There was speculation that Valve was working on a way to transfer games between a player's computers since November of last year, but today Valve finally unveiled the feature in a Steam Deck Beta update. Users who opt into the Steam Beta on both of their systems will be able to transfer games from PC to Steam Deck and PC to PC without the need of connecting with a Steam content server. This feature can be a boon for those with data caps or slow Internet connections. Why? Well, if you've downloaded a game on one device, all its files can be transferred across your local network, downloading faster and not using down any Internet bandwidth.
The full changelog can be found below.
If you're curious just how much data Valve is churning through, the company put out a Steam Year in Review for 2022 full of interesting facts. Like how much data was used in 2022:
Our total content delivery increased 36% from 2021, for a total of 44.7 exabytes downloaded to players. And just how much is 44.7 exabytes? About as much data as if every one of the 8 billion people on planet Earth downloaded a 5.5 gigabyte game.
Holy 90 Gigabyte Day One Patch Batman! For context roughly 1024 Gigabytes is 1 Terabyte and roughly 1024 Terabytes is a Petabyte and 1024 Petabytes are 1 Exabyte.
Those are some big numbers, but not as big as 30,000,000 which is the number of concurrent users that signed into Steam last year. Steam cites hitting that number only a year and a half after hitting 20,000,000 concurrent users. With the Steam Deck selling over a million units last year it doesn't seem like growth is slowing anytime soon.
When I was growing up, even in high school PC gaming seemed like the niche that geeks did to play StarCraft while the cool mainstream gamers were playing Halo and Call of Duty on Xbox Live. Hell, I still remember the numerous "PC Gaming is dying" headlines that would flood game magazines and G4 every few years, but it feels like that perception has radically changed.
Now I think people see PC gaming as a luxury gaming experience but with a luxury cost. People have asked me to help them get into PC gaming in the past and I would tell them what they wanted costed more than a PS4. When they heart that, they would immediately turn tail and run. With the Steam Deck's $399 starting price, the barrier to entry for PC gaming has been greatly reduced and I think it's likely we'll see a surge in not only PC sales but first time PC gamers. Valve gives us hard numbers to support this:
...during the 2022 Autumn Sale, 1.4 million accounts made their first-ever purchase on Steam.
I'm thrilled to see this kind of growth in a space I love so much, but it does make me wonder how much further can we go. Is the next frontier of gaming truly photo-realistic simulations, or an open ecosystem like the Steam Deck? A couple of years back everyone was up in arms about Fortnite not being cross-play compatible on PlayStation consoles and celebrated when Sony relented. But back in the 360/PS3 days I don't remember anyone even thinking about cross compatibility. I hope when people see what is possible out of the Steam Deck I hope they will expect more out of the other console manufacturers. Expect Nintendo to step up their online services. Expect Sony to provide more access to classic games. Expect Microsoft to release a good Halo game.
There's a lot of cool statistics from Valve's Steam Year in Review and recommend giving it a read through. Gardiner and I have said this multiple times but as much as people argue Valve shouldn't take a 30% cut from Steam sales, it's really hard to look at how much work they put into their platform and say that money is wasted. Even with PC components still being prohibitively expensive, now is the best time to finally get into PC gaming with as much freedom and choice as we have.
So are you going to download all the things on your LAN with this new Beta update? What statistic in the Steam Year in Review blew your mind? Does anyone else remember that one clip in the early 2000's where they said PC gaming was dying on X-Play? Seriously I've been googling for that for like 20 minutes. Let us know in the comments down below!