Back to Top

Steam changes auto-updates to save bandwidth during coronavirus pandemic

Steam continues to reach new player count records every weekend as players are increasingly stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Other online gaming platforms, including PlayStation Network, have throttled downloads to deal with the bandwidth issues, and Steam is making some smaller changes to its auto-update features in an effort to compensate.

Steam will now only issue immediate auto-updates to games you have played within the last three days. You can still manually download updates at regular speeds whenever you want, but the auto-updates you see scheduled overnight will now be spread over multiple days, as Valve explains in its official blog post.

Valve also wants to remind you that Steam lets you schedule auto-update windows and manage your own download throttles, so your game updates don’t interfere while you might be working from home. You can also choose to ditch auto-updates for games you don’t play that often, and Steam’s had built-in features for a while to let you push old, unplayed games off to a second hard drive rather than needing to redownload them.

Steam reached a record concurrent user peak of 20 million just over two weeks ago, as players worldwide began to spend more time at home during the coronavirus outbreak. The next weekend, the record hit 22 million. On March 29, the record was once again broken, and is now up to 23 million.

Download some free Steam games to keep yourself company, and stay safe out there.

Back to Navigation