On 21st September, a published patent seemed to hint at a brand new Steam feature. It is called “instant play”, and it might allow users to start playing games even before they finish downloading. Documents talk about how game sizes are increasing in size, and are increasingly more than 100 GB. This is expected to necessitate and establish the context of the patent.
The Potential Steam Feature Is Not Unique
This feature will not be the first of its kind. Battle.net, of Blizzard, already features something similar. Users can start playing a game when a certain percentage is downloaded. But this limits the gameplay to the downloaded parts only.
Over the previous decade, the size of games has only grown. This, in turn, made downloads longer and having bigger hard drives compulsory. However, even if storage space increased, the speed at which hardware reads the information has not kept up. Thus, via this feature, Valve hopes to address this issue by prioritizing the most frequently used game files.
The Steam patent also talks about latency issues that might be caused when loading occurs during a gaming session. This means that Steam will be trying to improve current models that allow playing and downloading games simultaneously.
The latest feature might free up space in the HDD as well, letting users have more games installed. The feature is especially relevant considering the Steam Deck will be going into the final stages of production, and till now it has a storage capacity of only 512MB.
For companies such as Valve, technological advancements are always welcome. Moreover, such features will let Steam remain relevant in the face of the ever-evolving gaming industry. Overall, this should make accessing Steam libraries easier than ever before.