Steam update lets you download games while you’re playing. Spare Humble keys now giftable

Steam Valve

Humans are bad multitaskers. The number of times I’ve tried to drink tea and shower and ended up with a watery tea and scalded chest, well, it doesn’t bear mentioning. (Note to imitators: life was made much less burny after I invested in one of these.) Till now Steam has modelled itself on mankind in that regard, downloading one game while playing another, while possible, was unintuitive. The latest update to the Steam client fixes that little problem.

Other snippets of Steam news are that Humble now let you give away your spare Steam keys and Project CARS are developing a version of the game to run natively on SteamOS.

The Steam client update may not be the largest but two of its features fix little niggles that have stuck with Steam since its launch in 2003. First off, you now have the option to download games in the background while playing another. You have to select the option on a per-game basis, so you needn’t worry that you’ll be feeling an internet drain while playing Dota 2.

The other small change is that you can set a time of day when Steam is allowed to automatically download apps. That way it won’t slow your internet during the already busy periods. A welcome little feature.

Separate to the update, but a nice change for Steam users, nonethless, is the news that the folk at Humble no longer limit your bundles. It used to be that if you already owned any of the games you bought in a bundle then you didn’t get to give away your duplicate key, it was simply lost. That’s changed.

“We understand that our Humble customers may already have a game that is featured in a bundle and would like to share the game with their family or friends,” wrote the team in the announcement post. “We’ve just rolled out an experimental feature that allows you to send extra games on Steam to someone else by clicking the gift icon next to the game on your download page. We and the developers we work with trust that our awesome customers will keep spreading the Humble way by sharing extra games with those who will appreciate it. “

There’s even more good news, too.

Slightly Mad Studios have announced that they’re bringing their absolutely gorgeous racing game, Project CARS, to Valve’s SteamOS. The advantage of having the game running in Linux means the Steam Machines can run the game natively. Otherwise, if it were only on Windows, then it would have to be streamed to a Steam Machine from a nearby gaming PCs.

Oh, and for those that want them, here are the rest of the changes in the Steam client update:


  • Add ability to limit what time of day Steam is allowed to automatically update apps

  • Add option to let other games download while a game is running (this is a per-game setting)

  • Add download regions for Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa in Canada

  • Add ‘Copy all text to clipboard’ context menu option in the System Information dialog.

Steam client UI

  • Improve downloading status text at the bottom of the main window

Big Picture

  • Added ability to opt into game betas and edit launch options

  • Added Inbox item under Linux if your machine requires a reboot due to OS level updates

  • Fix infinite loop of Cloud sync error dialogs on game launch

  • Fixed mouse cursor being visible during startup animation even if it hadn’t moved


  • Fix paste pasting stale text.

  • Fix Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V in client-hosted web page text controls.

  • Fix incorrect foregrounding of a blank window in some -silent startup cases.