Steam Games Won’t Launch: The Simplest Ways to Fix This Issue

Trying to enjoy a chill gaming season but your Steam games won’t launch? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Several users of this platform have complained about this issue. Steam has a huge library of 50,000+ video games.

But, the platform doesn’t guarantee that you can run each of these games without facing lags & issues. From incompatibilities between different operating systems to conflicting software configurations – there’s a long list of potential reasons why Steam won’t launch games.

If your Steam game won’t open, you need to understand why it’s not launching & take the necessary steps to get it up and running. Here’s everything you need to know and do when your Steam game doesn’t launch.

Do you have a particular question about cases when Steam game won’t launch? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Why Won’t Steam Games Launch?

Millions of Windows & Mac users play Steam games regularly. Many of these gamers face the following types of issues:

  •  “Steam Preparing to Launch Loop”: Many gamers get stuck with this “Preparing to Launch Loop” message while attempting to run their Steam games. This error happens when the necessary Visual C++ components aren’t installed on the PC/Mac.
  •    Error Code 80: Many gamers receive the notification “Steam Game Failed to Launch,” when they try to run their Steam games. This Error Code 80 message usually appears when gamers use outdated graphics card drivers.
  •    Steam Game Has Failed to Start Missing Executables: This issue arises when certain game files are damaged or missing. To resolve this issue, you must verify the reliability of the game’s cache. After that, try running the game again.
  •    The Game Says “Running,” But It Won’t Open: Steam games running but not opening is another highly common issue. This issue is typically caused due to the presence of third-party applications on the PC/Mac (e.g., antivirus software). Removing these apps is the only way to prevent this problem.

These are just some of the reasons behind games not launching on Steam. Thankfully, all of these game-launching-related issues are relatively easy to fix. There are many “repair tools” on the market that can help you address these issues.

But, we won’t recommend any third-party software tools. Instead, we’ll discuss the easiest & the most effective things that you can do when a Steam game fails to launch. Try out the following fixes in the order that they’re listed before downloading third-party software tools.

How to Fix Steam Games Not Launching?

Force-Quit the Steam Game

Sometimes, Steam not launching games could be down to a temporary glitch. Force-quitting the platform & relaunching the game is the easy way to fix these glitches. Take the following steps to force-quit your Steam game on a PC:

  •  Right-click on the Taskbar
  •  Select Task Manager
  •  Select “More Details”
  •  Under the tab titled “Processes,” select the Steam-Game-Related process
  •  Select End task
  •  If you’re using a Mac, take the following steps –
  •  Press Command + Space
  •  Select the Steam-game-related process in the CPU tab
  •  At the top of the window, you’ll see a “Stop” button – select it

These are the first steps you should take when a game doesn’t launch on Steam. If force-quitting the game doesn’t work, restart your PC/Mac. Hopefully, the restart will address the temporary glitches preventing the game from launching.

Download Pending Updates

Update your Steam account by opening the menu & selecting the option that says “Check for Steam Client Updates.” Updating your account may fix the bugs that were causing the “Steam game not running” issue. Always keep your account & the games you play updated in the future.

Review the Video Game Requirements

Are you sure your PC/Mac meets the minimum system requirements to run the game you’re trying to play? To verify this detail, assess the “System Requirements” section at the bottom of the game’s Steam store page.

Ask for a refund if your PC/Mac doesn’t support the game. Here’s a helpful video tutorial on how to request Steam refunds.

Run the Game as an Administrator

This solution only applies to PC users. To run a Steam video game with the elevated privilege of an admin, take the following steps:

  •  Open File Explorer
  •  Go to Local Disk (C:)
  •  Go to Program Files (x86)
  •  Go to Steam
  •  Go to Steam Apps
  •  Open a folder titled “common”
  •  Locate the main executable file in this folder
  •  Right-click on the file and select the option “Run as administrator”

Running the Steam game as an administrator is an easy fix for PC users every time they face the “Steam game not launching” issue.

Run the Game in Compatibility Mode

Again, this solution only applies to PC users – especially those playing relatively old video games on PCs that run Windows 7-10. Try to fix the launching issue by running the game in “Compatibility Mode.” Here’s how you can do that:

  •  Right-click the game’s executable file
  •  Select Properties
  •  Select the option that says “Run this Program in Compatibility Mode” under the Compatibility tab
  •  Choose Windows 7, 8, or 10 – depending on what has/hasn’t worked before

By taking this step, you’ll be able to understand what version of the OS works best for the Steam game you’re trying to run on your PC.

Update Your OS

Your Steam game not opening could be down to the fact that your Windows or macOS is outdated. Apply all pending OS updates to check whether that’s the case. To update your Windows PC, take the following steps:

  •  Open the Start menu
  •  Go to Settings
  •  Go to Update & Security
  •  Go to Windows Update
  •  Select the option that says “Check for updates”
  •  If you see any updates, click Download
  •  Install the update & try re-running the Steam game

To update your macOS device, take these steps:

  •  Open the Apple menu
  •  Go to System Preferences
  •  Go to Software Update
  •  If you notice any pending updates, click on the “Update Now” option

Disable Third-Party Antivirus Software

Temporarily disable any third-party antivirus software on the device. Relaunch the Steam game. If the game launches normally, then there’s something wrong with the antivirus software & you should get rid of it.

Play Offline

Try playing the game with the issue in “Offline Mode” to ensure that the launching-related issues aren’t stemming from Internet connectivity issues with Steam’s servers. First, open the Steam menu and click on the “Go Offline” option. Then, relaunch the game from your Library.

How to Repair Steam Game?

If none of these techniques fix your “Steam games not launching” issue, try to repair Steam game. To do so, enter your Steam Library & right-click on the game in question. Next, select “Properties” & then select the option “Verify Integrity of Game Files.”

By taking this step, you’ll be able to rule out the risk of the Game file being corrupted. If the game file isn’t corrupted, uninstall the game. Next, restart your device and then re-download & re-install the game from your Steam Library.

If that doesn’t do the trick, contact Steam Support & ask them for step-by-step assistance. But, hopefully, one of these solutions mentioned above will work & you won’t need to take that step.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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