spend waiting for pages to load, etc.

Finally, you can also use third party sites such as to find similar games.

At the risk of sounding overly positive, Steam generally makes it fun to mindlessly browse around the store for interesting games.

Epic Games

Maybe it is a personal preference, but the UI on Epic Games feels difficult to navigate. To be clear, the UI is beautiful to look at, but it requires you to do a lot of stuff to move around.

Many menus and images are oversized, so you always have to scroll too much or click this or that to get to the information you need.

Unlike Steam, Epic Games only has a category system. This is great, but not always sufficient to tell you what sort of game you are looking at.

For example, the Indie game Recollection on Epic Games is only described as “Adventure, Casual, Indie” but Steam gives you more information by attaching tags such as “Atmospheric” , “Nature”, “Relaxing”, “Short” and “Indie”.

The “Short” tag is especially important since you know you’re buying a small game with 1–10 hours of content.

Finally, when in list views, Epic Games doesn’t pop up a capsule the same way Steam does. This means that whenever you want to discover a new game, you have to click on it to see more details. 

This “Stop-Start” way of doing things on Epic Games makes it difficult to chill for a few minutes and just explore games since you’re doing way too much clicking and waiting rather than seeing and wishlisting.

Other Useful Features

Prices, library size, review quality, and discoverability are probably the most important aspects of any store.

Besides these, however, there are a ton of other useful features a store may have that might encourage a user to stick to Steam or Epic Games.

Refund policy

Both Steam and Epic Games have an identical refund policy: you can refund any game within 14 days of purchase, but only if you played for 2 hours or less.

That being said, in certain special situations Steam has allowed refunds outside of those limits. For example, during Battlefield 2042’s launch, many users reported Steam allowing refunds even after 30-40 hours of playtime

Steam Remote Play

Steam has a very cool feature called Remote Play.

With this feature, you can install a game you own on your PC, and then stream and play it over the Internet on most devices (PC, Android, iOS, smart TV, etc.).

But there’s more to this. If you have a family, you can have one user buy a game, and then have up to four players stream the game on their devices.

You can read more about this feature here:

Better social features

Steam functions not just as a game store but also as a social platform. 

Users can post reviews, participate in community groups for a particular game, stream games, and interact with friends. 

Each user has a dedicated profile tab where they can write posts, share media, level up, and receive game recommendations based on what their friends are playing. 

Steam also supports game invites and text and voice chat functionality.

Additionally, Steam users can link their Steam profiles to their PlayStation or Xbox ones, allowing cross-platform communication.

Mod support

Steam has a useful tool called “Workshop,” which acts as a unified mod library and installation point for games that are highly moddable, such as Skyrim, Fallout 4, or X4 Foundations.

It’s a bit unwieldy and clunky to search through, but the functionality is there and generally works pretty well. You can find out more about this feature here:

Unfortunately, Epic Games does not offer the same extensive mod support. 

It’s still possible for you to buy a game like Skyrim on Epic Games and install mods on it, but you will have to do it the old-fashioned way. 

This means finding a Skyrim mod community, downloading the mod, and installing the mod manually over your Skyrim installation. By comparison, Steam mods are usually click-to-install.


If you’re a trophy collector who likes to 100% games, then Steam has a nifty feature called “Steam Achievements” where you can collect achievements for doing various stuff in game.

Buy games as a gift for someone

Epic Games only allows you to buy games for yourself, but Steam has a useful feature where you can buy a game for someone else as a gift.

The other person needs to be on Steam as well to receive the gift, but other than that there’s not much else to it.


Overall, there is no reason why you can’t have both an Epic Games Store library and a Steam one. Chances are Epic Games will continue to do free giveaways for some time into the future. Whether that will succeed or not at building an audience of gamers the same way as Steam remains to be seen.

Until then though, we recommend you enjoy the free offering from Epic but buy actual games on Steam (just wait for discounts though).

Good luck!

Paul Bonea
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