Peer-to-Peer LAN transfers are coming to Steam

Daniel Sims

Posts: 675   +27
Staff
Why it matters: Users with multiple computers have probably needed to install much of the same software and perhaps the same games across all systems, drastically increasing bandwidth usage. Valve appears to be developing a solution for gamers in this situation.

The creator of SteamDB recently discovered code indicating Valve is working on peer-to-peer Steam game transfers. The feature would let users copy games between PCs on the same local area network (LAN), which is usually faster than downloading and doesn't chew up internet bandwidth.

Djundik speculates that Valve is primarily adding the functionality so Steam Deck owners can copy games to the handheld from their primary PCs without re-downloading from the internet. Users may even be able to skip the decryption process Steam undertakes when installing games.

Local network transfers for games could be invaluable to those with data caps by ensuring they only need to download a game once. It could be even more helpful to developers or other organizations that need to install games on many systems simultaneously. The only other method of moving Steam games without re-downloading them is to back them up on external media, but LAN transfers will likely be much faster.

One responder to Djundik confirms that users can already try the feature by changing console variables. He successfully moved a copy of Crusader Kings III from a PC to a Macbook. The transfers are still buggy, however.

Some responders to Djundik drew comparisons to Nintendo's Download Play feature, which let Nintendo DS owners temporarily share games with users who didn't own them for local wireless co-op. Xbox One and Xbox Series console owners can access similar functionality to copy games and apps between Systems wirelessly. PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 have a migration feature, but it only allows users to move all of a system's data, not individual games.

In related news, the Steam beta client recently started letting desktop users try the Steam Deck user interface. To do this, opt into the Steam beta in the settings menu, restart Steam, and then add "-gamepadui" to the target path in a shortcut. Be aware that the new mode doesn't allow switching back to the standard Steam interface without restarting the client.

Permalink to story.

 

Snazz

Posts: 19   +17
Would have been far more helpful in the past, when internet bandwidth was much slower and limited. Dropbox has had this as a default option for over a decade. Better late than never though.

"SteamDB developer Pavel Djundik didn't specify if the transfers happen wirelessly between PCs on the same Wi-Fi network or through ethernet cables connecting them. The former is probably more likely, but Valve could potentially employ both methods."

Huh? Why would that be up to Valve?
The network adapters (wi-fi or wired/ethernet) are prioritised by the operating system.
 
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wiak

Posts: 90   +35
Isn't wifi and ethernet the same thing?!

if one computer has steam on it connected to switch and another pc has it connected via wifi, they would just transfer over the same lan
 

wujj123456

Posts: 79   +49
If it's as terrible as their backup and restore; no thanks.
Honestly forgot Steam even had backup and restore... They probably should just remove that feature at this point. It was great for the early days when the only meaningful way to transferring such amount of data is to burn them onto CD or DVDs...

These days one just copy the steamapps folder over, and install the game on new computer. It will automatically verify and use whatever is there.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,354   +8,553
One of the better things Steam could do is require sellers to make games "self standing" so users could play 100% off line. This should include the basic game install-able without internet support, etc. This would also lessen the exposure to on-line risks. Steam "claims" no hackers can get through their system, but I have 3 years of evidence to the contrary and since they refuse to allow users to change BOTH name and PW, locking out hackers is nearly impossible.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,781   +6,623
Isn't wifi and ethernet the same thing?!

if one computer has steam on it connected to switch and another pc has it connected via wifi, they would just transfer over the same lan
You'd like to think so, but many people use the default wifi/modem combo from their cable company, and I've seen those treat the two as separate networks. I've also seen stand alone wifi routers do the same, especially if anything is plugged into the modem while a router is also plugged in.
Would have been far more helpful in the past, when internet bandwidth was much slower and limited. Dropbox has had this as a default option for over a decade. Better late than never though.
There's still millions that dont have or cannot afford high speed internet, or have restrictive data caps. With the growing size of games any multi gamer household would likely find the LAN feature very useful.
 

MakeMSGreatAgain

Posts: 53   +49
Do people still have LAN parties? I and about 14 friends still do LAN parties about twice a year. Great fun! Been doing them since 2001. Pretty much all new games since the early 2010's don't have LAN anymore, which makes us sad.
 

loki1944

Posts: 636   +474
Honestly forgot Steam even had backup and restore... They probably should just remove that feature at this point. It was great for the early days when the only meaningful way to transferring such amount of data is to burn them onto CD or DVDs...

These days one just copy the steamapps folder over, and install the game on new computer. It will automatically verify and use whatever is there.
where I live in the US; avoiding updates and using offline mode are essential due to data caps; better way is to copy game over and try installing it and hope it detects the files as it goes.
 

hwertz

Posts: 200   +120
Nice. I mean, as it stands, I find "steamapps/common" and rsync the game over from one to another (between desktop and laptop, obviously from whichever I installed on first to the other one.) But doing it from within steam would be much "slicker".