Steam Finally Adds Background Downloading

I actually still do this, even after years and years of PC gaming on Steam: purchase and begin downloading a new game; click over to my library to play another game while I wait; stop playing after an hour or so to eagerly find out if my download is complete; remember Steam doesn’t do background downloading; face palm myself and start the download again.

Thankfully, Valve has found the cure for the no-background-downloading blues. Yes, courtesy of the latest Steam update, you can now play while simultaneously downloading new games or updates. Finally.

It’s an option we can activate on a per-game basis, so if you’re planning to dive into an online multiplayer, you might want to leave it off to avoid the bottlenecks.

Along with the October 30 Steam client update of the Downloads section, which streamlined download-queue management, this is a Steam update that’s long overdue. Now Valve can get going on game streaming, video capture and sharing, and benchmarking. No hurry.

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3 Comments on Steam Finally Adds Background Downloading


On November 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

You’ve actually been able to do it for years, you’ve just got to minimize whatever game you’re playing and resume the download. After returning to the game steam will happily continue downloading in the background.

Forgetting to do it is a major pain though, so a automatic variant would be very nice!


On November 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

Haha, how many times this has happened to me!


On November 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

While this is good news, it’s also a reason why I’m a bit hesitant about the new SteamBoxes and SteamOS. I love Steam, but it’s kind of a clunky piece of software that lacks a ton of obvious features that would make it way more useable. The system for categorizing your games is pretty infuriating.