Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game

You are not alone in experiencing this issue, though. More and more people are reporting seeing the “Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game” issue on their PCs. What can be done to correct the situation?

Steam has become synonymous with PC gaming, offering a one-stop-shop for gamers to buy, download, and play video games. As with any software, however, Steam isn’t free from errors or glitches.

One common issue is the “Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game” error, which can disrupt your gaming experience. This detailed guide covers what Steam is, why you might encounter this error, and how to troubleshoot it effectively.

What is Steam?

Developed by Valve Corporation, Steam is a digital distribution platform for video games, software, and even movies and TV shows. It was officially released in September 2003 and has since grown to become one of the largest platforms of its kind, boasting a massive library of titles and a robust community of gamers.

Steam also offers various social networking services, including friend lists, groups, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

Causes of “Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game” Error

Inadequate Privileges

Sometimes, Steam or the game in question may not have the necessary permissions to run on your computer. Running them as an administrator can solve this issue.

Corrupted Files

If essential Steam or game files become corrupted, the error message may appear. Repairing or reinstalling these files can often resolve the problem.

Version Mismatch

Sometimes, the version of the game installed on your system may not be compatible with the version of Steam you’re running, triggering the error.

Incorrect Installation

An improper installation of either the game or Steam can also result in this error message.

Method 1. Download and Run the Steam Client on Your Computer.

Installing the Steam client is crucial if you only play games on a personal computer. These days, if you want to play most PC games, you’ll need to have Steam installed.


Following these instructions will help you install the Steam client if you haven’t already done so. If you have Steam already set up on your machine, you can skip ahead to the next step.

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Step 1. First, get the installation programme for Steam by going to the Steam client download page and clicking the Install Steam Now option.

Step 2. Second, after downloading the executable file, double-click it and follow the on-screen instructions to install the Steam client on your computer.

Step 3. Third, restart your machine once the installation is complete. If you get the “Steam must be operating to play this game” message when you try to launch a game, just restart your computer and try again.

If that resolves the problem, then you can continue with the game. If this doesn’t help, though, try the alternatives.

Method 2. A Workaround is to Use the Most Recent Version of the Steam Client.

The “Steam must be running to play this game (steamapi init() failed)” notification has been reported to disappear for certain users after updating Steam to the newest version.

Step 1. First, you’ll need to fire up the Steam client and log in using your credentials.

Step 2. Second, select Check for Steam Clients Updates from the Steam menu’s drop-down menu after clicking the Steam button in the top menu bar.

Step 3. Third, if an updated version is available, you can update your PC by following the on-screen prompts.

If you still get the “Steam must be running to play this game” problem after restarting your computer once the update is complete, contact Steam support.

Method 3. Sign Out of Steam and Back in.

Users have reported that they no longer “receive the Steam must be running to play this game (steamapi init failed)” after first logging out and then back into their Steam account before launching the game in the Steam client. Many people have found this to be useful. Attempt it out if you like.

Step 1. First, launch Steam and access your account settings by clicking the ellipsis (…) in the top-right corner of the window, next to your user name. Then, choose “Log out of Account” from the menu that appears.

Step 2. Leave Steam altogether. Using Task Manager, you can kill all Steam processes at once.

Step 3. The next step is to right-click the Steam desktop shortcut and select Run as administrator. The next step is to sign back into your account.

Step 4. The fourth step is to re-start the faulty Steam game. Afterward, see if the “Steam must be running to play this game” warning goes away.

Method 4. Check the Game Files for Discrepancies

The “Steam must be running to play this game” issue may appear if the game you’re trying to open has been improperly updated through the Steam client or if the game’s folder is missing some files. You might be wondering if there is any way to make up for this now.

The Steam client can be used to check the game’s file for corruption in this case. Steam will automatically re-download any corrupted or otherwise incompatible parts if it detects any.

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The following is a comprehensive guide on how to check the game files’ integrity using the Steam client.

Step 1. First, open the Steam client and go to the Library menu.

Step 2. If you get the “Steam must be running to play this game” problem message, select the game in question by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties.

Step 3. Third, select Local Files and then click the Verify Integrity of Game Files button. After that, the software will check the legitimacy of the game files.

After Steam has finished confirming, try restarting the client to see if the “Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game” message goes away.

What Does It Mean: “Steam Must Be Running To Play This Game”?

This error message usually indicates that the game you are trying to play relies on Steam to function. It often comes up if Steam is not properly interacting with the game in question, either due to software glitches or user-related issues such as improper installation or inadequate permissions.

How to Fix “Steam Is Required to Run This Game”

Run as Administrator

Right-click on the Steam icon and select “Run as administrator” to grant it the necessary permissions to operate correctly.

Verify Game Files

Steam has a feature that allows you to verify the integrity of game files. To do this, right-click on the game in your Steam library, go to Properties > Local Files > Verify Integrity of Game Files.

Reinstall Game/Steam

As a last resort, you can try reinstalling the game or Steam itself. Note that this will delete any saved settings or game progress stored locally.

Why Does Steam Say My Game Is Running When It’s Not?

This is another common issue, and it usually means that the game process is still running in the background, even if you can’t see it. To resolve this, open the Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), find the game’s process, and end it manually.


While Steam has revolutionized how we buy and play video games, like any other software, it has its fair share of issues. Understanding the causes behind common error messages and knowing how to fix them can make your gaming experience far smoother.