The coronavirus pandemic has gamers around the globe taking some time in-doors to spend with their favorite titles. While this is certainly a good thing, as social distancing will help curb the spread of the virus, it is causing some bandwidth issues, as people are increasingly spending time online. In order to do their part and help, Steam has implemented some changes to the way updates are rolled out for their games. As such, updates will only initiate automatically for games that have been played within the last three days. It’s a minor change, but it should help to put less strain on users’ home bandwidth during peak usage periods.
For games that haven’t been played within the last three days, Steam has been scheduling updates for off-peak local time periods. Games will still auto-update when launched, however. While these changes should make a bit of a difference, Steam has listed a number of other ways that players can help the company in their endeavors. Steam listed the following options on their website:
- Schedule auto-update windows! This will ensure that Steam doesn’t start updating a game while you’re in the middle of your work day.
- If you don’t play a game in your library often, you can keep it installed but choose to no longer download automatic updates.
- You can self-throttle your own connection to Steam. This might ease the load on your network connection, and may help ease bandwidth loads if network traffic in your area needs to be reduced.
- Take advantage of Library Folders settings, so you can move infrequently-played games from an SSD to a storage HDD. This is usually better for you (and your bandwidth) rather than uninstalling the game and needing to re-download it later.
Since many companies have instituted work-from-home policies, and those jobs have hours that are a bit more flexible than the norm, it makes sense that some Steam users might want to schedule their own update windows. Regardless, it’s great to see companies finding ways to help their customers adapt to the current state of things. With so many people around the globe self-isolating, companies are going to need to continue finding new ways to adapt in the coming weeks.
What do you think about Steam’s new update policy? Do you plan to update your preferences? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
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