The Final Logoff: Your Steam Library and Digital Legacy

Valve’s stance on the non-transferability of Steam accounts and their associated games poses a significant challenge for gamers planning their digital legacies.

As digital gaming has evolved, many gamers have accumulated extensive collections of games on platforms like Steam, believing these purchases are a long-term investment, potentially valuable to their heirs (for instance, a collection of 100 games is easily worth £10,000, not including in-game item purchases). However, a recent clarification from Valve has highlighted a stark reality: your Steam library cannot be passed down to your next of kin or any other loved one after your death.

This information came to light following a user inquiry on ResetEra, where a response from Steam support was shared. According to Valve, “Steam accounts and games are non-transferable,” the support representative noted. “Unfortunately, we cannot provide someone else with access to your account, nor can we merge its contents with another account. It is regrettable to inform you that your Steam account cannot be transferred via a will.

This revelation has significant implications. Many users have invested substantial amounts in their Steam libraries, and the idea that these digital assets simply vanish with the account holder is disheartening. The digital rights associated with these games are non-inheritable, meaning that the personal value and financial investment in these digital assets are inherently ephemeral.

Despite these restrictions, many gamers consider informal solutions, such as sharing their account credentials with their intended heirs. This workaround allows heirs to continue accessing the games, albeit without formal ownership or the ability to seek support or ownership transfers from Steam.

Another tentative solution involves maintaining access to the games by passing down the hardware with the titles already downloaded. However, this method falls short as it does not allow for game updates, reinstallation, or installation on new devices.

The broader implications of Valve’s policy highlight a critical gap in how digital assets are perceived and managed in estate planning. Unlike physical assets, which can be handed down as inheritances, digital assets like those in a Steam library are bound by the terms of service that often include non-transferability clauses for the sake of preventing Intellectual Property piracy during life. This situation raises important questions about the future of digital asset management and the rights of digital consumers.

For now, gamers must navigate these challenges as best they can, awaiting a potential shift in policy or technology that might one day allow digital legacies to be passed on as freely as physical ones.


Dylan O’Brien is Founder and CEO of BePrepared

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.