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How to Keep Steam Free Weekend Games Forever? (Short Answer: You Can‘t)

Hey there fellow gamer! Have you ever downloaded a hot new game during a Steam free weekend promo, only to have your access taken away before you were ready?

I‘ve been there too. It‘s such a bummer when those awesome free weekends expire and you can‘t keep enjoying the game.

Well unfortunately, there‘s no secret trick that‘ll let you keep free weekend games forever without buying them. Trust me, I‘ve tried all the clever hacks out there!

In this post, I‘ll explain how Steam free weekends work, why you can‘t keep the games permanently, and some sneaky (but risky) methods gamers try anyway. I‘ll also share tips to maximize your free game time and get Steam games for free 100% legally.

Let‘s dive in!

What Are Steam Free Weekends Exactly?

For anyone new to Steam, here‘s a quick rundown:

Steam Free Weekends (also called Free Play Days or Free Weekend Trials) are special limited-time promotions run by game publishers on the Steam platform.

During these events, games that usually need to be purchased can be downloaded and played in full for FREE. You get access to the entire game, all modes, bonuses, DLC, etc. Basically a free trial of the full experience.

According to Steam‘s internal data, free weekend deals typically result in a 500% sales increase on average for those games following the promotion. So it‘s a smart tactic for developer exposure.

These freebie events usually last 3-4 days, kicking off on Thursdays or Fridays and ending on Sundays or Mondays. But some can be shorter or longer depending on the game.

Free weekends give gamers a chance to "try before you buy" and decide if a game is worth the purchase. Meanwhile developers can hook new players. It‘s win-win!

Now let‘s talk about why you can‘t keep these games forever…

Why You Can‘t Keep Free Weekend Games Permanently

I know, it sucks. You finally found an awesome new game to play, only to have it taken away halfway through a battle!

Unfortunately, once a free weekend ends, your access gets revoked. At that point, you have to buy the game if you want to keep playing.

Here‘s why there‘s no way to keep playing free weekends forever:

You Don‘t Truly Own the Games

When you download games during Steam free events, you don‘t actually own them or their files permanently.

You‘re only granted a temporary free license to access and play them – not indefinite ownership.

So even if you copied the game files somehow, the license gets rescinded when the promo ends. Then your installation becomes useless.

Free Access is Hardcoded

Game developers likely implement the free weekend end time as a hardcoded date in the game‘s code itself.

That means no matter what tricks you try, the game will lock up and shut down at the fixed expiration date programmed in.

Steam Remotely Disables Access

When a free weekend concludes, Steam‘s servers automatically disable and revoke your access permissions to that game.

This happens globally, not just on your PC. So even if you copied the files or tried playing offline, Steam flips the switch remotely to block you.

It Would Be Piracy

Let‘s be real – trying to keep and play free weekend games indefinitely without paying is essentially software piracy.

You‘d be stealing copyrighted games which violates Steam‘s Terms of Service. Not worth risking your account getting banned!

Based on all this, there are unfortunately no secret hacks or loopholes to play free weekend games forever without buying them officially. Trust me, I‘ve scoured gaming forums extensively to try to find ways!

The only guaranteed options are either to purchase the games when the trials end, or simply enjoy them as much as possible during the limited-time free access period.

Now I know what you may be thinking next…

Clever Tricks Gamers Try (But Rarely Succeed)

While there‘s no foolproof way to retain free weekend games forever, some sneaky gamers out there have tried unusual tactics in an attempt to bypass restrictions.

These include things like:

  • Blocking Internet Access – Blocking Steam‘s servers or cutting all internet access to your PC right before the free weekend expires. This prevents the revoke signal from coming through for a while. But it only works temporarily until the next license check.

  • Cracking DRM – Using DRM removal tools to circumvent Steam‘s copy protection could let you keep playing. But it‘s complex and considered illegal piracy. High risk of a ban!

  • Changing System Clock – Setting your computer‘s internal clock back to trick the game into thinking it‘s still during the free weekend sometimes works briefly. But won‘t last since the end date is set server-side.

  • Using VPNs – Setting your virtual location to another country via VPN can make it seem like you‘re in an earlier timezone where the promo hasn‘t ended yet. Only temporarily fools the game though.

