Steam will now delay some game updates to preserve bandwidth

By Sherif Saed
31 March 2020 09:25 GMT

As Steam breaks new usage records, Valve has outlined a couple of big changes to game updates.

Steam recently saw a surge in concurrent users, both simply online as well as online and playing games. As we find ourselves trapped at home as a result of coronavirus lockdowns worldwide, many are turning to games to pass the time.

Even more than video streaming, game downloads require a lot of bandwidth. As part of an effort to conserve bandwidth and help make internet available for everyone in this critical time, Valve is changing how updates are delivered on Steam.

Steam already schedules updates for games you haven’t played recently to off-peak hours in your country. This is being expanded to allow updates to spread out over days rather than hours.

Only the games you played within the last three days will be updated as soon as a patch is available for them. Everything else will be scheduled for possibly days ahead.

This does not stop you from forcing updates immediately when you see them in Steam, of course. Just don’t be alarmed when you see that your games aren’t updating immediately. Unlike PlayStation, YouTube and Netflix, Valve is not throttling download speeds.

Valve also recommended players make use of Steam’s built-in download management features, which should also help lighten some of the load on home networks.

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