Bandwidth is at a premium right now, and services from Netflix to YouTube are making changes to their services to try and reduce bandwidth consumption. It seems Valve are now following suit, changing the way game updates will work for the time being.
As more of us work from home, bandwidth usage has shifted from the trunk lines that feed big business to the domestic connections we have at home. In some parts of the world, these connections are already stretched.
The changes mean that games that haven't been played recently won't be updated automatically, and only games played in the last 3 days will get an update. If you want to play the game though, you'll then start downloading the update.
You can also manually update games as usual.
Valve also had suggestions on how users can help conserve bandwidth;
- Schedule auto-update windows! This will ensure that Steam doesn’t start updating a game while you’re in the middle of your work day.
- If you don’t play a game in your library often, you can keep it installed but choose to no longer download automatic updates.
- You can self-throttle your own connection to Steam. This might ease the load on your network connection, and may help ease bandwidth loads if network traffic in your area needs to be reduced.
- Take advantage of Library Folders settings, so you can move infrequently-played games from an SSD to a storage HDD. This is usually better for you (and your bandwidth) rather than uninstalling the game and needing to re-download it later.
This might be a little inconvenient for some, but I am all for it. I have games updating all the time I have no intention of playing that day or week, so it's much better usage to me. It'd be nice to see this as an option after this is all over.