I don‘t recommend trying any of these hacks as they could get your Steam account suspended if detected! While Valve rarely bans for minor infractions, it‘s not worth the risk just to squeeze out a few more hours.

My advice? Simply enjoy the full free weekend trial period as intended, and buy the game later if you really want to keep playing indefinitely.

Now let‘s talk about how to score legit free Steam games…

Get Steam Games 100% Free (and Legal)

While you can‘t permanently retain free weekend titles, here are some legit and ethical ways to score free Steam games and build up your library at no cost:

Play Free-to-Play Games

Steam has over 100 high-quality free-to-play games – and more are added all the time. These let you play for free indefinitely. Popular free titles include:

  • Dota 2
  • Destiny 2
  • Warframe
  • Path of Exile
  • Team Fortress 2

Sure, most have paid cosmetics and battle passes. But you can enjoy the full core game for free. Worth checking out!

Cash in Steam Points

As you play games and complete Steam community tasks, you earn redeemable Steam Points.

You can exchange points for game coupons, DLCs, and full free games – no credit card needed!

Craft Steam Trading Cards

Crafting and selling trading cards from your eligible games earns you Steam Wallet credit.

Save up your earnings and treat yourself to new games when the next Steam sale rolls around!

Participate in Events and Quests

Many free-to-play games offer in-game events and quests that reward you with Steam codes for full games as prizes!

For example, regularly playing Warframe often earns you free Steam games over time.

Take Part in Giveaways

Follow gaming forums, Steam groups, Twitch streamers running contests, and developer accounts for chances to win free game codes.

With some persistence, giveaways can help expand your library. But be wary of shady offers.

Playtest Games

Some indie studios offer free Steam keys for beta testing their games and providing feedback before launch.

If you don‘t mind bugs, playtesting is a fun way to check out new games early!

Get Gifted Games

As long as your Steam friends own the game, they can purchase extra copies to gift to you anytime.

Gifting games shared between friends is a nice way to swap free games!

See? Plenty of legitimate ways to score free Steam games with patience and effort. No risky hacking required.

Next up, let‘s dive into some free weekend gameplay tips…

Maximizing Your Free Steam Weekend Gaming Time

When that exciting free weekend for a new game goes live, here are some tips to maximize your temporary free access:

Preload If Possible

Some free weekends allow preloading the game files before the promo begins so you can start playing the second the timer starts.

If preloading isn‘t available however, be patient! Wait for the free weekend to officially begin before installing.

Clear Your Schedule

Got chores and errands planned? Consider rescheduling so you can devote as much time as possible to playing during the 48-72 hour free period.

Those hours fly by quick, so clear the decks!

Install Quickly

Be ready to install the second the free weekend goes live. The faster you get the game downloaded and launched, the more free time you‘ll have.

Slow downloads eat into your already-limited trial. Try to install ASAP!

Plan Your Playtime

Determine what content and achievements you want to focus on first. Having a plan ensures you make the most of the brief free access rather than wasting time.

And don‘t forget to take breaks and sleep! Can‘t play all weekend.

Take Notes for Purchase

If you think you‘ll buy the full game later, jot down thoughts and save screenshots during the free weekend to help decide if it‘s worth the money.

Enjoy it!

Most importantly, have fun during your Steam free gaming weekend! Don‘t worry about lack of progress or achievements. Just enjoy your temporary trial.

Planning ahead helps maximize your brief free access. But don‘t obsess over it – focus on fun above all else!

How Long Do Free Weekend Trials Last?

I know it seems like Steam free weekends fly by in the blink of an eye. So just how long do these events tend to last anyway?

While the duration varies, most free game trials span 3-4 days on average.

Here are some common free weekend durations I‘ve seen:

  • 3 Days – The majority of free weekends run Friday to Sunday.

  • 48 Hours – Some particularly short promotions only provide 2 days of access.

  • 4 Days – Spanning Thursday through Sunday, these 96 hour trials provide bonus time.

  • 5+ Days – Occasionally you may get extended events from Thursday to Monday.

  • 72+ Hours – For major releases, weekends could be extra long at 3+ days.

Of course, the start and end times are clearly displayed on the game‘s Steam page. So you can plan accordingly.

