Valve Finally Adds Throttling Functionality to Steam

Posted on May 7, 2013 9:30 AM by Rob Williams

Despite the fact that Valve’s Steam platform is about as synonymous with PC gaming as it could get, the client still lacks a lot of functionality that many would expect it to have. One gaping omission has finally been rectified: download throttling. For as long as Steam has existed, it’s downloaded games, patches and what-have-you at your net’s peak speed – not ideal when others in the house might be gaming or streaming a movie.

With the most recent client update (May 6th), a drop-down menu has been added to the “Downloads” section of Steam’s settings area. Unfortunately, the control here is rather limited; you’re unable to manually specify a value, but instead choose between 12 presets ranging from 16KB/s to 25MB/s. Still, this is better than nothing, and chances are Valve will increase its functionality in a future update (though I also expected a feature like this to have existed in the client since day 1).

Steam Download Rate Limiting

With this addition, I’m hopeful that other much-expected functionality will make its way into the Steam client in the near-future. Here’s a short list of personal wants; feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • An option that tells Steam to continue downloading content when you’re playing a game (it’s ridiculous for the downloads to stop when it’s just a single-player game that’s active). Better still, you could have an exceptions list, where specific gamesĀ will halt downloading.
  • Restricted download times. Some folks get free bandwidth through the night; this option would allow them to capitalize on that and not accidentally soak up their allowance during the day.
  • People should have the ability to disable all patching with the flick of a button. Some people have large or unlimited bandwidth packages; most do not.
  • The ability to disable Big Picture. I’ve launched it numerous times by accident just because I hit the button on my Xbox controller to check up on battery life.

Those are my wants; what are yours?

  • Damien Good

    Ditto with Wanting the option to not halt the downloads when I launch one of the games, unless the game is a REAL TIME MULTIPLAYER game where downloading could cause lag. There are many games, where their online use is just for leader boards and accomplishments, and no actual real time elements to significantly lag.

    • Rob Williams

      You explain perfectly the need for a whitelist. Steam is going to be ignorant of just how MP-intensive a game is, so to allow the user to pick and choose which games will affect the downloads would be brilliant. I really hope to see a solution like this in the future.

      • Damien Good

        Heck, they should give the developers of games a few API options that can tell the steam client whether or not it can do downloads. The developers would know that if their game was single player, or turn based multiplayer, they could tell the steam client to continue downloading, and if the game has options for both single player and real time multiplayer, they could tell the steam client to pause the downloads, when the real time multiplayer part of the game is entered, and to resume the downloads, once the multiplayer gaming is done.

        • Rob Williams

          In time, I could see those API tie-ins happening, because as it is, Steam is becoming a truly dominant force, and anything that Valve can do to make the platform even better, it’s likely to do. But of course, by this point in time, so many people own games through the platform that it’s unlikely any of them are going to leave just because some features don’t show up ;-)

          If Valve can’t give us EP3, it should at least give us other features that’d make the platform so much better.

  • Kayden

    How about the ability to set our own font and font size for chat. The default was increased and though I agree it needed to be bigger, this is too big for me.

    • Rob Williams

      That’s a good one, too. Again, a common sense thing you’d expect to be there.

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