When people first hear about Steam Points, they think they’re a reward system to purchase games. However, Valve took a different approach than many other companies.
To reward players for purchasing games, DLC, and other content, they started a program to make your profile and online interactions look more impressive than ever before.
What Are Steam Points?
Steam Points are a unique currency used in steam’s shop where users can buy digital goods to make their online presence more attractive. For example, you might find picture frames, new emojis for chat, or backgrounds for your profile.
Pull up your Steam friends list and hover over people on it. You might find the standard mini profile background in a shade of gunmetal grey. However, if someone has purchased a new mini profile background in the points shop, that will appear instead. Currently popular is a purple and blue nebula of moving stars that continuously cycles behind the user’s image and information about what they’re doing on Steam.
This is one of the quickest ways to see how people use their Steam points.
How Do I Get Steam Points?
Steam Points are a kind of loyalty reward for spending money on Steam. You get 100 points for every dollar you spend. If you purchase the Elder Scrolls Online base game for $19.99, you get almost 2,000 Steam Points. People who buy many of their games through the service find that they rack up quickly.
You can also get points from user review awards and user-generated content awards. You get points when you write a review, and someone gives you an award. You also get points when you post a screenshot or other unique content and get a prize.
For reference, I’ve had up to 240,000 Steam Points and I am down to 190,000 after buying some Goose Game emojis, a few profile backgrounds, and enhancements for my mini-profile.
How to Use Steam Points
Use Steam Points to buy custom items for your profile and chat.
- Open Steam.
- Hover over the “Store” option.
- Click “Points Shop.”
- Choose a category in the sidebar and click it.
- Click on an item you want to purchase.
- Click the point total button on the pop-up. This completes your purchase.
How to View Steam Points
You can see your total Steam Points at the top right of the Points Shop. You can also scroll to the bottom of the sidebar on the left side of the Points Shop to see your point history.
What Can I Buy With Steam Points?
Steam offers many different items to purchase. You can buy things you aren’t planning to use right away – like different profile backgrounds. Even though you can only use one item at a time, they stay in your inventory, waiting to be used if another is active.
Profile backgrounds create a new look for your Steam user profile. They don’t cover any content you want people to see, like your achievements, screenshots, and biography. It only changes the very farthest back piece of the profile.
Here are a few neat profile backgrounds to check out. Each costs 2000 Steam Points.
- First: A nebula with purple, pink, blue, white, and black. It appears to be moving toward the viewer.
- Consumerism: Brightly colored pills fall in front of a yellow background. This one is associated with the game Cyberpunk.
- The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante: Flames wax and wane on a firelight background with embers dancing in the air.
- Black Hole: A whirling black hole with silver shades constantly creates a vortex on the right side of the screen.
There were 252 animated profile backgrounds to choose from when this was written. If you prefer a stationary profile background, you can choose from more than 45,000 options.
Animated Mini-Profile Background
Animated mini-profile backgrounds show up when someone expands your entry on the Steam friends list. It can help you stand apart from other entries or create some kind of personal aesthetic to amuse your friends. It fills the entirety of the mini-profile box and blurs a bit under the in-game information.
Check out these animated mini-profile backgrounds.
- Gamedust Inner Plasma: It looks like one of those plasma balls you set your hands on to encourage the lightning to gravitate toward you. Two large bolts shoot across the top and bottom of the image.
- Dead Cells Promenade of the Condemned: This is a forest in shades of blue and grey. Leaves fall from the air, and chains are attached to the trees.
- Soup Pop Art: Cans of tomato soup spin in their little colored boxes.
- Mr. Prepper: A blue vehicle drives quickly down a dusty desert road. The sky in the background is blue with puffs of white.
There are 210 animated mini-profile backgrounds to search through.
Animated avatars replace whatever profile picture you have active with the displayed image. Unlike most standard avatars, they’re in constant motion. They continue to move on the list of friends, even if you aren’t hovering over a specific person’s mini-profile.
Here are a few to check out.
- Eye of Cthulhu: It’s a floating eye on a yellow background. Red pieces dangle from the bottom of the eye, and it scurries back and forth as if adjusting its view.
- Gamedust Walker: A rainbow-colored figure dances on a black background.
- Kay: A man’s face appears and then disappears into multi-colored ribbons. When he’s visible, he has red eyes and pale hair.
There are 668 animated avatars to choose from. They cost 3000 points each.
Avatar frames surround your avatar on your profile and mini-profile. You can use them with an animated background and avatar. Using all three together adds a lot of movement to your list. Purchase one to help your profile stand out from all the others.
- VHS TV: A TV with rounded interior edges has a slight fuzz of static over the area where the screen would be.
- Healing: Pink hearts drift up from the bottom to the top. It’s reminiscent of a visual effect indicating being healed in a video game.
- Captured Greather: Prison bars go from the top to the bottom. This frame will make it look like your profile image is in prison; the bars don’t have transparency.
There are 343 avatar frames to choose from. They cost 2000 points each.
Game and Artist Profiles
Game profiles are curated collections of backgrounds, frames, icons, and mini-profile backgrounds, all themed for different games. Cost varies depending on what game you choose. Games like CS: GO, Dying Light, CIV VI, and Half-Life: Alyx have curated game profiles, among others.
Artist profiles are collections similar to game profiles. However, they feature unique art from Steam sales and events.
You can purchase showcase upgrades with points. For example, I chose an upgraded item showcase to show more of my in-game skins to my friends. You can also upgrade guides, community awards, achievements, and badges.
Each upgrade gives you the ability to show off more of your Steam activity on your profile.
The seasonal badge changes several times each year. It has graduated stages, each of which currently cost 1000 points. The fully upgraded badge is level 20 and requires 20,000 points. You can purchase all the upgrades at once or stop at the image you like most. The badge is displayed with others on your profile.
Steam offers animated stickers, chat effects, and emoticons for purchase with points. Each of these is available for use in any Steam chat. Just purchase one and then push the smile icon on the conversation you’re in. You can choose a category and then tap the one you want to share in the chat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Buy Games With Steam Points?
Games aren’t available for purchase with Steam Points. You can only spend Steam points in the shop, and it only contains cosmetic items and Steam profile upgrades.
Can I Convert Steam Points to the Steam Wallet?
You can’t convert Steam Points to anything. They are only for making purchases in the Points Shop. They don’t work like codes or product keys.
Can I Sell or Trade Items Purchased With Steam Points?
You can’t sell or trade items purchased with Steam Points. As soon as you have them, they’re bound to your profile.
Can I Give Steam Points to Friends?
You can’t trade Steam Points with anyone else. You can only earn Steam Points directly for your profile. However, people can earn them by writing reviews and then having people award them for those reviews. You also get points for awards on your content, like screenshots. You can earn 100 points per award.