Valve is finally joining Sony and Microsoft in adjusting video game downloads to help reduce internet traffic while many people are self-quarantining at home. They have made adjustments to the way Steam downloads games in order to reduce the use of bandwidth. “We know a lot of you (like us here at Valve) are stuck at home right now trying to work or attend school remotely,” the company wrote, “Or maybe you’re just playing a bunch of great games on Steam. Whatever the case may be, we know that with so many people at home trying to get things done at the same time, it can put stress on your home’s internet bandwidth.” Starting today, Steam will only update games that have been played in the last three days. Games that have not been played in a while will now be updated in the local off-peak times and spread across several games. Valve also clarifies that users can still manually update their games in the Download Manager and is “also looking into additional solutions to help on our side.”
Valve also suggests disabling auto-updates for games that are no longer played and moving them from SSD to a larger capacity HDD to save the time of deleting and redownloading the game. This announcement also follows last week’s news that PlayStation downloads in the US and Europe would be “somewhat slower or delayed” as Sony works to manage internet usage while many homes are in lockdown. “We believe it is important to do our part to address internet stability concerns as an unprecedented number of people are practicing social distancing and are becoming more reliant on Internet access,” the company said. After being stuck at a little under 19 million concurrent players for a couple of years, it surpassed 20 million in mid-March, broke 22 million a week later, and peaked out at 23.5 million earlier today.