Your Steam Downloads Are Now Faster, Stronger

This may not be the sexiest PC gaming news of the year, but for many it may well be the most important to their week-to-week purchasing habits: Valve's Steam service is now promising vastly improved download speeds.

Only a week after Steam was brought to its knees by a massive sale, many downloads trickling down the tubes at dial-up speeds, Valve has unveiled a new "Content System" that it's hoped will not just improve download speeds on the service, but make post-release support easier on users as well.

Valve has increased Steam's "maximum aggregate bandwidth", which it says will "help us satisfy spikes in demand when there's a big release" along with enabling the company to "be able to send content from more places, to better serve people all around the globe."

What does this mean in real-world terms? Anecdotal evidence: I tried re-downloading Napoleon Total War on Saturday, and it was drip drip dripping down at a rate of around 150kb/s. This morning, after this update, it raced down at 1.8 mb/s. (Note: that may have just been a happy coincidence, though, as Valve says "Over time, more and more of the content on Steam will be delivered using this new system")

Aside from faster speeds and more reliable service, Valve also says that a new "Client Code" will mean that when downloading updates and patches for games they'll be smaller in size.

With the Steam content system that's been in place for a few years now, if an individual file on disk were modified by a game update, your client had to download the whole file. That can be painful when the file in question is really large. The new system supports delivering only the differences between the old and new files, meaning game updates will be much smaller overall.

You can read the full update on Valve's site.

Your Steam Downloads Are Now Faster, Stronger

Download Better, Stronger, Faster [Valve]