Have you ever seen an awesome new DLC for one of your favorite Steam games, but cringed at the price? I‘ve been there too! DLC can get expensive, draining the fun out of PC gaming.
But don‘t worry – with the right techniques, you can download tons of great Steam DLC without paying a cent! In this guide, I‘ll show you the best legit ways to grab free add-ons, expansions, and other content for your Steam library.
As a long-time Steam enthusiast and self-proclaimed DLC fanatic, I‘ve mastered the art of amassing free DownLoadable Content for my favorite games. And I‘m here to share my hard-earned wisdom with you!
Let‘s dive in and transform your Steam collection with free DLC!
What Exactly is DLC and Why Do Gamers Love It?
DLC stands for "downloadable content." It refers to extra content that enhances an already released video game.
DLC allows developers to expand their games with new features and experiences even after launch. This is great for players, injecting fresh life into their favorite titles long after release.
According to research by gaming industry analyst SuperData, over 50% of PC gamers regularly purchase DLC. And it‘s easy to see why DLC is so popular:
DLC offers exciting new ways to experience and interact with your favorite games through:
- New story campaigns, levels, and maps
- Additional weapons, items, skins, and costumes
- Expanded multiplayer modes, maps, and characters
- New gameplay mechanics and features
- Bonus soundtracks, making-of videos, art books and more!
DLC keeps games feeling fresh, exciting and rewarding long after you‘ve drained the base content dry.
But as fun as DLC is, it quickly becomes less appealing when you see the price tags. Individual packages typically range from $1-$20, while big expansions can cost up to $40!
As your Steam backlog grows, buying DLC for every game becomes incredibly expensive. That‘s why getting DLC for free is so valuable for cost-conscious gamers like us!
The good news? There are 100% legitimate methods for downloading premium Steam DLC at no cost. Keep reading and I‘ll uncover the best ways to expand your Steam library for free!
Free DLC Direct From Developers
The most straightforward way to get free DLC is when developers generously release packages for free directly on Steam.
Publishers usually do this for one of two reasons:
Encourage Goodwill – Releasing the occasional free DLC builds positive buzz and loyalty within the game‘s community. This translates into stronger engagement and higher sales. It‘s smart marketing!
Keep Online Unified – Free DLC grants all players access to the same expanded content, preventing a fractured online community where only some own the DLC. Healthy unified multiplayer requires everyone having the same content.
Here are some examples of popular Steam games that have received substantial free DLC:
- The Witcher 3
- Destiny 2
- Stardew Valley
- Dead by Daylight
The key is staying on top of when new free DLC launches so you can grab it immediately. Here are some tips:
Follow official developer accounts on Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, etc. This ensures you get announcements directly from the source.
Subscribe to gaming news sites like IGN, GameSpot and PC Gamer that are great about reporting on upcoming free DLC.
Join game-specific Steam Communities to connect with other fans who will spread the word.
Stay active on forums and subreddits related to your favorite games for early alerts about free DLC.
With some savvy monitoring of news and social channels, you can score loads of direct freebies from generous developers. Sweet!
Bundle Pack Deals – DLC Bundled With Base Game
Another way you can effectively get premium DLC for free is by purchasing bundle packages or special editions that include the base game and DLC.
For example, you‘ll often see:
- Game of the Year (GOTY) Editions – Base game + DLC
- Gold/Deluxe Editions – Base game + DLC
- Complete/Ultimate Editions – Base game + All DLC
When you buy these bundles, you get the DLC essentially for free compared to purchasing the base game and DLC separately.
I like to think of it as buying the base game and getting the DLC as a free bonus on top. Here are some examples of popular Steam games where buying special editions with bundled DLC can save you a ton:
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
- Sid Meier‘s Civilization VI Anthology
- Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition
- Monster Hunter: World Iceborne Master Edition
Pro tip: Buy bundle deals during Steam sales periods like seasonal events or the Summer sale to maximize savings on both base game and DLC!
Giveaways, Contests and Promotional Freebies
Another prime opportunity to score free DLC codes comes from giveaways, contests, and temporary promotions.
Game developers often partner with gaming publications, streamers, community groups, and contests/sweepstakes to generate buzz and awareness for their DLC content.