My advice? Check at the start so you know exactly how many hours of free gaming you have, and budget your playtime wisely.

Now for the million dollar question…

Does Free Weekend Progress Transfer if You Buy?

This is one of the most common questions about free Steam weekends.

The frustrating answer is usually no – your progress does NOT carry over if you choose to buy the full game after the trial ends.

All progression, characters, ranks, loot collected, achievements earned, and anything else is typically reset to zero when the free access expires.

So you have to start over from scratch as if playing for the first time.

The reason for this is fairness. Having existing players retain their advancement from free weekends compared to new buyers would be imbalanced.

However, there are a handful of exceptions. Some games allow you to import your free weekend save into the full version if you purchase the game within a short grace period after the promotion concludes.

For example, you may have 24-48 hours after the free trial ends to buy the game and carry over progress. But this is rare – most games make you restart.

My advice? Don‘t get attached to any progress or loot during free weekends. Assume everything will reset. But enjoy unlocking achievements and leveling up for fun regardless!

Finding Out About Free Weekends in Advance

Want to get a heads up on upcoming Steam free weekends so you can plan ahead and add them to your calendar?

There are a few handy websites that reveal free weekend promo dates in advance through leaks, datamines, and insider info:

  • SteamDB – Great site that lists unannounced but planned upcoming Steam free weekends through data mining.

  • – Tracks all kinds of game deals including free weekends, and lets you create alerts.

  • SteamDatabase Browser Extension – This handy browser add-on exposes hidden API data like upcoming promotions.

I recommend bookmarking sites like these and checking back weekly. They usually reveal free weekends 1-2 weeks in advance, giving you time to prepare.

Knowing ahead of time is key for clearing your schedule to play!

The Risks of Trying to Keep Free Weekend Games

Look, I get it. The thought of keeping free trial games indefinitely without paying sounds awesome.

But actively hacking or stealing games in violation of Steam‘s Terms of Service risks your account getting banned.

Per Steam‘s rules against piracy and fraud, they can hand out suspensions as punishment. And if you issue chargebacks from your bank, Valve may lock your entire Steam account permanently!

Now realistically, Valve rarely bans accounts outright just for minor exploitation like playing offline briefly after a free weekend expires.

In most cases, they‘ll simply disable access to any games obtained fraudulently while leaving the rest of your account and games intact.

Still, why risk losing access to your library over a free trial? Seems an awful waste just to squeeze out a few extra unethical hours.

My advice? Enjoy your Steam free weekends as intended, then buy the full games on sale later if you want to keep playing indefinitely. It‘s the only way to be safe!

FAQ About Steam Free Weekends

Got more questions about how Steam‘s free game trials work? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Can you preload games before Steam free weekends begin?

A: Unfortunately no, Steam does not allow preloading upcoming free weekend games in advance. You have to wait until the promotion officially begins to install.

Q: Do Steam free weekend achievements carry over if you buy the full game?

A: Yes, any achievements earned during a free trial will remain on your Steam profile even after buying the full game separately.

Q: Can you play Steam free weekend games offline without internet?

A: Yes, you can play free games offline during the trial period. But your access will still expire eventually according to the promotion end date.

Q: How many free games are there on Steam in total?

A: As of 2022, Steam offers over 1,000 completely free games, over 4,500 free demos, and around 100 high-quality free-to-play titles.

Q: Are free weekends available for every Steam game?

A: No, free weekends are only offered at select times for certain games, usually major releases, at each publisher‘s own discretion. Not every title participates.

I hope these answers help explain some common free trial questions. Let me know if you have any others!

In Conclusion

Whew, we covered a lot of ground here today!

While you sadly can‘t keep Steam‘s awesome free weekend games indefinitely without purchasing them, I hope I was able to explain exactly how the temporary trials work.

With some effort, you can maximize your limited free gameplay time through smart planning and preparation.

Don‘t stress too much about lack of progress either – just have fun exploring new games risk-free!

And remember, there are plenty of totally legal methods to expanding your Steam library for free through Steam points, gifts, trading cards, giveaways and more.

So unlock achievements, level up those characters, and enjoy those short-lived free gaming weekends while they last. Happy (and legal) Steam gaming my friend! Let me know if you have any other questions.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.