Last updated on April 6, 2021
Felidar Retreat | Illustration by Ralph Horsley
I get it. Your game library is a special collection. Some would even say it’s sacred. So it makes sense to be frustrated that you can’t call MTG Arena a part of your Steam library.
You might be holding out hope, or you might have already given up on the chance for MTGA to find a home in your list of Steam games. Either way, you’re probably here with some questions, so let’s get you some answers.
MTG Arena and Steam
A good chunk of people are a bit miffed that Arena isn’t on Steam, even though the game is available for free via direct download from Wizards. There’s multiple reasons from various corners of the internet flying around as to why it’s an upsetting sight.
Some say it’s not the best business practice for WotC and that publishing to Steam would spread the game to more people. While that was probably a valid argument back when MTG Arena was still fresh out of beta, I’m pretty sure the relentless advertising has more than taken care of any awareness issues.
Confounding Conundrum | Illustration by Bryan Sola
The strongest argument to publish MTGA on Steam comes from a community perspective. A lot of players have voiced their opinion on how useful the Steam friends list would be for the game. MTG Arena was missing a friends list up until November 2019, and even then it was a barren sight for a while.
If Arena were published to Steam, we might see the game explode thanks to interactions between players in the community. Plus more free advertisement from friend to friend!
MTG Arena on the Epic Games Store
You could argue that people would rather see MTGA on Steam than on the Epic Games Store. If you’re a part of that crowd then I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but MTG Arena is already there and has no plans to change anything.
In June 2020, Wizards finally pushed beyond the operating system barrier and published MTG Arena to Mac with the help of Epic Games. In the June 2020 State of the Game announcement, Wizards stated that partnering with Epic was the fastest way they could get the game to Mac and still provide the same experience that’s available on Windows.
Soul Shatter | Illustration by Wylie Beckert
Steam is the main competition to Epic when it comes to publishing games, but Wizards comes away with a better deal from Epic in terms of getting the game to Mac. Whenever a developer goes through Steam, Valve takes 30% of all revenue from the game. They only take lower percentages after the game has raked in a certain amount of money.
Epic, on the other hand, takes 12% and doesn’t bother with tier systems or anything like that. With MTG Arena being a free-to-play game and only bringing in revenue through in-game purchases, that 88% income share sounds a lot more appealing.
Will MTG Arena Ever Make Its Way to Steam?
Long answer short, probably not.
Wizards is already doing fine with their stand-alone download. I doubt they have any reason to partner elsewhere after pushing the game to Mac considering the benefits they’ve already gained by publishing to Epic rather than Steam.
They already have a better rate for their income than they’d get on Steam, and they accomplished their goal of getting the game to more players. I’m not saying it’s impossible that we’ll see MTGA on Steam, but it’s not looking any more likely now than it did a while back.
Forsaken Monument | Illustration by Piotr Dura
Playing MTG Arena Through Steam (But Not Really)
Yes, I know I said you can’t download MTG Arena on Steam. But, if you read between the lines, you can still play MTG Arena through Steam by adding the game’s shortcut to your library as a non-Steam game.
If you’re an active Steam user, you’re probably used to things like the Steam overlay or streaming your game via Steam Link, right?
If so, you’ll probably prefer having these alongside your Arena gameplay if possible. And it is possible.
You can access your friends list even if it isn’t linked to the game and chat with the overlay, and you can take MTG Arena with you to the couch and away from your oh-so-stiff-and-rigid computer chair through Steam Link. It’s the next best thing to a natively mobile experience.
You still don’t actually own the game through Steam (duh), but it’s pretty darn close.
How Do You Do It?
It’s simple. Just follow these steps to get the MTGA Steam experience you’re hunting for:
1. Launch Steam
2. Click the “Games” menu at the top left of the Steam window
3. Select “Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library” from the drop-down menu
4. Select the checkbox next to “MTG Arena”
5. Click “Add Selected Programs” at the bottom of the drop-down
And that’s it! You’ve just added a little more magic to your Magic experience.
‘Cause I said the word magic twice?… No?
All right, I’ll go…
Hold On, What About Steam Link?
Okay, okay, you got me. I’ll tell you how to play MTG Arena through Steam Link before I go:
- Download the Steam Link app to whichever device you wish to use
- Open Steam and click the Steam drop-down in the top left corner of the window
- Select “Settings”, and in the settings window select “Remote Play”
- Check the box that says “Enable Remote Play”
- Select “Pair New Devices” and enter the code that appears on the device you want to pair
- Once your device is paired, just hit the “Start Playing” button and open MTG Arena
And there you have it: MTG Arena, technically on mobile. Enjoy!
Sea Gate, Reborn | Illustration by Adam Paquette
Hopefully you’ve gotten the answers you were looking for when it comes to MTG Arena, Steam, and any related questions. If you’ve got an alternative for Steam that we didn’t already mention, go ahead and enlighten us in the comments!
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