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).
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 games 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?