For example, a developer may offer exclusive free Steam DLC codes to a Twitch streamer to give away to viewers during a livestream.
Or a gaming website may run a contest where winners get free codes. To find these types of promotions:
Follow gaming news sites and Steam community hubs
Keep an eye on social media like Twitter and subreddits
Watch popular Twitch streamers playing your favorite games
Join sweepstakes and contests from gaming brands
With some luck and persistence, giveaways are a great way to unlock premium DLC simply for being an engaged fan!
Steam Points and Rewards
An easy way to redeem free DLC is through Steam‘s Points Shop system. Here‘s how it works:
You earn Steam Points automatically from purchases and interacting with products on Steam.
Accumulate points to redeem in the Points Shop for rewards.
Some of the rewards offered are game-specific DLC packs – free to claim with points!
For example, I earned 6000 points from pre-ordering a game, then exchanged those points for a $4.99 DLC pack – got it totally free!
The selection of DLC rewards in the Points Shop rotates frequently, so check back often. And you can supplement points earned from spending by trading Steam items like trading cards on the Steam marketplace.
If you strategically earn and spend points, you can grab DLC you want as lucrative point redemptions.
Managing and Sharing Your Free DLC Bounty
Once you‘ve hunted down some free Steam DLC, here are some quick tips for integrating it into your games:
Enable Automatic DLC Downloads
In Steam, go to Settings > Downloads and check "Automatically download free DLC for my games." This conveniently downloads any free DLC you‘re eligible for.
Locate DLC in Your Library
Access your DLC by going to your Steam library, selecting a game, right clicking, and going to Properties > DLC. Check the boxes to have all your DLC enabled.
Share the Wealth via Family Library Sharing
Own a sweet DLC package? Share access to it with family members and friends you‘ve authorized to share your library. Family Library Sharing allows you to spread the free DLC joy.
The Dark Side: How NOT to Get Free DLC
Now that you know how to legally download free Steam DLC, let me be extremely clear on one thing:
You should NEVER, EVER try downloading pirated DLC or using hacks, cracks or unauthorized tools to access paid DLC.
I understand the temptation – new DLC comes out with awesome stuff, but you don‘t want to pay. Pirating it seems like an easy solution. But trust me, it absolutely is NOT worth the massive risks you take by doing this:
Permanent Steam account bans – Getting caught pirating DLC often results in irreversible account termination. Kiss your Steam library goodbye.
Legal consequences – Pirating is illegal and violates copyright law. You could face expensive civil lawsuits or even criminal charges in severe cases.
Malware/virus danger – Cracked or pirated DLC frequently contains nasty malware payloads that can seriously harm your PC.
Multiplayer issues – Cracked DLC can cause big problems for multiplayer connectivity, matchmaking, achievements, leaderboards, item trading and more.
Ethical concerns – Illegally downloading DLC deprives game developers of compensation for their hard work. This only encourages more harmful piracy.
The consequences simply aren‘t worth it just to save a few bucks on DLC. Instead, consider more ethical options if you don‘t want to pay full price:
- Wait patiently for Steam sales – DLC gets discounted regularly.
- Trade Steam items to earn wallet funds.
- Participate in giveaways and contests.
- Enjoy the amazing base game and buy DLC later when you can afford it.
- Or just buy the DLC at full price to properly support the developers!
Having patience and respecting developers‘ interests is key to building an awesome and ethical Steam library.
Let‘s Unlock Some Free DLC!
I hope all these tips equip you to start downloading fantastic Steam DLC without emptying your wallet.
As a fellow deal-seeking PC gamer, I‘m excited to see your Steam library grow through the power of free DLC! Here‘s a quick recap of what we covered:
DLC expands your games so more for free is awesome.
Monitor news and communities to find out when developers release free DLC.
Buy bundle deals containing the base game and DLC to save money.
Enter giveaways and contests to win free DLC codes.
Strategically spend Steam Points to redeem DLC rewards.
Never pirate DLC illegally – it‘s dangerous and harmful.
Disable paid DLC if you can‘t buy it yet and enjoy the base game.
What was the best tip you learned? Let me know, I love to chat gaming deals and DLC! Enjoy expanding your Steam collection. Game on!