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After multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home, Valve have started speaking about their own ways to manage bandwidth too.

In the blog post on Steam, Valve mentioned how they've now adjusted download priorities so that games you've not played recently will move from using off-peak timings for auto-updates to spreading them over multiple days. Only games you've played in the last three days will update immediately. This doesn't change you clicking on a game that needs an update, as it will begin to update as normal when you request it. They also said they're looking into "additional solutions to help on our side" so we might see more download options in the Steam client eventually.

Valve's other suggestions were (help link here):

  • 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.

Given that Steam is such a massive platform, and it continues to break records, it's nice to see them react and try to relieve a little pressure.

Personally, I really dislike auto updating on my Library. I use the auto-update window feature, set to 4-5AM when my PC is never on so that games and software installed through Steam only update when I manually tell them too. Still, having a proper option in Steam to have no auto updates sure would be nice. You can do that on a per-game basis as noted by Valve, but not for your entire library which is a bit annoying.

Why? For me it's not just a matter of bandwidth use, it's also control—if a game updates I want to know so I can go in and see what's going on with it. When you have 100s of games, it's hard to keep track if they all update constantly and it's not surprising people forget about so many fantastic games when that happens. Perhaps fine-grained controls is what Valve will give us at some point, could be part of the additional solutions they mentioned.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Steam, Valve
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16 comments
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eldaking 30 Mar
The way steam handles auto-updates is quite bad. Auto-updating is a pretty important thing: I surely don't want to go online and check for updates for each game, or manually apply patches (or reinstall), and I surely don't want each individual game to handle its own updates (this gives me Windows flashbacks). Leaving games out of date is either not ideal or downright dangerous/incompatible.

But then, it takes control entirely and doesn't even ask for authorization, doesn't allow us to disable updates entirely, or set a time, or play a game without updating it first, and has very little control about which games are updated and how. It barely has the minimum of "don't update while I play" or "never update this one game", and does nothing about updates that break compatibility (with saves or mods, for example)... it requires workarounds to even offer access to older builds (using beta channels).
stan 30 Mar
Steam should NOT force game updates on us. If a game works as-is I do not want to be forced to update it when I want to play it (which might take several hours to download, and possibly break the game).

Also since we’re forced to update the games it’s super annoying when Steam schedules downloads for later, just download the thing already!
Corben 30 Mar
Allowing updates between two or more PCs on a LAN would be great. So you would not have to setup something like Steam proxy cache and Steam clients could update games that are installed between each other. Would save downloading the same game several times, when installed on more than one PC.
If I remember well, the update of games was the reason why Steam was created.
Pinguino 31 Mar
QuoteAfter multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home

What's the source on that?
Quoteand it's not surprising people forget about so many fantastic games when that happens.
Interesting, for me it's somewhat the opposite: I love the feeling of having my games auto-updating in the background without me needing to do it manually*, so when I fire up Steam I like to just check what's downloading, and sometimes I'll see something I haven't played in a long time and go "Oh! I should play that again."

*I only got Steam a few years before I switched to Linux, so it was my first exposure to the novel idea of there being a better way to update software than laboriously going to each individual program's page and manually downloading updates. (Fast forward to today, and having experienced the wonder of package managers ensures that I will never use an OS that doesn't have one ever again on a personal machine. ^_^)
Liam Dawe 31 Mar
Pinguino
QuoteAfter multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home

What's the source on that?
I'm really surprised anyone hasn't heard about it. Practically all video streaming: disney, amazon, netflix and so on are reducing stream quality on Europe for a while. It's reported on basically any news site.
Tchey 31 Mar
The way itchio does update control should be the way Steam does it too.
Actually, if i remember well, it was like that before, a few years ago.

You check for update manually (or with an auto-check option), and you can play the new version, or currently installed version. Update when and if you want to.
Ehvis 31 Mar
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Liam Dawe
Pinguino
QuoteAfter multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home

What's the source on that?
I'm really surprised anyone hasn't heard about it. Practically all video streaming: disney, amazon, netflix and so on are reducing stream quality on Europe for a while. It's reported on basically any news site.

Netflix then denied it and said it was only reducing bandwidth, but not quality. As if that is actually possible. And even with that reduction, AMS-IX broke a record 8 Tbit/s last night.
Eike 31 Mar
EhvisNetflix then denied it and said it was only reducing bandwidth, but not quality. As if that is actually possible. And even with that reduction, AMS-IX broke a record 8 Tbit/s last night.

"In Europe, for the next 30 days, within each category we’ve simply removed the highest bandwidth streams. If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution."

Guess they should keep it this way then? ;)
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