Steam limits game auto-updates to manage peak demand

You'll have to start more updates yourself during the pandemic.

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Jon Fingas/Engadget
Jon Fingas/Engadget

Console makers aren't the only ones managing game service bandwidth to keep traffic flowing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Valve is scaling back game auto-updates in Steam to "spread out" the load and prevent its servers from buckling under the strain. As of this week, only games you've played in the past three days will get immediate updates. Everything else will be updated over the course of "several more days." You can still manually start updates and schedule update windows, of course, but Steam won't be in a rush to keep all your games current.

Like Microsoft, Sony and others, Valve is grappling with a surge in game service use now that the pandemic has many people staying at home. This move might irk you if there are games that you play at sparse but regular intervals (say, once-a-week strategy game sessions), but it could be helpful if it keeps downloads speedy and prevents other Steam services from buckling at peak periods.

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