How To Install DLC in Steam

Game Downloadable Content (DLC) is now a part of life and we all have to embrace it. Steam tends to work well enough with downloadable content as it manages it in much the same way as the initial installation but sometimes it hangs or doesn’t install properly.

How To Install DLC in Steam

In this TechJunkie post, we’re going to walk you through how to install DLC in Steam and what to do if your purchased DLC doesn’t install as it should.

The Necessity of Downloadable Content

Once upon a time not long ago, a game was a game. You paid your money, you got your game. It was a complete package and was ready to play to the end. Then came DLC, downloadable content to shake the games industry up. Even a decade or so later, DLC is still a contentious issue and industry only has itself to blame.

On one hand, DLC is good because it allows developers to add new features, maps, and content while also fixing bugs in existing games. If DLC adds genuinely new content, most don’t mind paying for it. I certainly don’t mind paying for DLC that adds real content if it seems worth the cost.

On the other hand, some developers do use DLC as a cash cow to nickel and dime gamers without adding any real value to the game. They either push out a game before it is truly finished only to offer missing content as paid DLC or use DLC to divide those gamers who pay extra to those who are not willing pay to be season pass holders.

Either way, DLC is now a part of gaming and we now just have to live with it. DLC seems to be here to stay in the gaming world.

Installing DLC in Steam

As mentioned, DLC is managed in the same way the base game purchase is managed. You can buy DLC from the game page under the DLC banner or directly from the Steam store. Once purchased, it should appear in your Steam Library on the game page. I find it easier to purchase from the Library. You can purchase DLS from the Steam Library following these steps:

  1. Open up Steam and go to Library. Steam App Menu
  2. Select the game you want the DLC from and then click on Store Page.
  3. Select the DLC you want to buy in the Store page, it’s under Content for this game. The purchase process is exactly the same as buying a base game.
  4. Now, click on Install content, it’s in the receipt page.
  5. Go back to your library and the DLC should appear in the center under DLC.
  6. Once downloaded, it should say Installed in the DLC pane.

If you don’t yet see it installed, it may be downloading.

Select Library from the top menu and then Downloads. You should see your DLC downloading there.

Depending on your connection or the size of the DLC, this may take a while but there is a progress indicator in the downloads window. Once downloaded, its status should change in the DLC pane of the game window.

  1. You can also view installed DLC from the game properties window.
  2. Right, click the game in your Steam library and select Properties.
  3. Select the DLC tab in the popup window to see what just was installed.

Installing DLC with a Product Key in Steam

  1. Launch the Steam client if it isn’t already and click on Add a game.
  2. Now, click on Activate a Product on Steam.
  3. Click Next in the window that pops up.
  4. Then, enter the product key and click Next to install it.

Troubleshooting DLC in Steam

Steam is a reliable platform that rarely seems to go wrong but it does occasionally refuse to play ball when using DLC in Steam. Usually, something goes wrong when you buy a new game or DLC and are desperate to play it. If that happens there are a couple of things you can do to ‘encourage’ Steam to load it.

Be aware though that some downloadable content doesn’t download automatically. Some games require third-party apps to authorize DLC, such as Uplay or even the game’s website.

Some smaller game studios will ask Steam to email you a code which you have to add to your account on the game’s website before it will authorize the DLC. Check that the DLC you bought doesn’t have this kind of setup as the first step in troubleshooting a problem.

If the troubleshooting step above doesn’t resolve the problem, here are some ways to troubleshoot DLC in Steam:

  • Make sure Steam isn’t in the process of downloading the DLC first.
  • Restart Steam and give it a chance to download the DLC.
  • Wait an hour or two in case the Steam servers are having issues.
  • Right-click the game in your Library, select Properties then the Local Files tab and Verify Integrity of Game Files.
  • Log out of Steam and then log back into Steam again.
  • Reboot (restart) your computer.
  • Check that the game itself isn’t having issues loading DLC. Use the Community Hub or News for information.

All of these methods have been successful for many users at one time or another to address delays or issues with DLC. Sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting a little while until the servers catch up. Sometimes, checking out the game developer’s forum can let you know if it’s a game problem or not.

If you enjoyed this article about DLC in Steam, you might also like this TechJunkie article, How To Appear Invisible/Offline in Steam.

Do you know any other tricks or tips for anyone who wants to install DLC in Steam? Or troubleshooting tips for if things don’t go according to plan? Please tell us about your DLC experiences in the comments below if you do!

One thought on “How To Install DLC in Steam”

Arthur says:
Thank You. I have been looking for months to try and access DLC in Steam. Steam directed me to the publisher, with no response. I have been looking on the internet, and finally came across your site.

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